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Disney Hollywood Studios

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When Michael Eisner dedicated Disney Hollywood Studios or as it was known at that time, Disney-MGM Studios, he declared "Welcome to the Hollywood that never was and always will be." Over the years, the park has morphed away from the working studio idea to a theme park full of the best attractions Walt Disney World has to offer.

 


 

The Studios (as it was called at one time) no longer creates movies which is a shame. It was fun to watch the animators work. However, the rides here are as good as it gets anywhere.

 

Echo Lake at NightPhoto by Mike Billick

 

NOTE:The park is undergoing major renovations at this time. A lot of attractions have been closed.

Hollywood Boulevard/Echo Lake- The Introduction

Welcome to Hollywood, or an unreasonable facsimile thereof. This is the main entrance area of MGM Studios. There are lots of shops here to slow your progress into the park or to get that last dollar out of your wallet as you leave. During the day, "movie stars" appear and are "filmed" making their big debut.

 

Movie Stars on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Photo by Samantha Decker

Echo Lake, the small pool of water at the end of Hollywood Boulevard is the home of some of the biggest attractions Disney World has to offer, including the newest and most hip.

 

Attractions -

This is a great way to start and end any day at a theme park.

Streets of America - See how movies are made

The Muppet Show theater at Disney Hollywood Studios
Photo by Samantha Decker

The Streets of America at Disney Hollywood Studios is the area where you learn how movies are made. The Backlot tour takes you into Castrophe Canyon where you can see how large scale stunts are created it also takes you to the backlot storage area of The MGM Studios.

 

Attractions -

You too can be part of the movies.

Animation Courtyard - The making of Cartoons

There is some good stuff and some really boring stuff in Animation Courtyard. This is where animated features use to be made, but now, alas, there is only a walk-through area with videos that talk about the process. You can see the a short portion of one of Disney's latest features.

 

Attractions -

  • Walt Disney: One Man's Dream - A walking tour of images and items from Uncle Walt's life. A history buffs dream.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid - A live, musical presentation of scenes taken from the movie.

The tribute to Uncle Walt is amazing.

 

Disney Hollywood Studios

Pixar Place - Pixar and Disney... Match made in heaven

A few years ago, Pixar and Disney teamed up on a couple a little film called Toy Story. It wasn't very successful (yeah, right). It only became one of the biggest blockbusters ever. Now Disney and Pixar have done it again. They've teamed up on a Toy Story ride at Disney Hollywood Studios called Toy Story Midway Mania. It's quickly become the longest line at MGM Studios, and that's saying something.

 

Attractions -

  • Toy Story Mania! - Join the Toy Story gang in a mid-way style arcade adventure.

More Pixar and Disney collaborations are coming soon.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard is the blockbuster area of Disney Hollywood Studios. There's only 3 attractions and one show down this not so sleepy lane, but they are the parks biggest, loudest, and busiest. The first attraction on Sunset Boulevard is Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage. Then come the biggies, The Hollywood Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. WOW. It doesn't get any better than this.

 

(Check out Dad's strategy for riding the Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.)

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith

Aerosmith at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney Hollywood StudiosPhoto by - Express Monorail

 

Attractions -

Also on Sunset Boulevard is Fantasmic, which is the closing show for the park complete with fireworks and dancing water. This is a must see show. Check it out.

Restaurants

Dining in Disney Hollywood Studios can be problematic. There are some good and some not so good restaurants here.

Daily Entertainment

The daily entertainment schedule at Disney Hollywood Studios is as good as it gets. Here's a list of the daily (or sometimes several times a week) activities at MGM Studios -

  • Fantasmic! - Fantasmic! is a spectacular voyage into the dark world of Disney villains as they battle Sorcerer Mickey. It's

Special Events

Disney puts on Special Events all year, and the event that dominates the Studios in May and June is Star Wars Weekends. In May and June on Fridays through Sundays, everyone dresses up in their Star Wars Costumes and has a big party.

Dad's Star Wars Weekend page

Hurray for Hollywood

MGM Studios was on the drawing board for several years before Universal Studios announced they were going to build a theme park in Orlando. This get Disney moving and the new movie park was born.

Disney MGM Studios story

Touring Plan

Having a plan for touring the park is the only way to go. If you want to have a Perfect day at the Studios, you need to know how to avoid the crowds. At Touringplans.com, they provide several touring plans to help you navigate your way around the park with the least hassle. They also have an app for your phone that will show you the wait times on all the rides. Check it out today.

Dad's Touringplans.com page

Get started on your trip today

How about a trip to see Disney Hollywood Studios in person? Doesn't that sound fun. Here's what you can do. Go over to Dad's partners at Destinations to Travel and let them get your Perfect Vacation started today. What are you waiting for?

Dad's Destinations to Travel page

Dad's Bottom Line

A lot of people over the years have complained that the Disney Studios or Disney-MGM Studios, or Disney Hollywood Studios, or whatever, was a work that was thrown together to compete with Universal and that the park needed more attractions. I think Disney finally got the word. With the openings of American Idol and Toy Story Mania, Disney Hollywood Studios has become a complete and "fabulous darling" vacation experience.

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