If you’re spending the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and you aren’t sure which section of the park to experience first, take this short quiz. Does your family love trying new themed dining venues? Next, does your family enjoy meeting celebrities? And last, do you have any aspiring film directors in your crew? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you might want to start your day at Echo Lake at Hollywood Studios. Here are 9 things you’ll find there that will put the magic of the movies in your day!
9. 50s Prime Time Café
Have lunch or dinner in an era when television was fairly new and kids were expected to be home for supper with the family! Disney’s 50s Prime Time Café welcomes Guests with delicious American comfort food—and in generous portions, we might add! The Prime Time Cafe specializes in entrees Mom used to make like pot roast, meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and vegetables. The food is great, and the theming is even better! Once your family is called to dinner, you’ll be seated at a 1950s-era table surrounded by all the comforts of a kitchen of that time. Televisions play clips from famous 1950s sitcoms (think The Donna Reed Show and others). Guests always refer to their servers as “aunt.” The “performances” by the servers are as much fun as the food is good, and I can tell you from experience that if you don’t eat your green beans fast enough, you might just be put in the corner by your “aunt.” Call (407) WDW-DINE or access the My Disney Experience app to make your reservation.
8. The Celebrity Spotlight
Everyone loves Olaf—even if they’ve heard their fill of “Let it Go!” At Hollywood Studios’ Celebrity Spotlight, you can shake hands and share a hug with Olaf. He also poses for pictures with his adoring fans! Though he’s very popular, there’s not usually an extremely long line to meet him. Find the Celebrity Spotlight near the Hyperion Theater. Stop by and meet this friendly frosty guy from Frozen!
7. Backlot Express
The Backlot Express is near the entrance to the Star Tours attraction at Hollywood Studios. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find different movie props and film equipment. You’ll also find various options on the menu, including burgers, hot dogs, the Dark Side Chicken and Waffles plate, the Galactic Chicken Salad and different Star Wars-inspired cupcakes for dessert.
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6. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
There’s a fabulous stunt show at Echo Lake that will wow you—and it’s the real deal! The show lasts about 30 minutes and it’s full of stunts, special effects and choreography. At the beginning of the show, Guests can volunteer to be an extra and watch as Indy and Marion escape the bad guys, leap off buildings and avoid danger at every turn. The elaborate sets and costumes make the show even more exciting! At the conclusion of the show, the director talks frankly with the audience about how the stunts are performed, how the characters “safely” fall off a building and how they can throw punches without hurting anyone! Don’t miss the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular!
5. The Dockside Diner
The Dockside Diner at Echo Lake is housed in an open-air steamer and was inspired by the 1950s-era “California-Crazy” architecture. The venue serves pulled pork sandwiches, specialty foot-long hot dogs, sodas and several alcoholic beverages.
4. Hollywood and Vine
Friends from Disney Junior stop by for breakfast at this fun restaurant for “Play-n-Dine at Hollywood and Vine!” Doc McStuffins, Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Sofia the First, Vampirina, and Roadster Racer Goofy all join in the fun while guests enjoy frittatas, fresh fruit, made-to-order omelets, pastries, breads, muffins and more. While the Disney Junior characters head out after breakfast, lunch and dinner are also fantastic character dining experiences with “Minnie’s Seasonal Dining”. Guests will have a chance to meet characters such as Minnie, Mickey, Goofy and more Disney pals – all dressed in their season’s best. No matter what the season – this is an especially popular character dining spot. Bring your camera and your autograph book. This is one restaurant at Hollywood Studios that you don’t want to miss!
3. Tune-In Lounge
The Tune-In Lounge is located just inside the 50s Prime Time Café. It’s a full bar serving specialty cocktails like Dad’s Electric Lemonade, margaritas, wines and craft and draft beers. The menu from the Prime Time Café is also available, which means you can order appetizers and entrees just like you can if you’re seated inside the restaurant.
2. For the First Time in Forever—a Frozen Sing-Along
This attraction was designed with Frozen fans in mind, and they all agree—this experience is a hit! The story of Anna and Queen Elsa is told with humor and silliness. Two of Arendelle’s royal historians take Guests through the story and lead a community sing of famous songs from the feature film. The story of Frozen is told in an interactive and comical way as scenes from the hit feature film are shown on a huge screen. Don’t worry—if you don’t know the words, the royal historians have you covered—the lyrics are also shown on the screen. The audience is encouraged to sing along, and it’s wonderful to watch children singing their hearts out! The show concludes with an exciting surprise from Queen Elsa—one you’re not expecting—but you’ll have to see the show to find out what it is!
1. Star Tours
There’s also something in the Echo Lake area for those who love simulation attractions (i.e., Soarin’, Flight of Passage, Mission: SPACE). Star Tours: The Adventure Continues is fun for everyone—whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not! At this attraction, you’ll board a StarSpeeder 1000 for a 3D simulated space flight to destinations made popular by the Star Wars saga. As you’re buckling up, C-3PO is finishing his work in the cockpit. Everything goes as planned until the StarSpeeder begins to take off while C-3PO is still at the controls—and he is not well-versed in flying the craft. Thankfully, there are those more experienced at a remote location who can assist C-3PO, but not before the StarSpeeder takes off—sometimes in reverse—and you’re on board for a flight with sudden drops, quick turns and near-misses with creatures of all kinds. FYI—if you want to feel the most thrills, don’t sit in the back row!