Studio Backlot Tour was an attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It is a combination of a walking and tram tour of the backlot area of the park. The attraction closed permanently on September 27, 2014.
When the park originally opened, the Studio Tour was a much larger combined tram and walking tour, lasting around two hours in all. The Tram section of the tour which started the attraction originally loaded at Animation Courtyard, going through the Costuming and Scenic departments first, then through Residential Street, a neighborhood of house facades used for shooting films and television shows such as Ernest Saves Christmas and The Golden Girls. The tram then passed through Catastrophe Canyon and would travel through New York Street, then having limited guest traffic, before unloading to start the walking part of the tour with the Water Effects Tank Demonstration. This was followed by a trek through shooting soundstages for various television shows, a Special Effects demonstration involving blue-screens and a giant bee prop from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, and a Sound Editing studio. The Tour concluded at the Walt Disney Theater, where previews for upcoming films would be shown.
As the park became more popular, the Tour would be scaled back, starting with the Walt Disney Theater's conversion into a stage show venue for Here Come the Muppets and eventually Voyage of the Little Mermaid. New York Street was opened to full guest traffic by the end of 1989. By 1991, the tram and walking tours were split into two separately billed attractions running approximately 30 minutes each, the walking section becoming Backstage Pass and the Tram tour's unload became the regular loading area and absorbed the Water Effects Tank.
In 2003, Residential Street was closed and torn down to make way for the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.
In 2008, the live cast member spiel was replaced by a pre-recorded one.
The attraction finally closed on September 27, 2014 due to the park's shifting focus away from movies and to the Pixar and LucasFilm properties. Following the attraction's closure, the signage was removed, though reports say that the backlot and props are still intact. It is believed that they were intact until the start of the construction of Toy Story Land which started in early 2016. Catastrophe Canyon was demolished in February 2016 and was watched by visitors at the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show which was also closed in 2016.
The queue area
Upon entering the queue area, guests are put into four different lines underneath a large canopy. Throughout the area are props from different movies, including Pearl Harbor, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and The Rock. A film also loops with director Michael Bay telling guests how some of the special effects scenes from Pearl Harbor are filmed. While guests are waiting, four volunteers are chosen to be used in the first part of the attraction.
A number of guests in each line are taken into a show area with a large water tank in front of them. In the water tank are props reminiscent of Pearl Harbor: the deck and the engine room of the patrol boat. Cast members explain how the water tank and props can be used in filming scenes from action films. Using the volunteers from before the guests are shown a special effects demonstration, known as Harbor Attack. One volunteer sits in the engine room and is overcome by a deluge of water (1000 gallons) coming into the room through a window from two dump trucks. The other three volunteers are standing on the deck when an attack happens. Explosions underwater, simulated torpedo bursts, and fireballs are used to simulate the attack. When filming is finished, the footage is put together with previously recorded footage of airplane attacks and dialogue and shown to the guests.
When the demonstration is finished, guests continue into a large prop warehouse. The line moves guests up and down aisles of props used in different majoring productions including Marvin's Room, The Santa Clause, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and George of the Jungle as well as some extinct Disney attractions like World of Motion. Several of the props are tagged with information about each one. At the exit of the building, the tram part of the tour begins.
As guests exit the prop building, they are boarded onto a tram for the main part of the tour. As the driver brings the tram through different areas, a prerecorded narration explains what is found there and tells the guests facts and trivia about it. Guests first travel past the Earful Tower, the former icon of the park. The tram ride is the closest that guests can get to the tower in the park. After the tower, the tram drives through the costume and materials in the building, which has a thru-way for the tram and the windows for guests to see the costumes and people working. A highlight in the building is the room full of tires used for Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.
When the tram leaves the building, it brings guests through an outside area named the boneyard (named after an aircraft boneyard). In the boneyard are vehicles which were featured in many films. Props include the Dip Machine used by Judge Doom during the climax of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, ships from the original Star Wars franchise, the duo motorcycles from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the escape pod from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, cars used in the The Love Bug films (the ex-parade vehicle Herbie was taken away from the All-Star Movies Resort on an account of children always climbing on it and is now on display here), bone cages from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator, and boats and other vehicles used in other Disney-produced films.
After leaving the boneyard, guests are told that they will be entering a current movie set while the cast is on break. It enters into an area known as Catastrophe Canyon, a rocky area with a fuel truck and water tanks inside of it. While the tram is stopped filming starts suddenly, an earthquake shakes the tram and causes the fuel truck to explode, sending a fireball into the air. Then a flood of water comes rushing down from the canyon and from above the tram. When the earthquake subsides and the water stops, the set begins to reset for the next tram and the tour guide on the tram tells guests how it was done as the tram goes around behind the set to show the back of it.
After exiting the canyon, the tram travels through parts of the boneyard again. Guests go past the neighboring attraction, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show stadium and practice areas. The tram also passes Walt Disney's private airplane. After this part, the tram pulls to the exit and that part of the attraction is finished.
In order to leave the attraction, guests must walk through a museum exhibit based on AFI's 50 Greatest Villians. Many of the villains on the list are represented with life-sized figures in display cases, with drawings and pictures of them from their films. The entire list is presented with pictures of all the villains on a wall in the building. While guests on the attraction must go through the exhibit in order to exit, it is not necessary to go on the tour to see the exhibit, as it is possible to enter in the exit.