Disney World Hollywood Studios for Preteens
Preteens and teenagers is the age group which Hollywood Studios really caters to. In the last few years they have added the afternoon parade which highlights the characters from the hit movie High School musical, and Hollywood Studios has couple of great rides which teenagers really like. Hollywood Studios is a smaller theme park and it can be seen in one day.
Your teenagers may be interested in shows, but what they probably really care about is the rides. Here are the rides they shouldn’t miss, arranged in order of importance.
- Tower of Terror – a free-fall elevator ride themed to the hilt (possibly one of the best theming jobs at Disney World), with a height requirement of 40”
- Rock ‘n Roller Coaster – a roller-coaster in the dark with loops and inversions, set to music by Aerosmith. Height requirement is 48”
- Star Tours – one of the first-ever motion simulators, this one set in the Star Wars universe. Height requirement is 40”
- The Great Movie Ride – a traveling theater passes musical performances by animatronics, with some live-action mixed. A gunfight with percussive caps may be a touch loud for the unaware.
- Backlot Tour – a studio tram tour with few studio sights to see, but a fun “catastrophe canyon” with flood and fire effects that will wow your kids. Caution: this involves a fake earthquake that will shake the tram.
- MuppetVision 3D – technically a show, this attraction features a 3D movie and robotic performers.
- Disney Animation – a short film precedes an interactive area, with the ability to “paint” by touch screen or record a sing-along with Disney characters. It’s aimed at toddlers, but older kids can play along too. They may especially enjoy the chance to learn to draw a Disney character in a “class” setting.
- One Man’s Dream – a walkthrough exhibit on the life and work of Walt Disney, with some scale models and a short film at the end.
The thrill rides are the only attractions to generate any real lines (with the exception of Star Tours, which never has much of a wait). Rock ‘n Roller Coaster tends to have slightly longer wait times than Tower of Terror, so if you’re visiting early and before the crowds arrive, ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster first and then Tower of Terror. It may also make sense to FASTPASS these two attractions, one after the other. On very busy days, however, the Return Time for the first attraction is so many hours later in the day that you won’t be able to FASTPASS the second one, and will have to stand in the standby line.
At Disney-HOLLYWOOD Studios, the live shows are so prolific, they outnumber the rides. Here is my list of shows at this park, ranked in order of importance for preteens:
- Lights, Motors, Action! – a car stunt show themed to mimic a movie shoot, this offering includes some tricky driving and interesting effects. The sometimes tedious set-up times between scenes are long, but the folks with the microphone do as much as they can to keep things lively for the audience.
- Fantasmic! – the signature nighttime fireworks display is heavy on characters and craft that float by the moat around a central island. For prime seating, arrive at least a half hour before the show—which might mean more time entertaining the bored children while you wait.
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – a stuntman show themed to the Indiana Jones movies, this show keeps the action coming so consistently that kids will find it irresistible.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid – a puppet stage show with a really neat visual twist: the stage is dark but the puppets are lit by black light. Combined with rousing musical numbers and frenetic choreography, this action leads to a fun time that most preschoolers will enjoy.
- Beauty and the Beast – a traditional stage show and scaled-down version of what has played on Broadway, this classic story unfolds with a peppy musical score.
- Playhouse Disney – costumed characters on stage are accompanied by puppets to bring life to the creations normally seen on the television shows of Playhouse Disney. Built for toddlers.
There are some good choices at Disney-Hollywood Studios for every kind of dining need, but if you are looking for something your teenagers will love then there is one place I would recommend over all others…Mama’s Melrose. The hit at this restaurant is the oven baked pizzas, and what teenager does not like pizza. Mama’s Melrose sits right next to the Muppets 3-D show, and it is a great place for lunch.
Vacation Planning Tip
If you are visiting Disney World with pre-teens or teenagers you might want to check out our Disney World vacation homes, which all come with a private swimming pool. These homes provide you more living space, multiple TV’s, multiple bathrooms to get dressed, and fully equipped kitchens. They are perfect for families with older children.