Often I like to use this column to expose something you may not be aware of at Disney's Hollywood Studios but today I wanted to celebrate the things that are truly unique and fantastic at Disney's Hollywood Studios. More than likely, these will not be news to most of you but there comes a time when you have to give a good pat on the back for a job well done and recognize part of what makes Disney's Hollywood Studios the best theme park in Walt Disney Wold.
Key Under the Mat (Muppetvision 3d) - Muppetvision 3D is one of the funniest attractions out there even before you watch the film. The amount of humor put in here is awe inspiring because if you take the time to explore it all, you'll be amazed. One of the classic jokes is at the entrance turnstiles, look to your right and you will spot a ticket window with a notice that says - "Closed - Key under Mat". If you look under the mat and you will find the key! Brilliant!
Tower of Terror - If you asked me, I'd tell you the Tower of Terror is the best ride in all of Walt Disney because it has the total package: great ride system, terrific story and awesome detail and because it scores high marks in each category, it's valued higher than even classic Disney World attractions such as Pirates of the Caribbean (Good story, Good detail, boring ride system) or Haunted Mansion (Average story, good detail, boring ride system). It has everything one could ask for in an attraction and the proof of it's greatness is the fact it's been cloned to 3 other Disney parks around the world.
50's Prime Time Cafe - This was a close decision but in the end, I have to give the honor to the 50's Prime Time Cafe. In a dead heat with the Hollywood Brown Derby, both restaurants are the sort of wonderful restaurants in Walt Disney World that combine excellent theme with good food. In the end, the theme found at Prime Time puts it over the top as the best restaurant in the Studios and certainly one place worthy of an ADR every trip you make.
Hollywood Brown Derby
Voyage of the Little Mermaid - This was another tough call, but in the end the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show is the best stage show at the Studios. First, Fantasmic! doesn't count since it's a special show in it's own category really. American Idol Experience can be really good, but it can also be mediocre depending on the talent so I had to leave it out and Beauty and the Beast is very good, but I felt Mermaid in the end requires the most talent and when you combine the puppetry (in the dark!), Ariel and her friends have taken the top spot. It's no secret as to how this show has been around for nearly 20 years now and deserves the top spot.
Animation Academy - Walt Disney World separates itself from many theme parks in many ways, but one way is through the small, somewhat unknown attractions and shows that Imagineers place in the parks to augment the well established attractions. In reality, they don't need to be there, yet Disney invests time and money in them to further enhance the guest experience and the best has to be the Animation Academy. This isn't just some glorified tracing class. Rather, the Animation Academy really teaches guests how to draw Disney characters and shows that it really isn't that difficult to succeed at it. If you take the time to check it out, I think you'll really enjoy it.
Theming in Stage One Company Store
Francis Floot - The Citizens of Hollywood (or Streetmosphere) are some very talented street performers who play their various roles of aspiring stars or Hollywood starlets quite well. If you take the time to stop and see them, you will be amazed at how quick on their feet these folks are and how talented they all are. It was truly difficult to pick one out, but if I had to pick just one, I'd want to see a skit starring Francis Floot. The man seems like he can make anything funny and often does. Like his contemporaries, Francis is an expert at interacting with guests and his fellow Citizens and it seems like every show he performs in is his best yet.