An Instagrammer’s Guide to Hollywood Studios

Lights, Camera, Action! Disney’s Hollywood Studios puts you in the middle of the movie action, taking you inside your favorite films and stories with larger-than-life sets. But just like the movies, photoshoots use sets all the time, which makes Hollywood Studios the perfect place for photos. This is made even more true by Hollywood Studios’ rapid expansion, particularly the additions of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. So for all of you budding photographers out there, this photo guide is the perfect addition to your day at Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort!

Photo by Nicholas Fuentes on Unsplash

The Basics of Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios opened in 1989 under the name Disney-MGM Studios and was intended to be both a theme park and a place to both film and animate movies. This unique structure offered guests the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look of how movies were made in addition to going on fun attractions. In fact, several Disney classics (such as Mulan and Lilo and Stitch) were actually animated in this park.

The park’s name changed to Hollywood Studios in 2008 and in recent years has seen multiple modifications to the park, including the closure of the Backlot Tour and the removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat, as the park got ready for bigger expansions, including the addition of Toy Story Land in 2018 and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019

Hollywood Studios is divided into 8 different areas: Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake, Commissary Lane, Grand Avenue, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Toy Story Land, Animation Courtyard, and Sunset Boulevard. This photo guide will highlight the many photo spots around the park and how to find each spot.

Where to Take Photos on Hollywood Boulevard

Photo spots along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios

When you step onto Hollywood Boulevard, you step into the golden age of Hollywood. Along this “main street” of Hollywood Studios, you’ll find buildings of various architectural styles (including Streamline Moderne, Art Deco, and more), all of which help emulate that nostalgic 1930s Hollywood vibe. This fun vintage setting, full of unique backdrops inspired by real places in Hollywood, makes Hollywood Boulevard a perfect place for photos. (Especially if you have vintage-inspired outfits for your photoshoot!)

Oscar’s Classic Car Souvenirs on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios

Photo spots on Hollywood Boulevard include:

  • Oscar’s Classic Car Souvenirs: Perhaps the prettiest stroller and wheelchair location ever, this Art Deco shop is designed as a vintage gas station, complete with retro gas pumps and an old-school tow truck… both of which offer great photo opportunities! This spot can be found to the right of the entrance.
  • Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind: This bungalow-style building (to the left of the entrance) offers multiple photo opportunities… quite appropriate since it’s the location of Disney PhotoPass in Hollywood Studios! Not only does the building’s unique architecture and lawn decorations offer great photo backdrops, but so does the destination sign pointing the way to some major cities around the world. 
  • The Darkroom: “The Darkroom” is a building facade outside of Celebrity 5 & 10, the first building on the right. It’s a great spot for photos (especially since the facade design is of a camera!) but be sure to have a wide-angle lens ready, or have your photographer step back quite aways, in order to get all of the facade in frame.
  • Street View and Building Facades: The retro design of Hollywood Boulevard easily lends itself to a plethora of photo opportunities along the street with each building’s unique architecture in the background. Due to this being the main corridor in and out of the park, you may have to come up with some unique photo angles to remove crowds from your photos. 
  • Chinese Theatre: While there are many spots along Hollywood Boulevard where you can snap photos with the Chinese Theatre in the background, I recommend going up the steps to the small raised platform, where you can get photos directly in front of the theatre; it is in this spot that the small raised garden bed (behind the railing) will help obstruct the view of the crowds behind you. In the theatre’s courtyard you can also snap some photos with the many famous handprints in the cement, with some notable celebrities including Annette Funicello, Tom Cruise, Danny DeVito, Harrison Ford, Audrey Hepburn, and many more.
Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios
Mickey’s of Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios

Where to Take Photos on Sunset Boulevard

Photo spots on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Sunset Boulevard is home to two of Hollywood Studios’ most popular attractions: Rock n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. However, this street is practically vacant immediately after rope drop (as most guests are running for the Toy Story or Star Wars attractions), which makes Sunset Boulevard an ideal area for photos as soon as the park opens.

