Disney's Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios Overview
Rumors are that the popular holiday version of The Comedy Warehouse will be returning to Hollywood Studios this year. Last year, the improv comedy show ran from 12/23/12-1/5/13 and was held in the Premier Theater. Alums from The Comedy Warehouse returned to perform in the show and used suggestions from the audience to remake holiday classics. Performances will be included in daily park admission.
When Disney's Hollywood Studios opened on May 1, 1989, chairman Michael Eisner declared "Welcome to the Hollywood that never was and always will be." Sounds great, doesn't it? Here's what he should have said: "Welcome to the theme park that Disney slapped together the minute Universal Studios announced plans for a park in Florida." They did beat out Universal which opened in 1990, but the then "Disney MGM Studios" was sorely lacking in attractions and was far from a full day park.
At the time, the only attractions were the Great Movie Ride, The Backlot Tour (which was the Backstage Studio Tour), Magic of Disney Animation and the Monster Sound Show (which later morphed into Sounds Dangerous). (Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular was still a work in progress and didn't open until August.) Yessiree, it was a thrill a minute with all of 4 attractions. They did have an evening fireworks show "Sorcery in the Sky" which debuted a year later. By then Star Tours had opened.
Over the years, attractions and shows have come and gone. It wasn't until Sunset Boulevard opened in 1994 featuring Twilight Zone Tower of Terror that Disney's Hollywood Studios finally started to come into its own. This section is also home to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster which opened in 1999.
One great show that has survived since 1991 is the Beauty and the Beast stage show. Unfortunately, the equally wonderful Hunchback of Notre Dame stage show did not last.
Originally, the Earffel Tower was the park's icon, only to be outdone by yet another oversized hat, the 122 ft tall Sorcerer's Mickey's Wizard Hat. You can't miss it, they plunked it right in front of the replica Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Disney's Hollywood Studios is a mixed bag when it comes to attractions for little kids. There's the "Voyage of the Little Mermaid", "Disney Junior - Live On Stage", "Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3-D" and the aforementioned "Beauty and the Beast" as well as the 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids" Playground. There are also a ton of character meet and greets. On the flip side, the length of most of the shows and attractions will make some kids (including those over 21) start to squirm in their seats.
It's impossible to track how many parades this park has hosted, so we're not going to even attempt it. The latest is Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun, which replaced Block Party Bash. The general concensus seems to be that Block Party Bash was better, but if your children love Pixar characters (as most probably do), you'll probably have to make time for it anyways.
Speaking of which, Disney's Hollywood Studio's "Fantasmic!" is based on the super popular Disneyland show. Unfortunately, it's not identical and the best scene from the California version is missing from this one. If you've never seen the one in CA, you'll probably think it's fantastic. For those of us who have seen both, I won't spoil it but, in comparison, you wish they left it alone. They also added the "Lights, Camera, Action! Extreme Stunt Show" from Disneyland Paris.
Disney's Hollywood Studios is home to perennial special events starting with "ESPN - The Weekend, Stars Wars Weekends. The best is the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights for the holidays. Fortunately, the latter isn't just a weekend event but covers the full Christmas season. If you're in town when it's there, you definitely don't want to miss it.
One thing that's consistently noteworthy at Disney's Hollywood Studios are the great restaurants. The Hollywood Brown Derby is a detailed replica of its legendary namesake and is fantastic. At the 50's Prime Time Cafe you're back at "Mom's" (if you grew up in the 50's), with black and white TV's showing highlights of sitcoms from that era. Be prepared as they do give you a hard time if you don't eat all of your veggies or put your elbows on the table. It's all part of the shtick. If you don't like that sort of thing, you may want to go elsewhere.
At the Sci-Fi Drive In, you're seated in convertibles watching clips of some pretty cheesy horror flicks. Then there's Mama Melrose's Ristorante. Just walking in and getting a whiff of the wood fired pizza oven makes you hungry. Hollywood and Vine is a buffet with a character breakfast and lunch. As always, the usual assortment of counter service restaurants are everywhere.
Toy Story Mania! opened in May of 2008. This is one of the best (and busiest) attractions in Disney World. The American Idol Experience gives guests a glimpse into what it would be like to be involved in the production of a Hollywood TV show.
There you have it. A little history of "Disney's Hollywood Studios" from its less than stellar opening to the theme park of today. In this case, it didn't start with a Mouse but with a rival studio opening a theme park just a few miles from Mickey's door.
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- Limited Time Magic: Secret Santa Week - Visit the Town Square Christmas Tree on Main Street and see Duffy in his Christmas outfit. Other Disney characters will be located around the park. Get a special decorated keepsake card from each one as a souvenir.
