As you enter the gates, you cant help but notice the park's icon, Mickey's Fantasia Sorcerer's Hat. Using our PhotoPass, we grabbed a group shot.
Hollywood Boulevard is essentially the main entrance that extends down the street to The Great Movie Ride. The outside of this attraction is a replica of Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the inside is a slow moving ride through Hollywood's most famous movies (such as Singing in the Rain, Wizard of Oz, Tarzan, Casablanca, Aliens etc).
Animation Courtyard has a few walk through attractions, such as Walt Disney: One Man's Dream and The Magic of Disney Animation. We walked through One Man's Dream and it was pretty neat to see all of photos and various artifacts that formed Walt's life. There is also a film narrated by Julie Andrews at the end. It's worth a walk through if you have the time. We did not have time for The Magic of Disney Animation so I'm not sure if its a must-do or not
Pixar Place is the newest section to the park and it also has the best new ride: Toy Story Midway Mania. It was actually our last ride at the park (and our entire trip for that matter) and it was nice to go out with a bang. The ride is described as 4D, taking guests through a series of interactive games hosted by various Toy Story characters. Because you ride in a two-person car, it has a tendency to cause some healthy competition because your respective scores are tallied in real time. Dave beat me be a small margin! I need to beat him next time! I should point out that this ride's popularity is on par with Soarin' in EPCOT. Thus, I would recommend going straight to this attraction and grabbing your Fast Pass before you do anything else. If you don't, you may discover at an early hour that all of the Fast Passes are gone for the day. Here are a few pictures that I took back in 2008 while waiting in line:
If you are at the park between mid-November and early January, you should check out The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Streets of America. The light display is made up of over 10 miles of rope lighting that are connected to electronic switches that are set to music (such as Christmas Eve by the Trans Siberian Orchestra and Jingle Bells by Barbara Streisand). Hence, it appears that the lights are "dancing" to the music. They also installed fake snow machines to set the scene. I really enjoyed this area in 2008 with the family.
Hollywood Studios is (i) home to many great rides and is (ii) doable within one day. At a minimum, make sure to find time for Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Muppet Vision 3D and Fantasmic! Some of the other attractions I mentioned are nice to do's but not must do's.
This post also wraps marks the end of the Florida vacation recaps. Well, at least until I decide I miss it too much and want to do it all again next year... :)