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Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney World

Disney's Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. Spanning 135 acres (546,000 m²) in size, its theme is show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. The third park built at the resort, it opened on May 1, 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios.

In 2010, the park hosted approximately 9.6 million guests, ranking it the fifth-most visited amusement park in the United States, and eighth-most visited in the world.

The park is represented by The Sorcerer's Hat, a stylized version of the magical hat from Fantasia. It replaced the Earful Tower as the park's icon in 2001.

The idea that led to Disney’s Hollywood Studios began at its sister park, Epcot. A team of Imagineers led by Marty Sklar and Randy Bright had been given an assignment to create two new pavilions for the park's Future World section. The fruits of the brainstorming sessions were the Wonders of Life pavilion and the Great Movie Ride pavilion. The second of the two was to have sat between the Land pavilion and the Journey Into Imagination pavilion, and was to look like a soundstage backdrop, with a movie theater-style entrance in the middle. The actual attraction is very similar to the plans for the equivalent at Epcot, only, when newly-appointed CEO Michael Eisner saw the plans for the pavilion, he requested that, instead of placing the ride in an already existing park, it should be surrounded by a brand new theme park which extended the showbiz, Hollywood and entertainment theme.

The park consists of six themed areas. Unlike the other Walt Disney World parks, Disney's Hollywood Studios does not have a defined layout; it is more a mass of streets and buildings that blend into each other, much like a real motion picture studio. The layout of the park, however, did have an interesting design characteristic. The plaza at the end of Hollywood Boulevard featured a large Hidden Mickey, which was visible in aerial photographs of the park and on the park's early guide maps. However, construction and other changes to the park have eliminated much of this image.

Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard serves as the park's main entrance and is lined with venues selling Disney merchandise. Parades such as the Pixar Block Party Bash travel down Hollywood Boulevard on their route through the park, and live street entertainment can be found here throughout the day. Michael Eisner, who had a major part in the park's creation ever since the earliest development, demanded the opening land operate on the same principle as Main Street, U.S.A. but in a style more fitting to the Studios.

At the far end of Hollywood Boulevard stands the Sorcerer's Hat, the icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Behind it, inside a replica of Grauman's Chinese Theater, is The Great Movie Ride, a dark ride paying homage to several classic films, including Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Echo Lake is the park's small oval-shaped lagoon, which was designed to form one of the ears in the enormous Hidden Mickey from the park's original layout. Surrounding it are numerous attractions and services, some in structures designed to mimic the "California Crazy" form of architecture from Hollywood's Golden Age.

At The American Idol Experience, park guests can audition and sing for live audiences, and potentially win a special front-of-the-line pass for the popular TV series' real tryouts. Next door, Sounds Dangerous! features a 3-D audio presentation starring comedian Drew Carey. In between them is the A.T.A.S. Hall of Fame Plaza, a display of busts of past and present icons of the television era, such as Oprah Winfrey and Walt Disney.

Echo Lake
Echo Lake includes three attractions based on characters and films produced by George Lucas' Lucasfilm studio. Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is a 3-D motion simulator ride set in the Star Wars universe. This attraction also exists at Disneyland Park. The Jedi Training Academy, a live-action stage show, invites children to become "padawan learners" and receive "lightsaber training" from a Jedi master. Lastly, the live-action Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! re-enacts various scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark while illustrating how movie stunts are performed.

Streets of America
Originally the New York Street backlot set that was part of the park's original Backlot Studio Tour, the section was later opened to pedestrian traffic. More recently, additional architectural treatments were added to create street sets resembling San Francisco and New York. The current version of the Studio Backlot Tour features the American Film Institute Showcase, a rotating exhibit of movie props and memorabilia, and a tram ride through the backlot areas and through Catastrophe Canyon, an effects-laden "movie set". Muppet*Vision 3D is a 3-D film featuring Jim Henson's Muppets. The attraction utilizes multiple effects to display the characters inside the theater during the presentation. Younger guests can play amongst oversized plants and toys at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure, based on the 1989 Disney film. Added in 2005, the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is a behind-the-scenes look at how vehicle action sequences are created for films, and was adapted from a similar show at Walt Disney Studios Park.

