Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World in Orlando is a 135-acre theme park spotlighting entertainment. It draws inspiration from the Hollywood Heydays from the 1930s and 1940s, which can be seen with the art deco design and modern architecture throughout the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park. Behind the scenes Hollywood-style action are presented through live shows, exciting attractions, backstage tours and special events that showcase the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The parks iconic symbol is the giant Sorcerer Mickey’s Hat, a stylized version of the magical hat from Fantasia.
The park consists of six themed areas but it is not nearly as defined as other Walt Disney World parks. It is designed to resemble a real life motion picture studio, so it’s mass of streets and buildings blend together to create replication of a large, bustling movie set.
Hollywood Boulevard: This area serves as the park’s main entrance and blends reality and fantasy to create an old-time atmosphere complete with art deco architecture and modern design. Hollywood Boulevard is Disney’s Hollywood Studios version of the Magic Kingdom’s Mainstreet U.S.A. and it features yesteryear establishments like the Hollywood Brown derby and a replica of Mann’s Chinese Theater, where one of the park’s signature attractions is located – The Great Movie Ride. This slow-moving tram ride pays homage to some of the most memorable moments ever captured on the silver screen, including Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz and Raiders of the Lost Ark. High School Musical 3: Senior Year – Right Here! Right Now! is performed in the Hollywood Boulevard area, right outside the Sorcerer’s Hat, and is appropriate for those of all ages.
Echo Lake: Echo Lake is the park’s small oval-shaped lagoon and is surrounded by numerous attractions and some of the best eateries in the park. The design of this area takes a cue from the “California Crazy” form of architecture from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Two of the main restaurants here are Hollywood & Vine, home to buffet-style character breakfasts and lunches featuring Disney Playhouse characters as well as non-character dinners, and ‘50s Prime Time Café, a retro diner showcasing popular television shows from the ‘50s, meals just like mom used to make like meat loaf and fried chicken, plus the waiters treat you like family down to telling you to finish your vegetables and minding your manners. At Echo Lake visitors will also find the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, a live show reenacting various scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark as well as showcasing death-defying movie stunts. Star Tours is a motion simulator Star Wars based attraction that takes visitors on a journey to the Moon of Endor, where they encounter a Star Destroyer & Death Star. The Drew Carey special effects show Sounds Dangerous is also at Echo Lake, as is The Star Wars: Jedi Training Academy, a 30-minute live stage show and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza.
Streets of America: This area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios combines features from cities like New York & San Francisco. It is home to the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at vehicle action sequences including motorcycles and jet skis. The Studio Backlot Tour is also located here and is a 35-minute, behind-the-scenes guided walk and tram ride showcasing the art of special effects in movies. The American Film Institute Showcase features a rotating exhibit of movie props and memorabilia and kids will want to spend some time at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, Muppet Vision 3D and Al’s Toy Barn, home to characters from Toy Story. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant, where servers bring food to vintage ’50s “convertible” tables as you watch ’50s and ’60s sci-fi and monster flicks on the big screen, is the place to eat at Streets of America.
Animation Courtyard: Animation Courtyard is home to a number of attractions based on beloved Disney characters of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Mickey Avenue is a sub-section of Animation Courtyard and is home to Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, a walk-through exhibit spotlighting the life and legacy of Walt Disney. Journey into Narnia, a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s Chronicles of Narnia, is also located on Mickey Avenue. The Magic of Disney Animation is an attraction that examines the creation of animated characters and includes interactive exhibits and meet and greet areas for Disney characters. Two live shows are presented here – Playhouse Disney Live on Stage & Voyage of the Little Mermaid.
Pixar Place: This is a themed area opened to introduce Disney Hollywood Studios newest attraction – Toy Story Mania!, an interactive 3D attraction inspired by classic carnival midway games and featuring the popular characters from Disney Pixar Toy Story Films.
Sunset Boulevard: This area of Disney Hollywood Studios is home to the some of the parks biggest thrill rides. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, located at the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel, is a based on the popular television series and thrills guests with its unexpected movements. Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is an indoor coaster with three inversions, a high-speed launch and a one-of-a-kind soundtrack. Two live stage shows are performed at Sunset Boulevard – the enchanting Beauty & the Beast – Live on Stage musical show and Fantasmic! a nighttime show featuring fireworks, water, lasers and classic Disney characters. Sunset Ranch Market & Starring Rolls Café are some of the dining choices offered at Sunset Boulevard.
Disney Hollywood Studios opens daily at 9am and generally stays open until 8:30pm. The Block Party Bash parade, a 35-minute celebration starring Disney Pixar characters, is performed daily.
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