The Worst-Rated Disney Theme Park Might Surprise You

According to Yelp reviews, the world's least favorite Disney theme park is Hollywood Studios in Florida. This might be surprising to some avid theme park goers, given how much Disney World invested in Hollywood Studios just before the pandemic. In mid-2018 and mid-2019, it added two new areas, Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which both hold popular rides that regularly draw long lines. However, the demand for rides and the relatively compact, crowded nature of the park may be part of the problem, leaving some travelers vocally dissatisfied with their vacation experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

In December 2023, The Daily Mirror analyzed average Yelp scores from 1 to 5 to determine which of Disney's 12 parks worldwide had the lowest rating. The only park not included in the analysis was Shanghai Disneyland since the Yelp app isn't supported there yet. Most Disney parks scored 4.0 or better, but three of the most-visited parks fell slightly below that number: the Magic Kingdom (3.9), the original Disneyland in California (3.8), and Disney's Hollywood Studios (3.7).

For comparison, several other well-known Florida theme parks rate even lower, with Universal Studios Florida, SeaWorld Orlando, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay scoring 3.5, 3.4, and 3.4, respectively. This seems to indicate that, in the eyes of Yelp users, at least, even the worst-rated Disney park is still better than some other theme parks. If you're planning a trip to Disney World, however, you may want to temper your expectations for Hollywood Studios.

Why Hollywood Studios may rate so low

A common complaint of Disney's Hollywood Studios, even among regular visitors who like the park, is that it has a few great rides but doesn't always deliver the smoothest overall experience for guests. If you look at the numbers on Disney's own website, Hollywood Studios currently has a grand total of five self-classified "thrill rides." One of those, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, is closed for refurbishment as of this writing. That leaves The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land, and two rides in Galaxy's Edge — Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.

Hollywood Studios does have a few other, less intense rides, such as Star Tours, Toy Story Mania, Alien Swirling Saucers, and Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway. However, stage shows, live entertainment, and character experiences make up the majority of its 37 attractions. What this means is that when one or more rides at Hollywood Studios breaks down, it can have a domino effect, redirecting the crowd flow, making the lines for other rides longer, and disrupting people's itinerary for the day.

More than one negative Yelp review of Hollywood Studios expresses disappointment with being unable to board a specific ride or having to endure an interminable wait. Theoretically, this is why Disney offers the Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane services, but you have to pay extra for those, and they aren't necessarily foolproof or worth it for the money.

Gripes with cost and access

You can read our full guide to Genie+ and our guide to Lightning Lane to understand those services better, but the gist of it is that they allow you to make ride reservations for a surcharge. What's tricky is that Individual Lightning Lane access for the highly coveted Rise of Resistance tends to sell out first thing in the morning. This is where guests of Disney World's official, on-site hotels have an advantage since they can get a 30-minute head start on rides with Early Theme Park Entry. For budget travelers and those with big families who can't afford such added costs, it could be dispiriting to see other people go ahead of you when you're already in the middle of what feels like an overpriced Disney vacation.

Other reviews complain about everything from the food quality to the atmosphere of screaming kids at Hollywood Studios. If it's been a while since you last visited or it's your first time, you may want to mentally prepare yourself for something to go wrong and disrupt your best-laid travel plans. In a perfect Disney World, just buying a Hollywood Studios ticket would be enough to guarantee access to any ride, but unfortunately, technical malfunctions do occur, and the park is a money-making operation that rewards guests who spend more. At worst, lowering your expectations might mean you'll be pleasantly surprised should Hollywood Studios turn out to be a better experience than Yelp makes it out to be.