Disney's Hollywood Studios


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Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow


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. On the other side of the lake is Sounds Dangerous, a showcase for special sound effects featuring funnyman Drew Carey. Next door is the ABC-TV Theater, which now houses Disney's version of American Idol, the popular television talent show. In between these two attractions is the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza, which 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. To the right of the Stunt Show, you'll find the entrance to the Studio Backlot Tour, a 25-minute tram tour that allows theme park guests to peek in at shooting on state-of-the-art soundstages and sprawling backlot sets.

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?

The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow gives guests a chance to become immersed in the world of the four "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. The new attraction is in Soundstage 4, the location which formerly housed Journey into Narnia. The attraction began "soft openings" November 17, and will officially open December 6, 2012.

Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz, from Disney's newest animated adventure comedy "Wreck-It Ralph," in theaters in 3D November 2, made their debut in a new character greeting experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios on October 28. Guests visiting The Magic of Disney Animation attraction are invited to step through Game Central Station, a key location from the film, where they catch glimpses into various game worlds on their way to a meeting with Ralph and Vanellope in the candy-coated cart racing game, "Sugar Rush."

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.

"Disney Junior – Live on Stage" has replaced "Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!" at Disney's Hollywood Studios (and Disney California Adventure) as of March 2011. The show has some new characters, some new adventures and a new marquee. The new production brings back three audience favorites (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins) and also introduces a brand new segment based on Disney Junior's newest series, "Jake and the Never Land Pirates."

A new parade featuring Pixar characters debuted on January 16, 2011. Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun features four newer Pixar characters -- Remy and Emile from "Ratatouille" and Carl and Russell from Disney Pixar's "Up".

A new, live, rock-concert style show called Disney Channel Rocks! debuted at Walt Disney World on October 22, 2010. The new show features music from a number of hit Disney Channel TV shows, including "Camp Rock," "StarStruck," and "High School Musical."

American Idol Experience -- Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has created an "American Idol" attraction that brings the television and pop culture phenomenon to life at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The attraction debuted February 14, 2009, and follows the model of the high-energy show. Disney guests can experience the challenge of auditioning, the rush of performing on stage in competition, or the thrill of judging the performances in a live interactive entertainment setting with all the glitz and glamour of the distinctive "American Idol" set.


WHAT'S NEXT?

The Fantasmic! Theater to Add 1000 Seats -- Dan Cockerell, vice president of Disney's Hollywood Studios, announced September 5 that seating for about 1,000 guests will be installed in the Hollywood Hills Amphitheatre, home of the 27-minute nighttime show Fantasmic! The expanded seating will replace the standing area and add to the 7,100 seats in the theater this fall. This will not increase the overall theater capacity.


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

Journey Into Narnia closed September 10, 2011.

Luigi's Garage was home for Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater, stars of the movie Cars. It opened in October 2008, and was located in the Streets of America area. It closed in April 2011, to be rethemed.

The final performance of Block Party Bash was on Saturday, January 1, 2011. It was replaced by the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade.

"High School Musical 3: Right Here! Right Now!" a traveling "rock concert" stage that stops in front of Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat for production numbers featuring six songs ended its run on October 2, 2010, at Walt Disney World. It's been replaced by Disney Channel Rocks!

High School Musical 2: School's Out, which was based on the popular Disney Channel sequel, replaced the High School Musical Pep Rally in September 2007. It in turn was replaced by High School Musical 3, whose debut coincided with the October 24, 2008, debut of the theatrical movie High School Musical 3: Senior Year.

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