A Theatrical Journey Ð Walt Disney World Resort guests can take a ride through the most famous film sets in silver screen history at The Great Movie Ride at DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios. Housed in a full-scale reproduction of HollywoodÕs world-famous Chinese Theater, the ride-through attraction travels through a soundstage tour of such memorable movie scenes as the ÒCasablancaÓ airport farewell, the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City from ÒWizard of Oz,Ó the ÒRaiders of the Lost ArkÓ Well of Souls and many more. DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios is one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Scott Miller, photographer)
“Hooray for Hollywood! That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood!” Every time I think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that song pops into my head and I’m transported right back into The Great Movie Ride. 1989 was a fantastic year because Disney’s Hollywood Studios along with myself were born. We are both celebrating the big 30 this year and if you want to celebrate, not my birthday of course, but the Studios’ birthday, you mustcheck out the Stage 89 event happening very soon!
With Hollywood Studios’ birthday fast approaching, I wanted to do a countdown and a poll honoring this beloved park. Growing up, the Studios has always been my favorite. Not only do I have an obsession with 1930’s and 40’s Hollywood but I also have an extreme passion for movies and how they are made. So for me it has been a match made in heaven.
It is really hard to beat Magic Kingdom’s evening atmosphere. But I believe Hollywood Studios comes at a very close second. Even as I write this, I am listening to the Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard area loop. I can close my eyes and imagine myself walking down the street enjoying the evening Florida breeze and art deco buildings under a soft neon glow. It is one of my favorite places to be.
Just like many of you, I miss the Hollywood Studios that was. The Great Movie Ride was one of my all time favorite attractions. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you cancheck out my favorite things about the Great Movie Ride right here. The original Hollywood Studios (AKA MGM Studios) stole my heart. Being a part of the production in Catastrophe Canyon, creating sound effects with Drew Carey, learning how to draw Mickey Mouse and watching my brother be a part of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids screen test are just some of my favorite memories and things that I miss.
With Disney’s impeccable production standard guests only ever see what is “on stage.” So there was something entertaining and refreshing about seeing what happens behind the scenes. And yes, even behind the scenes for Disney was still “on stage.” But it felt different and exciting to be a part of the production and see how movies were made. It is something I miss very much with the parks new direction.
Even though the park has been transitioning away from the backstage magic into a general celebration of movies, I think it will still always be my favorite. I have wonderful memories from the old Hollywood Studios and I am excited to see where the park is headed in the future.
To get into the Disney Hollywood Studios birthday spirit, I am going to share with you 5 of my favorite things about the park. And as always, I want to know your favorite things too! Remember to vote and comment.
Fantasmic is one of my favorite shows in all of Walt Disney World. From the moment I walk into Hollywood Hills Amphitheater I feel the excitement. The atmosphere is always fun with the hustle and bustle of guests picking the perfect seat, participating in the wave and singing along to Disney hits.
I love it when it grows dark and the crowd hushes in anticipation to see how Mickey will overcome his nightmare. I am always in awe watching the magical story unfold. Even though I know what happens I still sit on the edge of my seat rooting for Mickey to slay the dragon. And without fail I bawl like a baby during Mickey’s ending line, “Some imagination, huh?” It gives me all the feels.
4. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular has been around since the park opened and there have been many touch and go moments where we thought we were gonna lose it. But to my excitement it is not going anywhere, for awhile anyway. Disney will be updating the set for 2021. Indy has always been one of my favorite characters. I love that he is represented and his stunt show is still fantastic 30 years later. I know the performance like the back of my hand but I still laugh at the jokes, marvel at the stunts, and gasp at the explosions.
Growing up, one of my dream jobs was to become the Casting Director for Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. The day I turned 18, it was my goal and to be an extra in the show. To my surprise and excitement, I was picked and it was awesome! I encourage all of you to try it! This show will never get old for me. I am ecstatic that it has lasted this long and excited to see where it is going.
3. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
I love the Hollywood Tower of Terror. I watched Twilight Zone all the time growing up and I was so excited to see it become a part of a Disney attraction. Not only is the ride so much fun, but I absolutely love the story and overall theme.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel looks amazing at the end of Sunset Boulevard. The exterior and its surrounding gardens give a sense of mystery that draw me in. The interior certainly does not disappoint with its grand lobby filled with Imagineering details. The attraction is so well done, so much fun, and I feel fully immersed into the story.
I do not think walking down Sunset Boulevard would be the same without screams from guests riding the attraction. I remember years ago one of the bell-hops stood outside of the queue entrance with a suitcase begging visitors to take him away from the hotel. It was a clever interaction that made the story all the more real. It’s the little things.
2. Toy Story Mania
I could ride Toy Story Mania over and over again. Everything about this attraction is so lively and enjoyable! My family overall is not super competitive, we usually just like to have fun. But Toy Story Mania changes people. The minute we start walking towards the attraction everyone starts throwing shade and picking who they want go up against.
I am going to brag a little and say that so far I have the winning track record in my family. But if I want to keep that up, I feel like I need to start working out. My intense shooting technique always results in burning arms. Toy Story Mania competitions has kind of turned into one of our family traditions. I look forward to it every time we visit.
1. Citizens of Hollywood
Yet another confession of this Cast Member wannabe, I also wanted to be a Citizen of Hollywood. What could be better than living out my 1930’s Hollywood dream performing skits and impromptu jokes at my favorite place on earth? I could sit and watch these folks all day long. In fact, my sister and I have done just that many times. The characters always look fabulous, their back stories are well thought out and their personalities are spot on.
Over the years I have seen so many new ideas and skits. But when they pull out old faithful, the 99 jokes competition, it is still the best ever. It was hard choosing the order for this countdown. I love everything on my list. But the Citizens of Hollywood make my number one because I really appreciate the little Disney touches that make the experience even more magical.
Now it is your turn! Tell me your favorite thing about Hollywood Studios. Check out the poll below and if your favorite thing is not listed then tell me what it is in the comments. I am always so excited to read about what you love!
Here is your Extra Magic Tip: Book the Fantasmic Dining Package! You will get to enjoy lunch or dinner at Hollywood and Vine, The Hollywood Brown Derby, or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. And then when it’s time for Fantasmic, you and your family can choose the perfect seat in the VIP seating area!