Welcome back everyone! I hope you enjoyed the last edition of Uniquely Disney; I loved delving into the amazing Disney details that create the magic of the Magic Kingdom. In this instalment, we’ll step into the vast world of Hollywood: from the glamour of the tinsel town of yesteryear to a galaxy far, far away, Disney’s Hollywood Studios creates an experience full of charm, adventure, and fun. How is this captivating world woven so effectively? It’s in the details of course!
Join me as I delve into three of my favourite Disney details in the Hollywood Studios!
From the moment you enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s as if you have stepped back in time to the vintage beauty of old Hollywood; surrounded by art deco storefronts, glittering lights, and old billboard advertisements, everything meshes together to build the ‘story’. Follow the sidewalks and browse the shop windows, take in the bright glow of the signs, and find your way using the street signs (hello Sunset Boulevard). Everything around you leads you to believe you are strolling down a tinsel-town street during the Golden Age of Hollywood. If you weren’t transported already, one more detail adds to this atmosphere, and it’s one I absolutely love: a street just wouldn’t be complete without a traffic signal at the intersection, and of course you’ll find them here! With a ding and the switch of a light, the period-appropriate traffic signals at the street corners flip between ‘STOP’ and ‘GO’ to direct ‘traffic’! It’s such a subtle detail that you wouldn’t even notice if they hadn’t been included, yet it adds such an effective layer to the storytelling of the area.
As you meander your way further into the park and approach Echo Lake, you might notice an ice cream kiosk as you make your way around, which is exciting enough; but you’ll immediately recognize this is no ordinary kiosk. This structure towers above guests, rising from the lake in the shape of a huge dinosaur! Seems strange? It actually fits in the theming of the park perfectly! This kiosk, dubbed ‘Dinosaur Gertie’, is in the style of California Crazy architecture- oversized structures that were designed to tempt passing travellers to stop, and typically housed fast food establishments; and the dinosaur part? This is a tribute to an animated short film by cartoonist Winsor McCay from 1913, called ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’. This short film and character featured seeming interaction between McCay and the animated Gertie, who would ‘follow commands’ from McCay before he ‘jumped’ into the screen and his animated self rode off on Gertie’s back. McCay and his film were widely regarded as revolutionary and a huge influence on the future of animation and animators, including Walt Disney. But of course, the details don’t stop at a great backstory; there has to be some subtle fun too! As you approach Dinosaur Gertie be sure to look down. There are giant Gertie footsteps in the sidewalk and grass leading to the lake!
Hollywood Tower Hotel Front Desk
As amazing as Disney’s Hollywood Studios is as a whole, my absolute favorite area and attraction in the park has to be the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror! As you make your way around the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and begin to follow Sunset Boulevard, you’ll slowly begin to hear ominous audio and faint screams in the air. As you get further up the street, you’ll see the infamous Hollywood Tower Hotel at the end of the boulevard. Its once-elegant facade framed by the palms, waiting for you. I just love this area; so many amazing details and beautiful theming come together to create the Hotel and its history, it is just incredible. This makes it so tough to pick just one thing to feature. The aspect I always think of even after all these years of visiting Tower of Terror, is the front desk.
The hotel was abandoned the fateful night in 1939 that five guests disappeared and were never seen again, and the entire lobby reflects that. Dusty and untouched, it’s full of items that were left behind and haven’t been moved since. The front desk is no exception; layered in cobwebs and dust it sits empty and quiet, the undelivered mail in the cubbies behind the desk aged and forgotten, and the phone pale with dust and unused for decades. Then there’s my favorite touch. The man’s overcoat and hat, placed on the front desk perhaps by a patron checking in before they fled in fear for good, leaving them behind and never looking back. It’s touches like these that bring everything together!
There you have it; my top three Disney details in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! As always, don’t forget to list your favorites in the comments below!