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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

 Welcome to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.  This theme park is dedicated to entertainment and offers guests behind the scene glimpses of Hollywood style action.  There are live shows, thrilling attraction, backstage tours, parades, and special events There are six themed areas and several streets and buildings much like a real motion picture studio. Opening  on May 1st, 1989 this was the third park built at Walt Disney World.  Let’s take a closer look at the  areas and attractions.

 

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Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard  with its art deco architecture serves as the parks main street.  You will find Guest Services to the right as you enter where you can rent strollers and lockers and serves as an information station. The street is lined with numerous shop on both sides and is designed to look like Hollywood during the 1920’s and 30’s.  Also along the way you will come to The Brown Derby restaurant fashioned after the classic Hollywood eatery.         The most noticeable structure located at the far end of the park is Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat (made famous from Disney’s classic movie Fantasia) which serves as the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Behind the hat you will find a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater complete with the sidewalk filled with footprints and handprints of movie stars. 

 

The Great Movie Ride 

  • The Great Movie Ride –  Housed inside Grauman’s Chinese Theater is the attraction The Great Movie Ride.  Inside the queue area of this attraction are costumes and movie props from old classic movies.  You then enter a longer queue area where a huge screen displays scenes from old classic movies.  You then enter the loading area where you are loaded into large trams that take you on a 19 minute ride thru some of the most exciting scenes of Hollywood movies.  Using audio-animatronics, special effects and old film footage you will be entertained from scenes from Casablanca, Singing in the Rain, Wizzard of Oz, Alien, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Mary Poppins to name a few. There are also a few surprises along the way.  This is a great attraction and really generates the magic of Hollywood.  It always puts a smile on my face.

Dining

The Brown Derby

The Brown Derby –The Hollywood Brown Derby brings back the Golden Age of Hollywood.   This is an authentic replica of the famous Brown Derby, a longstanding Hollywood landmark and hangout for Hollywood’s biggest and brightest personalities.  The upscale atmosphere  with its wood paneled walls and the caricatures of famous Hollywood faces keep the tradition of the original restaurant.  The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and serves contemporary American cuisine.  The menu specialties include seafood, steak and poultry selections. This is one of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World.  The food, the service and the atmosphere is worth the expensive price that goes with it. 

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

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Echo Lake – At the heart of the area is a clear lagoon adorned with palm trees and even has a dinosaur in the middle of it.  The areas surrounding Echo Lake is home to many popular attractions as well as some of the best restaurants. 

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

  • Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular –  This is a live show based on the popular Indiana Jones movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”  There are several live reenacted famous scenes where actors, stunt personnel and a few chosen members of the audience participate.  The music and the special effects are part of a great and exciting attraction.  This attraction is Not To Be Missed.

 

The American Idol Experience

  • The American Idol Experience – This one really surprised me.  I have always been a big American Idol fan but I just didn’t see this attractions appeal.  I could not have been more wrong.  You walk into the theater and the stage is amazing.  The sets, the lightning, and the music really put you in the mood.  The host comes out and introduces the judges and then you get a chance to hear 3 performers sing and you get to vote on your favorite.  The whole show from start to finish is a great experience.  It you are wanting to be a performer then you come by first thing and audition.  Good Luck!  Hope to see you on stage.

 

Sounds Dangerous

  • Sounds Dangerous – This attraction is open seasonally.  This is mostly due to its popularity or should I say lack there of.  It is ranked among the least favorite at Walt Disney World.  That being said I would try it if you have extra time to kill.  As you enter the theater you will be given a set of headphones to wear. This is a film starring Drew Carey as a blundering detective in a pilot television series called Undercover Live.  Carey’s character wears a hidden camera in his tie but it get’s damaged so most of the 12 minute film is in total darkness.  The action continues in the dark leaving only your hearing and imagination to continue solving the case.  It is a clever attraction and can be scary for some young children.

