Showing posts with label Disney's Hollywood Studios. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney's Hollywood Studios. Show all posts

Friday, June 28, 2013

Flashback Friday - Disneyland 1978


It's FLASHBACK FRIDAY! 

Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was a popular destination for our family.  Sometimes we were there just the four of us, other times with extended family members.  Oftentimes my brother and I would get to go for school or church incentives, or as awards for a successful sports season with the teams we played on.  Trips with friends, or friends' families were often the case as well, and as we became teenagers, the park was a popular destination to hang out.
  
Here's a look at Tomorrowland from April 1978.  The shot itself is a bit blurry, but it's of Sam the Eagle, host of America Sings, an all-audio animatronics show celebrating America's music, which originally opened in 1974 in honor of America's upcoming Bicentennial in 1976.  The show occupied the space originally designed and built for the Carousel of Progress which opened at Disneyland in 1967, and closed in 1973 to be shipped east to Walt Disney World.  Just as COP did, the audience revolved around a series of stages, with each section celebrating a different era in American music, with the eagle and owl seen here popping up in each sequence to tell the story of the various musical styles.  Never meant to be a long-term attraction, since the Bicentennial celebration was only meant to last from 1975 - 1977, the show closed permanently in 1988.  (I was in the last performance as the carousel spun around for it's final performance).  Prior to the closing in 1988, a few geese were stripped of their skin and found a new home in the all-new Disneyland classic Star Tours, when it opened in early 1987.  When the show was dismantled, many of the audio animatronics found new life in the Disneyland classic, Splash Mountain over in the all-new Critter Country (replacing Bear Country) in 1988 as a cost-savings measure.  Thanks the smashing success of both Star Tours and Splash Mountain at Disneyland, a whole slew of new animatronics in the same style had to be created when both Star Tours opened at Walt Disney World's Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 and Splash Mountain was added to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland in 1992.  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Disney-MGM Studios Changes


January 7, 1992 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney-MGM Studios debuts the all-new Voyage of The Little Mermaid, a multi-media presentation, replacing Here Come the Muppets. The new show is a 17-minute experience, featuring a unique combination of special effects, film clips, live performances and innovative puppetry.

January 7, 2008 – Walt Disney World – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Disney-MGM Studios is now officially called Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flashback Friday - Disney-MGM Studios 1991


Time to go back in time thanks to fun old family photos of days gone by.  Growing up in Southern California, Disneyland was the only Magic Kingdom that I knew as a kid.  It was, of course, the ONLY Magic Kingdom when my parents were kids.  My dad was almost a teenager when the park opened, becoming one just a couple of months later, and my mother was still in single-digits at the time.  Walt Disney World and all of the other Disney Destinations were still decades in the future when they were young.  


As a youth, I didn't get to go to Walt Disney World until I was 21, but have certainly enjoyed many, many visits there ever since.  Here we take a look back at that first trip to Walt Disney World, with a view of Disney-MGM Studios, as it was then known, (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) at the beautiful recreation of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater - the home of The Great Movie Ride -  which once was the view all visitors to the park encountered at the end of Hollywood Boulevard.  Sadly this view was blocked in 2004 or 2005 when the Sorcerer's Hat was constructed directly in front of it.  The theater itself is a faithful, full-scale recreation of the famous Hollywood landmark.  As a kid I enjoyed going to it for numerous films with friends.  Here I am standing in front, basically where the front of the hat stands today. 




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Trivia - The Great Movie Ride

Did you know that The Great Movie Ride, at Disney's Hollywood Studios (originally known as Disney-MGM Studios), was intended to be the heart of an "entertainment-themed" pavilion at Epcot?  It's true, that as the Imagineers developed the concepts for the attraction and pavilion, it was determined that there were so many good ideas there - too many for just a  pavilion at Epcot, and thus the 45 acre Disney-MGM Studios them park concept was born.  



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Trivia - Catastrophe Canyon

The water tanks at Catastrophe Canyon on the Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios release 70,000 gallons of water, all resetting in less than four minutes to be released all over again.  



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular


August 25, 1989 – Walt Disney World

The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular attraction is dedicated at the Disney-MGM Studios in Florida. It is the first theme park attraction to use a computer based show control system in conjunction with a programmable logic controller system to trigger, control and sequence complex live events in real time ... in many cases controlled by the actors! The 30-minute stunt show recreates some of the most thrilling and heart-pounding moments from the Indiana Jones films.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History - Rock N Roller Coaster


July 29, 1999 – Walt Disney World

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith premieres at Disney's Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney-MGM Studios) with a special, by invitation-only party featuring Aerosmith as the featured guests of honor.  The party includes a buffet of all-you-can-eat food and beverages and an opportunity to ride the roller coaster with a member of the band!    This all-new enclosed steel roller coaster is found at the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction.  The attraction will open to the public the next day, July 30th.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Today in Disney Parks and Resorts History: CARSLAND is FINALLY OPEN!!