Photo spots on Sunset Boulevard include:

  • Legends of Hollywood: Legends of Hollywood has that classic movie theater look with a marquee and ticket booth between the entryways. This is located on your right as you first enter Sunset Boulevard)
  • Route 66 Sign: The iconic Route 66 sign and suitcases can be found outside of Reel Vogue and is a popular place for photos!
  • Carthay Circle: At the end of the street on the right-hand side is Carthay Circle. This storefront also has a “letter board” of sorts outside, spelling out “Once upon a time”…a great Easter egg for your favorite show or your love of fairy tales in general!
  • Tower of Terror: The Tower of Terror is one of the most iconic buildings in Hollywood Studios. Throughout the rest of the day there are a ton of guests on this street, so take advantage of the early morning when there are little to no people in the background of your photo with this classic attraction!
  • Street View: Sunset Boulevard is perhaps the most iconic street in Hollywood Studios, lined with palm trees with the Tower of Terror looming menacingly in the distance. Try taking photos along the street with the many retro buildings in the background!
Photos with the Route 66 Sign outside of Reel Vogue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Where to Take Photos in Echo Lake

Based on Echo Park, an actual neighborhood near Hollywood, California, Echo Lake transports guests back in time to the 1950s. Although Hollywood Studios’ version of Echo Lake is a very small area, it has plenty of hidden photo spots. This is another great area for photos early in the morning, so if photos is your primary goal, I recommend heading here after photos on Sunset Boulevard.

Photo spots in Echo Lake include:

  • 50s Prime Time Cafe: If you’re going for a retro/dapper look, 50s Prime Time is the perfect place for photos. You can do some outside the restaurant, but if you want to do some in 50s Prime Time, I recommend getting one of the later dinner reservations. As people begin to leave, you can then take photos in some of the “dining rooms” that have been cleared out and cleaned at the end of the serving period.
  • Echo Lake Apartments: Next to 50s Prime Time, there’s also a gate for “Echo Lake Apartments” with mailboxes outside. This is one of the hidden spots, especially if you’re wanting a subtle Disney look!
  • Echo Lake: Echo Lake offers a great spot for photos! I recommend the side near Hollywood & Vine and 50s Prime Time Cafe so that you can get the Dockside Diner (a large boat) in the background. 
  •  Gertie the Dinosaur: Near the entrance of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular is Gertie the Dinosaur. Photos with Gertie (from an angle) may be difficult depending on whether the umbrellas next to the benches along the lake are raised. 
  • Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular (exterior): Near the back of Echo Lake is the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular. This is a great area for some jungle-style, adventure-like photos, especially with the vintage car and props in one of the raised garden beds outside of the amphitheater.
Echo Lake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Where to Take Photos on Commissary Lane

Commissary Lane is perhaps the smallest area within Hollywood Studios, comprised of just a short path between Hollywood Boulevard and entrance points to Echo Lake and Grand Avenue. Because it is just a small connecting street, there are very few photo opportunities here. However, inside of Meet Mickey and Minnie at Red Carpet Dreams you can get some cute (individual) photos with Mickey and Minnie. If it’s also timed right, you can get an individual photo with their “movie sets” as well; Minnie’s set is the red carpet and Mickey’s is a stone tower with a spell book, chair, and tapestry.

Photo spots on Commissary Lane include:

  • Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant: Throw it back to the ‘50s with Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant! Even if you’re not eating here, you can find some great photo spots located outside the restaurant, including the car and billboard that can be found the restaurant’s entrance.

Where to Take Photos on Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue at Hollywood Studios has seen a lot of changes over the years. Currently, the area features a city street facade (of shop doors and apartments) and a Muppets area. Although this area was not busy in the mornings in past years, it now serves as one of the main corridors to the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge area. 

