Hollywood Studios: Animation Courtyard
Hollywood Studios is currently made up of 9 areas. Some are very small, only featuring some dining and shops, whereas others host a couple attractions, stage shows, dining and shopping. Today’s post is going to zero in on Animation Courtyard. Animation Courtyard is found on the western part of this park. Here you’ll find a mixture of characters, shops and stage shows without any real theme. You have to pass through this area to get to Toy Story Land so the traffic is heavy but don’t pass through without stopping and checking out the amazing things this area of the park has to offer. Want to skip right to a category? Simply click on the link: Characters, Stage Shows, Attractions and Shopping.
This Disney Junior character appears outside of the Dance Party stage throughout the day. From 9:30am until 6:30pm Vampirina will be posing for pictures and signing autographs. This character spot has no FastPass and it can get very busy, the best time to head here for a meet and greet is around 6 o’clock when most people are moving towards Fantasmic! at Sunset Blvd or eating dinner. This is only one of two places you can meet Vampirina. The other is at Hollywood & Vine for breakfast.
Time for your check up. Meet Doc McStuffins at Animation Courtyard in front of the Dance Party theatre. This meet and greet is a sheltered location, so you can escape the sun and the rain. Doc appears here from 9:30am until 6:30pm, there are no FastPasses for this meet and greet so you may be in for a wait if you come in the middle of the day. By pass the line by heading here later in the day or meet her at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Animal Kingdom.
Sofia the First
The only place to meet Sofia on property, other than character dining is here in Animation Courtyard. Appearing from 9:30am until 6:30pm, Sofia is dressed in her classic purple dress. She will take pictures and sign autographs. For a great picture have your little dress as Sofia by bringing along a Sofia costume or dress her in her favourite Sofia shirt.
Launch Bay is where you’ll find the three Star Wars character meet and greet experiences, which is located in Animation Courtyard. Walk through Launch Bay and then meet Darth Vader in what feels like an imperial destroyer. Be wary, he may try to sway you to the dark side of the force. This meet and greet takes place non-stop from 9am until 8pm. There are no FastPasses available for this character experience.
Chewbacca is as towering in real life as you’d expect. He speaks in his memorable Chewy voice interacting with his visitors. Chewy’s meet and greet station looks a lot like a planning station, where the rebels are planning their next big move against the dark side. This meet and greet does not have a FastPass and it is also located at Star Wars Launch Bay. You’ll be able to look at the famous lightsabers as you wait in line.
This droid from Episode 7 & 8 can be found on what feels like a rebel alliance ship. But really it’s in Star Wars Launch Bay. This meet and greet has no FastPass and BB-8 can not sign autographs. BB-8 is up on a platform so guests can interact with him and get a picture with him without crouching down. This meet and greet is open from park open until park close.
Mike and Sully
At the exit of Walt Disney Presents you can meet your favourite monsters: Mike and Sully. Sully will tower over you and Mike will shake your hand with his gangly arms.
Disney Junior Dance Party
The newest addition to Animation Courtyard, Disney Junior Dance Party has replaced the Disney Junior- Live On Stage! In this 20 minute show kids will have the chance to dance along with some of Disney Junior’s favourite characters. Timon from the Lion Guard will be in attendance as well as Doc McStuffins. Vampirina will also be dancing with guests both young and young at heart. The dance party takes place in a large sound stage and runs every hour at about half past the hour. Check the daily schedule for specific times on the day of your visit.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
In the heart of Animation Courtyard you’ll find this theatre that will take you under the sea. Performed by puppets and a live Ariel and Eric. This short 17 minute show is a compressed version of the Little Mermaid. It is in a dark theatre and at times it can be scary for young children. It is out of date but if you or any one in your party is a fan of the Little Mermaid you’ll want to check it out. Being performed every 20 minutes to a half an hour, you can easily slip into one of these shows without carving time out of your day. Fastpass + is offered for this show.
Star Wars Launch Bay
Here is where you meet the three Star Wars characters mentioned above but there’s more here than just characters. Get an up close look at lightsabers, costumes from the films and in depth detail of the making of the episodes. Here you’ll also find Launch Bay Theatres.
Star Wars Launch Bay Theatres
From park open to park close, this theatre runs a 10 minute documentary on the creation of Star Wars.
Walt Disney Presents
This is a must stop for anyone who loves Walt Disney World and the pictures that have been created over the decades. Walk through a museum of things that have passed and things yet to come. See models of the upcoming plans of the park and glance at the movie posters from films that created the brand. After walking through this gallery, you’ll walk into a theatre that will show a quick documentary about Walt’s life and achievements, narrated by Julie Andrews.
Launch Bay Cargo
Shop for everything Star Wars here. You can find some great toys for kids here but you can also find some really unique and high quality clothing here for adults. Like a jacket that looks just like Kylo Ren’s. This is how you’ll exit meeting any of the Star Wars characters, even if you don’t plan on buying anything stop and take a look at some of the items for sale. There are some one of a kind items that would cost a small fortune to purchase. Open from park open to park close.
Disney Studio Store
I love this store. It’s the perfect store for parents with young kids, or grandparents that have preschoolers. You’ll find stuffies and great durable toys. One things I love about this store is the section they have set up for young ones to play while you’re shopping. Also take a look above and you’ll find clips of Disney characters along the boarder of the wall. It’s here my mom found an adorable Minnie Mouse daughter for MacKenzie on our trip last January. It’s the only place we saw it on property. A reminder that not every store at Walt Disney World carries the same products. The store is open from park open to close, so if you see something earlier in the day that you like, you can always come back and get it later on.
Found at the exit of Voyage of the Little Mermaid, In Character is going to have everything Princess at Hollywood Studios. Anything that features all of the princesses on it, like hoodies and t-shirts. As well as figurines and other souvenirs. Open from park open to park close.
Animation Courtyard is certainly not close to what you’d expect by its name but there are things to explore here for each guest making their way into Hollywood Studios. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan, a family with Disney Junior watchers or a lover of the Little Mermaid don’t overlook this area. There may just be something here to put on your Itinerary for the day.