…Continued from Magic Kingdom…
Originally opening in 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, this park is dedicated and inspired by Hollywood of the 1930s-40s. The park became Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008. There are a lot of comparisons of the park to the early days of California Adventure. While I think that some of the stuff is similar, it really has a different feel now from the modern California Adventure. The sister park to this one is actually the one we visited in Paris, Walt Disney’s Studios Park.
Attractions & Areas to Highlight:
Hollywood Boulevard – This is the equivalent of the Main Street USA from Disneyland. It is lined with shops and restaurants. Years before in the past, there was the giant Fantasia hat with Mickey ears. Now, the main focus is the replica Chinese Theater.
The Great Movie Ride – We made it to the ride before it closed for good on August 13th. The ride is based on… movies! The ride takes guests through various movie scenes and reenacts them. My personal favorite scene is the one from Wizard of Oz. The ride is being changed to a Mickey & Minnie themed ride (the first Mickey inspired ride!) and it will utilize TRACKLESS technology – YAHHH!
Echo Lake – This area is inspired by the Echo Park in LA. We didn’t spend much time in this area as we have visited in previous years. The attractions include – Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (show), For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration (show), and Star Wars: Path of the Jedi (show).
Muppets Courtyard – This little courtyard is inspired by the Muppets. With themed restaurants, shops and a fantastic Miss Piggy Fountain – I love this area. The area was meant to have a dark ride, however, that never came through. The only attraction here is the Muppets Vision 3D.
Pixar Place – An area that resembles the real life Pixar Studios in Emeryville, California.
Toy Story Midway Mania! – A favorite ride of ours that’s also at California Adventure. This ride takes guests on a quest to conquer five mini games, competing against the other riders in the car. The ride is also 3D and has lots of hidden “Easter Eggs” in the ride.
Animation Courtyard – This area is dedicated to characters and films created by the Disney Animation studios. We didn’t go to all attractions like: Star Wars Launch Bay (Meet & Greet), Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Show), and Disney Junior Live on Stage.
Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – Located on “Mickey Avenue” in the Animation Courtyard, this little “mini” museum is dedicated to Walt Disney. It resembles a lot of the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco. There is also a short video hosted by Julie Andrews about Walt Disney.
Meet & Greet Guardians of the Galaxy – We got to meet Starlord himself and baby Groot! Baby Groot was awesome as it moved so well and so eerily human.
Sunset Boulevard – Can you guess what this are is inspired by? The main attraction is the Hollywood Tower of Terror. The street is also lined with shops and has a “farmers market” style restaurant. The attractions we didn’t get to: Rock ‘N Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage (show), Fantasmic! (show), and The Music of Pixar Live! (show).
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Similar to the ride in Paris’ Walt Disney Studios. This ride was also formally at California Adventure until it was recently re-themed to Guardians of the Galaxy. The slight difference at WDW is the fact that the elevator actually moves forward (like a coaster) before being moved to the elevator shaft. The ride, as always, is a lot of stomach twisting fun.
We did a short time at this park so didn’t get to see any of the shows. I had seen many of the shows previously, but was disappointed I missed their nightly Star Wars Fireworks Show – Stars Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
Hollywood Studios is still relatively low-key for now, not offering much in terms of rides. They offer lots of shows, some of which I am dying to see on my next visit. In the coming years with the expansion of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land, this park will be a FORCE (get the Star Wars reference?) and I cannot wait!