Echo Lake

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Echo Lake
EchoLake.jpg
Gertie the Dinosaur and Min and Bill's Dockside Diner on Echo Lake
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Opening date May 1, 1989
Number of Attractions Four
Formally Known As Backlot Annex/Lakeside Circle (1989)

History

What is today known as the Echo Lake area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opened with the rest of the then Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989[1]. On the first Disney-MGM Studios maps, the area was not called Echo Lake, but instead referred to as the Backlot Annex/Lakeside Circle (despite the fact that Echo Lake itself was present and called such on Disney-MGM’s opening day maps)[2]. When the park debuted, Lakeside Circle was home to the Monster Sound Show and Superstar Television [3]. On the Monster Sound Show attraction guests were recruited to add sound effects to an "all-star haunted house mystery" [4]. Similarly, Superstar Television was another interactive attraction that had guests recreating some of television's greatest moments [5]. Also located in the land were the restaurants: Hollywood and Vine, The 50s Primetime Café, the Tune In Lounge, Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner, the Backlot Express, and Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction [3].

On August 25, 1989, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! debuted on the Backlot Annex [6]. This new attraction had originally been intended as an opening day attraction, however when the show was deemed unready, its official opening was delayed [7]. Despite this, since the park opened, guests had been able to visit the Stunt Spectacular and look in on “live rehearsals” [8].

Later in 1989, on December 15, Star Tours made its debut in the Echo Lake section of the Disney-MGM Studios [9] Originally opening in Disneyland on January 9, 1987, Star Tours is a motion simulator attraction set in the world of George Lucas’ Star Wars franchise.

Star Tours opened in Echo Lake on December 15, 1989

The next major change to Echo Lake came on December 16, 1990 when the Commissary restaurant opened [10]. Subsequently, on July 1, 1997, the Monster Sound Show closed [4]. The show was briefly replaced with the One Saturday Morning Sound Show from July 1, 1997 until February 20, 1999[4]. In this incarnation of the attraction, guests added sound effects to the Disney cartoon 101 Dalmatians: The Series. At this time the name of the theater was changed to the ABC Sound Studio. On April 22, 1999, the One Saturday Morning Sound Show made way for a new attraction- Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey [11]. This new attraction took place almost entirely in the dark, as guests followed the adventures of undercover detective Drew Carey. After becoming a seasonal attraction, the show would finally close for good on May 18, 2012.

Like the Monster Sound Show, by the late 1990s, Superstar Television was also seeing a decline in popularity. On September 26, 1998, the attraction closed to make way for a new show titled Doug Live! [12]. Based on the ABC cartoon, Doug Live ran until May 12, 2001 [13]. The short lived Get Happy with ABC then opened on July 1, 2002. More or less a 25 minute advertisement for ABC’s 2003 TV lineup, Get Happy with ABC closed October 5, 2002 [14].

The next addition to Echo Lake came in 2007, in the form of a permanent home for the Jedi Training Academy [15]. Originally an exclusive part of Star Wars Weekends, the Jedi Training Academy is a live show that allows young guests to discover their inner Jedi.

Following the closure of Get Happy with ABC, the Superstar Television Theater that housed the attraction remained mostly closed, except for occasional special event use, until The American Idol Experience opened on February 14, 2009 [16]. Based on the popular television singing completion, The American Idol Experience allowed guests to audition for, perform in and watch a live version of American Idol. The American Idol Experiences ceased operations on August 30, 2014 [17] in order to make way for “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”, a musical stage show based on the 2013 Disney film “Frozen”. Following the removal of The American Idol Experience, the ABC Sound Studio was rechristened the Hyperion Theater [18].

Attractions

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular!- This show allows guests to see (or even participate in) various stunts. Based on the 1981 film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, the show lasts about 25 minutes.

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues-Star Tours is a 3D motion simulator ride that takes guests into the world of Star Wars. The attraction is now updated to include scenes from Star Wars: Episode VII and features 54 different adventures.

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration- This live musical show, features the songs of the popular 2013 Disney movie "Frozen". The show originally opened on the Streets of America's Premier Theater, before moving to its current location in the Hyperion Theater.

