Hollywood Studios Secrets
Hollywood Studios secrets abound at this exciting Disney World theme park!
Since its opening in 1989, Hollywood Studios has dedicated itself to all facets of show business – including television, film, theater, and music. It features some of Disney’s best stage shows, attractions, and thrill rides of any theme park. With nearly 11 million annual visitors, Hollywood Studios is now the 5th most visited theme park in the country and continues to attract visitors from around the globe.
Disney has expanded Hollywood Studios greatly over the years by adding new features and attractions. And with the opening of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, now there’s more excitement surrounding the park than ever before.
Besides the main attractions on everyone’s radar, there are plenty of Hollywood Studios secrets which most guests overlook. The park is chock full of hidden references, clever details, interesting facts, and secret locations. These fascinating Hollywood Studios secrets add an extra element of magic to this Disney World destination. So, without further ado, here is a list of some of our favorite Hollywood Studios’ secrets.
“Secret” Dining Package – Hollywood Studios Secrets
Hollywood Studios has its own “secret” dining plan, called the Fantasmic Dining Package (FDP). The plan allows you to dine at The Brown Derby, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, or Hollywood and Vine.
You may choose either lunch or dinner, which consists of a non-alcoholic beverage, appetizer, entrée, dessert, and VIP seating voucher for the Fantasmic attraction. This is especially worth doing if you’re on the dining plan and you were already planning on eating at one of these restaurants because it still is only one dining credit for the Fantasmic package! Advanced reservations are required. (Hollywood Studios Secrets rule number one: book your Disney vacation package well in advance so you don’t miss out on some of the best dining and theme park attractions!)
Citizens of Hollywood – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- On Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, you will find improv actors walking about and performing impromptu skits. Also known as “Streetmosphere,” the Citizens of Hollywood are a motley bunch of Cast Members who play Hollywood-themed characters – such as directors, agents, aspiring actors, and movie stars. Don’t be afraid to approach these Citizens of Hollywood – they are friendly!
Entrance – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- Most guests head towards Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roll Coaster first thing in the morning. As an alternative, head to less popular Star Tours right off the bat. By the time you are finished with Star Tours, the lines for the other two attractions have usually diminished.
- As you enter the park, look to your right and notice the gas pumps. They are marked with a series of numbers that coincide with Disney-MGM Studios’ opening date.
- Crossroads of the World is modeled after America’s first outdoor shopping mall, the original Crossroads of the World in Los Angeles. The Hollywood Studios version is almost an exact replica.
One Man’s Dream – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- One Man’s Dream is an interactive gallery that features memorabilia from the Disney archives. Look closely at Walt Disney’s grade-school desk. It has the initials “W.D.” carved into it.
- The clock at One Man’s Dream appears to be stuck at 9:30. This is a poetic tribute to Walt Disney, who was pronounced dead on December 15, 1966, at 9:30 AM.
Echo Lake – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- Gertie the Dinosaur was the first animated film ever produced (1914). It served as an inspiration to Walt Disney because the filmmakers created realistic movements and viewer empathy for an animated character. Without Gertie pioneering the genre, Walt Disney may never have created Mickey Mouse. As a tribute to the film, Disney Imagineers constructed an ice cream stand with Gertie the Dinosaur’s likeness.
- A tagline from the original movie was “Gertie – She’s a scream.” With this in mind, Disney Imagineers felt an ice cream stand was an appropriate way to pay tribute to the dinosaur.
- Just beyond the line for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, look for an archeological dig site with a wooden sign that reads “Warning: Do not pull the rope.” If curiosity gets the best of you, try pulling the rope a few times. Don’t be surprised if someone inside the dig site scolds you for not heeding the warning!
- Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner is a quick-service food stand on Echo Lake. The theme pays tribute to the 1930 MGM film Min and Bill (and its sequel, Tugboat Annie.) These films were a huge success for MGM Studios, the original partner of Disney during the first years of the park. In fact, Hollywood Studios was named “Disney-MGM Studios” until 2008.