 

Star Tours

  • Star Tours – This updated version “Star Tours: The Adventure Continues” opened in May 2011.  This is a motion simulator ride now in amazing digital 3D.  The new film has C3PO as your pilot of your Starspeeder 1000.  You will now encounter new destinations, new characters and new journey through the Star Wars universe.   Join R2-D2, Yoda, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader on this amazing journey and remember “The Force Will Always be With You.”

 

 

Jedi Training Academy

  • Jedi Training Academy – This is a very popular show that takes place on a stage outside the Star Tours attraction.  This 30-minute session is held several times a day and is a training program for future Jedi Knights.  Jedi Masters will choose several young guests between the ages of 4 and 12 years old to participate in this program.  Those who successfully complete the training will be given the title of Padawans and wil receive a certificate. Dur to the popularity of the show those interested in being one of the young participants in the show have to go through the following  process:

Sign ups are at the Sounds Dangerous attraction early in the day where it’s first come, first served and when all the spots are full the list is closed for the day so go early to sign up.  Twelve participants between 4 and 12 years old are chosen for each session.

 Consult the daily Entertainment Times Guide for performance times.

Dining

50’s Prime Time Cafe

50’s Prime Time Cafe –  Mama is your host and you better behave or she will keep you in line.   Keep those elbows off the table! This is one of my favorite places to eat.  Open for Lunch and Dinner meals or served menu style.  You will be seated in a 50’s era kitchenette area.  The food is old-fashioned comfort food such as Meat Loaf,  Pot Roast ,Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Fried Chicken will all the trimmings! Don’t forget and ol’ fashioned Milkshake.  The food is great and the interaction with your server makes for a fun and exciting meal.

 Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine – Character Breakfast and Lunch. Join Little Einsteins June and Leo, Handy Manny, and Special Agent Oso for breakfast and lunch at Hollywood and Vine. Sing and dance along with your hosts, the Playhouse Pals, as they entertain you with interactive moments featuring everyone’s favorite Playhouse Disney songs. Meals are served buffet style with traditional breakfast foods served for breakfast and a good selection of carved meats, pastas, vegetables, sides, breads, and desserts for lunch  Dinner is also served buffet style but there are no characters for dinner.  Dinner consists of carved and grilled meats, fresh fish, salads, vegetable and pasta selections, fresh fruits, breads, and desserts.  This location participates in the Fantasmic! Dining Experience.

 

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

Backlot Express –  This is a counter service restaurant that serves Burgers, Hot Dogs, Deli Sandwiches, and Chicken Sandwiches.

 

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 The Streets of America

 The Streets of America is like visiting the streets of New York CIty and San Francisco.  The building and facades are very realistic and believable.  When the park first opened these streets were only accessible through the Backlot Tour.  It has since been opened up to walking traffic and is home the  Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights during the holiday season. This area is also a meet and greet area for characters as well.  Several attractions and restaurants are here as well. 

 

Lights, Motors, Action – Extreme Stunt Show

  • Lights, Motors, Action  – Extreme Stunt Show – This is a 33-minute stunt show inside a large 5000 seat stadium where you will experience car chases, hollywood stunts and large explosions.  Set in a Mediterranean village, a  movie spy thriller is filmed live with explosions, jumps, spins and death-defying stunts by a  cast of professional drivers, stunt managers,  and a production crew.  The director and assistant director will invite a select few audience members to participate in the fun. During the scene changes segments of this energetic show are taped and shown on oversized screens, showing how the different camera angles enhance the special effects. This is a fun and exciting show and is held several times a day. Check the daily Entertainment Times Guide for performance times.

Muppet Vision 3D

  • Muppet Vision 3D – This is one of my favorite 3D shows.  The show stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Gonzo, Sam Eagle, Scooter,  and many other well-known Muppet characters.  The queue area and the 12 minute pre-show area are full of great props.  There are several elevated TV screens inside the pre-show area that feature an entertaining show as well.  After the pre-show you will proceed into a 584 seat theater complete with a large screen and audio-animatronic characters.  The film itself is funny, entertaining and complete with all the old 3D effect gags.  Great for the entire family.  Not To Be Missed!

