Disney’s Hollywood Studios is in for some major changes in the coming years, in fact we’ve already seen some of them. There’s been the addition of Star Wars Launch Bay and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular a new firework show, a third track has been added to Toy Story Mania, and unfortunately we’ve also seen some great attractions and sections of the park close, such as Lights, Motors Action and the Backlot Studio Tour, just to name a few. But there are some exciting and innovative new lands on their way, Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. Although the park is in a state of constant flux at the moment, Hollywood Studios still has a rich history and is full of fun facts and interesting Disney details. Here are 10 facts and secrets about Hollywood Studios.
10. The Basics
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was originally named MGM Studios and opened on May 1, 1989. The park covers about 135 acres, it took about three years to build, and cost $500 million dollars. The park was inspired by the Golden Era of Hollywood in the 1930’s and 40’s, and focuses on film, television, music and theatre and of course story-telling is at the heart of it all. When the park first opened, it opened as a functional studio where films and television were filmed.
9. Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is 199 feet high, and was painted the color it is to blend in with the architecture in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot. Since the Tower of Terror is visible in the background when visiting the Morocco pavilion, Imagineers wanted it to fit in with the buildings in Morocco.
8. Brown Derby
The Hollywood Brown Derby is a signature dining experience at Hollywood Studios, it is a replica of the Brown Derby that was a popular and swanky spot for celebrities in Golden Era of Hollywood. Disney’s Brown Derby continued the tradition of the original restaurant, which was adorning the walls with sketches and caricatures of celebrities. When you are dining at the Brown Derby take note of the pictures and the colors of the frames. The pictures in black frames are prints, and those in gold frames are originals.
7. Hidden Characters
Not only can you find Hidden Mickeys at Hollywood Studios, but you can find a number of other hidden characters. The Great Movie Ride is a great attraction to search for Hidden Mickeys and characters. The Egyptian room in particular has a few to find. When your ride vehicle is stopped in this scene, look to your left and search the hieroglyphs for Mickey and Donald, and there’s also a hidden R2-D2 and 3-CP0!
Characterpalooza is an unscheduled and unadvertised character meet and greet experience. This character meet and greet occurs at the park on days that Fantasmic takes place, somewhere between the times of 4pm and 7pm. For about 20 minutes guests can meet and mingle with about 5 -10 random Disney characters that will appear in the finale of Fantasmic. It’s difficult to know exactly when and where Characterpalooza will take place, but if you happen upon it, it’s a great opportunity to meet characters that you don’t regularly see in the parks.
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5. Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner
Min and Bill’s is a counter service location with a few delicious snacks and quick eats, like mac and cheese with pulled pork, but the main attraction here is the seasonal milkshake. They aren’t advertised on their menu board, you have to get close to the counter to see what the current flavor is. Make sure you check on every visit what the seasonal shake is, because they are out of this world! Some of the previous shake flavors include Black Forest, Red Velvet Peppermint, and Cinnamon Sweet Churro.
4. The Big Cheese
When guests first enter Hollywood Studios they are greeted by a gift shop, the Crossroads of the World, which features a spinning Mickey statue high atop a globe. Mickey’s right ear actually has a very important function. His ear is made out of copper and acts as lightning rod.
3. Mr. Potato Head
The one advantage to waiting in the standby line at Toy Story Mania is that guests get the chance to see one of the most complex and advanced Audio-Animatronics at Disney, Mr. Potato Head. He talks to the guests as they wait in line, tells jokes and if you’re lucky, you may even see him remove an ear!
2. Muppet Gags
The pre-show area for Muppet Vision 3D is full of sight gags and inside jokes. It’s easy to kill some time before the show looking at all the props and gags scattered high and low. There are marching soldiers that appear in the attraction hiding up in the ceiling, and there’s also a net full of jello (if you say it out loud, you’ll get the Mouseketeer joke). And inside the attraction, notice the sheet music that the penguin orchestra has, it’s the music for The Rainbow Connection. See how many jokes or little winks you can spot when visiting this attraction.
1. Almost a Pavilion
Imagineers originally wanted the concept for Hollywood Studios to be a pavilion in Epcot, in Future World, but it quickly became apparent that the idea for the pavilion was bigger and more complex, so they decided on an entirely new theme park and we’re very glad they did!