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Amusement Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios – a Potted History

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an amusement park which is part of the Walt Disney Resort located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The amusement park first opened in 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios and originally drew its inspiration from the Hollywood ‘heydays’ of the 1930s and 40s. It was the third amusement park to be built at the resort and, in 2008, it attracted over 9.6 million visitors making it the United States’ 4th most visited amusement park that year and the 7th most visited amusement park in the world.

The design for the amusement park was initially based upon the existing design of its sister park, EPCOT, and originally, it was just going to consist of two pavilions which were initially going to be integrated into the existing EPCOT amusement park until Disney’s CEO at the time, Michael Eisner, decided that EPCOT should be surrounded by a brand new amusement park which would extend the Hollywood, showbiz and entertainment theme.

The amusement park today consists of six different themed areas and is less strictly defined in terms of design than the other Walt Disney World amusement parks in that it is more a blend of buildings and streets that merge together. 

Hollywood Boulevard acts as the amusement park’s main entrance and as well as live street entertainment throughout the day, this is the area of the amusement park which features numerous kiosks selling Disney merchandise. At the end of Hollywood Boulevard is the iconic Sorcerer’s Hat – the familiar image of Hollywood Studios – and behind that is a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Great Movie Ride which pays tribute to classic Hollywood films such as The Wizard of Oz and Casablanca.

Echo Lake is a small lagoon at the amusement park and it features the American Idol Experience where you, too, can audition to become an actual contestant on the next series of this hugely popular TV series. There are also 3 attractions based on the movies of legendary producer George Lucas of Star Wars and Return of the Jedi fame. Young children can even receive ‘light sabre training’ from a ‘Jedi Master’.

Streets of America replicates street sets resembling both San Francisco and New York where kids can also play amongst humungous sized plants and toys which pay homage to the successful movie, ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’.

There are also two separate areas at the amusement park which pay tribute to the part animation has played in Disney’s overall commercial success – Animation Courtyard where you can learn all about the famous man himself, Walt Disney, as well as enjoying live shows including Playhouse Disney and the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and also Pixar Place in which you’ll experience some of the latest up to date animation technological achievements and enjoy games and attractions related to the series of Toy Story films.

Sunset Boulevard’s main attractions at the amusement park focus on its two outdoor amphitheatres which host live stage shows.

And, in traditional Disney amusement park style, visitors will enjoy meets and greets from many Disney and Pixar characters along the way.

See also:
Amusement Parks: Dinosaur Park – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Jungle Island – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Wet ‘N’ Wild – a Potted History
Amusement Parks: Weeki Wachee Springs State Park – a Potted History

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