 

Studio Backlot Tour

  • Studio Backlot Tour – This is a 35-minute behind-the scenes guided walk and tram ride taking you on a backstage look at how movies are made.  You begin with a look at a special outdoor viewing area showing how the Pearl Harbor battle scenes are created using pyrotechnics and water cannons and water tanks.  As you exit the queue area leads you into a Prop building with hundreds of props used in past movies. You will then load onto 200 seat tram that will take you through production buildings, the wardrobe building with costumers at work and a scenery shop.  Along the way you will see topiary’s and vehicles used in past Disney movies.  You will then be driven out to Catastrophe Canyon for a special effects demonstration.  You will exit the tram into the American Film Institute Showcase that features themed exhibits relating to the special effects in movies and costumes and props relating to some of the famous movie villains. 

 

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground

  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground –  Imagine yourself the size of an ant crawling in someones backyard.  This is a fantastic play area for young kids and pre-schoolers.  Disney’s attention to detail here is amazing. Inside you’ll find sprinklers, ants, and huge blades of grass. There are many photo opportunities here and kids will have a great time playing in this area.

  Dining

Toy Story Pizza Planet –  Fashioned after the Pizza Planet from the Toy Story Movies. Individual pizzas, meatball subs, salads, cookies are on the menu. Arcade games are inside for the gamers of the family.

 Studios Catering Co. – Located just outside the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground this outdoor counter service restaurant serves deli sandwiches and wraps.  Great place to grab a bite while the kids are on the playground.

Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano – A full service restaurant serving traditional Italian dishes.  This location participates in the Fantasmic! Dining Experience.

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

Nearby on Commissary Lane:

Sci-Fi Drive-In – This is a full-service restaurant with one of the most creative themes.  It is themed after a drive-in theater.  You sit in 50’s era cars while watching old sci-fi film clips while you dine.  The menu consist of deli sandwiches, burgers, ribs and shrimp pasta to name a few.  They are best known for their wonderful milkshakes.  Great experience for the entire family.

ABC Commissary –  This indoor counter service restaurant serves a variety of items such as burgers, salads, fish-n-chips, and chicken curry to name a few.

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Animation Courtyard

 Through the Disney Hollywood Studio Gates you will find the Animation Courtyard.  The centerpiece of this area is the Magic of Animation building where you will find shops of Disney art and several attractions as well as a couple of meet and greet areas for characters.

 

The Magic Of Disney Animation

The Magic Of Disney AnimationThe Magic of Disney Animation in Disney’s Hollywood Studios Theme Park is an interactive, 20-minute show where Guests of all ages discover the art of how Disney characters are created, hosted by a Disney animator and s Mushu from the Disney movie Mulan. After the show guest are able to view the area where the Animators worked while working on films such as The Lion King.  You can then take some time to join in a number of different workstations that bring the magic of Disney animation to life.  There is also a couple of Meet and Greet areas inside with some of your favorite characters.

 

Animation Academy – This is one of those well-kept secrets in Walt Disney World.  This attraction is not publicized that well, and if you don’t just happen to come across it you may not even know it is there.  Here is your chance to learn to draw different Disney characters.  This class is offered every 30 minutes and is a 20 minute class for guest of all ages.  You are seated at large tables with a piece of paper and a pencil.  The instructor then takes you step by step showing you how to make the simple shapes into a character.  I was amazed how simple the process is when you are shown step by step. You do not know ahead of time which character you will be drawing and it can change from class to class. So next time you are in the animation courtyard stop by for a little training at the Animation Academy.  You may go home with a work of art!

 

 

Walt Disney:One Man’s Dream

  • Walt Disney:One Man’s Dream – This wonderful exhibit was created  in 2001 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth.  It is a self guided tour through the life of Walt Disney using photographs, audio interviews, and memorabilia that show his life accomplishments.  There are over 400 artifacts on display. At the end of the exhibit guest are invited into a theater every 15 minutes to enjoy a film celebration the accomplishments of Walt Disney.  It is a well made retelling of the  fascinating life of the man and the magic of Walt Disney
 

 
 

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid – This is one of the cutest and clever stage shows at Walt Disney World.  Using live actors, puppetry, and special effects along with movie clips and music the story of the Little Mermaid comes alive on stage.  Very well done and extremely popular so get there early and get a FastPass.  This one is great for all ages.

 

 Disney Jr.  – Live on Stage 

  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage – If you have pre-schoolers you will not want to miss this show.  Join the gang from The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, The Little Einsteins, and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.  The show is gives the kids a chance to sing and dance and play around and have fun.  Characters come to life with enchanting puppets, bright visuals, whimsical scenery and catchy songs.    There is no seating in the theater so be prepared to sit on the floor with your kids.  Hint:  Do not sit too close to the stage or you will not be able to see everything on stage.

 

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Pixar Place

 

 Just down from Walt Disney – One Mans Dream you will pass through the gate into Pixar Place.  The Pixar Studios sign above is a replica of the original Pixar Studio sign in Emeryville, California.  Toy Story Midway Mania is the only attraction on this street but be sure to take in all the toys in the area.  There is also a meet and greet area here for the Toy Story characters.

 

Toy Story Mania

  • Toy Story Mania – This is one of the most popular attractions at Walt Disney World and with good reason.  When you enter into the queue area you are immersed into the world of Toy Story.  The area is decorated with supersized board games and playthings such as Crayola crayons, Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Tinkertoys, Viewmaster, and a Barrel Full of Monkeys.  At the back sits a huge audio-animatronic Mr Potato Head.  He comes to life singing, telling corny jokes, and is able to interact with the guests and he can even remove ne of his ears.  Standing in this queue area is indeed entertaining in itself.  Once you leave the main queue area you will stop and pick up your 3D glasses and ten you will be loaded into the ride vehicles.  This is a 3D interactive attraction inspired by classic carnival games. The vehicles will spin around and move from game to game where you will throw pies, darts, rings, balls and even eggs at different targets.  You will find yourself trying harder and harder at each game trying to increase your score.  This is a fun and exciting attraction with great technology and fun for all ages.  This is definitely a Do Not Miss Attraction.  You will be ready to go back again and again.  This attraction is very, very popular and I suggest you get there early and get a FastPass because the lines get long and the FastPasses will usually run out after a couple of hours.

 

 

Luxo Jr.

  • Luxo Jr. – Just outside of Toy Story Mania is Luxo Jr. He is a six-foot tall version of Pixar’s desk lamp mascot.  This is an audio-animatronic version that performs periodic shows throughout the day.  It is a cute little show and one you will want to stop and watch.

 

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Sunset Boulevard

 As you make your way down Hollywood Boulevard from the park entrance you will come to Sunset Boulevard on your right.  This was the first park expansion area
that opened in 1994.  At the end of the street looms the Hollywood Tower Hotel which is home to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  Also near by is the acclaimed Rockin’ Rollercoaster.  There are several specialized shops along the way filled with themed gifts from classic films and Disney characters.  There are two outdoor amphitheaters off Sunset Boulevard.  Theater of the stars host Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, and the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the home of the nighttime show Fantasmic. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Beauty and the Beast  – Live on Stage

  • Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage –  This is a wonderful musical stage show based on the hit Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.  It is performed several times a day in the covered Theater of the Stars.  This is a Broadway style show that features musical numbers and scenes from the hit movie.  The show runs 25 minutes hitting upon the highlights and important scenes and songs.  The show is well performed with excellent choreography, sets, costumes and dancing, and acting.  Great for the whole family and a show I think is Not To Be Missed.  Be sure the check the daily times guide for performance times.

