Disney Junior – Live on Stage!

When you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s pretty obvious there is a love and nostalgia for the movies everywhere you turn. But this park can also be about the magic of television. In the Animation Courtyard, there’s a spot that’s particularly great for preschoolers and young kids.

Disney Junior- Live on Stage! is a show that brings familiar characters from the Disney Junior channel to life. Our friendly host, Casey, helps Mickey and friends to overcome some challenges they face when trying to throw a party for Minnie. The show combines song, dance, media, tactility, and interactivity. All of which are important elements for early learning.

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Even though this show doesn’t have much of a science or history or even artistic connection, it does present some important life lessons that are great learning opportunities for little ones. Through Disney’s loveable characters, kids can learn about perseverance, teamwork, and friendship. Which are good lessons for adults to keep in mind, too!

Pacific Electric Railway

Not all learning opportunities at Walt Disney World are quite explicit. As you wander around the parks, you’re likely to see subtle references to historic or cultural points of interest. In Hollywood Studios, there are plenty of design elements that harken back to the golden olden days of Hollywood and Southern California.

Next time you stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, check out the back of the old tip board (now a FastPass+ kiosk). You’ll find a map of the old Pacific Electric Railway system that connected much of Southern California in the 1920s. It’s fun to see the geography of the metro areas, and the advertisement on the map shows what an attraction the railway was in its heyday.

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The map also connects the other design elements of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, since you’ll spot rail cars, trolley lines, and Pacific Railway logos. It’s all part of the plan to really put you into that classic place and time.


STEM Topic: Engineering
FL Sunshine State Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.G.1.2, SS.K.G.1.4, SS.2.G.1.1, SS.3.G.1.1, SS.4.G.1.4, SS.6.G.1.2

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is known for having great shows. A classic favorite is Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Sure it’s entertaining and a must-do for Indiana Jones fans. But watch and listen closely and you’ll also learn a lot about movie-making.

IMG_3945During this 30-minute show, the audience gets to see three different Indiana Jones film scenes acted out, complete with stunts and special effects. During the production, you are introduced to the director, 2nd unit assistant director, director of photography, and special effects coordinator. Each explains their job on a film set and what they are responsible for in the scenes during the show.

You also hear from a few of the actors who demonstrate fight routines and explain the difference between a stunt double and a stunt actor. And if you arrive early enough (and are 18 or older) you can volunteer to be part of the action! A casting director chooses members of the audience to come onto the set and take part in the filming.

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This is definitely a crowd-pleasing show and is great for all ages. It is in an outdoor amphitheater, and while it is covered, the show may not take place if it’s raining. There are usually about five shows a day. This is a great experience for film buffs or those interested in film careers.

The Writer’s Stop

This is the first listing in our Bookstore Series. These posts point out where to buy books, both educational and for leisure, around Walt Disney World.

The Writer’s Stop is located in Hollywood Studios at the Streets of America, just at the corner of Commissary Lane. This bookstore and coffee shop is a great spot to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the park. Grab a coffee, peruse the books, or catch up on movie and TV previews in one of the comfy seating areas.

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The selection of books here is pretty wide. You’ll find everything from contemporary beach reads and biographies to art books and Disney history. Even some of the décor takes after 1940s-era dime store novellas. There is also a small collection of children’s books for little ones in your group.

And note that certain authors, like Ridley Pearson, have made appearances at this location for book signings. So be on the lookout via official Disney media channels for more in the future!

Echo Lake Architecture

Echo Lake is one of the eight sections featured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It represents a time and place in California history when the movies were still young and the dream of living in Los Angeles attracted many. Looking around at the buildings here, you’ll see several architectural styles, both residential and commercial. Some of the buildings are modeled after real ones from the 1930s through 1950s.

There are two can’t-miss pieces of architectural fun that represent the California Crazy style: Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner and Dinosaur Gertie. Plaques outside both buildings explain California Crazy architecture and the inspiration for each.

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner is a tribute to Min and Bill, a 1931 MGM hit comedy that took place around a waterfront. The steamboat is fun to look at and includes some spinning and water-spouting features. And if you know your nautical flags, there’s a message spelled out above the smokestack. (Incidentally, they serve up a mean frankfurter, too!)

