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Is it Scary? Analyzing Attractions at Hollywood Studios

Is it Scary? Analyzing Attractions at Hollywood Studios

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Are you wondering whether a Hollywood Studios attraction is too scary, thrilling, or intense? If so, you have come to the right place!

Is it Scary? Hollywood Studios

If you are anything like me, at least one member of your Disney travel party probably has fears, anxieties, or discomfort associated with certain types of attractions. You need to know one thing: Is it scary? Here, I will go into the details of all the rides at Hollywood Studios.

Hopefully it will assist you and your friends, family, and travel buddies in making informed choices as you prepare for your upcoming trips to Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World! You can plan what your must dos and your must skips.

If there is anything I have learned about traveling to Disney with multiple groups of people, it’s that nearly every attraction has something that is a potential trigger for fear or discomfort for someone out there. What doesn’t bother some may be a deal breaker for others.

I have done my best to think of everything. However, if I missed something that you think may help a fellow World traveler, please let us know in the comments!

By the way, this is my final post in the “Is it Scary Disney Parks Series!” If you missed the others, be sure to check out all the links at the end of this post!


I have to caution you that this post contains SPOILERS. If there is an attraction you have not experienced, and you want to be surprised, you should not read any further.

All of the attractions are split up by headings, and I am saving the newer ones like Rise of the Resistance for last, so if you want to read about some and skip others, you can scroll on through with ease.


Alien Swirling Saucers

Alien Swirling Saucers is not particularly scary by design. It is themed around the lovable Toy Story aliens in the claw machine.

It does have a height requirement of 32′‘, so you cannot take a baby or a small toddler along with you. Those traveling with tiny tots will have to arrange a rider swap.

I think this ride is cute, and my kids have enjoyed it since they were very small. However, it does have a few elements that may make riding uncomfortable.

  • Loud volume-while this is not the worst ride in terms of volume, sometimes the music can be cranked up quite high. You might consider sound protection for guests who are sensitive to sound.
  • Jerky motions-this ride swirls and makes sharp turns and sudden movements. It will not be fun for riders who do not enjoy being whipped around quickly.

Toy Story Mania!

Toy Story Mania! is something my whole family loves. It is a fun 4D shooting game where riders try to hit targets with virtual pies, darts, balls, or other carnival style ammunition.

This ride has no height limit. However, it does require the use of 3D glasses, so if you feel your little one is too young for 3D experiences, you may want to avoid this one.

This ride is relatively tame, and is intended to be fun and not particularly thrilling. However, it might present a problem for some riders.

  • Sudden Loud Sounds: The ride occasionally has a loud air compressor sound. It might startle some riders, and you may want to consider sound protection for those with sensitivities.
  • 3D Effects: Occasionally, it seems like something is flying back at you. This may frighten some riders. It scared my little one when she was two, but she loved the Toy Story theme so much that she happily rode it again.
  • Motion: While the ride is still for long periods of time, it can also move quickly, and it whips riders around turns. Both of my little ones think those parts are fun.

Slink Dog Dash

Slinky Dog Dash is a family friendly roller coaster. It has a height requirement of 38″, and it is strictly enforced.

This coaster is a lot tamer than other thrill rides like Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. However, it has the potential to feel scary, especially for anyone who is not really a coaster person.

That being said, I am not really a coaster person myself. I will ride them, but they scare me! Even so, I love Slinky Dog Dash and think it is lots of fun. My little boy does, too.

However, some kids and adults might find it terrifying. My little girl really wanted to ride when she hit the height limit. She proudly stepped on, delighted by the ride vehicle, and then she did not like it one bit and begged to get off about 20 seconds in.

That said, she told me just the other day that she wants to give it another try now that she is a little bit older. Maybe she will love it the next time!

Here are some things that might make Slinky Dog Dash feel like it is scary:

March Hours Extended at Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • High Speeds and Acceleration: the ride moves quickly. It has a part where it comes to a stop, moves backwards and shoots off at high speed.
  • Drops: the ride has several drops. Sometimes the drops curve into a sideways turn.
  • Heights: While it is not the highest coaster in the park by any means, those who are afraid of heights will probably feel uneasy.
  • Motion: While this is a smooth ride as far as coasters go, it turns and dips quickly. The ride does move backwards briefly.
  • Sounds: There are some unusual electronic sounds now and then. You might consider sound protection for those in your party who are sensitive.

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

Star Tours is a 3D flight simulator that splices together a variety of scenes from the films to create a riveting adventure through hyperspace. It has many potential scene combinations from various films in the franchise. As a result, it can feel different each time you ride it.

