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Hollywood Land

This area was originally called the Hollywood Pictures Backlot but was renamed to Hollywood Land with the relaunch of Disney California Adventure in 2012. The Red Car Trolley was added to Hollywood Blvd and now has stops at the Tower of Terror and Animation Building.

 


The Geek's First Impressions (2/3/01 unless otherwise noted)

  • Overview: I found the backlot reminding me of the Disney studios in WDW quite a bit, which it should since it is supposed to be Hollywood. I thought the facades all looked great. The Hyperion theater at the end of the block does a great job blocking the outside world. We also really enjoyed the background music for this section of the park. I wished it was a bit longer because it seemed every time I went through the area I heard the theme from Beverly Hills Cop... not a bad song, but would like some variety. Also this section seemed to be really far out of the way... do not know why, it just did. I think it is because so much of the park is focused on (meaning major attractions) the area from Condor flats around to Paradise Pier. This side of the park (and the farm area) really seem to be afterthoughts in my mind because of the lack of major "E-ticket" attractions. Things started to change in 2004 with the opening of the Twighlight Zone Tower of Terror at the end of the Block.

  • Disney Animation(modified 4/06): This is definitely the best attraction in the backlot area. Once you get inside the building there are three main "rooms" to experience. One shows the same movie that the animation tour in WDW shows (so if you have seen it and are tight on time, skip it). Another show talks about the process of animation with a live actor interacting with Mushu(sp?) from Mulan. It was a fairly entertaining show. The third is an interactive area that consists of a series of rooms with workstations for you to experience the various things that go into animation. The first room you have the chance to draw a series of stills and put them in a machine to play them back (or you can watch one of sseveral Disney shorts already made for you). The next room is the Beast's Library. This is where you get the chance to see which Disney character is closest to your personality. You sit at a book and answer some questions. A picture is snapped and then you are told. The next room is Ursela's Grotto. This is where you get to use your voice for a song or animation clip. Overall these additional rooms are pretty good, but the line moves slower than slow to get into them and then you have to wait for each station once inside. After the popularity dies down this will be fun, but on crowded days it could be a nightmare if your kid wants to see it. For the celebration of Walt Disney's 100th birthday the Animation Screening room film was switched and the theater played "One Man's Dream", the film that was made for the exhibit of the same name down at Walt Disney World. In 2005 this film was retired and Turtle Talk with Crush took over the theater. This interactive show allows guests to talk with Crush using some great Imagineering Technology (this is the same show that debuted at the Living Seas in EPCOT in late 2004 or early 2005). The show Drawn to Animation was also retired in 2005 and converted into the Animation Academy. In the fall of 2005 the entrace facade to the building was also redone in an attempt to mimic an old Hollywood theater with a new Marquee and lights. So as of spring 2006 the only piece remaining from when the attraction opened is the interactive workshop rooms.

  • Hyperion Theater(modified 5/2/04): The Hyperion has played host to an interesting variety of events and regular showings over the first few years of operation. Ranging from the Broadway hit Blast! to Disney's own stageshow Aladdin. As for events they have house competitions, talks for Soap Opera Weekends, and a live edition of Whose Line.

  • The Hollywood Backlot Stage: The stage has hosted a couple shows over the years. Below are my original thoughts on the first show. Other shows such as Goofy's Beach Party Blast, and D.U.H. have been on the stagew. Also they have used it for the Magic Music Days and interviews.

    (Original Review): The stage has a stunt show right now called Lights, Camera, Chaos. This show was really good. There were quite a few stunts packed into this little show. My one complaint is that there is no seating for the show and standing gets long after a while. Alos its hard to find a place to site where you can see (since almost everyone stands). Also we ended up seeing the show after dark and the lighting seemed to add a little something to it.




    Everything below this line was added after the park opened:

  • Playhouse Disney Live on Stage!:
    Wow, I felt out of place at this one. It seemed like a foriegn place to me, not being that familiar with Playhouse Disney and its characters. The kids around the room were so into it, it scared the Lazygeek... Overall its a very high energy cast that makes this show work. Running through the CMs out front to the puppeteers in the show. Overall I would have to say if you have a child who knows of Playhouse Disney this is a must see! For the rest of us its a cool place with comfortable benches and an OK show.

