Disney's Hollywood Studios


STUDIOS EXTRA MAGIC HOURS! Early morning and late night hours!
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Queen Elsa of Frozen


INTRODUCTION


Walt Disney first had the idea for a park based on the movies more than 40 years ago, but it wasn't until May 1989 that the Walt Disney Company unveiled the Disney-MGM Studios, where guests of Walt Disney World could witness the inner workings of living, breathing movie and television production facilities. In January 2008, the theme park underwent a major name change and is now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Through its exciting attractions, like Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Broadway-caliber shows, and hands-on participation, the Studios not only entertain but educate. The Studios have nearly doubled in size in the last 10 years and continue to expand -- in fact, the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, an indoor roller coaster featuring a high-speed launch of 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds, was part of the largest property-wide expansion in Walt Disney World history.

In October 2001, the Studios became the focal point for the 100 Years of Magic celebration, a 15-month long observance of the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birthday. The celebration marked the introduction of a new icon, the giant Sorcerer Mickey hat, as well as an in-depth exhibit on the life and times of Walt Disney called One Man's Dream.


LAY OF THE LAND


Chinese Theater at Hollywood Studios

HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD: At Disney's Hollywood Studios, guests enter the turnstiles onto the main street, Hollywood Boulevard, where reality blends into fantasy -- neon and chrome, art deco and modern architecture dominate the scenery. To enhance the old-time atmosphere, Citizens of Hollywood (formerly known as Streetmosphere) characters like 1930s detectives, starlets and gossip columnists, populate the streets, interacting with the crowds they draw. Colorful shops and restaurants reinforce the feeling of yesteryear -- the Hollywood Brown Derby, for example, faithfully recalls the landmark meeting place of the stars, right down to its signature Cobb salad and grapefruit cake.

As you walk down Hollywood Boulevard, immediately in front of you you'll see the park icon, a gigantic Sorcerer Mickey Hat, originally built to mark WDW's 100 Years of Magic Celebration. Behind that is a replica of Mann's Chinese Theater, which houses one of the park's hallmark attractions, The Great Movie Ride. This slow-moving tram ride showcases some of the most memorable moments ever captured on the silver screen. In front of the Chinese Theater, you'll see where numerous celebrities, including Robin Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley have left their handprints in cement.

ECHO LAKE: The first left you encounter off Hollywood Boulevard takes you past Echo Lake, distinguished by the towering Dinosaur Gertie who serves up snacks and desserts. You pass by a pair of eateries -- Hollywood & Vine, home of a character breakfast and lunch featuring the Little Einsteins and JoJo and Goliath, and the '50s Prime Time Cafe, where the servers treat you like family -- right down to scolding you for putting your elbows on the table! As you follow around the lake, you encounter the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, a live show with death-defying stunts. Nearby, a newly reopened Star Tours-The Adventures Continue takes you on an amazing 3D journey to a variety of Star Wars destinations, featuring some of the familiar Star Wars characters. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza features sculptures of famous television legends, as well as the second-largest Emmy statue in the world (14 1/2 feet from its base).

SUNSET BOULEVARD: As you make the first right off Hollywood Boulevard, you come upon Sunset Boulevard, with its specialized shops that feature gifts themed to classic films and Disney characters, especially the Disney Villains spotlighted in the night-time show Fantasmic! In fact, the entrance to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, home to Fantasmic!, is just a little further down Sunset on the right. Light dining and snacks can be found at the outdoor Sunset Ranch Market on the left. Looming menacingly at the end of Sunset Boulevard, is the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which dares guests to enter The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Adjacent to the Tower of Terror is the Studios' hot thrill ride, the indoor Rock'n'Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Across the street from this coaster, is the Theater of the Stars, which houses Beauty and the Beast -- Live on Stage, a lovely musical stage show based on the hit Disney movie.

PIXAR PLACE: Behind the Chinese Theater is the former Mickey Avenue, now dubbed Pixar Place, home to the extremely popular Toy Story Mania, which opened to the public May 31, 2008. Green Army Men, Buzz and Woody appear in this area intermittently throughout the day.

ANIMATION COURTYARD: To the right of Pixar Place is the Animation Courtyard. Here you'll find the not-to-be-missed Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibit, as well as the popular Voyage of the Little Mermaid, delighting young and old. Another major attraction in real-life film making is The Magic of Disney Animation, a tour allowing guests to get an insider's view of the animation process. Across the Courtyard, children can see their favorite characters like the Little Einsteins, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Handy Manny, Mickey and Pooh in the Disney Junior Live! show.

STREETS OF AMERICA: To the left of the Chinese Theater is Commissary Lane, featuring several dining options, including the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant.At the end of Commissary Lane turn right onto the Streets of America, which create the illusion of New York City, San Francisco and other cities using forced perspective techniques. The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, inspired by a popular show in Disneyland Paris, debuted in this area in May 2005. With stunt cars and motorcycles, and even some daring jet skis, this show, in a specially constructed amphitheater that holds 5,000, gives an adrenaline rush to the once-quiet backlot area. Before you reach the Stunt Show entrance, you'll find the Premiere Theater, which currently is the location of the For the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

Kids can spend some time the size of ants winding their way through giant blades of grass in the Honey, I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure. Nearby, the Muppets star in Muppet*Vision 3D, which combines Jim Henson's puppets and special effects with Disney's famous Audio-Animatronics. And don't miss the Phineas and Ferb Play and Greet experience.

