16 August 2012

Where in Walt Disney Word: Hollywood Studios

I am a HUGE Disney buff, and my specialist subject would be Walt Disney World. I've been lucky enough to visit Disneyland in California and the one in Paris, but WDW is by far my favourite and in my opinion the ultimate.

After many years of travelling to the Sunshine state of Florida, and visiting Disney World i thought i'd impart some wisdom, tips and tricks, the best things to do and maybe what not to, just in case any of you are ever thinking of taking the trip or maybe i can intrigue you to do so. So, get ready for a the ultimate guide to Walt Disney World and the surrounding area while i'm away at the same destination.
Walt Disney World covers 30,080 acres and holds four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site Disney themed resorts and 8 resorts that aren't Disney owned. You can even find a campground, two spas and physical fitness centres, five golf courses and a plethora of other recreational activities and entertainment. Walt Disney developed the resort in the early 1960's but sadly died in 1966 before his original plans were fully recognised and before it's completion in 1971. Disney World opened on October 1st 1971 with only the Magic Kingdom but EPCOT was added in 1982, Hollywood Studios - formerly MGM Studios - in 1989 and Animal Kingdom in 1998.

It's a place where dreams are made. Come with me and explore the ins and outs of the happiest place on earth.
Formerly MGM, Hollywood Studios offers a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood style action; Live shows, thrilling attractions, backstage tours and star studded special events. In this theme park you're immersed into the 1930s and 40s captured by the chrome and art deco architecture, like you're on a large bustling movie set. Every year this park hosts the Star Wars weekend mid-June where buffs can come together and enjoy there love of the movie, with special events and star guests it's a weekend to remember.

The amazing and exciting thing about Hollywood Studios is you're not just given the opportunity to ride or see the inspiration from the silver screen, you're also invited to step centre stage to try things for yourself.

"Whether you seek rockin' adventures, playful stage performances, intergalactic fantasy or fascinating film history, you'll find it all—and more—at Disney's Hollywood Studios, where movie magic comes to life!"

The American Idol Experience at Hollywood Studios gives you the chance to watch, perform and vote for your favourite performers. If your dream has forever been to sing in front of an audience, this could be your chance. Whether you're voted best singer of the day or not this an experience you'll never forget. If performing isn't for you, why not take part as an audience member as the attraction features all the glitz of the hit television series' set and offers you the chance to experience the thrill of the show. It all comes down to the voting - you have the chance to determine the destiny of the performer onstage, by voting using the interactive keypad at your seat. Hollywood studios boasts interactive entertainment and the American Idol Experience is no different. As a performer, if you're voted the favourite for the day you get the chance to win a Dream Ticket and if you're eligible to use the Dream Ticket - as you have to comply with American Idol TV Programme requirements - you have the opportunity to make a reservation to to sing in front of an American Idol representative at an actual regional audition of the TV show. If singing has always been your dream, then why not test out your skills in front of a live audience while at Walt Disney World - it doesn't get much more magical than that!

The Magic of Disney Animation is a 20 minute show where guests are invited to discover the process of creating animated characters. You'll go behind the scenes of your favourite animated Disney films for a look at how animators create some of Disney's biggest stars. Join Mulan's dragon partner, in crime, Mushu and a real Disney animator as together they illustrate, in a creative but easy to understand way, the basics of creating animated characters and character development. After the show, you get the chance to talk a walk along a special landing and take a snap of the former studios of Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. You'll have the chance to ask a guide some questions and hear about the animation studios. When you've proceeded through the studios you'll enter a room filled with all things animation as well as the chance to meet some of your favourite animated characters, such as Mr Incredible and Carl, Dug & Russel from UP! Take the test to find out which Disney character you're most like, will you be Belle or Scar?! Once you've tried everything out you get the opportunity to go into a small animation studio where you'll be taught how to draw one of Disney's many characters, and also get the chance to draw them for yourself in the lesson! Remember to keep your animation, you never know what it might be worth in the future!

If you're looking for a little more excitement, thrill and ride worthy then you must check out The Great Movie Ride. Located just behind the the giant structure of Mickey's Sorcerer hat, the Movie Ride is for all ages that celebrates Hollywood, the history of film and some of the greatest films of all time. You begin my entering a full scale reproduction of Hollywood's historic Grauman's Chinese Theatre. While walking through the lobby make sure to check out the exhibition of props, set pieces and costumes from some of your favourite films, for example Dorothy's ruby slippers, from the Wizard of Oz, have been on display here. Once through the lobby, and the cinema room where you'll watch a reel of some of Hollywood's greatest movie trailers, you're ushered into the Great Movie Ride for a journey that'll put you in the middle of the action.. Quite literally! From gangster flicks to the contemporary classics such as the Raiders of the Lost Ark, plus a few surprises along the way! The ride uses film footage, special effects and nearly 50 lifelike audio-animatronic replicas of legendary movies stars with some of the most memorable moments in motion picture recreated. Scenes from Alien, Casablanca, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, Singin' in the Rain, Tarzan, The Public Enemy and the Wizard of Oz are depicted during your journey but remember to keep seated as you'll be right in the middle of it all!

 For the ultimate high speed, thrill seeking attraction head on over to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt show at the back of the park. Cars accelerating towards each other, swerving at the last second, motorcycles smashing through windows, jet skis leap out of the water, people falling from five story buildings, extreme stunts that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. During this 33 minute stunt show you'll learn how Hollywood stuntmen choreograph and film complex vehicle stunts with split second precision. They're filmed and then played back on a large screen so you can see how they're put together. Lights, Motors Action! doesn't involve any fancy, high tech special effects just good, old fashioned revving engines, squealing tyres, pyrotechnics and unbelievable driving skills. You can now also see a cameo from a very special guest, none other than Disney's Lightning McQueen all the way from Radiator Springs so grab you seats and hold on tight!

Hollywood Studios also happens to be the home of my favourite live shows, Fantasmic!, a breathtaking 25 minute fireworks and water show, performed nightly that brings together all of the Disney characters and starring none other than the Mouse! The show takes you into the colourful imagination of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice. Join Mickey as he imagines and dreams of some of Disney's best loved films, but it's not until the evil Queen, from Snow White, gathers her villain pals, such as Ursula, Cruella, Scar and a larger than life Maleficent, to turn Mickey's dreams into a nightmare. What they don't know is that good conquers evil and all it takes is Mickey's imagination to save the day! Full of special effects and Disney's best loved characters, this is the best way to end your day in Walt Disney World - Some imagination, huh?

If you're looking for somewhere to rest your weary feet and grab a bite to eat, i'd definitely recommend the ABC Commissary. It's really well priced but the food is brilliant, with plenty of option. It's large and has plenty of space but i'd head to eat here just before, or after, the lunchtime rush as it can get quite busy being one of the only cheaper priced places to eat in Hollywood Studios. This quick service eatery gives favourites international twists, with plenty of option. There are American, British, Indian and Asian flavours, such as the popular Asian Salad or choose Chicken Curry, Fish and Chips or a Chicken Bleu Sandwich. There are options for the kiddies too with Angus Cheeseburgers and Chicken Nuggets.

I could write forever about Hollywood Studios, with shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones, as well as the Hollywood Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith, but i'd be here all day so why not check it out for yourself!

All Images sourced from Google Images

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