The Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of this popular Disney World Park is a nod to downtown Los Angeles' Park by the same name where many "keystone" comedies were filmed in the 1920's. The buildings in Hollywood Studios Echo Lake, like Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream stand, were made to look like giant objects. This architectural style was popular during the years of early Hollywood. Everything in this area recreates the look and feel of the Golden age of Hollywood. As you run around to the different attractions, take a few minutes to appreciate the surroundings in the Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of the park.
Sounds Dangerous - Starring Drew Carey
This adventure with Drew Carey takes place inside a theater that is a television soundstage. The members of the audience are provided with personal headsets so they can listen to the show as they also watch it on screen.
This show starts out as a 3D audio/visual presentation about a new detective show called Undercover Live. During the show, Drew Carey plays a detective who is trying to solve a case while providing live audio/visual feed to the viewers.
At first, the people in the audience (that's you) views the action from the vantage point of a tiny camera that is attached to the detective's tie. You can see all the action on screen, but as the detective becomes more involved in the case, he tries to hide the camera from the bad guys by placing it in his mouth which causes the camera to short out.
From this point on, the visual feed is gone but the audio feed still works which allows you to hear but not see the detective's adventure. This means that the theater goes dark and you must use your imagination to "see" what is being heard through your headphones. Imagine what it sounds like when the detective opens up a jar of bees or when he is being shaved. The 3D sound effects are very convincing.
This is a fun show but please be advised that over half of it takes place in the dark. Some small children may get frightened. If this happens, take off their headset and talk quietly to them until the lights come back on. It will still be dark, but at least they will not be able to hear scary sounds in the dark.
As you exit the theater, there are some interactive activity stations for you to try out and enjoy. You can even dub or put your voice to that of a cartoon character and make sound effects for a movie. Take your time and enjoy yourself, it really is kind of cool and can be very funny.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is a 30 minute stunt show that recreates scenes from the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is the only live action show in the Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of the park. The theater is an open air space that is large enough to allow for the use of large equipment. The large floor space also allows the cast to demonstrate numerous fighting scenes and how explosions are sometimes used in movie making. Several audience members are chosen to participate as extras in the show. If you want to participate be sure to make it obvious to the cast members by raising your hands, jumping up and down and of course be very loud.
During the show the cast members demonstrate various acting skills and stunts that are used in live actions filming. In between the "live" action takes, the audience is shown how the different sets and taken apart and cleared away to allow for the set of the next scene to be put together for filming.
During the show, you will get to see how fighting is executed while filming in order for it to look real in a movie and without anyone getting hurt. Explosives are used to demonstrate how special effects can help make the movie look as real as possible. Overall, the show is entertaining and gives a realistic glimpse into the science of stunts and special effects.
The only thing I do not like about the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is that I am not old enough to be an extra in the show.
Anyone who is a diehard Star Wars fan will enjoy this out of control star tour. Rex is your tour guide and rookie pilot who takes you on a wild ride through the galaxy to the planet Endor. The space craft that you "fly" in is actually a flight simulator that synchronizes motion (bumps, dives, and tilts) to the video that you are watching on the screen in the space craft. If the space craft turns to the right on the video, the space craft you are sitting in turns at the same time. This gives you the feeling that you really are flying through space. It feels like you are living in a video game.
The flight or ride is very realistic and can make you a little queasy if you are prone to motion sickness. This ride can be a little scary for young children. Mac, our middle child, did not like this ride at all when she was younger. The quick jerking motions and hairpin turns were enough to scare the Pooh out of her. She did not want to ride it again for at least 3 or 4 years. You must be at least 40' tall to ride.
Star Tours can make you feel sick but other than that it is fun.
The American Idol Experience
New to the Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of this Disney World Park is The American Idol Experience. The attraction provides guests the opportunity to watch, vote and perhaps even perform during one of the shows that will be shown throughout the day at Hollywood Studios.
This new attraction is based on the hit TV show, "American Idol". As a park visitor you have the opportunity to audition for a chance to perform in a live theme park version of the show. The winners of each show will have the opportunity to compete against one another in a grand finale show at the end of each day. The winners of each grand finale show will have a chance to audition for the real, TV version.
