Haunted hotels. toy dinosaurs as tall as a house, the Millennium Falcon. Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios isn’t all red carpets and spotlights, it’s become a whole new park in the past decade. If you’re here you’re wanting to know more about Hollywood Studios secrets so today we are going to dive into this park formerly known as MGM Studios and see what secrets we can uncover!
To keep things simple and more organized we will break down all the Hollywood Studios secrets by different sections of the parks and all the things you can find inside of each one.
1) Gas Pumps By The Entrance
When you first enter the park, take a second to appreciate the retro gas station to your right across from the Crossroads. Aside from that cool vintage style, this gas station also holds a fun little nod to Hollywood Studios of yesteryear. One of the coolest Hollywood Studios secrets is at the gas pumps displays the numbers 05011 99, which is the date MGM Studios opened – May 1, 1989.
2) Chinese Theater
The replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre down Hollywood Boulevard welcomes guests into Disney’s Hollywood Studios much like Cinderella Castle welcomes one and all into the Magic Kingdom. However this icon has been the home to not one but two technologically advanced rides. Right now it is home to Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, an adorable trackless ride and the first to showcase Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
However, before it was replaced in 2017, the theater was home to The Great Movie Ride, which was a trackless ride before trackless rides became a trendy fad for other Disney World attractions. The main difference between the two trackless rides, however, is that The Great Movie Ride followed a main wire embedded into the floor pulling you from scene to scene, which didn’t give the vehicles nearly as much freedom to explore as the train cars in Mickey and Minnie do now (think conga scene).
3) Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that when we are talking about Hollywood Studios secrets that The Tower of Terror might be involved. he Twilight Zone’s Tower of Terror at the end of Sunset Boulevard opened up back in 1994 and we’ve been riding that sketchy elevator for many years now.
But did you know that this attraction was the first ever ride to inspire a live-action movie? Tower of Terror came out in 1997 and starred Steve Gutenberg and Kirsten Dunst, along with one other special guest, Lindsey Ridgeway.
Who is Lindsey Ridgeway you ask? She’s the actress who plays Sally Shrine, the little girl featured in the pre-show with the blond curls clutching a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal who dies on October 31, 1039 and is now trapped in the Hollywood Tower Hotel and beckons you to come join her.
She reprised that same role in the Tower of Terror movie, but she’s not nearly as scary in my opinion – probably because I’m not being dropped 13 stories in the dark…
4) Going To Hollywood
So day or night, a stroll down Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Sunset Boulevard is very memorable. You’ve got palm trees lining the sidewalk, quick service businesses ready to sell you a snack on the go, and a view of the Hollywood Tower Hotel welcoming you (or daring you) to drop on in. It’s a beautiful sight.
Sunset Boulevard is based around the real Sunset Strip in Southern California, but according to the Walt Disney World website many of the buildings and influences lining the Hollywood
Studios version of this strip are actually nowhere near the real Sunset Boulevard in California. The exception to this is the Mouse About Town gift shop which was modeled after the Berman-Kohner Building at 9165-1969 Sunset Boulevard.
The streamline modern style building in California held the Berman Furs Shop which sold jackets, coats and various leather and fur articles, as well as the office for Paul Kohner, one of Hollywood’s high-powered talent agents back in the 1930s.
The Once Upon a Time gift shop on Sunset Boulevard is modeled after the Carthay Circle Theater, one of the most famous movie palaces of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Why is this theater so significant for Disney World fans? The original Carthay Circle in Los Angeles, California was where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered back in 1937.
While the Carthay Circle Theater no longer exists, there is another ode to this former building at Disneyland’s California Adventure; you can dine at the Carthay Circle restaurant which features an upscale menu filled with Southern California flavors.
What is a dinosaur doing in Echo Lake in the middle of Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Did she escape from DinoLand U.S.A. in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Of course not! That’s Gertie the Dinosaur and she has been a staple of Hollywood Studios since 1989. course not Gertie the dinosaur has been part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios/MGM Studios since 1989.
This massive dino holds Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction, a quick service sweet spot that is often closed more than it is open. So why is Gertie even here? Well she’s actually a pretty famous actress and starred in her own movie, “Gertie the Dinosaur”, a 12-minute short film released in 1913. Gertie was created by newspaper cartoonist, Winsor McCay, who Walt Disney himself referred to as one of the key pioneers of early animation.
6) Indiana Jones Stunt Show
Keep your eyes peeled near the entrance, and you’ll spot a well dug into the ground with a pulley system and a sign nearby that reads, “Warning! Do Not Pull Rope.” It’s practically daring you to pull it, so, go ahead and break the rules!
You just might hear something coming from that well! But don’t worry, this same gag exists at Disneyland too! So, you can feel free to break this one rule at Walt Disney World (and Disneyland) with no guilt! Go ahead and pull that rope – you never know what amazing surprises the Disney World Parks have in store for you!
7) Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
“Ready to experience a blast from the past? Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Walt Disney World is taking us back in time – and we’re not just talking about the visuals! Not only does the ride feature some awesome secret Easter eggs, but it also features original sound effects from the 1930s, including the very same tri-tone whistle used in Mickey’s debut cartoon back in 1928!