Guests must be 40” to ride this one. It is also 3D, so make sure everyone in your party is comfortable with 3D glasses before you hop aboard.

I personally love Star Tours and will do it any time. BUT it can make me feel a little disoriented after too many times on repeat.

Star Tours - The Adventures Continue Adds New Destination!
  • Motion: Motion is the hardest thing about this ride for many people. While it is a simulator, it can be jerky as it lifts, turns, and dips, and the simulated movements can be disorienting for some guests.
  • Villains: This ride has the potential to have villains stop by. For example, Darth Vader captures the ship in one version.
  • Predatory Creatures: Some versions of the ride include alien animals that chase, attempt to destroy, and even swallow the ship. This might frighten some riders.
  • Battle Scenes: Certain variations of the ride might include spacecraft that pursue and fire at your ship.
  • Crash landings: The ship might just crash land.
  • Near Misses: Some of the 3D effects make it seem as if meteors or rocks are plummeting at you

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one of Disney’s most intense coasters. It is a true thrill ride that takes guest on a super-stretch limo ride through Hollywood with the musical styling of Aerosmith blasting the whole way.

It has a 48” height requirement. Families with smaller guests will need to utilize rider swap.

It is an indoor coaster, and it is mostly dark. I love this coaster, mostly because it doesn’t start off with a giant lift, which is my least favorite part of most coasters.

Disney Shares Science Behind Rock 'n' Rollercoaster and A Build Your Own Coaster Project

So what’s so intense about it?

  • Inversions: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has two rollover loops and a corkscrew. If you are afraid of going upside down, you will want to avoid this one.
  • Launch: This ride starts off with a launch instead of a lift. It shoots riders off from 0 to 57 MPH in 2.8 seconds. It’s quite a rush.
  • Drops: There are some drops on this ride.
  • Speed: The ride moves at a relatively high speed and creates a lot of forces that pushes you back into your seat.
  • Jostling: the ride recommends that you keep your head back to minimize discomfort.
  • Heights: Even though you can’t really tell how high up you are, the idea is still there, so those with a strong fear of heights may want to avoid it.
  • Darkness: This ride is pretty dark. Those with a fear of the dark will want to avoid it.
  • Loud Sounds: This ride is pretty loud. If you or anyone in your party feels sensitive to sound, consider hearing protection.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror is an elevator ride that ends with a free-fall drop. To me, it is simultaneously one of the most well done, yet intimidating attractions in the park.

The ride has a 40” height requirement. It offers rider swap as a result.

Is it scary? This ride has the potential to live up to its name and to be absolutely terrifying for guests who do not relish thrill rides. I personally love it, but I surely do have to psych myself up to get on it. And, sometimes I pass it up altogether.

Tower of Terror Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World (25)

Here are some things to be aware of before you ride or convince someone else in your travel party to ride:

  • Free-Fall Drops: As I mentioned, this is a free-fall drop ride. It drops 13 stories. It also has other randomized drops. The elevator goes up and down, and there is no telling how far it will fall. If you do not like the sensation of drops, this one is not for you.
  • Darkness: This ride is pretty dark for the most part.
  • Heights: Guests cannot tell how high up they are until the elevator doors open, revealing a view of the park. It is more of a look over the park, and you cannot really look straight down.
  • Pre-show: The preshow takes place in a small library with an old television. It depicts a Twilight Zone-esque introduction to the ride. Guests watch a family climb aboard an elevator. Lightening strikes the hotel, causing the family to vanish.
  • Storms and Lightning: There is simulated lightning during the pre-show. A storm is also part of the pre-show.
  • Elevators: The ride takes place on a service elevator. If you find elevators terrifying, this probably is not the ride for you.
  • Anticipation: To me the scariest part of the ride is anticipating the drop. As I mentioned, it makes me anxious enough that sometimes I cannot even bring myself to get on the ride.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is one of Hollywood Studios’s newest attractions. As I mentioned, there are spoilers here!

The ride starts off as a train ride with Goofy. When your train car becomes separated from its engine, Mickey and Minnie spring to the rescue to chase you down.

There is no height restriction for this ride. Guests of all ages can enjoy it.

Photo credit: Disney (Kent Phillips, photographer)

Is it scary? It is meant to be a family friendly ride. Even so, here are a few things to consider before you or the members of your travel party ride.