If you are not interested in performing in the show or if you just do not have any singing talent, you will still have an opportunity to participate in the show by voting on whom you think should win. Everyone who watches the shows will have the chance to vote on who they feel should win. As a member of the attraction audience you can cast a vote on the interactive keypad at your seat. Remember that the person who wins each show will perform again in the final show of the day. The winner of the final show will have the chance to audition for the real "American Idol". So, your vote counts.
Hollywood Studios Echo Lake Entertainment
Jedi Training Academy - This training academy takes place at different times each week outside and beside the entrance of the Star Tours attraction. A Jedi master teaches little guests (and some that aren't so little) how to properly use a light saber and how to defend themselves against storm troopers. Be sure to pick up a park times guide for exact dates and times.
Hollywood Studios Echo Lake Dining
Hollywood and Vine - an all-you-can-eat buffet that serves a large selection of American dishes. You can usually find an assortment of salads, breads, meats, chicken and fish that are prepared in a variety of different ways. There is also a large selection of desserts to choose from as well.
Even with two teenagers and an 11 year old, our family of five could not eat enough to justify the $32.00/person that it costs. It is good food, but extremely expensive.
Play and Dine at Hollywood and Vine - the Hollywood and Vine offers a breakfast and lunch buffet with characters from some of Playhouse Disney's most popular shows. You'll be able to see and greet familiar and friendly characters like JoJo and Goliath from JoJo's Circus and Leo from Little Einstein's.
The food is kid friendly with favorites like Mickey shaped waffles, french toast, and fresh fruits and pastries. The food is great, but the kids might forget to eat because the characters do a very good job of interacting with their little fans. The characters might even invite the kids to do the "cha-cha" around the dining room with them.
50's Prime Time Cafe - Mind your manners and sit up straight at the table or your "mother" might scold you in front of the entire restaurant. And while you're on your best behavior, eat your veggies and keep your elbows off the table too. This fun cafe in Holywood Studios Echo Lake is a throwback to family life and culture of the 50's. The furniture and the decor are true to the decade. It might make you feel like you have stepped back in time to dine at your grandparents or great grandparent's house.
The menu showcases classic comfort foods from the 50's like pot roast, fried chicken and meatloaf. You'll also find favorites like macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes to accompany the main entrees. The dessert menu can be found on the view master toys that are located on each table. Remember those vegetables? Eat up or you'll get no dessert. Our son did not eat his green beans so when the waitress brought out our desserts, she brought back out his greens beans only this time, they were covered with whip cream! She then announced to the whole restaurant that he had to eat his vegetables before he could have his dessert.
Backlot Express - The Backlot Express sits behind the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular and beside the Star Tours attraction. It is usually not very busy unless the Indiana Jones Show lets out right before you get there. The Backlot Express is a quick counter service eatery in the Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of the park that offers typical fast food. You can choose from burgers, hotdogs, chicken strips, and fries. If you are looking for something a little lighter, they also offer turkey sandwiches and a roasted vegetable sandwich as well. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
The Dip Site - a snack trailer that is located next to the entrance to Indiana Jones. Treat yourself to ice cold lemonade, giant pretzels, shaved ice or a smoothie.
Min and Bill's Dockside Diner - This steamer or boat is docked on Hollywood Studios Echo Lake. They sell super thick milkshakes, brownies, cookies and assorted beverages.
Make sure you get a frozen lemonade, they are the best.
Peevy's Polar Pipeline - serves up frozen Coca-Cola brand treats and Minute Maid raspberry lemonade and blueberry flavored treats.
Hollywood Studios Echo Lake Shopping
Golden Age Souvenirs - is a small shop located beside the Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey attraction in Hollywood Studios Echo Lake. They stack items like hats, sunglasses, film and small souvenirs.
Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost - This shop is located near the exit of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in the Hollywood Studios Echo Lake section of the park. They sell all kinds of movie memorabilia from the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Tatooine Traders - This shop is located near the exit to the Star Tours attraction. They sell anything and everything related to the Star Wars movies and the ride.
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