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Sep 02

Disney Traveling Around the “World” – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Part 3 – Echo Lake

 

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Welcome Back “World” travelers! I hope you had a chance to experience The Great Movie Ride and do a little shopping on our last journey. Today we’ll explore the Echo Lake area of the Disney Studios.

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Echo Lake is the park’s small oval-shaped lagoon. It’s surrounded by numerous attractions and services with some of the structures designed to mimic the “California Crazy” form of architecture from Hollywood’s Golden Age. There are several attractions and dining services available in this area that we need to discover.

Attractions

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Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – This is a live show based on the popular and successful Indiana Jones film franchise, that includes various stunts and live reenacted scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark. The show is executive produced by George Lucas and directed by Jerry Rees, with stunt coordination by Glenn Randall. As part of the show, select audience members 18 and older are invited to participate as extras in certain scenes. The show has been performed since 1989 and is still packing the stadium daily.

American Idol Experience –  Inspired by the popular television series American Idol, the attraction invites park guests to audition in front of live audiences who will vote for their favorite singers. The attraction emulates the actual process of becoming a star on the show. Potential contestants perform first in front of a Disney cast member, and then if they pass, sing in front of an audience of more than 1,000 in the theatre. Those chosen by the audience in the daily shows will then perform again at the end of the day for a final performance that will decide a winner from the judges and the audience. The daily winner will be involved in an actual Idol audition by way of a dream ticket that will allow them to bypass the first round at a regional audition, and possibly get a chance to perform in front of the show’s judges. My family and I found this to be a really fun experience, being in the audience and being able to cast a vote for the best singer. Every show that I’ve seen has produced some really good talent. It truly is the American Idol Experience!

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Star Tours – The Adventure Continues – Based on the Star Wars movie series, this simulator ride is modeled after those used for training pilots and astronauts. Star Tours completed its first major overhaul in 2011. The new version has lots of dips, turns, twists, and climbs as your vehicle goes through an intergalactic mission. The new ride film is projected in high-definition 3-D and has more than 50 combinations of opening and ending scenes. This means that you could ride Star Tours all day without seeing the same combination of film segments twice. Great improvement over the original ride.

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Jedi Training Academy – The Jedi Training Academy is a 30-minute session that takes place near Star Tours in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Jedi Master and his assistants work with participants in a light saber training exercise — robes and plastic light sabers are provided. Those who complete the training are proclaimed to be Padawans, and receive a certificate.

Sign-ups take place at the ABC Sound Studio (former home of Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey). Children ages 4-12 can participate and there are approximately 15 children per show. Participants are required to meet 30 minutes prior to their show time at the ABC Sound Studio. Ten minutes prior to the show they are walked down to the stage. This is fun for both the participants and the audience.

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Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame – This plaza honors TV legends who’ve been inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Founded in 1946, the Hall of Fame recognizes the outstanding and enduring contributions to the television medium. Over the years, the organization has fostered creative leadership and rewarded excellence in programming though its world-famous Emmy® Award.

TV legends currently on view include:

  • Lucille Ball
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Bob Newhart
  • Dick Clark
  • Bill Cosby
  • Andy Griffith
  • Walt Disney

Open all day, this delightful exhibition is easy to navigate and offers a relaxing retreat for fans of both classic and contemporary television. Be sure to stop by and have some photos taken with your favorite legend.

 

Dining

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50’s Prime Time Café – Here customers are transported back to the 1950′s, thanks to Disney’s attention to detail in the decor and costuming. The 50′s Prime Time Cafe is a throwback to households of the 50′s and television shows that were popular during that decade. Prime Time Cafe is furnished with replicas of everything from the 50′s. The restaurant has a kitchen look to it, with the idea behind your experience that you are in “mom’s kitchen” and she is making your favorite childhood meals.

The food at 50′s Prime Time is very good, and among the best choices for a sit down meal in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The pot roast, fried chicken, and meat loaf have become guest  favorites. The 50′s Prime Time Cafe has become more and more popular over the years and advanced dining reservations are recommended. Overall, 50′s Prime Time Cafe is a good value that features good food with fun entertainment and its decor, entertainment, and comfort foods combine to make 50′s Prime Time Cafe a solid choice for eating at Hollywood Studios.

For more information about the 50’s Prime Time Café Click Here!!!

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Hollywood & Vine – Join pals from JoJo’s Circus and Disney’s Little Einsteins for Character Dining at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant as they host two fun-filled, musical meals!

Breakfast Buffet: Start your day with song. Sing along with your hosts to familiar Playhouse Disney tunes. Featured on the breakfast buffet are favorites like Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles, frittatas and fresh fruit.

Lunch Buffet: The Playhouse Disney pals continue the festivities at lunch with more singing, dancing and playing. Across the lunch buffet, find kid- and adult-friendly entrees, such as baked chicken and assorted deli selections.

Characters who appear at both breakfast and lunch:

  • JoJo
  • Goliath
  • June
  • Leo

Dinner Buffet: There are no characters during the dinner buffet. Buffet includes salads, peel and eat shrimp, BBQ pork loin, pastas, salmon, chicken, and assorted fresh vegetables.

 

BacklotExpress

Backlot Express -This is one of the better counter service values that can be found at the Studios. Designed to look like a movie-studio prop shop, the portions are large and prices moderate. Its value has been among the best at the Studios in terms of what your money gets you and the food is top-notch, large portion sizes, with ample seating both indoors and outdoors. It also sports a wide selection of foods that can appease the healthy eaters in the crowd along with those who enjoy a nice burger. The Backlot Express offers a great place to anyone who likes burgers. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating, Backlot Express is a great place for lunch, even if it is somewhat hidden. The burger and veggie sandwich are among the favorite options on the menu. Salads, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are also on the menu.  Backlot Express offers guests a good alternative to the full service restaurants.

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Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner – This counter service restaurant has a small menu that includes a chicken Caesar sandwich, a hot dog on a pretzel roll and an Italian sausage hoagie. Soft drinks and beer are also served. I love its location!

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Tune in Lounge – The Tune In Lounge is the closest thing to a real bar that you’ll find at Hollywood Studios. Prices here for drinks are, much like everywhere in Walt Disney World, very expensive. You can either drink at the bar or take drinks with you (there are also some nice chairs under umbrella tables on the shore of Echo Lake directly across from the bar).

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Peevy’s Polar Pipeline – This small drink counter is great for those hot afternoons when you just want to sit down and enjoy a cold beverage. Peevy’s Polar Pipeline is located to the left of Min & Bills, on the shore of Echo Lake. The frozen sodas are good and refreshing.

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Oasis Canteen – Another small counter service spot, the specialties here include freshly made funnel cakes (sugar, strawberry topping, and soft-serve ice cream optional) as well as soft-serve ice cream in a waffle cone, and coke or root beer floats.

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The Echo Lake area is a great place to hang out and relax with a snack or a drink. While the rest of the areas are busy and bustling, there is a sense of calm that exist around the lake. Please take time to discover all the areas, or as the gnome says, “go and smell the roses”

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Next time we will head over to the Streets of America and see what’s waiting for us around the corner. Hope to see you then!

 

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