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Brian Bennett

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Touring the Disney / MGM Studios

Introduction

The Golden Hollywood of the 1930's comes to life at the Disney / MGM Studios.  The atmosphere is pure art deco tinsel town.  The attractions and shows are classic Disney.  At the Studios you can see real television shows and movies in production and enjoy the nostalgia of many of your favorite films and shows from the past, too. 

Park Layout

The main entrance avenue of this park (1930's Hollywood Boulevard) is similar to Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom, but there the similarity in layout of these two parks comes to an abrupt conclusion.  Sunset Boulevard, which crosses Hollywood,  provides additional shops, but also is the main thoroughfare to get to the Hollywood Tower Hotel and the venue of Fantasmic!, the most fabulous nighttime spectacular show in the history of theme parks!

If you continue straight down Hollywood, avoiding the enticements of Sunset Boulevard, you'll come upon Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the entrance to the "studios" itself (where the film and animation production facilities are located) to the right.   To the left, you'll see several shows that explain how sound effects, television post production, stunts, and other technologies come together to create movies and TV shows.

Scattered around the "back lot" are several attractions including Star Tours (based on George Lucas's triple-trilogy) and MuppetVision 3-D.  Both are not to be missed.

Touring Suggestions

Since the Studios is, by far, the least logical of the parks in terms of layout, there is no obvious way of touring the studios based on geography. Actually, though, it's just as well, because the best way to catch the Studios is not geographically (location), but chronologically (time).

There are two different kinds of attractions at the studios. Some, such as the Great Movie Ride, Star Tours and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror are continuously loading rides. The Studio Backlot Tour and the Animation Tour are likewise continuously loading, but due to their nature larger groups of people are brought together before a Tour begins. The other attraction type is the show type which include Sounds Dangerous, Doug Live!, and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

With that introduction:

  • I've learned, over our many trips, to attack the Studios on at least two different mornings. One morning, focus on seeing the scheduled shows. When you arrive at the studios on show day, get a copy of the park map brochure. The brochure includes a daily show schedule that lists what shows are running hour-by-hour so you can use it to determine which shows to see and in what order. The shows are scheduled so that you can go to one show, then another...with a minimum of waiting, but you have to be careful to move along between shows. If you dawdle, you'll miss the next scheduled show.

  • Try to catch Sounds Dangerous and Doug Live! earlier and back-to-back if possible (they are located right next to each other in the park). Since the Stunt show can handle a huge crowd, it's good to keep as a contingency attraction....just catch it when you can.

  • The Beauty and the Beast and Hunchback of Notre Dame stage shows are, unfortunately, located at opposite ends of the park. Catch them whenever it fits your schedule. Usually, watching these shows can take up the better part of a morning...and you probably will not have caught all of them.

  • On another day, catch the shows that you didn't catch on the earlier day. Plus, you can squeeze in any of the continuously loading rides you'd like to catch. This is a good day to visit the animation and studio tours, too.

 
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