 

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster 

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith  – This is one of best and exhilarating rides in Walt Disney World.  The pre-show is set inside a recording studio and it makes it seem as though Aerosmith is in the room with you. You are late for the concert and the band has seen to it that you will be traveling by limos.  As you enter the loading area you are loaded into long stretch limo cars.  This is when the real fun begins.  This indoor roller coaster features a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, three inversions, rock-concert lighting and a specially created Aerosmith soundtrack blasting from 120 onboard speakers in each coaster limo. Wow!  This is a very popular ride and I would suggest getting there early or getting a FastPass early.  Sometimes they are out of FastPasses after a couple of hours in the morning.  There is a 48″ height requirement for this attraction.  This attraction is Not To Be Missed!

 

Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror

  • Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror – At 199 feet this is the tallest attraction at Disney World.  It is also on of the most popular attractions as well.  The theming of this attraction is among the best anywhere.  Set in the Hollywood Terror Hotel let’s just say things have not been well taken care of since lightning struck the building decades ago.  The exterior queue winds meticulously un-maintained gardens and as you enter the lobby you can tell things have not been well maintained.  As you leave the  lobby of the hotel you are directed to the library for the pre-show movie. From there you move into the bowels of the hotel where the boilers and maintenance elevators are to await your trip into the Twilight Zone.  This is a clever ride using ride cars that move from room to room as you experience the sights, sounds and gags of the Twilight Zone.  You finally come to rest inside the elevator shaft where you are launched skyward unexpectedly  then, just as suddenly, the cables ‘snap’ and electrical sparks shower. The vehicle then plunges 13 stories. The elevator abruptly rises once more, with an unpredictable series of shorter drops and climbs. At one point, the doors of your elevator open to reveal the Disney’s Hollywood Studios 13 stories below you! You are eventually returned to a dimly lit rear hallway of the Hotel, where you exit the elevator. With the use of random drop sequences you never know what to expect as every ride is different from the last.  This is a fascinating and exciting ride filled with state of the art special effects.  This is a Not To Be Missed attractionThere is a 40″ height requirement for this ride.
     

Fantasmic

Fantasmic – Fantasmic is a spectacular 25 minute live action,laser, fireworks, animation, fire, and music performance shown 2 to 3 nights a week in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater. Access to the theater is at the end of Sunset Boulevard just before you reach the Tower of Terror.  This is an incredible show with a lot of special effects.  It is also very popular and can get very crowded.  The theater can seat 6900 guest and an additional 3000 guest are brought in for standing room only.  For the best seats your should arrive at least an hour and a half  prior to showtime.  If there are two shows available for that day the second show is usually less crowded.  You can also opt for the Fantasmic Dining Experience.

Fantasmic! Dining Experience – As of June 2010, Fantasmic! Dining Packages are now available during lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby and Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Lunch packages can be booked on all dates Fantasmic! is scheduled. When there are two performances of Fantasmic! on the same night, the package is valid for the first performance only. Make reservations by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 up to 180 days in advance. Pick up your VIP voucher for Fantasmic! at the end of your meal. There is no additional charge for the package itself. However, the package, which includes the Fantasmic! seating pass, MUST be guaranteed at the time of booking with a credit card, and a $10 cancellation fee applies if not cancelled at least 48 hours beforehand.

 

 Dining

Starring Rolls Cafe –  Located at the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard this is a great place to stop in and have a quick breakfast or lunch.  There is a good selection of assorted bakery goods here and some great deli sandwiches. 

 

Rosie’s All American Cafe – This is a burger stand with outdoor seating.  Due to its location it can get very crowded.  Cheeseburgers and Chicken Nuggets are on the menu.

 

Catalina Eddies – This is another walk up food stand that serves pizza, salads and deli sandwiches.  Outdoor seating available.

 

 

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