  • Monsters Inc. - Mike and Sulley to the Rescue (Opened 1/23/06)
    This attraction replaced the illfated Super Star Limo. Along with this new attraction came new theming and signage to the backlot area. It now even more closely themed to its cousin in Orlando. The signage has the Disney Studios red look to it. When this attraction opened in January 2006 it brought new life to the backlot area. For years you could walk through the backlot and the area near the old Superstar Limo building and not even see another guest. Even Tower of Terror did little to bring this area of the Backlot to life. Now with the addition of this solid dark ride attraction (a C or D Ticket by most peoples rating) there always seems to be people around. The attraction picks up the storyline with Boo loose in Monstropolis and Mike & Sulley helping to get her out of the city before the CDA find them. The ride track, vehicles, and queue layout are the same as the original attraction but everything else is redone and the overlay works. We really enjoy the attraction, especially Roz's final goodbye comments.

Closed attractions:

  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (closed January 2, 2017):
    This new version of Disney's Thrill ride favorite from Orlando opened in 2004. Unlike its East Coast cousin the DCA version has a different architectural look, three elevator shafts instead of two, and the cars stay within their same shaft and do not move like the ones at WDW do. I am not big on thrill rides, so I will probably never ride this attraction but I did spend some time walking the queue and public spaces and the theming is really well done and the details are great!

  • Disney's Fastpass SystemMuppet Vision 3D (closed in November 2014): This is a repeat of the great attraction that has been at Walt Disney World (in the Studios) for several years. It is still funny and entertaining. The show building is themed differently than the one in Orlando, but once you reach the theater it looks to be an exact duplicate. We really wish it would have been a new film, or an updated one... that would have made it much more exciting. For first time visitors and people who have not been to WDW it is a great experience. For those of you who have already experienced it, it still good, but would have liked to have seen something new in this new Disney park.

  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire- Play it!: (Closed August 20, 2004)
    Overall I thought this was an ok attraction. Something to see every now and then and something to see during events when they use it for celeberties or someone else. The show is run close to the TV show but no commercials and you play for points instead of dollars. They also tweaked the lifelines a bit.

  • Superstar Limo(Closed January 11, 2002): I have read how many people are extremely confused by this attraction and do not understand it. I think there are two ways to look at it. If this is supposed to be an "E-ticket" ride or a major attraction, it fails, but if it is supposed to be a supporting ride then it works. Meaning if it is a "Cartoon Spin" type attraction where it was meant to anchor an area it stinks, but if it was supposed to be a Snow White dark ride then it succeeds. Guessing by the hype and bucks spent on it I am guessint it was supposed to be great experience, and it falls short of that in my mind. I will ride this attraction on future visits, but there is no way I would wait more than 15min for it.. ever....

  • Frozen Fun: On January 7, 2015 Frozen Fun took over much of Hollywood Land. It lasted through the winter season of 2015. Here are my first impressions from January 9, 2015.
    • Animation Building - Frozen has taken over the Animation Academy, Character Close-up and the lobby. The additions inside the building all make sense to me and seems this should have been done from the start as a no brainer that the Animation Building promotes the current Disney Animation film. The new additions did draw a large crowd to the building. I thought the way FastPass returns were being handled was odd with signs and how the queue was set up but given the space I think that was probably the only option. It did make the area feel more crowded through. I did not catch any of the new clips in the rotation in the lobby.. it is on my list for a Future visit. I thought it was awkward having the FastPass distribution out on Hollywood Blvd. and just a small sign. Many guests did not seem to know what it was. Also having no signage of current times the system is distributing is a little frustrating. I ended up getting a time I could not use. If it would have been listed I would have waited a bit then tried back. I ended up giving my FastPass to someone else and asked that they take a couple pictures for me (which they did so I could include them in the update). So no first hand experience thoughts. I was surprised there were still FastPasses for relatively early in the day when I arrived. I picked mine up after 1pm for a 5:40pm return time.

    • Olaf's Snow Fest was closed in the afternoon for some reason so Olaf was meeting in the exit hallway with a 45 min wait and in the evening the line was 45 minutes for the snow and 90 for Olaf. So I did not visit this trip. The way the queue was set up was a bit hard to understand and it led to some confusion among guests. I understand more signage is on its way.

    • Wandering Oaken's Trading Post - The Muppets store is no more and Frozen has taken over. They re-arranged and modified the store. The large counter is gone opening the store to foot traffic and they have added more racks outside the footprint of the building to expand its size. All in all it is an upgrade to the space and drew many more guests and customers than the old space. The overlay on the building exterior feels very temporary, which it is. The inside with the props is a nice touch.

