January 9, 2013

Disney World's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney's MGM Studios) is the third of Disney World's four main theme parks (there's also two spectacular water parks). For more information on Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and more, click through the links on the left of this page!

Hollywood Studios manages to entertain both young and old and is a drama-lovers paradise. There are wild rides, meet and greets with some of Disney's most popular characters and spectacular shows all around!

Hollywood Studio SHOWS

Beauty and the Beast
This 25-minute Broadway-style show captures all the fun and highlights from the popular movie and is usually preformed five times a day. Be sure to arrive at least 15-20 minutes early for seating.

American Idol Experience
For the past five years, guests (ages 14 and up) have registered to audition for a producer, hoping to selected for the daily theme park version of American Idol. If they pass the selection process, their put into hair and makeup, given a vocal coaching session and are given a chance to sing before a live studio audience and a panel of judges. Those with the most votes per show (usually there are a handful of preliminary shows a day) will go on to preform in the daily grand finale. The winner of which (if they are 16yrs or older) will be given a guaranteed audition at a future American Idol regional stadium audition.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
The Indiana Jones show is unique in that several audience members are selected to be "extras" in the show. In order to be one of these extras, be sure to arrive early and when they ask for volunteers be as boisterous and eye-catching as possible. It's something we've done and LOVED! 
The show, usually preformed five times a day, lasts about 35 minutes and recreates several scenes from the much beloved series. It takes the audience behind the scenes and the director explains how some of the most exciting acrobatic and pyrotechnic aspects of the movie were made. Be sure to arrive at least 20 minutes early for seats-there's often a fun pre-show entertainer to help pass the time.

Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show
Specially designed cars, motorcycles and jet skis are used with pyrotechnics and stuntmen to take you behind the scenes of a spy-thriller movie in the making. The director narrates the hugely popular 35 minute show. This is one you NEED to arrive well in advance for the best seats as the open theater holds 5,000 people and will fill up every time. The show is generally preformed twice daily so be sure to check the times and plan accordingly.

Disney Junior Live on Stage
This is a MUST do for preschool and toddler families...even some older kids will get a kick out of it. Disney has combined four of their most popular television series (Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse characters) to create a show which lasts just over 20 minutes and is preformed nearly a dozen times a day. Bubbles, confetti and even pirate gold doubloons (tissue paper variety so as not to injure anyone) rain down while children and adults alike join in on the fun. 

Voyage of the Little Mermaid
This 15 minute musical combines live action, film clips, special effects and even puppets (Ursala is 12 ft tall!) to bring you Ariel's story. Disney does some amazing things with this show but you should know that the theater can get quite dark at times and it may be frightening for some small children. Also, the audience gets a slight misting at the start of the show so if that's something that might upset you or your child, be sure to sit in the back where it's less noticeable. 

Hollywood Studios does more than just the nightly fireworks or laser show you'll find in Epcot or Magic Kingdom. Fantasmic is truly a 25 minute extravaganza inside a huge amphitheater. Although the theater can hold 6,500 sitting guests and another 2,500 standing guests, you MUST arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the show...45 minutes to an hour would be better because it does fill up. There are some nights that the show is preformed twice and the second show generally fills up slower. To say the show is amazing would be an understatement. The use of giant water spouts as projection screens, Maleficent transforming into a 40 foot tall fire breathing dragon and literally boatloads of Disney characters from all across time combine with so much more to bring you an experience like nothing else. Click HERE for more information both about Fantasmic and the other nightly shows held at Disney World.

Hollywood Studios ATTRACTIONS

The Great Movie Ride
A 22 minute ride through cinema history complete with animatronics housed inside a full-size replica of Hollywood's famed Chinese Theater.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster
Disney World's only roller coaster to go upside down, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster takes guests in a stretch limo from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. If you get off the ride desperate for more, be sure to use the single rider line option and make your wait time.

Tower of Terror
The Twilight Tower of Terror is a unique ride that keeps guests guessing what will happen next. Guests buckle their seat belts and ride an old, rickety elevator up 13 floors and then drop...and rise...and drop. The number of drops and the length of each drop varies every time. We've been told there are four different sequences for daytime guests and four different sequences for nighttime guests.

Star Tours
Star Tours take you to a galaxy far, far away. You board your very own spaceship/flight simulator in this exciting 3D attraction. You quickly learn there is a "Rebel Spy" aboard your ship (someone chosen and displayed on your screen...our son LOVED when he was selected to be the Rebel Spy) and your mission becomes keeping him/her out of Vader's hands. The attraction is essentially a three act play with more than 50 different scenarios depending on which acts/characters are loaded for each particular experience so have fun riding over and over again.

