Top 5: Attractions for Young Kids at Hollywood Studios

So, this might not be obvious to anyone reading casually, but I actually keep a schedule on this blog (or try to).  I don’t have specific post types for every single day, but I do for most, and then I stick in unscheduled things when they come up, too.  The Top 5 posts are supposed to be on Tuesday, but I’m a bit late with this one.. well, technically it is still Tuesday but I try to have it done earlier in the day, and the blog’s time zone has this set already on Wednesday so it’ll be archived a day late.  This doesn’t actually matter to anyone but me.

So this week’s Top 5 list is about the best attractions at Hollywood Studios for small children.  But I’m going to add that I’m thinking of it as also “…and their families”, ie, attractions that the whole family can enjoy together.  For that reason I’m leaving out one of the no-brainers, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area, since that’s really JUST kids and parents tend to sit it out.  Not that this can’t be appealing, mind you, but for the purposes of this list I’ll just leave it off. 😉

When my family and I visited the parks last time, my daughter was just about to turn five and my son was one and a half.  I’m basing these rankings on their reactions, which may of course COMPLETELY differ from those of your children (or yourself!).  Maybe your kids were not into any of these and loved ‘Tower of Terror’.  And don’t tell me about height requirements, my daughter was already tall enough to go on if she’d wanted – well, she was actually game, so I should make that “if I’d been crazy enough to let her”.  Anyway, I always welcome comments!  Please speak out if you have anything to share!

And now… THE LIST!

The totally-not-boring, honest-give-it-a-try One Man's Dream!

The totally-not-boring, honest-give-it-a-try One Man’s Dream!

#5: One Man’s Dream.  If you haven’t been, you might not think this is a great choice – it’s not all that exciting, nothing moves – but before we left HS our first night my daughter was allowed to pick any attraction she wanted (except Toy Story, which was still a 1 hr wait).  She chose One Man’s Dream.  And she really liked it.  It was a great, lowkey way to end the evening, and she was very eager to learn about Walt Disney.  Most kids are pretty interested in museums and all the things you can look at, so even though they may not really pick up all the educational aspects or come out of there knowing everything there is to know about Walt, this is a great way for them to connect the parks and the cartoons with the man who created them.  Both my children especially liked the recreations of his office, and the original Dumbo car up on the ceiling. 😉

Mickey and Friends at Disney Junior; image is not mine

Mickey and Friends at Disney Junior; image is not mine

#4: Disney Junior Live!  Now to be honest – we didn’t actually do this.  When we were there it was closed for updates (it was actually transitioning from Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior).  But I’ve watched videos and they both would’ve LOVED it.  I think my daughter is a bit old for it now – she still likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but isnt’ interested in most of the other shows – but my son is still prime target audience.  Since this is targeted at younger kids, it might seem to go against my rule of “for families”, but I find that I tend to enjoy a show aimed at kids more than just watching my kids run around, so I’m cool with this.  And as shows go I think it’s a much surer hit for the kids than, say, “Lights, Motors, Action”.  I know my son would find that one way too loud.  DJL has some great puppets, is very energetic and interactive (even more than the TV shows it’s based on), and at least the previous version had bubbles.  Automatic win with my kids.  I think they’d like it even without the bubbles, though.

Ariel is the Most Beautiful Princess Of Them All.  (this is an image I actually DID take!)

Ariel is the Most Beautiful Princess Of Them All. (this is an image I actually DID take!)

#3: Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  I have to be honest, my top three are REALLY tough to order.  I have even moved this around a few times now!  Anyway – this is one of the few attractions that my kids really pushed to do twice.  I go with this instead of “Beauty and the Beast” for younger kids, for a few reasons: it’s shorter, so there’s less to sit still during; the wait time is somewhat less; and the presentation is more sort of “intimate”, being inside and with effects and such.  BatB is GORGEOUS, but I think the kids got more out of the lasers imitating water, the bubbles floating down, and the puppets singing “Under the Sea” (wait – those are PUPPETS??).  My son absolutely wriggled in his seat when the bubbles were released. 😉  He also really likes The Little Mermaid, even now, so I think this would still be a hit with him – though I think that he’d be a bit freaked by the Ursula puppet now.  My daughter, meanwhile, got to be First Mate when she saw it a second time!  She was brought up and introduced the show to the audience, and got  a special card afterwards signed by Ariel and Eric!

