Disney's Hollywood Studios Travel Guide
  • Photo: (c) Mikericci | Dreamstime.com

Disney's Hollywood Studios

The first thing you notice when you pass through the Hollywood Studios turnstiles is the laid-back California attitude. Palm-lined Hollywood Boulevard oozes old-time glamour.

The second thing you notice is that nostalgia for the past glories of Hollywood film is giving way to nostalgia for its depiction of the future and toward a more Disney-centric vision of the movies. As interest in Star Wars has grown, the newest land—called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge—has transformed the park in many ways.

Rather than offering a visit to a working movie studio, as the park's original concept called for, Disney is looking to immerse you in the world of beloved movies. In addition, the popularity of the Toy Story film series brought another big change. Toy Story Land, which opened in 2018, takes visitors into Andy's backyard, and brings Woody, Buzz, and a host of familiar characters to life. A new indoor attraction, Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway, sits inside Grauman's Chinese Theatre, taking the spot once occupied by the Great Movie Ride.

When the park opened in May 1989, its name was Disney–MGM Studios. Disney changed the name in 2008 to broaden its appeal. Another name change in the near future is not outside the realm of possibility. But no matter the name, the inspiration springs from the same place: America's love affair with the movies.

Although the park was built with real film and television production in mind, that has mostly halted. There are still attractions that showcase how filmmakers practice their craft, so if you're wowed by action-film stunts, you can learn the tricks of the trade at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, then you can take a close look at the legend himself, at Walt Disney Presents, where sketches, artwork, and early animation join previews of what's coming next. But the focus has shifted toward transporting you directly into the action through such big-hit attractions as Toy Story Mania!; the 3-D, Star Wars–themed simulator ride, Star Tours—The Adventures Continue; The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; and Rock ’n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith.

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