Of the four major theme parks that make up Walt Disney World, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is arguably the most popular among teens and adults. Home to big-ticket attractions such as The Tower of Terror and Toy Story Mania, Disney’s Hollywood Studios sees a ton of guests every day and the streets of old Hollywood are often bursting at the seams with tourists trying to be first in line at the next attraction, restaurant, or spectacular show.
If you’re looking to join in the fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’re probably going to want to know a bit about the park before you get there. Although it’s smart to have a basic understanding of the layout and an idea of what you want to see and what you want to skip, there’s more to visiting than park than just hitting the best restaurants and the biggest rides, especially if you’re traveling with your family. It’s a good idea to have some practical information in your back pocket, in order to avoid all those little disasters that can turn a great vacation into a bad memory.
Here are the top five practical things you need to know before you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
1. Most of the helpful people are near the front of the park. When you first enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll probably be drawn in towards the center of the park by the beautiful old Hollywood street that leads right to Mickey’s oversized sorcerer’s hat. Take a quick look around as you walk in, though, because you might need to hit one of those unimpressive buildings near the gates later on if you have problems. Guest relations is the main information hub for most questions and they can give you guidemaps, guides to the shows, and can assist you in making dining reservations. Next to Guest Relations you will find the first aid station, where you can have anything from serious injuries to a scraped knee looked at. They’ll even check you for heatstroke if you’re not quite used to the hot Florida weather. You’ll also find the Lost & Found near Guest Relations. The Lost & Found doubles as the end-of-the-day package pickup if you’ve bought something in the park but don’t want to carry it around with you.
2. If you’re carrying too much stuff, there are lockers available for rent at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The lockers are near the park gates, over by the building that’s designed to look like an old mechanic’s shop. They cost $7 per day, but $2 of that is refundable when you return the key. If you hang on to your receipt, you can also get a locker that same day at any other theme park (if you’re park hopping, for example), but you will have to put down your $2 deposit at every park. If you’d like to rent a locker, look for the kiosk that’s called “Crossroads of the World” and they’ll be able to help you out.
3. Although credit cards, Disney gift cards, and resort keys can be used to charge most of the purchases you’ll make inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are some smaller merchandise stands and snack carts that only take cash. So, if you’re planning on enjoying a frozen banana or Mickey-shaped ice cream pop, you’ll want to take some cash with you to the park. If you forgot to bring cash, there are a couple of ATMs in the park. One is located right inside the park entrance (near all of those helpful people) and another is located over by the Toy Story Pizza Planet Arcade. (Note: the Toy Story Pizza Planet Arcade is not located near Toy Story Mania, as you might think. If you’re not sure where it is, grab a guidemap from Guest Relations or see if the nearest shop has guidemaps available.)
4. If you’re traveling with small children, you can rent strollers instead of bringing your own. Strollers are located near the park gates, over by the lockers and they cost $10 (although double strollers are $18). Like the lockers, you’ll be able to get another rental at any other theme park on that same day if you hang onto your receipt. Unlike the lockers, you don’t have to put down a separate refundable deposit when you rent a stroller. Although Disney does a good job keeping them clean, it’s always a good idea to keep some alcohol wipes on hand so you can give the strollers a quick sweep before you place your child inside.
5. For those families traveling with very small children, there is a full baby center near the park gates, over at Guest Relations. In addition to changing tables, there are private facilities for nursing mothers which are much more comfortable than the public restrooms scattered around the park.