Sunday, November 6, 2011

The World Series of WDW: Disney's Hollywood Studios/Disney's Animal Kingdom

A week ago, I started this series of looking at which attractions I believed to be home runs, walks, strikeouts, triples, etc. at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  This week, I will finish the series by taking a look at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom.   

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Home Run 

  • Toy Story Midway Mania:  Such a knock out attraction.  It has the repeatability with the fact that it's a game and it can change at the drop of a hat whenever Disney wants to update it.  This ride also is great for all members of the family.  It's just really been a great addition to the Studios since it was added.  
  • Tower of Terror:  This is one of those that has that Disney theming down to a T.  You can't get much better with theme than this attraction.  Plus it has the thrill factor included.  It's one of those attractions that I wish didn't make me so sick, because I absolutely love it otherwise.  


  • Rock n' Roller Coaster:  Yes, this is a really novel idea.  Take a regular inverted roller coaster and put it in the dark.  But what makes this a triple rather than a home run for me is that A) it's kinda short feeling and B) while some of the sets are extremely well done, some are just cardboard and you can tell.  Plus, many would say that Aerosmith is past it's prime, though personally, I can't think of another band that would be applicable to put in it's place.  But maybe you can.  If you have an idea of who you think would like to see, let me know in the comments.  
  • The Great Movie Ride:  This one really is a classic Disney's Hollywood Studios attraction.  It's an original and it's a novel concept of taking a trip through the movies.  The thing that makes this a triple is the fact that it hasn't really been updated since it opened.  It could use a refurb of new classic movies.  The problem that I see (which I mentioned on a recent episode of Generation Mouse all about this topic) is that there really aren't that many great classic movies from the past 20 years.  If you can think of one, (that isn't Pirates) please include that in the comments section too!
  • Muppetvision 3D:  It's a little dated looking, but it's certainly worth a visit.  It's not a headliner anymore, but it's consistently funny and since they digitally restored the film, you can see things a lot better.  It'll be interesting though to see what happens with this film once The Muppets comes out in theaters this month and we see what kind of response this new film gets.  
  •  Star Tours:  Yes, it's a lot better now that it's seen it's refurb in regards to technology.  It's really neat that you can see a different attraction essentially everytime you visit.  However, because I haven't seen the movies, I don't understand what everything is and who everyone is.  With the old one, I felt like you didn't have to be a Star Wars fan to understand it.  With this new version, I feel as if you really have to be a Star Wars fan to know what's going on.


  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid:  While this isn't an original attraction, it's one that I have to see every few trips.  Yes, it could benefit from a freshening up, particularly since they recently created the Broadway version, but to me, it's one of the more classic Disney's Hollywood Studios. 
  • Fantasmic!:  I know that to many, this is an amazing show.  It's got fire and water screens and it's all about good VS evil.  However, for me, this is a see it once, you don't need to see it for a long while after.  It just doesn't have the epicness as Illuminations or Wishes has.  
Walk (The Meh Category)

  • Beauty and The Beast--Live on Stage:  I loved Beauty and the Beast, but for this attraction, for some reason, it just doesn't have the spark that it should.  It feels as if a lot is missing, much like Voyage does, and the fact that there are no comfortable seats and the theater is outdoors, it doesn't draw me in.  

  • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular:  This one is relatively cool, in terms of stunt shows at the Studios.  This one certainly takes the cake in comparison, however, the thing that puts this as a walk is the fact that you can see it once and have that be enough.  It hasn't changed, well, ever.  If this attraction saw an update with some new stunts added, I think it would move up the list a bit more.  

  • Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show:  This has to be the most boring stunt show I've ever seen.  Yes, it has potential to be great.  It has really awesome stunts that are performed.  However, that's when they're actually performed.  Most of the time when watching this show, you are watching downtime.  Certainly not exciting when you are there for a stunt show.  
  • Studios Backlot Tour:  I don't think I'll get much argument here.  Yes, it's one of the original attractions, however, this one has certainly fared worse than it's other sister attraction (GMR).  It has been cut to a former shell of itself.  And while there is the cool Catastrophe Canyon still there...well...that's really it.  That's all there is that's left of any merit to this attraction.  So, Disney, kill it off.  It's past it's prime and it's valuable space that's just doing nothing.  
Disney's Animal Kingdom

(Disclaimer:  Because this park has very few attractions, I will only be picking 1 attraction for each category.) 

Home Run

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris:  This one is hard, but I think that Kilimanjaro Safaris gets the top spot here.  It's really neat to get to see some amazing creatures up close and personal.  While the story is a tad weak, the animals you get to see make up for it.  

  • Finding Nemo--The Musical:  This is one of my favorite shows in all 4 theme parks.  It has great music and the puppetry here is amazing.  It really is can't miss, even if you don't like shows.  


  • Expedition Everest:  I bet you're surprised to see this so far down on my list.  I am too...but when comparing it to the other attractions, it doesn't hold up as well.  The coaster itself is spectacular.  I really enjoy the theme and it certainly keeps you in suspense.  My biggest problem...the Yeti.  Much like many others in the Disney community, I want to see this attraction fixed back to it's former glory.  The original Yeti was SO cool!  Now, a shell of it's former self, it doesn't pack the same punch that it originally did.  That's why it's only a double on my list.  Disney, please, I know you don't want to, but you need to close this attraction for the time it will take to fix this attraction to at least a little better than it is.  It's just a shame it has lasted in it's poor condition for as long as it has.  

  • Festival of the Lion King:  It's got great music and extremely talent singers.  How can you go wrong?  But it's not something I have to do all the time.  It doesn't have the appeal to me that Finding Nemo does.  


  • Maharajah Jungle Trek:  This is the better of the two, but because I hail from St. Louis, which has one of the most amazing zoos in the country, this attraction just feels like it should be in our zoo.  So, while I enjoy it, it's certainly not something that stands out.  

  • Primeval Whirl:  While I am one who understands what they are doing with Dinoland USA here, this attraction is one that I question it's reason for being in the park still.  It has not had a very welcome existence, plus it's been a troublesome ride for Disney this past year.  Not to mention the cheese factor which many think is a slap in the fact to Walt Disney's legacy of his theme parks.  It just seems like it's welcome is more than over. 
  So that's gonna do it for this week's list.  What do do you all think?  Am I completely off my rocker with some of these or am I right on the money?  Where would you place the attractions?  Let me know in the comments!  I want to hear what you think! 


DisneyForTeens said...

Fun series. We agree with you on Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror. But we still love Aerosmith on Rock 'N' Roller Coaster!

Phil said...

Good article. On the topic of music on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, I've always thought that choosing your own soundtrack would be incredible. Sort of like a jukebox, they could have a selection of songs from many different artists to play while you're riding.

Even better, open the selection to any song (hook it up to Spotify?). Could be a cool Next Gen project...

JB said...

DAK also has one of our favorite rides not listed here - Dinosaur. EE, the Safari & Nemo are must-do's for us every time. So I guess that would make them also homers, triples and doubles. Dinosaur is the only other ride in DAK that we have on our must-do list. It's at least a double for us.

EverythingMouse said...

It is always difficult to choose favorites and 'must see' attractions because everything is so subjective. In Hollywood Studios they really do need to do something to liven up the Back Lot Tour because it promises so much and delivers so little. Personally though one of the highlights for me is Beauty and the Beast.