The Studios at 20: How is it Working Out?

by MouseStation Crew, staff writer

MouseStation 306 - The Studios at 20: How is it Working Out?

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Show run time 0:52:07

In today's show, Mark and Mike talk about what works and what doesn't work at Disney's Hollywood Studios, in honor of the park's 20th birthday tomorrow, plus a special report from yesterday's Disneyland window dedication ceremony.

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Thanks to our sponsors

Today's show is sponsored by:

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center. A luxury hotel one mile from Walt Disney World, where special MousePlanet rates ALWAYS get you at least 15% off the normal rates available for the property, and right now you can get rates as low as $129 per night – that's about what you'd pay for a Disney moderate resort!

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Special Report: Disneyland window dedication ceremony

Steven Ng reported from yesterday's ceremony at Disneyland for the dedication of windows for Disney Legends Don Edgren and Rolly Crump. Images will run in next week's Disneyland Resort Update.

Feature: What Works and What Doesn't Work at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios opened 20 years ago tomorrow as the Disney-MGM Studios with a few attractions, billed as a half-day park, so we're going to go clockwise around the park as we take a look at what we think works and doesn't work.

Starting with Hollywood Boulevard, Mark and Mike pretty much agree that the entry boulevard works well, with the exception of the Sorcerer's Hat blocking the view of the Chinese Theater. They like the mix of shops and the overall atmosphere of the street.

Over in Echo Lake, Mark likes the locations of the dining establishments, and enjoys the Folly architecture of Min & Bill's Dockside Diner and Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction. He was surprised by how much he enjoyed The American Idol Experience, though he misses Superstar Television. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours are both fun attractions, but both are in need of refreshing. He's not so thrilled with Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey, however. Mike feels somewhat the same on the dining, but isn't a fan of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Mike also thinks that Star Tours is in need of refreshing, but he likes Sounds Dangerous.

Moving around to the Streets of America Backlot, Mark prefers it around the holidays as the Osborn Lights make the area much more special. Mark feels bad that they enclosed the old Hunchback Theater but then only use it for special events. He's also not a huge fan of the Lights Motors Action show. He loves MuppetVision 3-D. While Catastrophe Canyon is still cool, Mark thinks that the Backlot Tour as a whole is a pale shadow of what it used to be and that inevitably colors how he feels about it. Mark also noted that his favorite storefront on the Streets of America Backlot is Youse Guys Moichindice. He also likes the "Singing in the Rain" umbrella, even if they have changed it to a more cartoonish experience. Mike only marginally remembers the original, but he feels that the new tram tour appears that Disney is trying to kill it off slowly.

The end of Mickey Avenue has become Pixar Place, which has had an amazing amount of placemaking to turn it into a copy of Pixar headquarters with life-size tows taking over. Mark loves Toy Story Mania and Pixar Place, and he enjoys One Man's Dream, though he doesn't have much use for the Narnia walkthrough. Mike loves One Man's Dream, and he loves Toy Story Mania. He'd love to see it on a coast-to-coast tractor-trailer tour to bring the exhibit to more poeple.

In the Animation Courtyard, Mark feels that the Playhouse Disney show is great for the little kids that watch the shows in the Disney Channel. Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a great show, but it doesn't really do it for him. Mark likes the Disney Animation attraction, but it's not nearly as good as it used to be when you took a gour past working animators. Mike also really misses the Florida animation studio, though he does recommend the animation class at the current attraction. He also really likes Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

Sunset Boulevard, which was added to create a place for the Tower of Terror, the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater (for Fantasmic) and the enlarged Theater of the Stars. The addition of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster makes the addition even better. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror make a great one-two punch. Mark thinks that the recent reduction in schedule for Fantasmic was ill-advised and expects them to return to a more frequent schedule. He thinks that Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage is good but it's not something that he seeks out. Mike pretty much agrees with mark.

What do you think? Let us know by sending us an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278)!

Twitter/Facebook poll questions

We're continuing our new trial of spending the Thursday Listener Feedback time reviewing the responses to some questions that Mark was asking on Twitter and Facebook last week. If you'd like to get in on answering these questions in the future, you can follow Mark on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

If you could change one thing about Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, what would it be?