TOURING TIPS


Disney's Hollywood Studios opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times vary according to the season, with the park staying open later during summer months and holiday times. Plan to arrive at the Studios about 8:30 a.m., for when the gates open -- even though no attractions are accessible until the ropes officially drop, there are usually plenty of characters milling about at the park entrance!

Fantasmic! is shown several times a week at park closing. During busier seasons, Fantasmic! may be performed nightly, or may have two performances nightly. When this is the case, the later show is much less crowded -- consider staying for that if it's practical for you. Or take advantage of the Fantasmic! dinner package for special seating, to avoid the long wait. If you don't mind waiting, though, plan to arrive at the theater early to ensure getting a seat at this popular show.


KIDS AND CHARACTERS


Disney's Hollywood Studios has many opportunities for children to meet and greet their favorite characters: the Streets of America area; Team McQueen Headquarters; inside the Magic of Disney Animation; Pixar Place; near Mama Melrose's; the Animation Courtyard. Consult your daily Times Guide for times and locations.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Characters at a Glance
Character Meet and Greet FAQ!


INTERESTING FACTS


The HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon", a 13-part drama, was in production in two soundstages throughout 1997.

Films shot at the studios include: "Marvin's Room," "Passenger 57," "Oscar," "Quick Change," "Ernest Saves Christmas," "Splash Too," "Separate But Equal" (Emmy-winning TV mini-series, starring Burt Lancaster) and "Instinct."

Some of the many television shows which have taped at Disney's Hollywood Studios include: "ER," "Full House," "Wheel of Fortune," "ESPN College Football Awards," "Talk Soup," "Step By Step," "Barbara Walters Special," and "Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee."

Among the hundreds of actors, comedians and entertainers who've appeared at the studios are: Charlton Heston, Dustin Hoffman, Bette Midler, Warren Beatty, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Hanks, Liza Minnelli, Billy Joel, Christie Brinkley, Michael J. Fox, Samuel L. Jackson, Lou Gossett Jr., Drew Carey, Oprah Winfrey and Susan Lucci.

WHAT'S NEW?

Over at the Premiere Theater you'll find the For the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, which debuted in July 5, 2014.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Frozen Snowground, which opened in one of the Soundstages in July also, has moved to the Streets of America area.

Hiro and Baymax from the film Big Hero 6 made their debut in a new character greeting experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios in November 2014. You can find Hiro and Baymax inside the Magic of Disney Animation attraction in an area themed to resemble the lab from the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology with the characters inside Hiro's garage workshop. The Meet and Greet for Wreck-it-Ralph closed on October 24.

In February 2013, "Disney Junior – Live on Stage" added Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First to its other segments with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Never Land Pirates.

Star Tours-The Adventures Continue -- a new 3-D version of the Star Tours attraction debuted at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 20, 2011. Based on the iconic Lucasfilm "Star Wars" films, the updated attraction includes immersive new elements that take guests to many familiar places in the Star Wars galaxy.

Phineas and Ferb Meet and Play Experience -- These popular Disney Channel stars finally have their own meet and greet, during which they and director Cletus Filmore, make a movie about their adventures, while posing for photos and signing autographs.

WHAT'S NEXT?

"The Great Movie Ride" in Disney's Hollywood Studios is set to undergo a refresh of its pre-show and finale in 2015 as a result of a new strategic relationship between Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and Walt Disney World Resort and The Walt Disney Studios. TCM branding will be integrated into the attraction's marquee as well as banners, posters and display windows outside the attraction. New digital movie posters will adorn the queue and a new pre-ride video with TCM host Robert Osborne will run. The finale will feature an all-new montage of classic movie moments. After guests exit the attraction, they will have a photo opportunity with a classic movie theme. The TCM-curated refresh is set to launch by spring 2015.

A new Starbucks Coffee location will open at the corner of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards in February 2015. At this third location at Walt Disney World Resort, guests can step inside a classic trolley car themed-station called The Trolley Car Cafe for their coffee fix. This Starbucks will replace the LA Prop and Cinema Storage Shop.

Walt Disney World will remove the iconic Sorcerer Mickey Hat in early 2015. The Sorcerer's Hat "opened" September 2001 as part of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration at Walt Disney World. No word yet on what, if anything, will take the Hat's place, or what will become of the Hat.

WHAT'S GOING... GOING... GONE?

The Studios Backlot Tour closed September 27, 2014. There is no word on what will take its place.

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow in Soundstage 4 closed November 6, 2014.

American Idol Experience, which debuted February 14, 2009, closed August 30, 2014. (It was originally slated to close in January 2015.) There has been no word on what will take the place of this attraction, which was also the former home of the shows "Doug Live!" and "Superstar Television."

Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade and the Disney Channel Rocks show both ended April 6, 2013. Countdown to Fun debuted in early 2011, and featured characters from such Disney-Pixar films such as "Toy Story," "Monsters, Inc.," "The Incredibles," and "Up." The Disney Channel Rocks show rolled along Hollywood Boulevard then stationed itself at the base of the Sorcerer's Hat icon, where singers and dancers perform songs from Disney Channel programs like "High School Musical" and "Camp Rock." No replacements for these live entertainments have been announced.

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