- There are several hidden references near Min and Bill’s Diner. Outside the diner, check out the movie references on the wooden shipping crates. Also, look above the boat/restaurant and note the nautical flags. The letters on the flags spell “Dockside Diner” while the particular sequence of numbers in the flags – 782562896354 – remains a Hollywood Studios secret. To this day, no one knows for sure what these numbers mean!
Star Tours – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- While waiting in line for Star Tours, you may hear a robot paging “Egroeg Sacul.” While this name may sound random, spell “Egroeg Sacul” backwards and you get “George Lucas!” You may also hear a “THX 1138” reference. THX 1138 was the first movie George Lucas directed.
- Just around the corner from the loading area, look for the Hidden Kermit among the droids.
- Notice the pair of mechanical birds as you enter the staging area of Star Tours. If these birds look familiar, you may have also seen them on Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom), just before the ride’s big drop.
- As you exit the Star Tours store and take a left, look up at the draping flags. Their design creates an “M” shape.
Hollywood Boulevard – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- At the far end of Hollywood Boulevard, look at the plaque near the statue of a movie director. In 2008 – when Disney changed its name from “Disney-MGM Studios” to “Hollywood Studios” – a frame was installed around the plaque to reflect the park’s new identity. However, the plaque itself still bears the original “Disney-MGM Studios” name.
- As you may have guessed, Mickey’s of Hollywood is a reference to lingerie retailer Fredrick’s of Hollywood. The façade of the Hollywood Studios store is also modeled after the original California storefront.
- The Brown Derby restaurant has a variety of fabulous caricature drawings hanging from its walls. The ones in black frames are copies of the caricatures from the famous Brown Derby restaurants in Hollywood (CA). The pictures in gold frames are the actual hand-drawn originals taken from the iconic LA restaurant (which is now closed).
- The Great Movie Ride (former attraction) building is a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. It’s one of the few replicas on Walt Disney World property built to the exact scale as the original.
- The lion statues outside the building are actually “foo dog” statues, also known as “lion dogs.” The one on the left is female, while the one on the right is male.
- The Great Movie Ride attraction closed in 2017 to make way for a soon-to-be-opened attraction named Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad. The ride’s theme is based on the Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse television series. This will be the first Mickey Mouse-themed ride-through attraction ever at a Disney theme park.
- Hollywood Studios used the front half of a real Lockheed airplane for the Casablanca sequence. You can find the rear half (of the same plane) along the banks of the Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom.
Pixar Place – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- Imagineers designed Pixar Place to resemble the Emeryville, California campus of Pixar Animation Studios. The large gateway and brickwork in the area match those found at the California headquarters.
- If you are looking for a great photo opportunity with a Cast Member, you may find it in Pixar Place. Multiple times during the day, the Green Army Men from Toy Story walk throughout Pixar Place, greeting guests and posing for photographs.
- Several years ago, Hollywood Studios visitors discovered that if they shout, “Andy’s Coming,” the Green Army Men would suddenly dive to the ground – just like in the Toy Story movie. However, it got to the point where too many people were shouting this phrase, and thus, Cast Members had to end this practice. Now, instead of diving on the ground, they simply respond with, “Andy’s gone to college.”
Sunset Boulevard – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- The Fantasmic props are huge. The villainous cobra Jafari is 16 feet tall and 100 feet long while Maleficent, the mechanical dragon, weighs 32,000
- Hollywood Studios uses three 50’ x 100’ water screens to project the Fantasmic animated sequences. The screens pump 2,400 gallons of water into the air, every minute.
- The lagoon at Fantasmic may appear deep, but its actual depth is a mere 18 inches. However, the vast waterbody still holds an impressive 1.9 million gallons of water.
- Each train on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster has a unique license They read “BUHBYE,” “H8TRFFC,” “UGOGIRL,” “1QKLIMO,” and “2FAST4U.”
- Every train plays a different Aerosmith song during the ride. If your train plays “Love in an Elevator,” listen when the lyrics change to “Love in a Roller Coaster.”
