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Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Immersive movie magic

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Immersive movie magic

This gay couple’s long-awaited return visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida – was finally there! The park has been given a huge overhaul, creating some of the best-themed theme park areas ever seen. And being two big gay Star Wars nerds, we just had to dive into that galaxy far, far away! We hope you enjoy our Walt Disney World Resort adventure, showcasing Disney’s Hollywood Studios Pride mural and our favorite queer Disney moments. Now, let’s step into the movies through a Couple of Men‘s eyes!

The retro entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando ©

From looking behind the scenes to stepping into the adventure

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the third park that was built at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. After Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT, it opened in 1989 as a combination of a theme park and a working movie and television studio. Back then, the park was focused on giving people a look behind the magic of movie-making.

Over the last decade, the park has gone through a huge transformation. The biggest change came when the studio tour got demolished to make way for something far far away. To be honest, visiting a film studio has become less interesting to many people. Almost everyone can now stream all the movie-making-offs right from the comfort of their own homes. But to immerse yourself in a story and even become part of it? That’s what Disney theme parks have been doing for a long time. And it is this step into immersion that they have been perfecting with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Flying the Millenium Falcon over Galaxy’s Edge ©

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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We have been to Disney’s Galaxy’s edge before when we visited California in 2019. The land just opened at Disneyland, and you can’t believe how excited we were, being two huge Star Wars nerds. We totally geeked out while we walked into Black Spire Outpost. It was hard to keep ourselves from buying everything at the Toydorian Toymaker or any of the other out-of-this-world-themed shops. Tip: don’t forget to check out those Storm Troopers.. they even took a picture with rebel scum like us! Back then, Daan already knew that the land still had to open one of the best rides in the world. But we had to wait till our next time in the United States to experience it.

Are these queer Stormtroopers? ©

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Well, it was worth the wait. This attraction is next level. It will be hard for any theme park to come up with something that can compete. Maybe even for Disney. Here is the premise of the ride without giving away too much.

You board the queue of Rise of the Resistance at a Resistance encampment near Black Spire Outpost. Your mission as a new recruit is to board a ship. Basically, to rendezvous with General Leia Organa herself (gay gasp) on a faraway planet. As a good attraction ought to be, things go wrong. Now, you find yourself right in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance. We would encourage everyone not to look at the POV videos online. Rather travel to one of the American Disney parks and experience this amazing ride firsthand. You might have to stand in line for several hours, but as mentioned before, it will be worth the wait. But just to make you curious enough… check out this view:

The most spectacular 360 view on any ride ever made.. ©

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser

And for all the real Star Wars fans out there. Do you need more than a few hours of adventure and shopping at Galaxy’s Edge? Well, Disney opened their first immersive sleeping experience with the Galactic Starcruiser. A two-night live-action hotel experience aboard a simulated cruise in outer space. The terminal to the Star Cruiser is based nearby Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Within your itinerary, guests aboard can visit Batuu. A VIP shuttle-pod will transport them between the “ship” and a special entrance terminal directly inside Galaxy’s Edge. Maybe on our next trip, we will take a spin on this first-of-its-kind galactic cruise.

Black Spire Outpost by night ©

Sleeping at Disney World

To stay in the middle of all the magic, we advise you to book a room at one of the official Walt Disney World Orlando Resort hotels. One of our favorite Disney hotels is Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Enjoy a great pool with a slide and lazy river right next to the side entrance of EPCOT and the Disney Skyline!

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

We were very curious to ride one other particular attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This trackless dark ride brings projected 2D animation, animatronics, and physical set pieces closer together than ever before. Did you know that it is the first-ever ride at any Disney park starring Mickey and his friends? In 2023, Disneyland in Anaheim opened its own version in the Mickey’s Toontown area of the park. Daan was especially interested in this technically advanced ride because the attraction uses a new kind of see-through screens. It makes 2D cartoon characters seem to exist in our 3D world. Pretty spectacular if you are into this kind of tech. Overall it is a zany ride with a high pace. Oh, and a very catchy song that you will be humming for several weeks.