  • I'd shorten the line for Rock-n-Roller coaster so I could ride it again and again and again...
  • Move it next door to my house !!! is that one thing allowed ???? :o)
  • Bring back the animation studio. I miss watching the films in development.
  • Get rid of Drew Carey's Sounds Dangerous. Sitting in the dark and listening isn't very exciting.
  • I'd make the Beauty and the Beast show longer so there's more of the story in it!
  • Bring back "Four for a Dollar" to the Beauty and the Beast pre-show!
  • Update the Great Movie ride.
  • Get the Monorail to run there, Epcot isn't THAT far away, you would think they could link the 2 of them via Monorail.
  • Move that blasted HAT! (and update Indy and Star Tours)
  • Make the backlot tour worth doing again...
  • Move the hat, and bring New York Street ('Streets Of America') some attractions relating to the backlot sets. Some real rides could bring amazing possibilities at the Studios. We could have a water/boat ride, every other park had at least one!
  • Get rid of Indy Stunt Show and add Indy Ride from Disneyland instead!! MORE RIDES!!!
  • It's a tie for me - bring back the animation studio and blow up the freakin' hat.
  • update the Great Movie Ride.
  • In addition to Fantasmic I'd bring back Sorcery In the Sky
  • Bring in Aladdin, the Musical Spectacular!
  • Update Star Tours. Can we blow up the second Death Star from the inside? Maybe in 3D?
  • I would like to see Fantasmic return to having nightly shows.
  • a shortcut by the gas station at the entrance to ToT and Rock n Roller Coaster ;)
  • Make it a working studio again and along with that make the Backlot Tour a real tour again!Also Fantasmic every night. 2 things oops
  • I wish the layout were more intuitive. I have a great sense of direction but even I get a bit turned around at DHS.
  • The hat! Tear it down or move it, but it needs to go from it's current location!
  • Better counter service eateries
  • three words: Star Tours upgrade. imagine the possibilities ...
  • Make DHS an actual production studio again.
  • better CS restaurants!
  • I would increase capacity on Toy Story Midway Mania and widen the street at Pixar Place. That stretch used to be a backstage area.
  • get rid of backlot tour and put something more entertaining.
  • The park map/layout isn't easy to manuever from end 1 to end 2 compared to EP AK MK. And the hat needs to move.
  • I'd bring Fantasmic back with at least one show per night.
  • The layout! That parks feels so crowded even when it isn't, because there's only one way to/from so many things.
  • Improve Fantasmic.
  • I would redo the Backlot Tour to bring it in to the 21 Century. Catastrophe Canyon can stay for sure.
  • Bring back the preshow for Voyage of the Little Mermaid and restore the show back to its original length. It used to be a gem.

Mark would prefer that the hat be moved, rather than blown up.

What do you think?

What is the change made at the Studios over the years that you like most?

  • This seems minor but... The kids love the Jedi Training that was expanded to a daily run from the limited SWW run it had, I've never been on TSM so possibly I'll change my mind. Just six more weeks for my visit to DL/DCA.
  • That's easy Mark...the addition of Toy Story Mania!
  • I have to agree with Mike, definitely Toy Story Mania
  • I agree. Toy Story Mania was a great addition to DHS.
  • To be quite honest, none of the additions have been "that good". Its more of what they've taken away that upsets me.
  • Definitely Toy Story Mania :)
  • The addition of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • well despite lamenting the loss of Millionare I have to say that Toy Story Midway Mania and the new Pixar area are amazing.
  • Fave Studios change is a tie: Al's Toy Barn to Luigi's, Mickey Ave to Pixar Place (that area is beautiful now)
  • Addition of Toy Story area.
  • Love the Jedi Training!
  • Theres a lot to like but if I could only pick one it would have to be Toy Story Midway Mania.

Mark and Mike both agree that Sunset Boulevard has been the greatest addition to the park thus far, though Toy Story Mania and Pixar Place may eventually prove itself out as time goes by.

Again, if you'd like to get in on answering these questions in the future, you can follow Mark on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

March of Dimes

Mark's walk for the March of Dimes over the weekend went well, though he did not make his goal. MousePlanet readers and MouseStation listeners made up more than half of the non-Mark-contributed money - thanks so much! The donations page should remain active for another month, so you there's still time to donate, if you'd like. Just go to Mark's fundraising page and help to provide a better chance to prevent prematurity and to help those babies that are born prematurely.

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Wrapping up

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Thanks to our audio engineer and sound editor Steven Ng.

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