This is Part 3 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. Spanning 135 acres in size, its theme is show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. The third park built at the resort, it opened on May 1, 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios. On January 7, 2008 the name was officially changed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 9.7 million guests, ranking it the fifth-most visited amusement park in the United States, and eighth-most visited in the world. The park consists of six themed areas. However, unlike the other Walt Disney World parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios does not have a defined layout; it is more a mass of streets and buildings that blend into each other, much like a real motion picture studio. Here is a quick overview of the Park, including the rides, shows, dining and attractions.
Hollywood Boulevard is Hollywood Studios equivalent of Main Street, U.S.A. It houses a large number of shops, is the main Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade route, and has lot of street entertainers. At the end of the street is the Sorcerer’s Hat, the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Attractions: The Great Movie Ride
Dining: The Hollywood Brown Derby
Shopping: Adrian and Edith’s Head to Toe Costume Shop, Celebrity 5 & 10, Classic Car Memorabilia, Crossroads of the World, Disney & Company, Keystone Clothiers, Mickey’s of Hollywood, Movieland Memorabilia, Oscar’s Superstation, Sid Cahuenga’s, Studio Prop Co, Studio Showcase, Superstar Shop, Tailor to the Stars, The Darkroom,
Echo Lake is the park’s small oval-shaped lagoon, which was actually designed to form one of the ears in the enormous Hidden Mickey from the park’s original layout. The Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade begins here by Star Tours.
Attractions: The American Idol Experience, ABC Sound Studio (usually closed), Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Star Tours – The Adventures Continues
Dining: Hollywood & Vine, Tune-in Lounge, 50’s Prime Time Café, Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, Oasis Canteen, Backlot Express
Shopping: Adventure Outpost, Indiana Jones Gift Truck, Tatooine Traders
Streets of America/Commissary Lane
When the Disney’s Hollywood Studios first opened to the public, this portion of the theme park was closed off and only accessible via the Backlot Tour. It is now open for everyone to be able to walk down these made up streets featuring architecture from New York and San Francisco. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights light up the Streets of America during the winter holiday season.
Attractions: Muppet Vision 3D, Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, Lights Motors Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Studio Back Lot Tour, Monsters, Inc, Phineas and Ferb, Stars of Cars 2
Dining: Pizza Planet Arcade, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, Studio Catering Co., High Octane Refreshments, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, ABC Commissary
Shopping: It’s a Wonderful Shop, Stage 1 Company Store, The Writer’s Stop, Youse Guys Moychundice
Animation Courtyard/Mickey Ave/Pixar Place
This section of the park originally was the starting point for the tours of the Park’s active production studios. Its entrance is marked by a square “studio arch,” much like a real Hollywood studio lot entrance might be marked. Mickey Avenue is really just a sub-section of Animation Courtyard, with no real distinction. Pixar Place, the park’s newest section, includes many of the original soundstages used when the park hosted actual production facilities. Today, Pixar Place resembles the Emeryville, CA campus of Pixar Animation Studios. There are several opportunities to greet characters here – from the Toy Story gang to Characterpalooza in the Art of Animation.
Attractions: Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Magic of Disney Animation, Disney Junior – Live on Stage, Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, Toy Story Midway Mania!
Dining: Hey Howdy Hey Take Away
Shopping: Animation Gallery, In Character-Disney’s Costume Shop, The Studio Store
Sunset Boulevard was the first expansion to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opening in July 1994. It has several shops, rides, shows, and restaurants. The open-air Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the home of Fantasmic!, a nighttime show featuring Mickey Mouse and many other Disney characters in a story filled with fireworks, lasers and water effects.
Attractions: Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Fantasmic!
Dining: Starring Rolls Café, Toluca Legs Turkey Co., Anaheim Produce, Rosie’s All-American Café, Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, Fantasmic Food Offerings
Shopping: Beverly Sunset Sweet Spells, Legends, Once Upon a Time, Rock Around the Shop, Sunset Club Couture, Tower Hotel Gifts
Parking and Transportation
There is no shortage of ways to get to Hollywood Studios:
Boat Launches: to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Swan and Dolphin
Buses: to all other Walt Disney World Resort hotels
Walking Path: to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Swan and Dolphin
Parking: available at the front entrance