Opened: May 1, 1989
Ride length: 35 minutes
This attraction combines two demonstrations of special effects.
The first queue has TV monitors placed throughout the area. You'll watch a video clip that explains what goes on behind the scenes to create the special effects from some popular movies. They'll also be looking for volunteers to participate in the first demonstration. (If you're interested, try to be near the front of the line.)
From here you head to an outdoor viewing area where you stand behind railings to see the Special Effects Water Tank. The "lucky" volunteers will get firsthand experience in re-enacting nautical battle scenes.
Following this "damp" presentation, you walk through a prop warehouse. You may recognize a few items from familiar Disney movies, but by now you're mostly looking for a chance to sit down, especially if it's a hot day.
Next step, boarding the tram. They're covered by a canopy but otherwise open so don't expect A/C. Still, it's a pleasant ride and you get some great photo ops. The tram passes through production bungalows, the wardrobe department
(where you can watch the costumers at work), and the scenery
shop. Along the way you pass topiaries and vehicles that have been used in Disney movies.
Finally, you reach Catastrophe Canyon. (SKIP THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED.) The tram comes to a stop. Before you know it, the ground starts shaking, the tram starts rocking, a fuel truck crashes, sparks cause a fiery explosion and it all ends in a flash flood. PHEW! It's amazing how much happens within the span of a minute. This is the best part of the attraction. Sit on the left if you want to be closest to the action. (You might get a little bit wet, but it's not bad at all.) The ride ends with a drive past the Streets of America.
While a bit on the long side, the Disney's Hollywood Studio Backlot Tour has something for everyone that all age groups can enjoy. While not a major attraction, it is quite busy for most of the day.
Handicapped Accessibility: The tour is wheelchair accessible. For deaf guests, sign language interpreters are available if you have made arrangements with the Sign Language Coordinator 2 weeks prior to your visit.
Fun Fact: This attraction was originally named the Backstage Studio Tour.