And here she is pretending to be a mermaid while we waited for the show (she was SO mad having to wait; this was my idea of a fun game. Lame, Mommy.)

And here she is pretending to be a mermaid while we waited for the show (she was SO mad having to wait; this was my idea of a fun game. Lame, Mommy.)

Another that's not one of mine; my camera angle would be much more mundane.

Another that’s not one of mine; my camera angle would be much more mundane.

#2:  Muppet Vision 3D (It was SO hard to pick between this and the one I put as #3!)  Zany to the end, this film is over 20 minutes but it never feels that long to me.  In the end, I went with this over VLM for one major reason: you are more likely to have boys and girls who will like this show than will like VLM.  Even though I think my son would still sit through Mermaid, I know there are some 4-5 year old boys who would flat-out refuse.  But I don’t know any kids that age who would pass up the chance to see the Muppets.  Especially in 3D!  I am going to be deeply, DEEPLY depressed when they move this one out (and I’m sure they will sometime in the next few years).  I’ve seen it so many times and it’s still always funny. 😀  The animatronics they use within the theatre are by and large really good – I can totally buy that Statler and Waldorf are really up there, and the goofy stuff at the back of the theatre with the Swedish Chef is just great.  At least half of the jokes go over the kids’ heads, but that’s the beauty: there are so MANY jokes that they’re still laughing the entire time.  And my daughter still talks about “the part where Fozzie sticks his head out of the screen” to look up at Statler and Waldorf.  And even the pre-show holds the kids’ attention – I mean – it’s The Muppet Show, basically.

This is actually the entrance a few days before it opened, in 2008, when I got to go on a soft open. YEAH you jealous.

This is actually the entrance a few days before it opened, in 2008, when I got to go on a soft open. YEAH you jealous.

#1: . Toy Story Midway Mania! At one point, I had this one as number 3 because the wait tends to be very long, and because there is a point in between the age my kids were when we were there, where it might – MIGHT – be frustrating to kids who have trouble aiming.  But you know what?  Oh well.  My daughter loved every minute and even though she wasn’t the best shot, she had a blast with just having Woody and Buzz there to cheer her on shooting at all the targets.  My son was too young to shoot any of the targets or even wear the 3D glasses, but he didn’t care.  He liked seeing the moving characters but his favourite part – and I still remember this with a big smile – was when the cars would whirl around from spot to spot.  Every time we’d move, he’d laugh and look around – I could tell he liked the wind rushing over his face and through his hair.  So even though he was too young to “get” this ride, I think it’s a good endorsement.  Works for me!  I love the queue, too.  We didn’t really get to see Mr. Potato Head because we had Fast Passes; it’s really almost worth the long wait just to see him.

Agree?  Think I’m crazy and completely missed the boat?  My comments section is waiting for YOU!

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2 thoughts on “Top 5: Attractions for Young Kids at Hollywood Studios

  1. Definitely agree w/ One Man’s Dream, Disney Junior, and Toy Story Midway Mania. My daughter loves Ariel,but is scared of Ursula..so that show didn’t do much for calming her fears w/ the GIANT Ursula. However, she did do the Jedi Training Academy and bravely fought Darth Vader. It really does boil down to every kid being different. If I could add something to your list, it would be the Animation Class. We all love doing that together and usually make a point to do it twice. Good list!

    • Yeah – the big Ursula can be scary, especially since don’t her eyes glow? Haha. My daughter grew up with me going on about how awesome Ursula is, so even though she disagrees (“Mommy, she’s the BAD GUY!”), she’s never been scared of her. Even twice as large as life. Maybe fighting Darth Vader is less scary because she gets to fight and win! I can’t blame her for that. 😀 And I almost put Animation Class on! We LOVED that and my daughter drew a great Jiminy Cricket!

      Thanks for your comment!

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