I was recording a recent episode of WDW Today podcast and a listener commented that they really didn't enjoy Disney's Hollywood Studios that much because they felt there wasn't much for their two children to enjoy and I was taken aback by this statement. Obviously I'm quite bias when it comes to the Studios and I also feel a great responsibility to be an advocate for the park when I can. Admittedly there are times where I champion a cause related to the Studios simply to defend the Studios, but this time I felt like I wasn't off my wagon when I replied back that the Studios is a great theme park for children and I promised to explain myself.
What Disney Parks do so well is they mix offerings that appeal to many different age groups so that the entire group can enjoy the park together. No park is all about just thrills or just juvenile attractions or just feminine features; Rather, the parks mix in a little of everything so that the family can enjoy the experience together without feeling like someone is being left out. When it comes to kids in Hollywood Studios, there's a lot to offer them. Without a doubt, the pinnacle of entertaining children in the park (and adults, for that matter) is the new Toy Story Midway Mania attraction. It doesn't matter if the child is 4 or 14; a boy or girl, a book worm or star athlete, nearly everyone who has ridden this ride has found entertainment in it and enjoyed their time there. So much so that long waits for it will perpetuate throughout the day so getting to ride this more than two or three times may not be in the cards. But it certainly can be a focal point for your day here, with managing a good FASTPASS strategy to collect FASTPASS's for it whenever possible.
Since it's not practical to ride Toy Story Midway Mania all day long, there are other attractions that will be needed to fill up the time. There are some great attractions that kids can experience all around the park. We'll start with the stage shows, like Beauty and the Beast, Voyage of the Little Mermaid or Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Most of the shows will appeal to children because the live nature of them I think pulls them in just a little bit. Mermaid's colorful sets and fun puppets I think are a real hit with many kids and Indiana Jones is the sort of show that can bring in the young boys who might be "too cool" for Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast. Regardless, there are a number of stage shows to see and the kids will enjoy them.
Speaking of shows, I think a hit show for all is Muppetvision 3D, as it has humor for everyone and I know that despite seeing it dozens of times, I still enjoy it and most children love the muppets. If you have younger children, then stop by Honey, I shrunk the kids play area will be right up their alley. I've never found it that appealing, but I know that young kids can literally spend hours in there exploring the area and most have to be forced to leave by their parents at some point.
I think we've kind of hit some of the obvious activities for children, but there is still more to do at Hollywood Studios for children. Streetmosphere is the sort of entertainment that kids and adults can both enjoy. Definitely direct the kids to some of the acts that rely on physical humor more so than wit, such as the Hollywood Public Works or get a little more intimate with a Jack Diamond "magic" show. Another fantastic activity for kids is the Animation Academy at the Magic of Disney Animation, where you can learn to draw Disney characters. I've written about this attraction at length previously but it's something that is often overlooked and your kids will love it.
There's still plenty more to do, such as the character meet-n-greets as well as entertaining meals at a restaurant like the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Don't forget about Block Party Bash, which is not your typical afternoon parade as well as the American Idol Experience. While you may not be a huge American Idol fan, kids these days love what's on television and what's current and Idol is both. Older children will certainly relate to it more and it may be a source of consistent entertainment for them.
The bottom line is that the Studios is one of the more kid friendly parks out there, and certainly not to be skipped because of your children. While the listener in question may have not found the entertainment for their kids that they were looking for, nonetheless, it's out there to be found. Hopefully this week's article will help some of you out there with planning your next trip so that your kids can enjoy the Studios just as much as the adults do.