Echo Lake Area
There are only a few ‘lands’ at Walt Disney World where you get the variety you get the Echo Lake area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This variety is in both attractions and dining venues. As far as attractions, we have a relatively new attraction in the American Idol Experience, an old solid standby in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, an attraction that is and has been in limbo for an extended period of time in Sounds Dangerous, and finally a long standing favorite that has just undergone a HUGE update and refurbishment in Star Tours II. As you can see there seems to one of everything at Echo Lake.
- American Idol Experience – This one has seen a lot of success. It’s modeled after the huge television show and operates the same way except that auditions and voting for an ‘Idol’ don’t take place over a period of weeks but rather in one day. Auditions and initial voting are done in the morning with the finals later in the day. Check your times guide for the exact times for each phase.
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – This one has been around for a very long time and still draws large crowds for each show. The different scenes that take place during the show are loosely borrowed from the Indiana Jones series of films. They choose a number of folks from the audience to participate with the Cast Members so if you want to be chosen dress brightly and when they ask for volunteers be VERY enthusiastic.
- Sounds Dangerous – You may or may not get to see this show during this visit because this C-Ticket attraction operates very seasonally (read that only when crowds are seasonally huge). I haven’t seen it for a number of years because we generally travel at slower times of the year. If it is operating give it a try especially if you are a Drew Carey fan, it’s entertaining but can be very loud and may scare the younger children.
- Star Tours II: The Adventure Continues – I can’t wait to give this one a try in October. I rode it in 2009 before the upgrade and it was fun then but 3-D, assorted pilots, and different adventures WOW!! If you have motion issues ask the Cast Member to sit you in the front row because it’s less disturbing to your equilibrium. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get that front row seat because all of the hard core riders will be fighting for the back row.
There is also a lot of dining variety so I’ll be brief with each one but will give you an idea of what to expect:
- Backlot Express – This counter service location is tucked between Indiana Jones and Stat Tours and you will rarely find large crowds here. They serve the basic burgers and dogs but also have some sandwiches and salads. The food is good and this is a good choice for a counter service meal.
- 50′s Prime Time Cafe – This is one of our absolute favorites (eating there twice in October). The setting is a 50′s kitchen and the Cast Members act as your relatives. Play along and you will have a fun time but if you don’t want to play the Cast Members are excellent at sensing this and will not force the fun on you. The food is excellent and there is a lot of variety. The milk shakes are amazing. Just remember, eat all your vegetables and keep your elbows off the table. You have been warned!!!
- Hollywood And Vine – We are not buffet fans but this one is actually quite good. It’s designed like an old Hollywood Cafeteria and the breakfast and lunch meals are character meals with the gang from Playhouse Disney. Dinner is not a character meal. There is a lot of variety and the menu does change on a fairly regular basis. There is an ice cream bar where you can make your own desserts and the children actually have their own buffet line.
- Snack Shops – There are three locations in the Echo Lake area serving different items. Dinosaur Gertie’s (see the picture above) has ice cream treats, Peevy’s Polar Pipeline has cold beverages some of which are frozen, and Min & Bills serves ice cream type drinks and other light fare. Pick one depending upon what strikes your fancy.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of our favorite parks and the Echo Lake area is one of the most fun in the park. Take some time to enjoy it. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!
Photo By Disney