Outside Star Tours, you'll find a stage for the Jedi Training Academy. Kids 4-12 learn the ways of the force daily. Check out our Jedi Training Academy post for more information!

Backlot Tour
A two-part attraction, the Backlot Tour starts with an outdoor viewing area where you get to see how a movie scene is put together (complete with a little audience participation...selected before the show-we've done it and it's a blast!). The second half is a tram ride through the Backlot of Hollywood Studios. You'll see real props that were used in some of your favorite Disney movie and television shows...and you'll have an exciting moment in Catastrophe Canyon. 

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground
Need to give your kiddo a break from running one attraction to the next? Stop at this 11,000 square foot playground and let them run till their heart's content.

Muppet Vision 3D
After a 12 minute pre-show video...aimed mostly at getting as many guests into the waiting room as possible, the theater doors will open to an exciting show with some classic favorites. It's fun for all ages and although some of the technology is getting a little old, it still entertains.

Toy Story Midway Mania
One of Hollywood Studios' most recent attractions, Toy Story Mania is popular...like get-there-first-thing-in-the-morning-and-you-might-only-wait-30-minutes/fastpasses-are-gone-by-lunch-at-the-latest popular. And there's good reason for it. The queue alone is full of giant board games and children's playthings and even a fully animatronic Mr Potato Head who has a habit of telling corny jokes and picking people out of the crowd to interact with. The ride itself is a 3D ride through several arcade scenes...each guest has a "cannon" from which they can fire pies, rings, balls, darts, and even eggs depending on which scene you are at. It's a lot of fun and the lengthy wait/necessity to get there early are worth the extra effort.

Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
A new attraction we have yet to experience, it's said that "guests will journey deepin into an eerie lost grotto, where a mysterious pirate skull puts them to the test to see if they have what it takes to set sail with the legendary Captain Jack Sparrow. Along the way, they must face all teh perils of a pirate's life as their favorite moments from the films come to life before their eyes."

One Man's Dream
A walk-through experience which plays more like a museum to Walt Disney than an attraction, this is a must do if you are fascinated by the man who created it all.

The Magic of Disney Animation
Opening with a brief explanation of animation...including an appearance by Mushu from Mulan, young animators can experiment with a drawing of their own-guided by an artist as well as explore the use of various sound and paint effects in animation.

Parades and "Extra" Entertainment
Be sure to check the times guide for parade information as well as the times and locations of the "Citizens of Hollywood"...greatly entertaining street actors who often pull in the crowd to their "scene." 

Hollywood Studios CHARACTERS

Monster's Inc Meet & Greet
The only spot at Disney World to meet Sully and Mike Wazowski is at Hollywood Studios.

Disney Junior 
Several of the popular Characters from the Disney Junior Playhouse Live show are available for pictures and autographs just outside the theater. Handy Manny, the Little Einsteins and Jake are all frequently available.

Phineas and Ferb 
Near the Muppets Vision 3D attraction, you'll find these two crazy brothers.

Buzz and Woody
A super popular meet and greet across from the even more popular Toy Story Mania attraction, Buzz and Woody have a fun queue full of photo ops that lead up the the big event (aka the moment you, or rather, we decided to traumatize our 1 yr old)

Hollywood Studios TIPS
- Because shows can be canceled and characters rescheduled, check out Steve Soare's website WDW Entertainment for showtimes as early as a week before you leave and then be sure to grab a "Times Guide" either at your Disney World Resort Hotel or at each park as soon as you arrive. The times guide will show exact times for shows, character appearances and parades.

- Outside the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Theater, you'll find the often overlooked "Do Not Pull Rope" sign and rope near what appears to be an abandoned mine shaft...on first glance it just seems like decor but look again...and ignore the sign. Pull the rope for a little extra entertainment.

- Be sure to double check the height requirement page before your trip so you'll know for sure if your little one is big enough for Star Tours, Tower of Terror or Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.

- Need to eat and let your kiddos have a little fun? Check out the Pizza Planet Arcade but be sure to have a pocket full of quarters!

- The Starring Roles Cafe in Hollywood Studios is a great place to start your own Cupcake Crawl with a four inch butterfinger cupcake...so good! (but be warned, Starring Roles often closes early)


JG said...

*sigh* yes, Starring Rolls closes early. We forgot and didn't get to go this last time around. Major disappointment.