Are you looking to have some extra fun the next time you go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Disney Imagineers have made it so that you can! The creative and very talented Imagineers have added extra details around all the Disney parks, and they are so fun to try to spot. There are even some cool stories behind them! Let’s take a look at some of the hidden details and secrets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Retro Gas Station
When you first enter Hollywood Studios, if you look to your right, you will see a retro looking gas station. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, considering this whole park has an old Hollywood feel. If you walk over to the gas pump, you will notice that one of the gas pumps displays 05-01-1989. This is a little nod to when Hollywood Studios (then MGM Studios) first opened its doors to the public.
Grauman Chinese Theater
It is hard not to notice the beautiful Grauman Chinese Theater as you walk through Hollywood Studios. It used to be the home of The Great Movie Ride and is currently the home of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Did you know that this gorgeous theater is actually an exact replica of the famous Grauman Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California? Disney Imagineers used the exact same blueprints that the original Chinese Theater used back in 1927. There are also hand and footprints of all of the celebrities that have visited Hollywood Studios over the years!
Great Moving Ride
Many of us fondly remember The Great Movie Ride and were so sad to see it go back in 2017. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway replaced the beloved attraction in 2020 and even paid tribute to its predecessor! When you are on the ride, you will spot a Great Movie Ride easter egg during the carnival scene. If you look, you will see a popcorn stand and a hot dog stand and in between that is a poster that says, “The Great Moving Ride”. It’s a subtle nod but creative, nonetheless.
There is a fun hidden secret right outside of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. If you go to the entrance of the theater, you will see a well that is in the ground and has a rope hanging above it. Next to the well, is a sign that says “Warning! Do
Not Pull Rope”. It is pretty much telling you to pull the rope! When you pull it, you can usually hear something coming from the well!
Love in a Rollercoaster
The Rock n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios. If you’ve ever been on this ride before, you may know that each ride vehicle plays a different Aerosmith song. One of the ride vehicles plays the song “Love in an Elevator” but Aerosmith changed the lyrics just for the ride to “Love in a Roller Coaster”!
The Twilight Zone…
Did you know that the Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can be seen from Epcot? Disney Imagineers knew that guests would be able to see the Tower of Terror from World Showcase at Epcot, so they designed to blend into the Morocco Pavilion. Another fun fact about the Tower of Terror is that instead of saying there’s no wait, the sign will say it’s a 13-minute wait- fitting in with its spooky theme.
In every Pixar movie, there is a little hidden nod to A113. A113 is the room at Cal Arts that many original Pixar animators studied at. In Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, there is also a nod to A113 since Toy Story is a Pixar film. If you look outside of Woody’s Lunchbox, there are a few dominoes and blocks. The dominoes have 1, 1, and 3 on them and the block has the letter A.
Punch it, Chewie!
On Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, there is a secret that you can unlock! Usually, on this ride, you and five other guests will team up to fly the Millennium Falcon to help Hondo Ohnaka collect coaxium canisters around the galaxy. What if I told you that instead of having Hondo be your co-pilot that you can be like Han Solo and have Chewbacca be your co-pilot?! To unlock Chewbacca, you must follow these steps:
- Both pilots must move their controls to the far left or far right and far up and down before they push the activation button
- The rest of the people in your party need to hit one of the white buttons on their control panel before hitting the orange activation button
- This must be done before the Cast Member secures the cabin and clears you for take off
If you are a Star Wars fan like me, this next fun easter egg may seem cool to you. While you are waiting in the queue for Star Tours, you will see C-3PO and R2-D2 getting ready for the flight. If you listen closely, you will hear someone come on the P.A System and page a passenger by the name of “Egroeg Sacul”. If you reverse the spelling on that name, you get George Lucas- the creator of Star Wars! Another cool easter egg is that while waiting in the queue for this ride, you will hear another boarding call announcement. This time they are talking about a landspeeder THX 1138 and Flight 1138. This is a nod to the first movie that George Lucas ever directed called THX 1138.
One of the coolest hidden details that many people often overlook can be found in Galaxy’s Edge. There is so much to look at once you enter Batuu that this detail is very easy to miss. If you look on the ground throughout Galaxy’s Edge, you will notice droid tracks. These tracks were created by the original R2-D2 droid from the original Star Wars trilogy! They took R2-D2 and rolled the droid all around the park to create an even more immersive experience for fans.
Everyone that has been to Hollywood Studios knows about Gertie, the big, green dinosaur that lives in Echo Lake. What many people don’t know is Gertie’s backstory. Gertie the Dinosaur was one of the first animations to ever come to life on the screen. Her creator, Windsor McKay, is often considered to be the father of animation. Windsor McKay paved the way for future animators, especially Walt Disney. Her being such a big presence in that lake is Disney’s way of paying homage to her. Also, it is fitting that you can buy ice cream from Gertie. Gertie’s cartoon tagline was “Gertie- she’s a scream”! Disney Imagineers thought it would be funny to “scream for ice cream”. If you look on the ground, there are also giant dinosaur footprints leading into the lake.
Now that you know all these hidden secrets and details at Hollywood Studios, it will make your next trip there even more exciting. It truly is fun to go around the park and try to spot these hidden gems. I seem to find something new every time that I go to Hollywood Studios. Stay tuned, there may be a part two to this list! What hidden secret did you find the most interesting?