July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!
This is a post about one of my favorite parks, Hollywood Studios. Yes, I said it’s a favorite! I’ve read some other opinions online that differ, but from a visual standpoint I really enjoyed walking around the park. It has an old Hollywood theme and after visiting it I wished that this designed had carried on to the California Adventure park.
I took a TON of photos of the vintage-inspired signage (my favorite!) and will post those separately.
During Christmas-time, each park had gorgeous mega-trees out front that were designed in theme of the park they represent.
I visited in December 2014, and the sorcerer hat & ears were still up. I saw online a couple weeks after we visited they were torn down. I know there were mixed feelings on these as well, but I like them. There was a open-air pin shop under the hat that was a great spot to pick up a souvenir.
As I mentioned, there is an old Hollywood vibe to the park that is a lot of fun for vintage fans. I don’t know if Dapper Day is as big in Florida as it is in California, but this park is the perfect spot for it! The buildings have beautiful deco facades.
They have the cutest dino, Gertie, that also serves as a ice cream spot. HWS definitely has some epic themed restaurants, too!
The Prime Time Cafe is a delight and it will get its own post later! Dreamy 50s realness! & by realness, I mean it! They have tons of true vintage decorations that will make you feel like you stepped back in time.
The Sci-Fi Diner is another great vintage-inspired eatery. It feels like you’ve been transported to a drive-in theatre back in the 50s/60s. I will also make a separate post for this spot.
**TIP: If you’re interested in eating at any restaurant in any of the parks, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation before your trip. You may not be able to get in at all without one!
Hollywood Studios has attractions that are available in California, like Star Tours and Midway Mania, but I was excited they also still have Muppet Vision! It has been gone from DCA for awhile now with no signs of it returning. It was fun to see it again.
There were great Christmas decorations, including this giant Santa figure on a street facade.
Another feature that we were lucky enough to visit before its closure was the Osborne Spectacular of Dancing Lights. 2015 was their last year, to many fan’s disappointment. There was a faux street near the Muppet Vision that was reminiscent of something at Universal Studios. You could walk through during the day, but the real excitement was a night to see the light display. I’m guessing they have big plans for that space in the future.
My favorite part of the display– the baby from Dinosaurs! I remember watching that as a kid and loved seeing the blast from the past.
In the back of the park is Midway Mania, one of the most entertaining rides. As you can see from the wait time (95 minutes in this photo), it is very popular! We were there off-season and midweek and I did not see the wait time under 1 hour. It is the same ride in California if you’ve been to DCA. To save time you might want to skip it, but the queue is wonderfully designed.
The queue is designed as if you’ve shrunk down to toy-size. Mr. Potato is telling jokes like the line in DCA, but this one has much more style.
There are also great Toy Story-inspired decorations outside the ride.
For the mermaid fans, there is this beautiful fountain from the movie, “Splash.” It adds to the Hollywood vibe.
Speaking of mermaids, there is a Little Mermaid show. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t really follow the story, but it is a show that does musical numbers from the movie. If you have small children that love the music, maybe it would be a good spot to take a break from the walking, but otherwise it’s passable. I will say that the singer who played Ariel when we saw it was spot-on! She sounded just like the film, which was impressive.
The Disney Parks in Florida seem to have many stage shows– there’s an Indiana Jones stunt show, a car racing stunt show, a Beauty and the Beast live show, etc. & these are only just the shows at Hollywood Studios. I personally am not a huge fan of stage shows, so I’d pass on them. I saw a couple on this trip and don’t need to see any of them again. If you’re pressed for time you may want to skip them as well, but if you need a break they can be a welcome stop.
Maybe I’m a little on the nerdy-side, but I really enjoyed “One Man’s Dream,” and exhibition inside Hollywood Studios with Walt’s history and artifacts. You can walk around the mini-museum and they also play a movie. I loved learning about the history and process Walt cultivated for us all to enjoy these many years later.
**NOTE TO ANY DISNEY EMPLOYEES THAT MIGHT COME ACROSS THIS: I was at HWS and visited the One Man’s Dream building on Walt Disney’s birthday. There was ZERO mention of it anywhere in the park other than it was mentioned at the beginning of the film. Really? Nothing for Walt’s birthday? Why not a button or sticker for guests at the gate? Or a special cupcake or other dessert commemorating the day? It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it seems that Walt’s birthday should be acknowledged in Disney parks.**
Another great spot for the old Hollywood vibe is the Brown Derby. It is a re-creation of the iconic hot spot from the Golden Age of Cinema.
We visited the park a second day to enjoy a meal at the Brown Derby. It felt very “grown up” and might not be the best spot for the little ones. The meals were delicious, but also a little on the pricier side. It was a nice treat!
One of the best details were the copper derby hat lights!
Hollywood Studios has a beautiful “Main Street,” but they also have a great shopping area on the walk towards the Tower of Terror ride. This shop was villain-themed and was great.
Along the walls were these epic scary old-Hollywood vignettes. Set decorating for Disney sounds like a dream job to me (Disney do you need help in CA? I’m here!), and this shop really stood out for its design. I took many, many photos of the vintage-style signage and they will get their own post soon!
This is a shot of the walking/shopping area on the way to Tower of Terror. There are plenty of cool things to stop and check out along the way, including great shops and quick serve meal spots.
When the sun went down, we went back to see the light display. It was the street I mentioned before with the baby from “Dinosaurs” in the window. It was an incredible display with many fans checking it out.
The Mickey stocking was one of my favorite touches, along with the Halloween cat. We were told that when the Osborne’s mailed all the lights to Disney, they accidentally included a halloween decoration of a cat. The decorators used it in the design every year and moved it around for people to search for while they enjoyed the lights!
When we were leaving I snapped a photo of this shop window– the Minnie’s were kicking their legs like they were Rockettes. It was too cute and festive.
A great touch in the window was this poster for the “Jingle Belles.” I’ve also seen these Minnie’s as ornaments in the park. I hope they bring them back this year because I want to pick one up!
So, I’m definitely a fan of Hollywood Studios. The style, the props, and design really grabbed my attention and made me wish they had made similar choices for the DCA park. If you’re all about rides, this park will probably not keep you all day. You can get there early and hit your fave attractions, and then head out. But if you want a more leisurely time, to walk and enjoy your surroundings, I recommend it.
Disney has also announced that there will be a Star Wars land in this park in the future, so I bet it will only get more popular when that opens!
Have you visited Hollywood Studios? What was your favorite part of the park? Let me know in the comments, thanks!