Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World is best known as the home of several epic thrill rides and the soon-to-be-home for Star Wars Land. Many families with little ones overlook this park or even skip it on their vacation in favor of the parks perceived to be more kid-friendly. Despite this perception, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has some of the very best offerings for babies and toddlers outside of the Magic Kingdom. My family never misses it when we visit with our little ones, and it is time to let a few more parents of younger guests in on the secret too!
Here are 9 things in Disney’s Hollywood Studios that the youngest of Disney fans are sure to love, plus a few pro tips!
Disney Junior Live on Stage
Most toddlers are well-acquainted with Disney Junior shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Doc McStuffins. These shows come to life in this short show in Hollywood Studios that combines puppetry with live actors, music, and storytelling. Children can dance and enjoy watching their favorite characters while parents can take well-deserved break in air conditioned comfort (essential during Orlando summers!).
Disney Junior Character Meet & Greets
After seeing Disney Junior characters on stage, the next stop for families with babies and toddlers should be the character meet-and-greet lines just outside the theater. Sofia the First, Pluto, Jake, and Doc McStuffins regularly hold court there. Best of all, lines for autographs and photos tend to be quite reasonable. Check the Walt Disney World app for timing, but most days the characters are available continuously during daylight hours.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
Just across the way from the Disney Junior Live on Stage theater is another theater where Ariel comes to life under the sea. This mini-musical tells the tale of Disney’s Little Mermaid with many of the songs young kids love. The neon blacklit colors are especially engaging for little eyes. Ursula does make an appearance and is a bit menacing so be aware of this with more sensitive toddlers.
Hollywood & Vine Character Dining
Character meals are almost always a smart bet with babies and toddlers at Walt Disney World. These experiences offer a way for children to see a lot of characters in a short period of time without the hassle or stress of waiting in line. The restaurant with character dining at Hollywood Studios, Hollywood & Vine, is an especially good fit for the youngest guests. Breakfast and lunch are currently offered with Disney Junior characters, and dinner features Minnie and her friends. (Note that Hollywood & Vine’s lunch service will switch to feature Minnie starting September 4, 2017).
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
It’s a tale as old as time, but timeless enough for kids of all ages to appreciate. Over near Tower of Terror is an outdoor theater where a live action musical of Beauty and Beast plays daily. The visual feast of music and dancing dishes is an excellent fit for young visitors.
Think the only place to experience all things Frozen is at the Norway pavilion at Epcot? Think again! If you have little ones who can’t quite “let it go,” they can get their Frozen fix at Hollywood Studios too. “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” is an indoor show featuring all the best songs from the movie musical. Babies and toddlers will especially enjoy the snowy surprise ending.
Olaf Meet & Greet
Does your little one like warm hugs? Olaf himself gives lots of them in the Celebrity Spotlight meet and greet location behind the Frozen theater. This location makes for some memorable baby photo opportunities.
Toy Story Mania!
Sure to be a hit with everyone in the family is one of Hollywood Studios’ most well-known rides, Toy Story Mania. Guests on this attraction play simulated boardwalk-style games to rack up points and compete against fellow guests. While babies and toddlers can’t really play the game, the ride is full of kid-friendly Pixar characters that will surely capture their attention while big siblings and parents enjoy the competition.
When the sun goes down, the place to be with little ones (assuming they are still awake) is at Fantasmic. This nighttime show features music, projections, water, and live characters in a seated outdoor theater. It’s the more kid-friendly of the two evening show offerings at Hollywood Studios. While the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is amazing too, the loud fireworks noises and action-packed projections might be off-putting to some little ones, so Fantasmic is a safer option.
Tips for Babies and Toddlers at Hollywood Studios
Know where to go for supplies: Just as with every park, Hollywood Studios has a baby care center where you can grab extra supplies or take a break to nurse or nap. Hollywood Studios has the smallest one of the four parks so plan accordingly. Find it on the left hand side next to guest services as you enter the park gates.
Make use of rider switch: If mom and dad or big siblings want to ride some thrill rides in Hollywood Studios like Tower of Terror or Rock N Roller Coaster, make use of rider switch! Rider switch allows adults to trade off caring for a young child too small to ride while only having to wait in line once.
Beat the heat: With minimal shade and lots of concrete walkways, Hollywood Studios can sometimes feel like one of the hottest parks. Be careful in summer with little ones. Bring lots of water and apply sunscreen often! Consider making a dining reservation at one of the indoor restaurants for lunch on hot summer days to allow everyone to cool off.