That’ll certainly give you a ‘wow’ moment! If the sound effects weren’t enough, the voices of Mickey and Minnie add an extra touch of nostalgia. Mickey Mouse was voiced by Wayne Allwine, Minnie’s real-life husband, for over 30 years, and her final role was voiced by the late Russi Taylor.
So, get ready for some serious Disney magic and join Mickey and Minnie on their Runaway Railway – the ride that takes you back in time with entertaining visuals and unforgettable audio!
8) Min & Bill
If you’re looking for some more movie related Hollywood Studios secrets and behind the scenes movie history look no further than the SS Down the Hatch ship façade located on Echo Lake, also known as Dockside Diner.
This quick service location used to go by a different name, Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. This ship-shaped diner was originally named and themed after the 1030s MGM file, “Min and Bill”, a story about a dockside innkeeper and her love/hate relationship with a fisherman.
And if you look on the cargo containers surrounding the docked ship, you will find nods to several famous characters addressed on each of them from classic movies such as Citizen Kane, It’s a Wonderful Life, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, and The Producers.
9) A 113
Some of you may be familiar with this next one if you’re a fan of Pixar. The letter A followed by the numbers 1-1-3 tend to pop up in many Pixar movies, such as on the license plate of Andy’s mom’s minivan in “Toy Story”, the diver’s camera in “Finding Nemo”, on a box that Flik walks by in “A Bug’s Life” and even in some non-Pixar Disney movies such as The Princess and the Frog” (it can be found on the trolley car Tiana is riding).
What is the significance of A 113? Well it refers to the animation classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where many of Pixar’s animators attending school. It’s used as a shout-out to their alma mater and fun to look for in movies just like trying to find hidden Mickeys in the parks. Well you can also find A 113 hidden in Toy Story Land.
When you are over by Woody’s Lunchbox grabbing some tasty potato barrels, take a look at the dominos and blocks in the nearby grassy area The dominoes show off the dotted numbers 1-1-3, and the letter block directly above displays the letter A.
10) Slinky’s Dog Tag
Our next Disney’s Hollywood Studios secret is all about dogs. Slinky Dog isn’t the only dog influencer of Toy Story Land. You may have noticed that the standby sign for Slinky Dog Dash is shaped like a big dog tag.
Well if you look on the backside of the tag, you’ll see that the tag actually belongs to Andy’s adorable pup Buster. If you’ve seen the Toy Story movies then you know that Buster becomes a returning side character throughout movies.
This is just another reminder that when we talk about Disney’s Hollywood Studios Secrets or Walt Disney World secrets in general, they can literally everywhere, and we mean everywhere. Even the trash cans should not be overlooked. In fact, trash cans are pretty big deal in Walt Disney World, take the trash cans and recycling bins for example…
11) Galaxy’s Edge Trash Cans
The trash cans and recycling bins scattered throughout Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge are all labeled with the number 3263827, which represents the sector number where Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia jump into the trash compactor on the Death Star in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”.
12) Egroeg Sacul
We’ve all heard of a little section of the park called Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, right? But how much do you know about the OG Star Wars attraction, Star Tours? As you are walking through the first half of the queue where you see C-3PO and R2D2, pay attention to the announcements coming from the PA system.
You’ll hear an announcement paging a traveler named Egroeg Sacul, which is George Lucas (the creator of Star Wars) spelled backwards. You’ll also hear a boarding call announcement that mentions Landspeeder THX 1138 and a flight 1138. THX 1138 was actually the first movie that George Lucas directed.
13) Baby Millennium Falcon
Now we’ve seen hidden Mickey’s, hidden Minnie’s, even hidden Remy’s and hidden Tinker Bell’s, but did you know there is a hidden Millennium Falcon? Head to Galaxy’s Edge and look at the left side of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy and look underneath the rounded out cockpit and underneath you will find a baby Millennium Falcon hanging out.
14) R2D2 Tracks
When wondering around Batuu in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, look down and you will find a set of droid tracks wrapping their way around the Black Spire Marketplace near the Millennium Falcon and again near the Rise of the Resistance base. These droid prints belong to no other than the original R2D2 droid used in the original Star Wars movie!
15) One Of A Kind Lightsaber
Thinking about building your own lightsaber or droid but don’t want your creation to look like everyone else’s, especially after trying for weeks to get a reservation and forking over hundreds of dollars?
Well according to the D23 website, there are more than 120,000 possible customizable combinations for lightsabers built at Savi’s Workshop. As for droids over at the Droid Depot, a possible 280,000 possible combinations!
So while it’s still technically possible for someone to have a droid or saber similar to yours, you have just as much of a chance to build a one-of-a-kind souvenir as well!
To parks full of secrets down to more to go now remember, if you want to keep this Hollywood studio secrets list near and dear to you for easy access.
Overall, Hollywood Studios is a unique and exciting place full of surprises, secrets, and hidden gems. From haunted hotels on Hollywood Boulevard, to the oversized toy dinosaurs in Toy Story Land, to the Millennium Falcon, there is something for everyone. With all these secrets, there are certainly enough to keep you coming back for more. Whether you are there for an action-packed adventure, an inspiring art exhibit, or a one-of-a-kind experience, Hollywood Studios is the perfect place to explore and uncover the secrets it holds.
If you enjoyed this article then be sure to check out some of our other articles like The Best Snacks At Hollywood Studios!