gay couple posing for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ©
A well-deserved picnic for Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto at Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway ©

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror:

Another one of our favorites and one of the more thrilling rides at Walt Disney World. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is based on the 60ties television hit series. It takes you into the 5th dimension while also dropping you 130 feet through an elevator shaft. We love it so much because of its elaborate spooky theming and well-thought-out storyline. The 199ft (61m) high Hollywood Tower hotel (only 5 feet smaller than Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest) is the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It literarily dooms up out of the distance when walking into the park. It gives the whole „Hollywood in the 30ties” style a nice dark twist.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel luring above Disney’s Sunset Blv ©

Things definitely become eerier the moment you step through the gate and into the garden of this „once grand-looking” building. The hotel lobby looks frozen in time. Disney’s Imagineers did such a good job of giving you the creeps before anything happens. After stepping into the library, you get introduced to what unfolded at the hotel so many years ago. When it is time to step into the elevator, you can feel the tension of your fellow passengers. And when the elevator plunges into darkness, even the toughest of them all will scream like there is no tomorrow!

Dropping in at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror ©

Disney’s Imagineers have built a total of four Tower of Terror attractions in different Disney theme parks around the world. At Disneyland in Anaheim, they re-themed their Tower of terror into a ride based on Guardians of the Galaxy. This makes the original Hollywood Tower Hotel in Orlando the only Tower of Terror in the USA.

We survived Disney’s Hollywood Studios tower of Terror ©

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Pride Mural

This cute balloon Pride Mural at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was fixed on one of the huge backstage gate doors between Star Tours and Muppet Vision 3D. Thankfully this Pride mural was way easier to find than the one in EPCOT. We just had lunch at the Backlot Express, where we got this super cute Disney Pride cupcake. During Pride month in June, Disney has many Pride food items to choose from. Just be aware that you will get a sugar rush, and you might find eatable glitter in your beard for the rest of the day.

Balloon Pride Mural at Disney’s Hollywood Studios ©

Hungry for Disney’s Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant

Feel like fries, burgers, milkshakes, and all from the comfort of your own car? Drive right into the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Growing up in the Netherlands and Germany, we never experienced the Drive-In theatre as kids or adolescents. To be honest, The first time we went to a real Drive-In movie theatre was in Miami in 2021! So we really dig the nostalgia of (veggie) burgers and milkshakes while watching old cartoons and scary movies. And did we mention the waiters serve on roller skates?!

Not enough gay Star Wars? Check out Launch Bay and Star Tours

According to the Disney website, Star Wars Launch Bay is temporarily unavailable. Back in 2016, we had the best time at the Bay while waiting for Galaxy’s Edge to open. Here we found our favorite Star Wars Character Meet and Greets. We hope that Disney will make sure we can take selfies with Jawa’s and Wookies again soon!

Star Tours on the other hand, is alive and thriving. It still is one of the best theme park motion-based simulator rides in the world. In 2011 we, unfortunately, had to say goodbye to the classic film that had been running since 1987. But by including a narrative with several destination outcomes, the ride became even more re-ridable. We hope it will continue to fly us across the galaxy for a really long time. Especially with a spectacular photo-op like this as the entrance of the ride!

A gay Star Wars attack of the AT-AT at Star Tours ©

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Daan: “I love you!” – Karl: “I know” almost gay Star Wars caps ©

Our tips for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

If you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can actually send your purchased merchandise to your room. This is especially handy when shopping for droids and lightsabers at Batuu. Unfortunately, the Star Wars land still misses aliens and robots roaming the area. Since its opening, Disney has been enhancing the immersive land by including interactive games. Since 2022, people who purchase a Magic Band+ can play Batuu Bounty Hunters. Let’s hope this is just the beginning of more immersive experiences and characters!

Another tip is the Disney Skyliner. It allows all park visitors to conveniently fly in an Aerial Gondola from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the entrance of EPCOT. Now you don’t have to use the car or buses when you have a Park Hopper ticket.

Wanna know more about our gay travels around the world? Stay tuned on FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram. See you soon, Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Karl & Daan.

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