Photo spots on Grand Avenue include:

  • City Street Facade: This facade is an exceptionally believable city street! Photos can be taken along the sidewalk, in front of the apartment buildings, in the doorways, etc.
  • Muppets Courtyard: Strike a pose and show of your fashion sense just like Miss Piggy when you take photos in the Muppets courtyard! This area features the iconic Miss Piggy Fountain in front of the attraction Muppet Vision 3D
  • It’s a Wonderful Shop: As you continue to walk around the Muppets area, you’ll come across “It’s a Wonderful Shop”. This storefront is perfect for photos in the holiday season, especially with the snowman out front!
  • Tomato Loading Zone: Find this “tomato loading zone” to the right of PizzeRizzo!
  • Props Department: Across from PizzeRizzo, just around the corner from the entrance to Muppet Vision 3D, is the “props department”. This spot features a target on floor and a decorative door!

Where to Take Photos in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Photo by Carol Kennedy on Unsplash

Bright suns! Welcome to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newest (and most highly anticipated) area to open up in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As you enter Galaxy’s Edge, you are transported to a galaxy far, far away to the planet of Batuu, where you enter Black Spire Outpost. This area of Hollywood Studios is extremely immersive, making it perfect for all Star Wars-inspired outfits. May the force be with you for your photos here!

Photo spots ideas for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge coming soon!

Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios

Where to Take Photos in Toy Story Land

Slinky Dog Dash in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Toy Story Land is the perfect opportunity to go to infinity and beyond with your photoshoot! In this area, you are shrunken down to the size of a toy and visit Andy’s backyard. No matter what time of the day you go, the crowds for Toy Story Land will be busy. However, by arriving later in the morning, the crowds will be thinned out from the initial rush during rope drop.

Photo spots in Toy Story Land include:

  • Toy Story Land sign: As your enter the area from Animation Courtyard, a larger-than-life Woody is there to greet you with a sign that reads “Toy Story Land”. This is one of the main photo spots where you will often find a PhotoPass photographer, so you may have to wait in line for this photo opportunity.
  • Slinky Dog Dash: Stand in front of the ride to catch Jessie and T-Rex behind you. Time it right as the ride goes by and you’ll also have Slinky Dog in the background!
  • Pixar Ball: A large Pixar Ball (also known as the Luxo Ball) can be found along the main path, near Toy Story Midway Mania.
  • Popsicle Stick Wall: The popsicle stick wall can be found as you are exiting the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction.
  • Checkerboard Wall: The checkerboard wall can be found as you are exiting the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction.
  • Toy Story Midway Games Facade: Designed like a partially open toy box, this façade (which is part of the queue) offers a great backdrop for photos! Just be aware that you will need some clever angles or a wide-angle lens in order to get the entire façade your photo!
  • Buzz Lightyear Statue: Find this statue outside the entrance to Alien Swirling Saucers!
  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ Entrance: The newest restaurant at Hollywood Studios also has a picture-perfect entrance!
Popsicle Wall in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios
Checkers Wall in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios

Where to Take Photos in Animation Courtyard

Animation Courtyard is one of the smallest area within Hollywood Studios and is comprised of a small courtyard and side street that leads up to Toy Story Land. Because of its small size and there not being any attractions in this area (outside of character meet-and-greets), I recommend Animation Courtyard being that last area for photos around Hollywood Studios.

Photo spots in Animation Courtyard include:

  • Hollywood Studios Arch: Find the large Hollywood Studios arch as you first enter Animation Courtyard.
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid: Although Voyage of the Little Mermaid is no longer running at Hollywood Studios, the theater’s signage offers a great backdrop for photos, especially for any Little Mermaid outfits!
  • Star Wars Launch Bay: The outside façade of Star Wars Launch Bay offers a great spot for photos! Find it at the back of Animation Courtyard.
Photo courtesy of @emmaswanders on Instagram

How to Take Great Photos at Hollywood Studios

Whether you’re stepping onto the vintage street of Sunset Boulevard or into a galaxy far, far away at Galaxy’s Edge, Hollywood Studios is full of numerous photo spots! For more photo spots around Walt Disney World, be sure to check out these posts:

What is your favorite photo spot in Hollywood Studios? Let me know in the comments below!

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