JUNE 15, 2012:  DISNEY CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE – Anaheim, CA

After a long 5 years of multiple parts of Disney California Adventure being being a myriad of construction walls, the long anticipated re-launch of the Disneyland Resort’s “second gate” is here!  It is the culmination of the park’s 5-year, $1.8 billion dollar “re-do”, which today sees the public Grand Opening of both CARSLAND and the all-new entrance land, BUENA VISTA STREET

Originally opened February 8, 2001, Disney’s California Adventure (as it was then known), was hoped to be a huge success at transforming Disneyland into a multi-day destination “Resort” as Walt Disney World is.  With more than a $1 billion investment to transform the old Disneyland parking lot into the new theme park, as well as build the Downtown Disney District and the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the company was excited about the prospects that the second gate would offer.  Unfortunately the projections did not bear out as company management had hoped, but the park did produce one of the most original and sought after attractions in a long time – Soaring Over California (which as a result produced a copy on the east coast and opened as Soarin’ at Epcot on May 5, 2005).  In order to boost attendance and turn what was quickly viewed as a marginal, half-day park into a more full-fledged stand-alone park, additions and modifications were quickly put on the agenda:  incorporating more Disney characters and entertainment, Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorTurtle Talk with Crusha bug’s land (the first new land added offering 4 new attractions designed specifically for young children:  Heimlich’s Chew Chew, Flik’s Flyers, Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie and Tuck and Rolls Drive ‘em Bugggies ), Monsters Inc: Mike & Sully to the Rescue and the Aladdin musical stage show all came between 2002 and 2005.  In addition the Block Party Bash, filled with Pixar characters debuted in 2005 and the Main Street Electrical Parade – re-christened Disney’s Electrical Parade was added in as nighttime entertainment in 2006.  After the Block Party Bash was moved to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida in 2009, the all-new Pixar Play Parade replaced it. In 2008 construction began on a number of new attractions to the Paradise Pier area, and in 2009 construction on Carsland began.
 New and re-themed attractions for Paradise Pier included Toy Story Midway Mania (originally conceived and designed for the Paradise Pier area of the park, and shortly after construction began in 2007 it was decided to be added in to Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida as well. Ultimately the Florida version opened just days prior to the California version as there was less construction needed in Florida than California, since the California version goes underneath the California Screamin' roller coaster (which was mildly re-themed for the redo) and the Florida version is housed completely inside a pre-existing soundstage structure at that park); Mickey’s Fun Wheel (formerly the Sun Wheel), Silly Symphony Swings (replaced the original Orange Stinger), Goofy’s Sky School (formerly Mulholland Madness), the beautiful nighttime water and laser spectacular World of Color, on Paradise Bay, and The Little Mermaid: Arial’s Undersea Adventures.  New shops and restaurants were also added to the mix, as well as various daytime entertainment offerings. 

BUENA VISTA STREET, the all-new park entrance land, transports park guests to Los Angeles and Hollywood of the 1920’s, when Walt Disney first moved to California from the Midwest.  It is completely new, offering a wide array of shops and dining locations – including the Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café, which is the home of the very first Starbucks inside any Disney theme park ever.  (Starbucks will be opening locations in all other domestic Disney parks in the near future).  It was a massive undertaking for the theme park to completely shut-down and redo its’ entrance area – and the first time in Disney theme park history that the company ever made the decision to do so, but it was such a good decision.  The theming, landscaping and surroundings are simply gorgeous, and well-worth the wait and inconvenience caused to the guests throughout the construction process. With the addition of the Red Car Trolley, and numerous walk-about themed characters and musical acts, Buena Vista Street is now a charming complement to Main Street, U.S.A. across the esplanade in the original Disney theme park – Disneyland, and continues the story, if you will.  Whereas Main Street, U.S.A. represents the small-town charm of Walt’s boyhood home in Missouri, Buena Vista Street represents the optimism of the young man and his dreams as he and his brother Roy embarked on cranking out Mickey Mouse cartoons and turning the Disney Brothers Studio into the entertainment behemoth we all know and love today.

At the end of Buena Vista Street, you’ll find the Carthay Circle Theatre, a full-scale recreation of the West Los Angeles theatre that was the site of the World Premiere of Walt Disney’s 1937 classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – the first full-length animated motion picture.  This Carthay Circle Theatre doesn’t show films, but is an exquisite table-service restaurant, filled with tributes to the film and the original structure. Upstairs there is an additional dining location, open only to the membership of the newly expanded Club 33, Disneyland’s private, members-only club conceived of by Walt himself as a way to entertain various VIP’s and their guests over in New Orleans Square, on the second level of that land.  The Club has a waiting list several years long, with hundreds of people still waiting to be asked to join, but with the inclusion of the Carthay Circle’s lounge as part of the Club, several hundred new members were added to the Club’s roster. 

CARSLAND, the all-new 12 acre land recreating the Route 66 town of Radiator Springs from the Disney-Pixar CARS films is the home of 3 exciting new attractions, plus a myriad of shops and restaurants based on locations and characters from the films.
  • Flo’s V8 Café is themed 
  • dining location open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is one of the largest restaurants in the entire Disneyland Resort, full of beautiful and intricate details that help to tell the story of Radiator Springs.
  • Cozy Cone Motel is a series of quick-service counter locations, selling things such as ice cream, popcorn, churros, beverages, including beer, and other snack items.  Limited table seating is available in the courtyard.
  • Fillmore’s Taste In is a fruit and juice stand.
  • Sarge’s Surplus Shop is filled with all kinds of clothing and toys. Several unique Carsland inspired items can be found here. 
  • Ramone’s House of Body Art is full of adult clothing and car accessories, many of which are uniquely themed to the land and not available anywhere else. 
  • Lizzie’s Curios Shop was designed to be an eclectic shop filled with unique and fun trinkets and finds just as people would have found when stopping along the famed Route 66 during their cross country treks, but sadly that fun concept was discarded by management, and so this shop just sells standard Disney souvenirs available in practically every other location throughout both of the parks and Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort. It is the official Pin Trading location for the land, and the Vinylmation center as well. 
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires is a tire-inspired attraction that allows guests to hover above the air table as they move around the floor turning and bumping into each other.  It is a 21st century updated version of the “Flying Saucers” attraction that once lived in Tomorrowland at Disneyland in the mid-1960’s.  The imagineers worked hard to bring this attraction to Carsland, but from all initial testing and reports, it’s a very slow loading, low capacity attraction.  Waits will be long for just a couple of moments of air time.
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree is the sleeper hit of the land!  It is a fun musical spinner attraction where guests sit in the “tow” portion of the vehicle, behind Mater and enjoy several moments of spinning fun!  With 8 regular musical tracks playing as they spin, and lots of funny interjections from Mater along the way, guests are sure to enjoy this experience.
  • Radiator Springs Racers is by far the “star” attraction of the land.  This attraction takes guests on a thrilling journey through 6 acres of this new land!  Both indoors and outdoors, guests will find all sorts of stunning views of the new land as they interact with numerous characters from the films, and ultimately race another ride vehicle to the finish line! The theming is rock solid, the indoors sets are expansive and very well done, and the desert inspired landscaping is lush and very appropriate. The concept behind the attraction was based on the original Test Track at Epcot, but goes way beyond that in design, theme, technology and execution.  The attraction itself offers Fastpass and Standby lines, as well as a Single Rider line.

Disney California Adventure certainly has been transformed since what premiered back in February 2001.  It has been a long and interesting process to watch – but in the end, I believe that the park, and the Disneyland Resort is much better for it.   Personally I was very disappointed in the original park – with its' "hip & edgy" vibe, and very lackluster, non-Disney feel but I have and have been thrilled with each new addition. Just as Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios) was a half-day park when it first opened in 1989, that park and now this park have both grown and expanded into full-day adventures.  I used to take my son there as a “daddy-son” afternoon for an hour or two when the park first opened.  Our family has been many times through the years since we moved from Southern California to the Midwest.  We can’t wait to get back and experience it all together once more – now that the re-do has been completed.   After so long – and so many additions - the park has finally come into its’ own, and can finally be called a full-day, stand-along adventure, as the other parks in the Disney pantheon are.  


If you have not yet made a trip to the Disneyland Resort - now is definitely the time to start planning!  I'd be thrilled to help you with that process too.  If you need more information, don't hesitate to visit my website for more info. 
  


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Boardwalk Inn


Disney's Boardwalk Inn® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on July 1, 1996, opening the same days as its’ sister resort, Disney’s Boardwalk Villas® – which together make up the more commonly called Disney’s Boardwalk Resort®.  The resort is themed after the famed boardwalks of Atlantic City and Ocean City in New Jersey of the 1920’s – 1940’s.

Disney's Boardwalk Inn® features 372 guest rooms.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus 1 child under 3 in a crib; featuring either 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or two double-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.  A limited number of rooms offer a semi-private balcony.

The resort includes 1 feature pool: Luna Park Pool, with its’ roller coaster inspired waterslide, the “Keister Coaster”; plus 2 quiet pools;  a children’s pool and water play area; fishing; tennis; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings.

The resort features 4 table service restaurants:  Flying Fish Café, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, Kouzzina by Cat Cora® and ESPN Club. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Boardwalk Bakery; as well as Seasshore Sweets, which serves ice cream and other sweets; plus there are poolside /bars and room service.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn® is a deluxe level resort located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort. 



Friday, May 25, 2012

Featured Foto Friday - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Storm Troopers watch over the entrance to DHS.
Welcome to the new "Featured Foto Friday" blog post.  This "featured photo" will appear on Fridays, in addition to other possible entries - and is effectively replacing the original "Wordless Wednesday" photo feature that I've been running.  As you might have guessed, I enjoy using a play on the name of the days of the week in my blog post titles, and I have a bigger (and hopefully better) feature that I would like to start running on Wednesdays.  SO - I decided it was time to mix it up, and try to keep it fresh, and fun.  The new foto feature will also, from time to time, expand beyond my beloved Disney parks.  But for now, here's a look at Disney's Hollywood Studios, from and a visit to Star Wars Weekends with my sons.  



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Beach Club Villas


Disney's Beach Club Villas® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on July 1, 2002, becoming the 4th Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) resort at Walt Disney World® Resort, as an expansion to the existing Disney’s Beach Club Resort®.   

Like other DVC resorts located at or next to their Disney Deluxe level counterpart, the resort shares amenities with Disney's Beach Club Resort®.

Disney's Beach Club Villas® features 282 villas, in a combination of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom villas. For more specific information about Disney Deluxe Villas, please see page 19.

  • Deluxe Studios are 356 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 guests, plus 1 child under age 3 in a crib.  They include a kitchenette, 2 queen-size beds and a private porch or balcony.
  • 1-Bedrooms are 726 square feet, and can accommodate up to 4 guests, plus 1child under age 3 in a crib. They include a fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer, king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa, whirlpool tub in the bathroom, and a private porch or balcony. 
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,083 square feet, and can accommodate up to 9 guests, plus 1 child under 3 in a crib. They offer all that a 1-Bedroom has plus a 2nd bedroom with 2 queen-size beds and a 2nd full bathroom.


As a DVC timeshare property, the villas are owned by members through DVC’s points-based system.  DVC maintains about 3-4% ownership of the total point allocation for each of their timeshare resorts, therefore rooms are available for rent year-round to non-members. 
The resort includes 1 feature pool: Stormalong Bay which is one of the largest sand-bottom pools in the United States and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fishing; sand volleyball; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings. The Sandcastle Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Cape May Café and Beaches & Cream – and Cape May Café features a breakfast Character Dining experience daily. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Beach Club Marketplace; as well as a lounge/bar location: Hurricane Hannah’s

Disney’s Beach Club Villas® is located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Yacht Club Resort®


Disney's Yacht Club Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on November 5, 1990 and was designed by noted architect A.M. Stern.  It opened just 14 days prior to its’ sister resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort®.   It was designed to cater more to business clientele rather than families, providing more upscale lodgings and a Convention Center with over 73,000 square feet of space, including 2 large ballrooms and 21 breakout rooms.  Amenities are shared with its’ sister resort.

The resort is themed to invoke a New England nautical feel, with the concept that guests might even feel as if they are onboard a ship, rather than on land.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort® features 630 guest rooms.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus 1 child under 3 in a crib; featuring either 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or two double-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.

The resort includes 1 feature pool: Stormalong Bay which is one of the largest sand-bottom pools in the United States and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fishing; tennis; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings. The Sandcastle Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Yachtsman Steakhouse, Captain’s Grille. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Beach Club Marketplace; as well as a lounge/bar location: Hurricane Hannah’s

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort® is a deluxe level resort located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday Trivia - Epcot and Hollywood Studios

Did you know that there is a 100 degree temperature difference between the hot & cold rooms within Epcot's Test Track attraction?


Did you know that Beauty & The Beast-Live on Stage premiered at Disney's Hollywood Studios (then known as Disney-MGM Studios) on the same November day in 1991 that the film premiered in theaters?