Animation Courtyard
This section of the park originally was the starting point for the tours of the park's active production studios. Its entrance is marked by a square "studio arch," much like a real Hollywood studio lot entrance might be marked. The Animation Courtyard is home to a number of attractions based on Disney characters of yesterday, today and tomorrow. The Magic of Disney Animation is an attraction that examines the development process of an animated character. It also includes interactive games and exhibits, along with meet-and-greet areas for Disney and Pixar characters.

Mickey Avenue, a sub-section of Animation Courtyard, is home to a walk-through exhibit, Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, which explores the life and legacy of Walt Disney through photos, models, rare artifacts, and a short biographical film narrated by Julie Andrews.

The Courtyard section also hosts two live shows. Playhouse Disney Live on Stage! entertains guests with puppet characters from the Playhouse Disney block of programming on The Disney Channel, including Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Handy Manny, and Little Einsteins. Across the plaza, Voyage of the Little Mermaid uses glow-in-the-dark puppets, lasers, music, projectors, human actors and water effects to re-create favorite scenes and songs from the animated Little Mermaid film.

Pixar Place
The park's newest section includes many of the original soundstages used when the park hosted actual production facilities. Today, Pixar Place resembles the Emeryville, California campus of Pixar Animation Studios. Its sole attraction is Toy Story Midway Mania!, an interactive 3D attraction inspired by classic carnival midway games, each hosted by characters from the Toy Story film series. Pixar Place is also the home of Luxo Jr., a six-foot-tall audio-animatronics version of Pixar's desk-lamp mascot. The moving character performs periodic shows throughout the day and evening across from Toy Story Midway Mania.

Sunset Boulevard
Sunset Boulevard was the first expansion to Disney's Hollywood Studios, opening in July 1994. The visual focal point of Sunset Boulevard is The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a thrill ride based on the classic television series. Located nearby is Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, an indoor roller coaster in the dark with three inversions and a high-speed launch.
Sunset Boulevard has two outdoor amphitheaters for live stage shows. The covered Theater of the Stars hosts Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, a stage show featuring highlights of the film. The open-air Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the home of Fantasmic!, a nighttime show featuring Mickey Mouse and many other Disney characters in a story filled with fireworks, lasers and water effects.

Live entertainment
Disney's Hollywood Studios has featured numerous forms of in-park entertainment throughout its history. During its early years, the park featured the "Star Today" program, with a daily celebrity guest. The celebrity would often be featured in a motorcade along Hollywood Boulevard, or would take part in a handprint ceremony at the Great Movie Ride's entrance, or even participate in an interview session.

At other times, Disney has imported characters that were not part of its own library of films and television shows. Some of these characters have included the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective and characters from the Goosebumps series by author R. L. Stine. The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers made appearances in the park during the first seasons of the television series, but then vanished. Disney had ownership of the Power Rangers franchise through its purchase of Saban Entertainment until May 2010 when Saban Entertainment purchased the franchise back, and were regular members of the park's cast of characters through that time.

Many of the park's costumed entertainers are not related to any particular film or TV show. Instead, they are live-action caricatures of figures from Hollywood's history. Originally dubbed "streetmosphere" by Disney and now called the "Citizens of Hollywood", they appear at regular intervals on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. Some of these characters include directors, talent agents, starlets or hopefuls, and will often take part in streetside shows that will include audience participation.

Today, guests are treated to a wide array of characters and performers, many of which make their only Walt Disney World appearances at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Some examples include characters from JoJo's Circus, Little Einsteins and Kim Possible. Similarly, characters from new Disney and Pixar animated features will make their Walt Disney World debuts at the park, such as those from Bolt and Pixar's Ratatouille. Live musical acts, such as the cover band Mulch, Sweat and Shears and the a cappella quartet Four For a Dollar, will perform on the park streets or as pre-show entertainment at the larger shows.

Like the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom parks, Disney's Hollywood Studios also runs daily parades down Hollywood Boulevard. The "Pixar Block Party Bash" parade features Pixar film characters performing in a street party along Hollywood Boulevard and near Echo Lake. Several times each day, the "High School Musical 3 Senior Year : Right Here Right Now" show will travel Hollywood Boulevard before performing a live street show in front of the Sorcerer's Hat.


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