Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) was the third theme park to open in May 1, 1989, spanning 135 acres. On opening day chairman Michael Eisner declared, “Welcome to the Hollywood that never was and always will be”. Here guests of all ages get to experience the excitement of show business by strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, which is surrounded by sights and sounds of Tinseltown in the 1930’s.
A water tower was built and is prominently displayed as a fitting tribute to the studios of the past. The Earffel Tower adds a distinctive Disney twist showing off Mouse Ears. While is has long been the park’s icon, it is rivaled by the central focal point of the 122 foot tall Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat, which is a tribute to Fantasia.
Guests can witness the inner workings of living, breathing movie and television production facilities. At the end of Mickey Avenue, hop on the tram for a Backlot Tour to see the exciting behind the scenes look into the world of special effects. You can watch classic Disney characters being brought to life through the magic of animation, or learn to draw a Disney character of your own. You will be able to seek the thrills of the Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster and the chills of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Dining at Hollywood Studios is entertaining in itself. The 50’s Prime Time Café, will take you back to the classics where you will have to answer to your “Mom”. At the Sci-Fi Drive In, you can enjoy watching the black and white movie clips from a convertible. Counter service is also available including Toy Story Pizza Planet, Backlot Express and the Sunset Ranch Market, to name a few.
Hollywood Boulevard, where reality meets fantasy - neon and chrome, art deco and modern architecture dominate the scenery. To enhance the old-time atmosphere, Streetmosphere characters like 1930’s detectives, starlets and gossip columnists, populate the streets, interacting with the crowds. Colorful shops and restaurants give you the feeling of yesteryear - the Hollywood Brown Derby, recalls the landmark meeting place of the stars, right down to its signature Cobb salad and grapefruit cake.
Great Movie Ride
Long tram cars take you on an interesting journey through some of the world's most famous movie scenes. Just about every genre is represented: musicals, gangster movies, westerns, romances, action/adventures and horror flicks. More than 50 exceedingly realistic Audio-Animatronic figures bring it all to life, among them Gene Kelly, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, James Cagney, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sigourney Weaver, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and the Wicked Witch of the West herself, Margaret Hamilton. In addition to the wizardry of some of the best audio-animatronics in Walt Disney World, guests on this tour are treated to one of two scenarios that get the Cast Member hosting your tram in on the action.
Echo Lake is distinguished by the towering Dinosaur Gertie who serves up snacks and desserts. As you follow around the lake, you encounter the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, a live show with death-defying stunts. Nearby, Star Tours takes you on an amazing journey to the Moon of Endor, featuring some of the familiar Star Wars characters. On the other side of the lake, 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.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! starts with an Indiana Jones look-a-like re-enacting a scene from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with a 12-foot tall rolling boulder chasing him down a narrow path. He is watched being overtaken and crushed by the boulder, only to reappear moments later as the set is being deconstructed and the director explains to the audience what's going on. Extras are chosen from the audience to be part of the following Cairo Street scene and, after a series of explosions and realistic fight scenes, the show concludes with even larger and louder explosions, pyrotechnics whose heat can be felt even in the audience.
ATAS Hall of Fame Plaza
Walk through this glamorous plaza and check out some of the famous TV icons from the past and present. These TV greats, are available to pose with you for a photo.
The American Idol Experience - Opening 2009
This attraction will be opening in early 2009. Become part of the American Idol craze and check out this attraction.
Star Tours – The Ultimate Star Wars Thrill Ride
Your 40-seat flight simulator combines with an action-packed video sending you soaring into hyperspace. Your pilot RX-24, or Captain Rex, a droid on his first solo flight, isn't yet used to his programming, which means that you and the other passengers are treated to more than a bumpy flight in an out-of-control starspeeder. Although the ride lasts only roughly 10 minutes, you travel past comets and icy asteroids, dodge Imperial fighters, get caught in a Star Destroyer's tractor beam, zoom through the trench of the Death Star, and help to defeat the evil Empire, all before nearly crash-landing back home in the hangar bay.
Streets of America features 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 being in New York City, San Francisco and other cities using forced perspective techniques. The new Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is 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 newly constructed amphitheater that holds 5,000 and gives an adrenaline rush to the backlot area.
Kids can spend some time the size of ants finding their way through giant blades of grass in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure. Nearby the Muppets star in Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D. It combines Jim Henson's puppets and special-effects with Disney's famous Audio-Animatronics. Finally, spot your favorite Toy Story characters at the nearby Al's Toy Barn.