- When you wait to tour Studio C, listen to the sounds coming out from Studio A and B. What you are hearing are Aerosmith recording sessions, some of which were re-recorded specifically for the Hollywood Studios attraction.
- You may also hear the PA broadcast several names over the loudspeakers. The names being called are actually the Imagineers of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Also, the electrical power boxes have the initials and birthdays of the Imagineers.
- The sound cables on the floor of the recording studio are coiled in the shape of Mickey Mouse.
- The pink color and architecture of the Tower of Terror building may seem out of place for the attraction. However, Disney Imagineers knew what they were doing. Knowing that the large structure would be highly visible from Epcot, they designed the building to blend into the landscape of the nearby Morocco Pavilion.
- The top speed of the Tower of Terror is 39 mph.
- The structure is 199 feet tall. If it were just one more foot tall (200’), the FAA would require the building to have aircraft warning lights on its roof.
- 13 is your lucky number at the Tower of Terror. If the sign for the attraction says there is a 13-minute wait, that means that there is no wait time at all! The lucky number 13 also appears in a plaque above the concierge desk in the lobby. It reads the “AAA13 Diamond Award Hotel.” With that much triskaidekaphobia floating around, it’s no wonder we think it’s the scariest ride at Disney World!
- In the lobby area, see if you can spot the pair of glasses with broken lenses. This prop references the classic Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last,” where the book-loving protagonist (played by Burgess Meredith) survives an atomic blast, only to be left virtually blind when his glasses shatter. He now has all the time in the world to read books, but he can’t see the pages!
- Look to the left as you board the elevator. Notice the inspection certificate signed by “Cadwallader” and dated October 31, 1939. Cadwallader was a devilish character from a Twilight Zone episode titled “Escape Clause”. The number on the inspection certificate is “10259,” a reference to the date on which the first Twilight Zone episode aired (October 2, 1959).
- In the Echo Library pre-show area, look for the sheet music on the right side by the bookshelf. The sheet music is for a 1930s song named “No Mickey Mouse? What Kind Of Party Is This?”
- There is a little girl holding a doll in a few scenes of the movie that plays before you board the Tower of Terror elevator. Look closely at the doll – it’s Mickey!
Toy Story Land – Hollywood Studios Secrets
- Construction on the 11-acre Toy Story Land began on April 3, 2016, and it officially opened to the public on June 30, 2018.
- The Alien Swirling Saucers attraction is based on a similar attraction at Disney California Adventure named “Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.” The theme is the Claw and Little Green Aliens.
- If you are curious how the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster attraction acquired its name, it’s because Andy uses his “Mega Coaster Play Kit” to build around his yard, and afterward puts Slinky Dog on the tracks!
Hollywood Studios Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane Secrets
Best Choices for Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lane Passes:
FastPass+ has been replaced with Disney Genie+ (on over Disney 40 attractions) and individual Lightning Lane passes (on a select number of Disney’s highest-demand attractions). So what does this mean for your visit to Hollywood Studios?
We recommend adding Disney Genie+ to your ticket. It will give you the ability to use the Lightning Lane entrance at a number of crowded Hollywood Studios rides. Who doesn’t want to spend less time waiting in standby lines?
Here are some of our recommendations for your Disney Genie+ ride selections.
- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
- Toy Story Mania!
- Alien Swirling Saucers
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
- Slinky Dog Dash
There is currently 1 attraction eligible for the pay-per-ride Lightning Lane Pass. It is:
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Since this is one of Hollywood Studio’s most popular rides, with the longest lines, we think you should consider paying a little extra for this individual Lightning Lane pass. Contact a Disney travel agent for more information.
Enjoy your trip!
We hope that you found our list of Hollywood Studios Secrets interesting and helpful. Feel free to browse our other secrets pages, as well as our Disney World Tips and Tricks, Disney Travel Agencies, Disney World Map, and Best Places to Eat in Hollywood Studios pages.
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Thank you for reading our page, and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!