Many of the old secrets are dead and buried, but here are five Hollywood Studios secrets you might not already know about.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has yet to complete its transition from Disney MGM into a totally different and more immersive park. For the last decade, the 32-year-old park has had a bit of an identity crisis. Many of the old secrets are dead and buried. However, there is still a lot to discover about this unique park even in the internet age. To begin with, Hidden Mickeys are huge at this park. The craze was just picking up when Disney-MGM Studios was being built. So you’re likely to see mouse ears in a lot of places. Here are five more Hollywood Studios secrets you might not know.
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The Chinese Theatre Was Built to Exact Scale
In a rare move, Disney Imagineers built the Chinese Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to exact scale. Typical Disney structures are built to a 5/8 scale. This approach along with forced perspective and other artistic tricks helps give Disney parks their magical feel. However, When they set out to create the Great Movie Ride facade, Imagineers used actual blueprints from the Hollywood original. While other architectural references to real Hollywood structures exist within the park, none of them are built at full scale. That puts the Chinese Theater among the stranger Hollywood Studios secrets most people never notice.
A Weenie is Not an Icon
True to tradition, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a weenie. The term coined by Walt Disney himself refers to a large eye-catching structure that draws people deeper into the park. While weenies exist at the end of nearly every avenue of a Disney park, the main ones become park icons. You instantly recognize Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, and the Tree of Life as theme park icons.
However, The icon for Hollywood Studios has changed from the Earffel Tower (a water tower with mouse ears), The Hollywood Tower Hotel, and the Sorcerer Hat from Fantasia. Why the Chinese Theater has never been considered as the park’s icon remains a mystery, but it may have to do with its non-Disney origins. Either way, it’s never talked about, ever. By anyone. It’s just one more of those Hollywood Studios secrets centered around the mysterious theater.
Each Train on Rockin’ Rollercoaster Plays a Different Aerosmith Song…
Or two. There are five trains and the attraction features 8 songs. One of the songs: “Love in an Elevator” was rerecorded to play “Love in a Roller Coaster” but that’s not a suggestion. You can get a hint of what song your “limo” will play by the license plate if you catch a glimpse of it. 1QKLIMO plays “Nine Lives”. UGOBABE plays “Love in a Roller Coaster” and “Walk This Way”. BUHBYE Has the most tracks: “Young Lust”, “F.I.N.E.”, and “Love in a Roller Coaster”. H8TRFFC (which refers to the dislike of being stuck in traffic, not trafficking hate) will get you either “Back in the Saddle” or “Dude Looks Like a Lady”. Finally, lucky riders of 2FAST4U will get a live recording of “Sweet Emotion”.
Dok Ondar Has the Ark of the Covenant
How The Ark of the Covenant got into this hammerhead’s hands, in an outer rim spaceport on Galaxy’s Edge is a story worth telling. Whatever took place in this massive Lucasfilm crossover event has yet to be revealed. It’s possible that the Ark was simply left there by Imagineers as an Easter Egg (After all, airing the Ten Commandments is a long-held Easter tradition). But considering that Batuu is meant to be a real planet and not a theme park location, it’s only reasonable to assume that that is the real Ark of the Covenant and Indiana Jones 5 just got really interesting… Whatever the case, this rare antiquity is quite a find in the Black Spire Outpost if you have a sharp enough eye. There are plenty of other Hollywood Studios secrets to discover right within the shops at the Black Spire Outpost.
Echoes From the Past
There is so much to play with here. Firstly, Echo Lake is a real place. It was a handmade body of water where silent films used to be shot. The irony of shooting silent films in Echo Lake is fun enough, but the Echo Lake in Disney’s Hollywood Studios has even more fun with the name because the lake itself makes up the left ear of an enormous hidden Mickey you can only see from a bird’s eye view. Of course, this is no secret. You can see it right on your map. What you may not know is that this area is a special part of the park.
One of the only original sections, it’s also one of the only places that continue to pay homage to old Hollywood with (shall we say?) echoes from the past. The architecture around this area is all inspired by Hollywood structures, including studio sound stages and some references to film pioneers. The most Legendary is Gertie, the dinosaur on the lake. This ice cream shack is a reference to the earliest known theatrical animation. Gertie was part of a vaudeville act where the animated screen character did tricks and reacted to a live performer.