Jedi Training- Trials of the Temple- The current version of the Jedi Training Academy allows young guests to do battle with Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor. Guests who want to participate in the show should sign up by the Hyperion Theater as early in the day as possible, as spots fill up quickly.

Former Attractions

Monster Sound Show- In this interactive attraction, guests added their own sppoky sound effects to a murder-mystery film starring Martin Short and Chevy Chase. Hosted by Sony, the Monster Sound Show operated from May 1, 1989 through July 1, 1997. The attraction was replaced by the One Saturday Morning Sound Show.

One Saturday Morning Sound Show- Like its predecessor, the Monster Sound Show attraction, One Saturday Morning Sound Show had guests add sound effects to a film. Instead of a murder-mystery however, the film now shown featured characters from the Disney One Saturday Morning Carton "101 Dalmatians: The Series. The One Saturday Morning Sound Show ran from July 2, 1997 until February 20, 1999. The attraction was replaced by Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey.

Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey- This audio show took place almost completely in the dark. As guests followed the adventures of undercover cop Drew Carey, the bungling detective would trip over his hidden camera (that guests had been watching on the screen) and plunge the theater in darkness. Audio effects would then tell guests the rest of the story. Sounds Dangerous Starring Drew Carey ran from April 22, 1999 until May 18, 2012.

SuperStar Television- This interactive show allowed guests to reenact some of television's greatest moments. Also sponsored by Sony, Superstar Television ran from May 1, 1989 until September 26, 1998, when it was replaced by Doug Live!.

Doug Live!- This live stage show featured characters from the Disney cartoon Doug. Doug Live opened on March 15, 1999, and closed May 12, 2001. The show was replaced with Get Happy with ABC.

Get Happy with ABC- This short film attraction opened on July 1, 2002, replacing Doug Live. Essentially a 25 minute advertisement for ABC's 2003 Fall schedule, Get Happy with ABC closed on October 5, 2002.

The American Idol Experience- This interactive show allowed guests to take the stage and sing, just like on the television show American Idol. Guests also had the option of sitting in the audience and watching the performances. The American Idol Experience opened on February 14, 2009 and closed on August 30, 2014.

Restaurants

Min & Bill's Dockside Diner- Located on the shores of Echo Lake, this quick service restaurant specializes in hot dogs. Min & Bill's Dockside Diner is based on the 1930 film "Min & Bill".

The entrance to the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Photo: Lauren Javier

Backlot Express- This quick services dining locations offers guests Star Wars themed American food.

Tune In Lounge- This lounge features a full bar, as well as the entire 50's Prime Time Cafe menu.

Hollywood & Vine- This table service restaurant offers character buffets for lunch and dinner featuring characters from Disney Jr. At dinner, Minnie Mouse and her friends host dinner parties every night.

50's Prime Time Cafe- Designed to give guests the feeling of being in the 1950s, this table service restaurant specializes in American comfort food.

ABC Commissary- This art deco themed counter service restaurant serves mostly American cuisine. Prior to 1993 the restaurant was simply known as the Commissary.

Oasis Canteen- Formally known as the Dip Spot, this quick service stand sells funnel cake.

Peevy's Polar Pipeline- This quick service stand offers guests various frozen treats and slushies.

Dinosaur Gertie's Ice Cream of Extinction- Based on the early 20th Century cartoon character Gertie the Dinosaur, this stand sells ice cream and other frozen treats.

Former Restaurants

Echo Park Produce- 1993- Spring 1997

Echo Park Eats- Summer 2016

Shopping

Tatooine Traders in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Photo by Jennifer Lynn

Frozen Fractal Gifts- This shop sells all kinds of Frozen merchandise.

Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost- Located near the entrance to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, this shop sells Indiana Jones and exploration merchandise.

Indiana Jones Truck- This stand sells Indiana Jones and other Hollywood Studio's merchandise.

Tatooine Traders- Located near the exit to Star Tours, this shop sells Star Tours and Star Wars merchandise. Tatooine Traders is based on Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace. The shop replaced Endor Vendor following the release of Episode I in 1999.

Former Shopping

Endor Vendor- Star Tour's original gift shop, Endor Vendor operated from December 1989 until 1999. Replaced with Tatooine Traders.