Muppet Vision 3-D
After taking your seat in the 584-seat theater, put on your special 3D glasses to watch this wacky 13-minute trip through the Muppet Laboratories. You'll be blasted with a burst of air, squirted and suddenly find yourself in a dreamy shower of soap bubbles at various times throughout the show. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant, Beaker, begin the demonstration with disastrous results, releasing an impish 3D character called Waldo. Things go from bad to worse, as the Swedish Chef takes over the projector in the rear of the theater and Statler and Waldorf heckle from their box seats. The show comes to a wild conclusion, with cannons exploding, fireworks blasting and penguins squawking in a happy ending.
“Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure
Climb, and crawl those this larger-than-life interactive playground where anthills are mountains and blades of grass are as big as trees. Get a tastes of what it is like from a bug’s perspective. The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is for children 4 years and older. Smaller adults may be able to move around in the tunnels and slides, but the areas really are scaled for children. This attraction is wheelchair accessible, but would be very difficult to navigate.
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show –
Everyone must check out this truly amazing stunt show. Get set for high-octane energy as it explodes on one of the largest stages at Walt Disney World Resort. Inspired by Walt Disney Studios Paris, "Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show" blazes into Disney-MGM Studios. Engines rev, tires screech and adrenaline kicks into overdrive as a series of orchestrated stunts, specially designed cars, motorcycles and jet skis and amazing pyrotechnics give you a look at how action stunts are created for the movies.
Mickey Avenue is home to several of the park's production facilities. At the end of Mickey Avenue, guests can board the Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour for a 25-minute tram tour that allows theme park guests to peek in at shooting on state-of-the-art sound stages and expansive backlot sets. Another behind-the-scenes treats along Mickey Avenue are Walt Disney: One Man's Dream exhibit which allows gives you a peak into the history of Walt Disney.
Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour
Guest learn how battles and storms at sea are simulated using large water tanks and pyrotechnics. Several guests may be chosen from the audience to participate in these scenes, raincoats are provided. From there, your group boards a 200-seat tram that winds its way through many backstage areas, beginning with the wardrobe and props departments and then onto Residential Street, which features the exteriors of houses from several popular television shows. At this point, the tram continues on to Catastrophe Canyon, where a make-believe crew is allegedly filming a flash flood sequence.
The American Film Institute Showcase
Come face-to-face with movie creatures at this memorable exhibit: “Villans: Movie Characters you Love to Hate.” Take a stroll amongst actual props and costumes used in some of your favorite movies and TV shows.
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
This interactive gallery features a collection of memorabilia from the Disney archives that has never been available to the public before. Visitors are shown artifacts from Walt Disney's life and from the history of the company he founded - from his birth in 1901 through the company’s vision for the future.
Toy Story Mania
This is a new interactive 4D attraction. Based on the popular “Toy Story” movies, you will board your ride vehicle and be whisked away to a world of midway-style games. Check out Mr. Potato Head who will greet you in the queue line and will engage guests in two way conversations. Games will be hosted by some characters such as Woody, Buzz, Rex and Hamm. This will never be the same experience twice.
Animation Courtyard is at the other end of Mickey Avenue. Here you'll find the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, delighting young and old as they journey Under the Sea. 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 animators. Across the Courtyard, children can see their favorite characters such as the Bear in the Big Blue House, Jojo and Goliath, Stanley and Pooh in the Playhouse Disney Live! show.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
The nautical theme begins as you pass through a waiting room filled with undersea paraphernalia including an old diver's suit, fishing nets, even a fake shark. A curtain of water showers from the stage and you're lightly sprayed with a sea mist and gentle breeze in the murky darkness. The crusty crustacean Sebastian, along with 100 ocean friend puppets illuminated by black light, start the show with the Academy Award-winning, "Under the Sea.” You will meet Ariel, her human love Eric, and the evil sea witch, Ursula. To move the action along, scenes from the movie are shown between the live performances. As in the original Little Mermaid, Ariel is eventually transformed into a human and sheds her glittery green flippers, only to find she has lost her gorgeous voice. The story concludes with the thwarting of Ursula's wicked plan in a musical finale that's sure to please.
Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage
The 20-minute stage show opens with a visit from Bear and his animal friends, Tutter, Treelo, Pip and Pop and Ojo. Bear wants to cha-cha, but Tutter, the little blue mouse, is shy about dancing in front of his friends. Jamie, the show's host, uses stories from a giant book to convince Tutter that with the help of his friends he can overcome his shyness. Inside the storybook are chapters featuring characters from each of the "Playhouse Disney" shows, each focusing on a different aspect of friendship. Streamers are shot into the audience, and are showered with magical bubbles. After much singing and dancing, the story returns to Bear's house, where Tutter and all dance. The show concludes with Luna the moon sending everyone on their way with the beautiful "Goodbye Song.”
Journey into Narnia : Prince Caspian Attraction
Take a guided walking tour through Aslan’s Stone Table Chamber and meet Prince Caspian himself. Get a glimpse of the making of the movie.
The Magic of Disney Animation
The tour begins with visitors sitting in an area featuring a live artist. The 10 minute segment, called "Drawn to Animation," features the artist interacting with an animated version of the tiny dragon Mushu, from 1998's popular feature Mulan. After hearing about the importance of character development and watching a video with some Mulan artists, guests will visit the area that overlooks what use to be the workspace of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. The Cast Member in this segment talks briefly about animation, and answers a few questions. Lastly, visitors have the chance to sit at a Mickey-themed animator table and create their own Disney character art at the Animation Academy.
Sunset Boulevard has specialized shops that feature gifts themed to classic films and Disney characters, especially the Disney Villains spotlighted in the night-time show Fantasmic! The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is home to Fantasmic!. Light dining and snacks can be found at the outdoor Sunset Ranch Market. Looming at the end of Sunset Boulevard is the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which dares you to enter The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Adjacent to the Tower of Terror is MGM 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, a stage show based on the hit Disney movie.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
From the pre-show area, you're ushered into a darkened back alleyway, where you await a "Super Stretch" limo. The 24-passenger limo screeches to a halt in front of you to climb aboard. After a few moments of build-up, you are finally launched into the wild ride, quickly accelerating into the imagined Hollywood night to Aerosmith music. The enclosed coaster ride is dark, so that you can't make out what twists or turns are ahead of you, but it does feature individually lit Southern California landmarks, such as signs for Hollywood and the famous Roxy Theatre. After just a few minutes, you find yourself at the "concert", your destination, where you disembark into the gift shop.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Guests are seated aboard a rickety old "freight elevator" that glides through mysterious hotel passageways, past ghostly images of former guests. As the journey progresses, the elevator enters a pitch-black shaft. The elevator launches guests skyward unexpectedly, then, just as suddenly, the cables snap and electrical sparks shower. The vehicle then plunges 13 stories. The elevator abruptly rises once more, with an unpredictable series of shorter drops and climbs. At one point, the doors of your elevator open to reveal the Disney-MGM Studios parking lot 13 stories below you. You are eventually returned to a dimly lit rear hallway of the Hotel, where you exit the elevator.
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
This show tells the story of Belle, a beautiful but bookish girl who lives in a small French town. She is pursued by the macho Gaston, to her dismay, for she yearns for a different life. Her father, Maurice, stumbles upon the enchanted castle of the Beast, and to free him, Belle offers herself as prisoner in his stead. Under the anxious eyes of Mrs. Potts, Lumiere and Cogsworth, among others, Belle grows to love the Beast and, despite the efforts of the townspeople led by the jilted Gaston, the couple manages a fairy tale ending.
School Musical 3: Senior Year - Right Here! Right Now!
Join the world of East High School and get into the school spirit at the high-energy pep rally inspired by the TV movie, “High School Musical.” Cheerleaders, basketball players and all your favorite characters gather for a song and dance spectacular.
Block Party Bash
This interactive parade features characters from the Disney Pixar Films. Woody, Buzz, Mike and Sulley will be dancing right along with the other Pixar characters. Enjoy the mush, fantastic floats, aerial acrobats and endless surprises.
Al’s Toy Barn
Toy Story characters are stationed in Al's Toy Barn, a replica of the red barn from the animated motion picture Toy Story 2. Characters will appear and sign autographs and pose for photographs. Occasionally the Green Army Men will also make an appearance in their truck.
This 25-minute extravaganza begins with a dreaming Mickey Mouse on a darkened island. Mickey acts as a conductor as music fills the air and the waters surrounding the island begin to dance. You must see to believe.