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Hollywood Pictures Backlot


(MAP #7 - to the right under the tram loading area)

HOLLYWOOD PICTURES BACKLOT - "As you enter, the area looks very opulent and over-the-top, but as you walk through, you discover that it is all a Hollywood set false fronts, etc.," Braverman said.

Now they aren't trying to save some money here are they?  ;)

This area features several major attractions. The first is the Muppet Vision 3-D film from the Disney-MGM Studios park at Walt Disney World.

In this story line, the Muppets are charged with providing research and development for this Hollywood studio. Of course, all goes awry in typical Muppet fashion, and chaos ensues.

"The Muppets give this park a strong character franchise that differentiates it from Disneyland," Braverman said.

I hate to see Disney people using these kinds of internal marking terms to the public in statements such as these - it sort of cheapens the illusion they are working on so hard to build here.

Also keep in mind this Muppets "new attraction" is a decade old now. [Although it is a very good film - it's only one of many you'll see in this park since film is easier and more inexpensive to install than a traditional anamatronic type of attraction Disney has been famous for.]

Another big attraction here is Superstar Limo, a dark ride.

"The story is that you are about to be signed to a major movie deal, but you need to get to the Chinese Theater in Hollywood to ink the deal," Braverman said.

It's a harrowing limo ride through Los Angeles traffic that includes "short cuts" to the beach and other far-flung locations before reaching the theater. At one point, the limo visits a drive-through tattoo parlor and riders find tattoos projected onto their bodies.

I am stunned that even after Princess Di's gruesome death, we must still see this ride put in. One of the reasons this is still a push is that Michael Eisner himself was supposed to have dreamed this all up, and of course the "photographers" [or Paparazzi as they are better known] "chasing" you around the ride [cameras are mounted at key points] gives Disney more opportunities to sell you ride photos.

And the tattoo thing? Just what I'd want to encourage any child to do. Sigh.

This will be a bare bones dark ride effort - lots of plywood cutouts all through out it.

This area also is home to the Hyperion Theater, a 2,000- seat Broadway- style theater where Disney plans to offer two different theatrical shows daily.

Rumor has it that the current park show will give way to a separate admission evening performance of a Disney Broadway classic, it's conceivable that "Beauty and the Beast" for example could end its tour here and have an open ended run. Tickets would be included as part of a hotel package to encourage longer stays.

Do note there are NO bathrooms in this building.

Nearby a 40,000-square-foot Disney Animation exhibit will offer a workshop by a Disney animator and other shows. The building has a screening room where visitors can view "pencil tests" of upcoming Disney animated features.

The Sorcerer's Workshop is an interactive area where guests experiment with animation, including taking a personality test to find out which Disney cartoon character they are most like.

At Ursula's Grotto, visitors will have the opportunity to put their voice into scenes from Disney animated features.

The last section of the animation exhibit features projected images of Disney characters in battle against Disney villains. At one point, the floor of the exhibit seems to drop away, suspending the visitors in the middle of the conflict, which is resolved in typical Disney fashion.

Basically this seems to match up to what is currently done at the Disney / MGM park in Orlando.

The final special effect room as detailed above is probably the single one new and innovative, Disney type item offered in the entire park.

ABC may also have a TV studio in this area in the future, and the Hollywood Hotel Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is rumored to be a future addition if this area ends up expanding over into the Timon parking lot for "phase two."

What is and is not an attraction? The following e-mail I received helps tell you what some of these things may be - as opposed as to what you may think they are:

In your last Ask Al you were asked about "attractions" that aren't attractions.... so I'll give you the details on the ones you listed:

- Back to Neverland: The Robin Williams & Walter Cronkite film that plays in Florida's animation attraction. This film will be playing in one of the two theaters inside Disney Animation in Hollywood.

- Beast's Library: One of three interactive rooms that comprise the "Sorcerer's Workshop" in Disney Animation.

- Enchanted Books: The interactive kiosks inside the Beast's Library. Seems pretty desperate to count the Animation as an attraction, plus a room inside it, plus the things inside the room...

- Drawn to Animation: Will be a live show inside Disney Animation. I live CM will interact with animation on a screen. It'll be a funny little film about the making of animated films.

- Magic Mirror Realm: More interactive exhibits inside Disney Animation. This one will be a personality test where they match your personality to a Disney character based on your answers. Then they morph a picture of you onto that character.

- Ursula's Magic Voices: Interactive kiosks inside Animation, where you sing along with Ursula, along the lines of the part of the movie where she steals Ariel's voice.

It does seem like this was an odd way to inflate the number of attractions there... but what do you expect?

Plus here is a conversation I had about another Hollywood area attraction, Superstar Limo:

Al: I hear there are ten animatronics in superstar limo - movie stars and such. True? And are they more than just cutouts? Are they well animated and such? 

????: There's a Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Cher, Whoopi, etc... 

Al: All the Disney studio contract players... :) 

????: I have been told that they will be "Animatronics" and there was a definite distinction between that and "Audio-animatronics" 

Al: More like wax figures then. 

????: With like a moving hand, or turning arm, etc. 

Al: Real low budget. :) I imagined. Is it like a dark ride like Pinocchio, but a little faster? 

????: Same speed, 3 ft pre second. I'd compare it more to Toad. Although its longer than any dark ride the park now has. It has more black lights than all of Disneyland combined. It does have the onboard audio / visual and a few little effects here and there, but its basically a pretty simple dark ride. 

Now you see why I have both "official" and "unofficial" attraction listings. The Disney hype is thickest here.


Theme: Hollywood

"Un-official" attractions listing for this area:

Ride: Superstar Limo dark ride

Shows: Muppet Vision 3-D Film, Hyperion Theater Character Show (day) Possible Broadway style show (night)

Exhibits: Disney Animation, with Ursula's Grotto and "animation battle"

"Official" attractions listing for this area:

Art of Animation / Back to Neverland / Beast's Library / Disney Animation / Drawn to Animation / Enchanted Books / Hyperion Theater / Jim Henson's MuppetVision 3-D / Magic Mirror Realm / Sorcerer's Workshop / Superstar Limo / Ursula's Grotto / Ursula's Magic Voices

Shopping: ABC SoapLink / Gone Hollywood / Off the Page / Rizzo's Prop and Pawn Shop

Restaurants: ABC Soap Opera Bistro / Award Wieners / Between Takes / Fairfax Market / Hollywood & Dine / Pop-arazzi Popcorn / Schmoozies


October 14, 1998

The article quoted on this page, along with the map graphic is copyright 1998 by The Orange County Register.

It is reproduced on this site by kind permission of the author.

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