Disney’s Hollywood Studios has long been a park in transition. The early days of the park were focused on films and moviemaking, though over time it changed to more Intellectual Property (IP)-based attractions. The most popular attractions in Hollywood Studios are largely buried in Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. But in addition to those hot spots, there are several other attractions, including stage shows, that are often overlooked by guests. These attractions capture the spirit of film and performances – ideas which was the original intent of the park.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Ok, admit it. You’ve always wanted to be chased by that huge, perfectly round boulder at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Without being in actual danger, of course. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular shows you just how that and many other film stunts are performed. Disney performers recreate specific scenes while a Cast Member explains the magic behind the stunts.
Technically this is a show, not an attraction, and it takes place in an outdoor (but thankfully shaded) theater. It’s a giant “people eater”, accommodating up to 2,150 people per showing. However, the theater is rarely crowded. This may be because the performances are scheduled at set times of the day, and people tend to keep moving rather than hitch themselves to a set show time. Sit close to the front and you’ll feel the heat coming off the flames of the stunt explosions. If you are lucky (and raise your hand) you just may be chosen to participate as an extra in one of the crowd scenes. This will give an even more behind-the-scenes look at the stunt process.
The lovable Muppets have been associated with Disney for decades, and they’ve made their unique presence felt in Hollywood Studios since 1991 with Muppet*Vision 3D. This attraction is a good old-fashioned 3D show, supplemented with 4D effects such as audio-animatronics, smoke, soap bubbles, and of course the crowd favorite Sweetums. Guests of this attraction enjoy the most humorous pre-show in the park, waiting in a comically decorated lobby, then watching several Muppetized announcements.
Entrance into the theater feels quite spectacular. The initial awe of the red velvet and gold decor transforms to humor once guests start to notice all the Muppet details. 3D glasses are needed to accompany Kermit on a tour of the Muppet Studios, which climaxes in a crazy experience in the Muppet Laboratories. Being this is a Muppet adventure, there are plenty of slips, trips, falls, explosions, and bad jokes to be had. This attraction is pure joy.
Outside the theater building, Muppet fans can examine many other details in the courtyard (now part of the “Grand Avenue” section of the park). If you want to keep the Muppetational mood going after the show, grab a slice or a sub over at Pizzerizzo.
Walt Disney Presents
Disney history fans are among the relative few who frequent this gem hidden right in the middle of the park. Walt Disney Presents (formerly known as Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream) is an interactive gallery located in Animation Courtyard featuring memorabilia from the Disney archives. Artifacts and keepsakes from Walt Disney’s personal life, as well as the Disney company, are proudly on display here. Guests can walk through the attraction at their own leisure, learning a bit about Walt and his dreams, with minimal stress.
In addition to the gallery portion of the attraction, there is also a 15-minute short film of Walt’s life, including his take on the creation of Mickey Mouse. At times, the short film rotates to a preview of an upcoming Disney film. Guests can walk into and out of the small show theater at their will, so there is no lining up for seating, or waiting to be dismissed by a Cast Member. This attraction pays homage to Walt in a way few other places do, along with the Carrolwood Pacific Railroad Room in Wilderness Lodge.
When you sprinkle these overlooked gems in with the most popular attractions, it makes for a very busy and entertaining day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And that still leaves everything in the middle (Alien Swirling Saucers, Frozen Sing-Along, Fantasmic, and more)! Hollywood Studios is a theme park force to be reckoned with, and you’ll want to return again for more.
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