Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the second smallest park (slightly larger than the Magic Kingdom) and the second newest (Animal Kingdom is the latest park) at Walt Disney World. It does have a lot of neat history and facts that went into the creation of the park. Here are 10 fun facts and secrets that you will definitely want to know about Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
10 – The Studios was almost a pavilion at Epcot.
When the Imagineers were putting ideas and thoughts together for creating an area focused on movies and animation, the first thought was to build the area as a land in Epcot. The land would have been a new pavilion in Future World at Epcot focused on this theming. Once Universal Studios announced their plans to open a park, Michael Eisner (the CEO at the time) decided that the concept should be made into a full theme park to compete with Universal Studios. This is what ultimately resulted in getting this theme park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios).
9 – Lightning actually struck the Tower of Terror.
You will notice that there are lightning rods on top of the Tower of Terror. The story behind the ride in the movie you watch before you board is that the elevator was struck by lightning and caused the inhabitants of the elevator to disappear into another dimension. Eerily enough, when the attraction was being built, it actually was struck by lightning. After that, the attraction had lightning rods added to the top to help prevent any lightning issues. You can find YouTube videos online of occurrences of the rods being struck by lightning, too.
8 – The Hollywood Brown Derby is a replica.
If you watched old TV shows like “I Love Lucy,” you may already know about The Hollywood Brown Derby. It was a famous restaurant in Hollywood, California where the stars were notorious for dining. The restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an exact replica of the restaurant in Hollywood, right down to some of the menu items that were on the menu in Hollywood. If you look around the restaurant, pay special attention to the picture frames of the caricatures on the walls. The pictures in the black frames are replicas of the originals that hung in the Hollywood location. The gold frames are the originals from the Hollywood restaurant. The restaurant is no longer in operation, so our Brown Derby is the only one left.
7 – The barcode isn’t random on Toy Story Midway Mania.
When you are in the queue for the attraction, pay special attention to the big board game and the bar code on the box. The numbers for the bar code represent December 15, 2006. Why is this significant, you ask? Well, this is the date that the plans for Toy Story Midway Mania was announced to the public.
6 – The water at Fantasmic! is actually very shallow.
When you go to see Fantasmic! At the Studios, pay special attention to the lake around the mountain. When you watch the show and see all of the boats, pyrotechnics, and water effects, you would imagine that the lake might be reasonably deep. It is actually only 1.5 feet deep! Don’t let it fool you to think it is a small lake, though. Even at 1.5 feet deep, the man-made lagoon takes 1.9 million gallons of water to fill it. That is enough water to supply over 24,000 bathtubs!
5 – Aerosmith’s Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster was built outside.
We all love this thrilling coaster as we race through the dark to the sounds of Aerosmith music. Interestingly enough, the roller was actually built entirely outside first with no coverings or walls. Once the roller coaster was complete, then the structure was built around it to create the utterly dark experience that is part of what makes the roller coaster unique and pull off the entire theme and experience.
4 – Live film was planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
When the park was first planned, one of the plans was to be able to complete live filming for shows, movies or other efforts right from the park. This never really came to fruition as the attractions in the possible planned filming areas were too loud and disruptive to be able to complete any real tapings or recordings. Too bad!!!
3 – Slinky Dog Dash’s inspired looks.
As honorary toys, guests have Andy of Pixar Animation Studios’ Toy Story films to thank for this incredibly fun experience. They get to ride his creation and be inside Slinky Dog’s coils as the lovable pooch twists and turns around the track. It all takes place in Andy’s backyard, where he used the Dash & Dodge Mega Coaster Play Kit to assemble this speedy toy. Andy’s idea for his double-launch coaster – a Disney first – was to pick everyone’s favorite floppy-eared dachshund with the stretching coil body – Slinky Dog – to send guests around the track. The attraction’s ride vehicles are spring-tailed spinoffs of Slinky, the iconic American toy from the 1940s. Track and supports for the coaster are done up in bright colors of red, orange, yellow and blue.
2 – Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is huge!
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge spans more than 14 acres, making it the largest single-themed land expansion in Disney Parks history. More than a dozen venues fill the land, including Resistance and First Order encampments, a spaceport, and a bustling marketplace. The land was created with more than 200,000 square feet of rockwork and approximately 260,000 square feet of themed plaster. Finally, more than 7,000 props were created to fill the land.
1 – Tons of nods to Disney history in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is full of hidden gems that nod to Disney history. It will likely take many times through the attraction to spot them all, but here are just a few:
- A newspaper features the headline “Oswald Wins!” – a reference to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the cartoon character created by Walt Disney that predates Mickey Mouse.
- The Iwerks and Uwerks Waterworks water treatment plant is named for Disney Legend Ub Iwerks, the animator credited with sketching Mickey Mouse for the first time.
- The 1401 Flower Shop is an homage to Walt Disney Imagineering’s headquarters in Glendale, Calif.
- The numbers 1901 and 1928 can be seen inside the attraction; these are references to Walt Disney’s and Mickey Mouse’s birth years, respectively.
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