Golden Age Souvenirs- This store sold Disney MGM/Hollywood Studios merchandise as well as other Disney character souvenirs. Golden Age Souvenirs operated from 1989 until 2008.

Lakeside News- This newsstand sold comic books and other publications. Operating from 1989 until 1996, Lakeside News was replaced by Peevy’s Polar Pipeline.

Superstar Shop- The American Idol Experience's gift shop, this location operated from 2009 until 2014.

Fun Facts and Trivia

  • If guests look above Hollywood and Vine they can see a window that reads "Eddie Valiant- Private Detective". This a reference to Bob Bob Hoskins' character in the 1989 Disney film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" [19].
  • In the window to the left of Eddie Valiant's, guests can the silhouette of Roger Rabbit, who has apparently exited the office, through the window. This mirrors a scene in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? [19].
  • Above Peevy's Polar Pipeline, guests can find a billboard for Maroon Studios [20]. This is reference to the studio that Roger and Jessica Rabbit worked for.
  • Outside the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, guests can find a well with a sign that reads "Do Not Pull". If guests pull the rope however, they can hear someone talking inside the well.

Echo Lake Apartments [21]

  • In between Hollywood & Vine and the 50s Prime Time Cafe, guests can find mailboxes for the Echo Lake apartments. The names on these mailboxes include references to various Imagineers who worked on the (then) Disney-MGM Studios. References found here include:

Apartment 101: Polk/Olson- This is a reference to Imagineer's John "Robin Polk and John Olson.

Apartment 102: Hamilton/Gray- This references D. De Gray, a graphic designer at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Apartment 103: Mr and Mrs Kilankowski- This references Joe Kilankowski, a Senior Architect at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Apartment 104: Roberdeau - This references John Roberdeau Drury, a former Design Director at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Apartment 105: T. Kirk- This references Tim Kirk, an Imagineering Design Director.

Apartment 201: Beyer/Quinn- This references Steve Beyer, a Senior Concept Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Apartment 202: Vais- This references Lei Vais, an artist who worked on the then Disney-MGM Studios

Apartment 203: Dietzel/Benson- This references Barbara Dietzel, who worked on the 50s Prime Time Cafe.

Apartment 204: Empero/Zovich- This references engineer Tami Empero, as well as John Zovich, who was the Chief Engineer of EPCOT Center.

Apartment 205: Mr and Mrs D. Yanchar- This references Dave Yanchar, an Imagineer

References

  1. http://www.thisdayindisneyhistory.com/Disney-MGMGrandOpening.html
  2. http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/ds/disney-mgm-studios-guidebook-1989-mid-02.jpg
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.florida-project.com/images/guidemaps/ds/disney-mgm-studios-guidebook-1989-mid-06.jpg
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 http://waltdatedworld.com/id69.htm
  5. http://waltdatedworld.com/id68.htm
  6. https://d23.com/a-to-z/indiana-jones-epic-stunt-spectacular/
  7. http://www.martinsvids.net/?p=757
  8. https://www.mouseplanet.com/11330/The_Premiere_of_DisneyMGM_Studios
  9. https://d23.com/a-to-z/star-tours/
  10. https://d23.com/a-to-z/abc-commissary/
  11. https://d23.com/a-to-z/abc-sound-studio-sounds-dangerous/
  12. http://waltdatedworld.com/id68.htm
  13. http://waltdatedworld.com/id176.htm
  14. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/m_happy.htm
  15. http://allears.net/tp/mgm/jedi_mgm.htm
  16. https://d23.com/a-to-z/american-idol-experience-the/
  17. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/travel/attractions/theme-park-rangers-blog/os-disney-american-idol-experience-closing-20140815-post.html
  18. http://thedisneyblog.com/2015/06/17/hyperion-theater-debuts-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/
  19. 19.0 19.1 Here is a picture http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_jv-dS4NpxPE/TMotfNIhnSI/AAAAAAAAJHo/4juGfhBKyC8/s1600/Eddie+Valiant+Window+(08-10).jpg
  20. Here's a picture http://www.mainstgazette.com/2012/02/maroon-studios.html
  21. http://2719hyperion.blogspot.com/2008/07/who-lives-in-echo-lake-apartments.html