Disney’s Hollywood Studios was the third park that was added to Florida’s Disney World and opened to the public for the first time on 1 May, 1989. As the name suggests the park is themed around the glory days of Hollywood. The park was originally called Disney-MGM Studios, which was changed to its present name in 2008. The park has six areas that blend together much like a film studios, with streets centered around the main street – Hollywood Boulevard.
Hollywood Boulevard is the park’s main street that takes visitors to all of areas past a variety of movie theme building facades. At the end of the boulevard you will see the giant Sorcerer’s Hat, which has become its icon. On the far side of the Sorcerer’s Hat is The Great Movie Ride, which is housed inside a replica of The Chinese Theater. The ride is an homage to some of cinema’s most iconic films, including Mary Poppins, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Wizard of Oz, and Fantasia.
Echo Lake is a man-made lagoon that is actually one of Mickey’s ears that made up the park’s original Hidden Mickey. Encircling the lagoon are several of the park’s attractions, including the super fun American Idol Experience where you can test your singing skills by auditioning for the ‘show’ in front of a real audience. Star Wars fans will want to head straight to the Star Tours – The Adventure Continues attraction that has a cool ride through a Star Wars world before they join in some Jedi Training. To learn all about how stunts are created, particularly for the Raiders of the Lost Ark film head to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Streets of America
Representing New York City and San Francisco in the heart of Florida is the Streets of America attraction. It is made up of once backlot sets from the Backlot Studio Tour.
Animation Courtyard features the much-loved characters from Disney’s animated films. Here visitors will learn how animated characters are created and get to meet some of them in the flesh. It is also packed with great interactive exhibits and games suitable for all ages. Also, in this section of Hollywood Studios is Mickey Avenue, an exhibit dedicated to the life of Walt Disney. One of the most popular features of Animation Courtyard is the special effects centered around the wildly popular Pirates of the Caribbean movie and its loveable rogue Captain Jack Sparrow.
If you’re looking for a thrill ride then head to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Sunset Boulevard. The ride is an indoor roller coaster that features TV shows. It is located right near another roller coast that goes by the name of Rock ‘n’ Roller featuring the band Aerosmith. It is in the section of the park where you’ll find a number of the main entertainment venues that host live stage shows, including the evening, light filled Fantasmic!
Disney’s Hollywood studios has some excellent restaurants and regular special events, such as its ever popular Star Wars Weekends. The Sci-Fi Drive-In is one of the best places to eat. The restaurant recreated an old-fashioned drive-in theater complete with convertibles and movies.