Saturday, November 29, 2014

Orlando: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Gate to Disney's Hollywood Studios

On Sunday, I left Destination D early so Tim and I could explore Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park (formerly Disney-MGM Studios). Imagine our surprise when we were greeted by the same faux Pan-Pacific streamline-moderne architecture that also welcomes guests to our own Disney California Adventure (DCA). Even more exciting was the park's main street, "Hollywood Boulevard," which completely resembles L.A.'s mid-Wilshire district, where we lived for several years. I could hardly believe my eyes: 1930s Los Angeles Art Deco recreated right in the middle of Orlando, FL. Who knew? (Click here for the first in a series of interesting articles about the architecture of Disney's Hollywood Studios.)

Excellent replica of the iconic Crossroads 
of the World spire (sans Mickey) that's 
located on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, CA

Recreation of the 1935 Darkroom camera shop on
Wilshire Blvd.

Reproduction of the old J.J. Newberry 
store on Hollywood Blvd.

Based on the Academy Theatre in
Inglewood, CA

Inspired by the Floral Depot in
Oakland, CA

Commemorating the long-lost Carthay Circle 
Theatre, where Walt premiered Snow White,
and which also inspired the glorious Carthay Circle
restaurant in Disney California Adventure

The glamorous now-gone Brown Derby restaurant on 
Vine in Hollywood

The entire park is a giant homage to 20th-century movie-making. Instead of a plethora of rides, Hollywood Studios offers plenty of shows, like the "Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular," and backlot attractions. We ate lunch at a charming facsimile of L.A.'s world-famous Original Farmer's Market and then rode the "Great Movie Ride," a 20-minute journey through the history of Hollywood's classic cinema. Afterward, we visited the "Walt Disney: One Man's Dream" exhibit that ends with a brief but moving documentary about Walt.

Disney calls it the Sunset Ranch Market,
but we know it's really supposed to be
L.A.'s Original Farmer's Market

Replica of Walt's office in the "One Man's Dream" exhibit

Entrance to the "Great Movie Ride:" a
faux Grauman's Chinese theater,
complete with celebrity footprints

Many of the rides and shows (e.g., "The Magic of Disney Animation," "Star Tours," and "Twilight Zone Tower of Terror") are also available at DCA and Disneyland, so I doubt we'll ever return. But it was fun seeing a group of pre-teen kids learning to use lightsabers, and then dueling with Darth Vader, as part of their Jedi Academy training. I can think of at least one young man who would probably love a bit of Star Wars cosplay at Walt Disney World.

"Sorcerer Mickey's Hat," similar to the one
at Disney's Burbank studios—reports confirm
the Orlando hat is being removed in early 2015

No comments: