Today marks 24 years since Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened (although then it was called Disney-MGM Studios). Even though it wasn’t a big anniversary with a celebration like I attended at Animal Kingdom last week, I still wanted to visit the park to commemorate the day.
I’m going to be honest. I’m not the biggest fan of Hollywood Studios. I think some of the shows are stale, the theme doesn’t excite or interest me, and there aren’t many rides. However, even though it isn’t my favorite park, there are still several things I enjoy there, so I was off to hit the highlights and check out a couple of new things.
The Crowd Calendar had Hollywood Studios predicted at a 4.8 out of 10, and it was raining, so I knew crowds wouldn’t be too bad. I arrived at the park late in the morning, and even though I was hungry I decided to go straight to Toy Story Mania to see if there were any FASTPASS tickets left for the day. There were! But the return window did not start until 7:15pm. I then headed to ABC Commissary to try the Seafood Platter that had been recently added to the menu.
The Seafood Platter had fried fish, fried shrimp, and french fries for $9.49. It tasted about as good as you would expect cheap, fast food seafood to taste. It wasn’t inedible, but I definitely don’t think I will order it again. The shrimp were much lower quality than the ones used at Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom, and they also weren’t as fresh. There are several other inexpensive lunch options in the park that I really enjoy (hello, Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dog!) so I wouldn’t waste a meal on this again.
After lunch I headed over to the Studio Backlot Tour. This is one of the attractions that I really don’t enjoy. It’s boring, stale, and downright awful compared to similar attractions at other theme parks. But, it had been a very long time since I had been on, and I wanted to see if any new props or sets had been added. Unfortunately, it was all the same. Despite my disappointment I did have a wonderful time lingering in the prop warehouse before boarding the tram, and I didn’t have to worry about getting wet during Catastrophe Canyon since I was already decked out in my rain gear.
At the end of the actual ride was my favorite part: The American Film Institute Showcase! I really enjoy looking at the props, costumes, and scripts on display from classic and current movies. They also play a great music loop consisting of music from several of the movies features as well as other favorites such as Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music. I hadn’t spent much time in this area since it was last redone, so I took a long time looking at all of the new exhibits and reading all of the cards describing it all. I highly recommend checking out this area. If you don’t want to experience the Backlot Tour first, you can enter through the store at the exit and bypass the ride.
When I finished there I decided to spend some time over at One Man’s Dream. It’s so fantastic to see all of the old models and artwork! If you haven’t spent time here, you need to see it. It really inspires greater appreciation for Disney animation, theme parks, and innovation. The only downside was that when I went to watch the movie it was so dirty, scratched, and jumpy it was unwatchable. I actually had to leave because the jumpiness was bothering me. I let Guest Services know on the way out, so hopefully they can get it fixed up.
From there I headed to The Magic of Disney Animation. I had heard the Production Gallery had replaced the Wreck-It Ralph display with art from Monsters University, and I was eager to see it. I was already excited for the upcoming film, and the exhibit only enhanced those feelings. There were sketches, models, and up-close looks at new characters. There were three cases of artwork, each representing a different aspect of Monsters University: Campus Life, Greek Life, and Student Life. In addition, in the center of the room were three separate stands with maquettes of Mike, Sully, and a new character from the movie.
Next up, I spent some time visiting my favorite attractions while waiting for my Toy Story Mania FASTPASS to become valid. I hit Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and utilized the Single Rider queue at Rock n’ Roller Coaster. When I finished up all of those it was time for Toy Story Mania! I planned to stick around for Fantasmic!, but the weather radar wasn’t looking to promising, and I was worried it would get rained out. Since I plan on being back at the park this Saturday for the Limited Time Magic Event “May the 4th Be With You” I figured I can try to catch it then when it will (hopefully) be less wet. I took one more quick lap around the park and then headed out, ending my day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.