    • For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration takes place in the old Muppet theater. All traces of the Muppets are gone. The outside has received a new sign and the props have been removed or covered. Inside the lobby and walkway have been redone to fit the new theme. I did not have a lot of time to explore due to me opting for Standby and being rushed in since it was as a seat filler right before the doors closed. They offer two options for the show. FastPasses are distributed to the right of the entrance from two mobile carts and are your best option. I picked up one for the 4:00pm show around 1:30pm. Your second option is standby and I think that is iffy. They only let in about 30 or 40 guests from Standby for the show I attended. It appears they actually distribute FastPasses for every seat. The show itself features two narrators (historians) who fill in the narrative between the songs and share some jokes along the way. Kristoff, Anna, and Elsa all make appearances but are not a large part of the show. As the name suggests the majority of the time is the Sing-Along. The film is played and the lyrics are on the screen even though most who were singing did not need them! I thought the in theater lighting effects and stage were a better fit for this show than the version I saw in Orlando. But the historians and pacing of the show were better in the WDW version. Also the WDW audience seemed more into singing along.

    • Freeze the Night has taken over for the Mad T Party. The event consists of a DJ, two hosts, a dance crew, ice carving, interactive dance floor, Marshmallow meet and greet, and two bars. The event officially kicked off on January 7th and is running nightly from 6pm to park closing until April 30th. As seems to be the norm now a day there was no posted or generally available schedule for the entertainment. From what I observed they had something on the main stage at the top of the hour and around the 40 min mark. The ice carving started about the quarter hour (15 after). At 8pm they sang Let it Go. The demographic at this event skews much younger than the other night parties because of the theme and the entertainment does the same. The bars had healthy lines but did not seem as packed as Mad T Party and it did not seem like there were that many young adults hanging around as you saw during the previous events. This is based on a single nights observations... so could be way off. The crowd seemed to ebb and flow between the venues as events were happening. The ice carving and Let it Go performance seemed to be the highlight for most and drew the largest reactions from what I saw. Marshmallow had a constant line while I was there but not nearly as long as the Olaf one (which I saw posted at 90 minutes). I miss the live band and think that added a lot to the energy level of the Mad T Party. I would have liked to have seen more out of the two hosts. They popped up from time to time but outside of the Let it Go Performance did not add a lot in my opinion. The dance lesson and temperature checks seemed rather flat (but the dance lesson did have a good size crowd dancing at one point). The dance crew was entertaining and the crowd seemed to enjoy them.





Attractions & Entertainment (Parades, Shows & Fireworks)
Current Attractions:
  • Disney Animation - Animation Academy (Opened: Feb 08, 2001)
  • Disney Animation - Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome (Opened: Dec 20, 2014)
  • Disney Animation - Sorcerer's Workshop (Opened: Feb 08, 2001)
  • Disney Animation - Turtle Talk with Crush (Opened: Jul 15, 2005)
  • Disney Junior Dance Party! (Opened: May 26, 2017)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (FP) (Opened: May 27, 2017)
  • Mickey's Philharmagic (Opened: Apr 26, 2019)
  • Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! (Opened: Jan 23, 2006)
  • Red Car Trolley (Opened: Jun 15, 2012)
  • Sunset Showcase Theatre (Opened: May 06, 2016)
Current Entertainment:
  • Frozen - Live at the Hyperion (Opened: May 27, 2016)
Retired Attractions:
  • Disney Junior - Live on Stage! (Apr 11, 2003 - Apr 09, 2017)
  • Play House Disney Live on Stage (Apr 11, 2003 - Apr 09, 2017)
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (May 05, 2004 - Jan 02, 2017)
  • Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D (Feb 08, 2001 - Nov 02, 2014)
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire - Play It! (Sep 14, 2001 - Aug 20, 2004)
  • Superstar Limo (Feb 08, 2001 - Jan 11, 2002)

 

Retired Entertainment:
  • Paint the Night (Apr 13, 2018 - Nov 07, 2018)
  • Pixar Play Parade (Nov 30, 2007 - Nov 30, 2016)
  • Disney's Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (Nov 30, 2002 - Nov 30, 2015)
  • Disney's Electrical Parade (Jul 03, 2001 - Apr 18, 2010)
  • Block Party Bash (Nov 30, 2004 - Nov 30, 2007)
  • LuminAria (Nov 09, 2001 - Jan 06, 2002)
  • Disney's Eureka! A California Parade (Jan 31, 2001 - Nov 30, 2001)
  • The Power of BLAST! (Nov 30, 2000 - Nov 30, 2001)
  • Disney's Steps in Time (Nov 30, 2000 - Nov 30, 2000)
Dining Options

 

  • Quickfacts
    Tower of Terror:
    • Opened May 5, 2004
    • 183 Feet tall, the tallest attraction in the Disneyland Resort
    • Do not call it an elevator, its a "vertical vechicle conveyance"

    Closed Dining Locations

    • ABC Soap Opera Bistro (Closed 11/7/02 and became Playhouse Disney)
    • Hollywood & Dine (closed 2002)
    • Between Takes (Closed 11/05)
    Related Disney News Releases
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