- Limited Time Magic: Tour the Magic Kingdom with Phil Holmes - 25 lucky guests will get to tour the park with current Vice President Phil Holmes.
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- Guests at All Star Resorts will no longer receive Key to the World cards - As of 12/2/13, guests at All Star Sports Resort will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in. This will begin at All Star Music on 12/4/13 and at All Star Movies on 12/6/13. This system is already in place at Pop Century.
- VIDEO: it's a small world Holiday Full POV Ride-Through - The happiest cruise that ever sailed gets even merrier for the holidays. it's a small world, the 1964 World's Fair attraction that came to Disneyland in 1966, gets a full overlay for the holiday season including decorations and a new soundtrack!
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- Specialty food and drink offered for holidays at Epcot - New this holiday season, each country will be serving a specialty food and drink.
- New bus loop at Magic Kingdom open - In addition to regular single stops, there are several double stops that will accommodate two regular buses or one of the new articulated buses.
- Limited Time Magic: Donate a Duffy the Disney Bear to Toys for Tots - Visit the Once Upon a Toy store or the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney and with every $5 purchase, Disney will donate a Duffy the Disney Bear toy to Toys for Tots.
- Limited Time Magic: Jolly Year of the Ear - Celebrate the season in style with Santa Mickey and Minnie Santa ear hats - only available for a short time at the Emporium at Magic Kingdom.
- Times and dates for Epcot holiday storytellers - Each country has its own special theme that highlights its culture. Storytellers will delight you with tales of their heritage and how the holidays are celebrated in their homeland.
- VIDEO: "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen in Celebrate the Magic - This holiday season, "Let It Go" from Disney's Frozen is featured in Celebrate the Magic, the nighttime projection show on Cinderella Castle.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street Plaza - Cinderella Castle November 11, 2013 - Night
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- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A. - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at Main Street U.S.A. Bridge - Main Street U.S.A., November 11, 2013 - Night
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- New holiday entertainment for the Canada pavilion at Epcot - Follow the Canadian Holiday Voyageurs on a musical tour to discover the country's holiday customs.
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- Royal Caribbean is offering a $200 Onboard Credit and 50% Reduced Deposit! - The offer is only available for booking on December 2, 3 and 4, 2013.
- Disney Vacation Club members offered event at Splitsville Luxury Lanes - On December 2 and 9 from 5-6:45pm, the experience will include bowling, shoe rental, a shared appetizer, an entree (or kids' meal), a signature beverage and a special DVC gift.
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- Limited Time Magic: Thanksgiving Treats Available - Special treats will be available at various locations in the theme parks.
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- Limited Time Magic: Jingle Cruise poster giveaway - Celebrate the Jingle Cruise at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park with a complimentary mini poster while supplies last.
- Several rehabs scheduled for the Magic Kingdom - Among the closings are The Plaza Restaurant, Pinocchio Village Haus, Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, Barnstormer, and the Liberty Square Riverboat.
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- The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special to return? - Rumors are that the popular holiday version of The Comedy Warehouse will be returning to Hollywood Studios this year.
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- VIDEO: Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 - What happens when you combine one 30,000 pound, 65 foot tree, one 40 foot star, 5500 twinkling lights, 430 feet of garland, 325 ornaments, 275 feet of strung popcorn, 400 flickering candles, 135 candy canes, 100 gingerbread cookies and the Disney Characters? Why, you have the perfect recipe for Christmas at the Magic Kingdom!
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Photography - Creative photos from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
- Christmas dining options for Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Christmas menus.
- Thanksgiving dining options at Walt Disney World - All restaurants on property will be open as normal, but some are serving special Thanksgiving menus.
- New looks available for the holidays at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique - Now through 1/3/14, little girls can choose from a Frozen Package or a Holiday Minnie Package.
- Santa Claus comes to Downtown Disney - At the Marketplace, you'll find Santa Claus waiting to greet you at his chalet in front of the World of Disney store.
- VIDEO: Josh Gad - Voice of Olaf in "Frozen" - Interview - Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf in "Frozen" and "World of Color - Winter Dreams" and Tony Award nominee for "The Book of Mormon", takes a few minutes to talk about how important it was to work on a Disney film that led to a theme park experience and the music behind it all.
- All guests at Pop Century will now use MagicBands - As of 11/14/13, guests at Pop Century will no longer receive a Key to the World card. All information for the resort and parks will be on the Magic Band you receive when you check in.
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Today's Theme Park Hours
Epcot Future World:
Epcot World Showcase:
|9:00 - 7:00
9:00 - 9:30
11:00 - 9:30
9:00 - 8:00
9:00 - 7:00
10:00 - 5:00
Extra Magic Hour Evening: Epcot FW