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Across the water is Dinosaur Gertie, a larger than life brontosaurus shaped building that occasionally serves up ice cream. Gertie is based on a cartoon from the early days of film, one that also inspired Walt Disney.

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FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.K.H.1.1, VA.K.F.1.2, VA.1.H.2.1, VA.1.F.2.1, VA.2.H.2.3, VA.4.H.1.1, VA.4.H.2.3, VA.5.H.1.1

The Magic of Disney Animation

***UPDATE: This attraction has closed to make way for Star Wars Launch Bay. Please enjoy this article as a bit of Disney history.

Tucked away at the back of Animation Courtyard, beyond Voyage of The Little Mermaid and Disney Junior – Live on Stage!, lies The Magic of Disney Animation. Inside this building, a once fully operating animation studio for Walt Disney Pictures, you can experience all things animation.
A good portion of the space is dedicated to character greeting and interactive games, but wander around and you’ll find some pretty cool learning opportunities, too.

AnimationThe Production Gallery is an exhibit space that features working animators’ desks (you might even get to see them creating character sketches) and a display wall giving a sneak peek at upcoming films now in production. You can also watch a short film that explains how some of your favorite Disney characters came to be. Cast members in this area can impart lots of neat information about past and future animation – just ask!

The Animation Academy is another fun experience where you can learn to draw a Disney character from an actual animator on site. There are usually lines for this experience as seating is limited during each session.

One of our favorite spaces in The Magic of Disney Animation is the Animation Gallery. It’s a self-paced, walk-through exhibit with rotating displays pertaining to certain aspects of animation. Currently on display is “Setting the Scene,” a fabulous exhibit all about backgrounds and layouts from iconic Disney films. You can learn about the artists’ jobs in creating these important parts of film and also why they choose the techniques they do.

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Animation 4The Magic of Disney Animation is a great spot to interact with cast members. They have a lot to share about Walt Disney, his famous films, and the history of animation.


FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.2.F.2.1, VA.3.F.2.1, VA.4.F.2.1, VA.5.F.2.2, VA.5.F.2.3, VA.68.F.1.3

One Man’s Dream

Guests rushing down Mickey Avenue to get to Toy Story Midway Mania! are likely to pass right by this extensive and immersing exhibit. One Man’s Dream was created during the 100 Years of Magic Celebration that commemorated the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth. It takes you on a journey through the life and many achievements of Walt Disney and his company. Over 400 artifacts, costumes, and models are housed here.

IMG_3080The exhibit begins with Walt’s childhood, explaining where he came from and the inspiration for Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland. As you move through, you’ll see artifacts from his school days and the beginnings of his passion for animation. One of our favorite pieces in the gallery is the multi-plane camera and its accompanying video. This invention made the more 3D quality of even early Disney cartoons possible. Rounding the bend inside the exhibit, you’ll begin to see more from Walt’s forays into television, films, and theme parks.

IMG_3082In the back of the gallery is a theater that shows a 15-minute film chronicling the life and times of Walt Disney. You’ll also hear Walt’s voice narrating some of the footage. The film plays every 15 minutes throughout the day. It’s a pretty touching tribute.

One Man’s Dream is a self-guided exhibit, however cast members are available at the entrance and at the back of the gallery if you have questions. Be aware that there is quite a lot of information here, and if you’re the type that likes to read everything, it can take a long time to go through it all. You don’t have to stay for the film if you’ve finished touring the gallery. Likewise, you can skip ahead just to watch the movie if you’d rather. You are welcome to spend as little or as much time as you like in the exhibit.


FL Next Gen Social Studies Standards:
SS.K.A.2.1, SS.K.A.2.4, SS.1.A.2.1, SS.1.A.2.2, SS.1.A.2.4, SS.2.A.3.1, SS.4.A.6.3
FL Sunshine State Visual Arts Standards:
VA.2.F.2.1, VA.3.F.2.1, VA.4.F.2.1, VA.5.F.2.2, VA.5.F.2.3, VA.68.F.1.3