Destination Disney: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
–Look out! Gertie is going to eat your hair! 😉
Hooray for Hollywood! That is the feeling I get after entering Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) as I’m walking down the palm-lined Hollywood Boulevard of the 1930s and 1940s toward the central hub which sits under a 122-foot-tall replica of Sorcerer Mickey’s hat. But, when I hit the corner where Sunset Boulevard heads off to the right I change our course and we head toward Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror to try and beat the crowds for a quick big-kid indulgence. (These rides have height requirements of 48” and 40”, respectively.) My husband and I take advantage of Disney’s Rider Switch Pass, where we take turns riding the ride and watching our girls. The benefit is that one of us waits in the regular line and receives a Rider Switch Pass from a Cast Member, which is then later redeemed by the other one for minimal waiting time. We do this first thing in the morning before the regular queues fill, so we can check them off of our must-do list and move on to the rest of the park’s attractions that we will all experience as a family. (Note: DHS’s exception to this is Star Tours which also has a height requirement of 40”. We work this one in later using Fast Pass.)
While walking around DHS, our family loves to encounter this park’s unique characters and interact with them. We have found film people and old fashioned police officers who are great fun to converse with. If you see someone whose clothes are too over-the-top to be a guest, consider approaching and starting a conversation with them. It is so much fun to get carried away with these folks—no need to be shy; they always encourage our curiosity.
Our girls have their own must-do lists for this park. Their favorites are Beauty and the Beast, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and Muppet-Vision 3D, however, I am sure Toy Story Mania! will be joining this list on our next visit! Both of my girls enjoy dancing at Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, but this is especially a DHS highlight for my youngest daughter. A visit to DHS wouldn’t be complete without stopping by to see Gertie the dinosaur over near Echo Lake for some “ice cream of extinction”.
We all love to take the Magic of Disney Animation Tour. Every visit we attend the optional Animation Academy which is found at the end of this tour. I definitely do my best drawing here—which is certainly a credit to the Animation Academy’s instructing animators. They teach guests how to break down the process of drawing a Disney character into simple doable tasks. It is so much fun to follow the Animator’s directions and I love seeing my creation at the end of the lesson. It usually even resembles a Disney character. (OK, my Tigger—maybe not so much!) My oldest daughter has a real passion—and resulting talent—for drawing Disney characters. At home, she has spent countless hours drawing the characters she finds in her Disney Learn to Draw books and Disney Drawing kits that she has collected over the years. While lots of moms come to me for Disney advice, lots of kids from my daughter’s school ask my daughter to draw them a Disney character. Mickey and Minnie are the characters she receives the most requests for.
After our must-dos are done, we start to put some icing on the cake, if you will, with the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios fabulous attractions. We pass through the re-creation of Hollywood’s Chinese Theater to experience The Great Movie Ride. Here, there are audio-animatronic versions of stars from some of the most famous scenes in film making and actors who jump from the sets right into the audience’s moving vehicle. The Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is an elaborate “backyard” playground and a great place for the kids to play while waiting for a Fast-Pass window to open or a show time to roll around. The Backlot Tour gives a behind the scenes look at how some special-effects in film are produced by bringing the audience right into the action. There are also opportunities to watch how some new props, costumes and sets are made. From several points different points of view, the action of expertly driven cars that are driving through specially planned courses is filmed at the Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show. There are lots of stunts and exciting action sequences to see. In between stunt sets the filmed video is replayed, so you can understand how the special effects are made. The force is strong over at Star Tours, it always manages to pull the big-kids (40 plus inches tall) of my family in for a nonstop ST-45 flight to the moon of Endor with rookie pilot Rex. Be sure navigator R2-D2 is on board because he may be needed! Toward the end of the day we like to attend the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which is an exciting movie-stunt demonstration with the stars acting out and showing us how they do the tricks from some of their action-packed Indiana Jones scenes. Drew Carey is always ready to make us laugh and teach us about how sounds are used to add drama to movies and TV shows at his Sounds Dangerous attraction.
With all of this fun to be had it’s nice to know that this park has five great sit-down options for dinner. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s easy to have a nice and relaxing sit-dinner before heading over to Fantasmic! (Check the Calendar to see if the Fantasmic! is scheduled. If scheduled, performances are weather-permitting.) For a fun and hilarious dinner, that can almost be considered a show in and of itself, make an Advanced Dining Reservation (1-407-WDW-DINE) for the 50’s Prime Time Cafe where the food is always good and the atmosphere is always “family-style”.
Did anyone ever tell you that you ought to be in pictures? Well I just did! Now all you have to do is head on over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Ready? Lights! Camera! Action!
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