  • Explosions: The pre-show has an animated explosion.
  • Darkness: The ride is not pitch black, but it is a dark ride.
  • Tornadoes: The ride has 2 tornadoes. The first is a large scale animated tornado that sucks up Mickey and Minnie. The second is a huge animatronic tornado. Guests who find tornadoes terrifying may not enjoy this experience.
  • Lightning: The tornado scene also has animated lightning bolts
  • Waterfall: There is a simulated drop down a waterfall.
  • Loud Noises and Volume: There are some instances of loud noise. For example, in one scene Pete uses a jack-hammer. As is the case with so many other attractions, guests with sensitivities might prefer to have hearing protection.
  • Fireworks: There are some animated fireworks towards the end.

Millennium Falcon Smuggler’s Run

Smuggler’s run is an interactive simulator ride where guests must pilot the Millennium Falcon in order to complete a mission for Hondo Ohnaka.

Guests are split into teams of a maximum of 6 people. If your party is larger than 6, know that you will be split up.

Each rider is assigned a role. You will be either a pilot, a gunner, or an engineer.

Guests must be a minimum of 38′ tall to ride this ride. But even if guests are tall enough to ride, they may meet some frustration with being unable to reach all the buttons, so keep that in mind if you think this might cause upset for the younger members of your party.

Pirate Tip: If you have a smaller member of your travel party as a gunner, put it in automatic mode. That way he/she only has to push one button to fire.

Here are a few things to consider before you ride:

  • Motion: The ride is a simulator, but it can be bumpy and jerky at times.
  • Small Spaces: The ride vehicle is a relatively small, enclosed space. I am somewhat claustrophobic. Mission Space is hard for me, but I felt fine on Smuggler’s Run. That said, you know the needs of your travel party best, and it may be something to consider.
  • The Game: The video game element of Smuggler’s Run is a challenge. This can be frustrating or overwhelming for some guests and fun for others. Also, the pilot has the most control over the game, so this can frustrate some guests if they happen to be in another role. Some guests who serve as pilot may even worry that other guests will become angry with them if they do not perform well.
  • Explosions and weapons firing: This whole ride is about firing weapons. Your ship will take fire, and simulated explosions are possible.
  • Crash landings: You will probably crash land the ship.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Rise of the Resistance is a hot attraction right now. It is an immersive experience that puts guests right in the middle of the Star Wars action.

The ride has multiple stages, including a pre-show, a ride aboard a simulated transporter, and a walk through that occur prior to the main part of the ride. The rest takes place in a ride vehicle with a trackless system.

The attraction has a 40” height requirement. It offers rider swap for parties that need it.

Before you attempt to ride, you should be familiar with the Boarding Group system. Guests must secure a boarding group time in order to enter the ride queue.

Acquiring a boarding group might be the scariest, most intense part of the ride, and it can end in disappointment. To read all you need to know about boarding groups click here.

The ride itself can be a bit intense, but exhilarating. It is extremely well done.

Here are some things to know about before you and your party ride:

  • Noise: There is some loud, sudden noise now and then. Guests with sensitivities may want sound protection.
  • Battle: Your simulated vehicle will take fire during a battle scene that ends with a tractor beam pulling you into an enemy ship.
  • Villains: You will encounter lots of Storm Troopers. You will also encounter animatronic Kylo Ren multiple times as he pursues you. He can be intimidating. His light saber will infiltrate your vehicle.
  • Cast Member Interactions: The cast members have roles in the attraction, and they will likely interact with you. This may cause some guests some level of anxiety.
  • Huge Machines: You will encounter large ATAT Walkers.
  • Explosion: You will encounter a fiery explosion
  • Weapons: You will encounter firing weapons. You will see evidence of damage form the weapons.
  • Motion: The ride vehicles twist and turn throughout the ride.
  • Drop: You will experience a small free-fall style drop. It is much smaller than the one on Tower of Terror.

Final Thoughts On Hollywood Studios

Overall, Hollywood Studios is the park with the highest proportion of thrill rides. It also has the smallest number of rides with no height requirements, totaling at only two.

Is it scary? Hollywood Studios provides lots of reasons to say, “probably.”

Even so, my little one who does not enjoy thrills always manages to have fun when we go. She only enjoys a few of the rides, but she loves seeing the characters and the theeming. The snacks are plentiful, and she can always grab a nap in the stroller.

Further Reading

Best Walt Disney World Attractions when you Need a Break

If you want to read about the thrill levels in the other parks, check out my other “Is it Scary” posts by clicking the links below:

What is your favorite Hollywood Studios Attraction? Are there any that are too intense for you? Is it Scary? Let us know your thoughts on  Kenny the Pirate’s Facebook Page, or join our crew and continue the discussion!

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Friday 28th of August 2020

Thanks for the information. Now I know which rides I want to skip!


Friday 28th of August 2020

You are welcome!

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