Countdown to a Disney birthday

25 hoorays for Disney's Hollywood Studios

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It's silver-anniversary time for Disney's Hollywood Studios. The theme park was born as Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989, back when George Bush (the first one) was president, Americans learned to pronounce Exxon Valdez, and Eastern Air Lines was still flying.

In honor of its 25 years, here are 25 thoughts about the theme park.

Five sure winners

•Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is my top attraction at Hollywood Studios, as it has been for 25 years. Its dusty lobby, its costumes, its dark side that leads to the light and its random drop sequences combine to make it a blockbuster ride.

•Want to do a ride over and over and over? Toy Story Mania — essentially an overgrown video game — would nail the repeatability test if not for the lengthy standby queue. I had good luck here with FastPass+ recently, getting me back into the attraction after months of absence.

•"Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage" has been around awhile but continues to boil down the animated classic into a heartfelt stage show.

•Sassy waitresses at the 50's Prime Time Café pull off a rare feat: ordering as entertainment.

•At Jedi Training Academy, check out the wee wide-eyed trainees battling the Darth side.

Five more notables

•I'm still a fool for the secret cast member during the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular (oh, and the stunts, too).

•Study the movie-themed fountain outside Muppet-Vision 3D. Disney loves its storytelling, but would you expect Miss Piggy as Ms. Liberty?

•The walk-through exhibit of Walt Disney: One Man's Dream features fascinating bits of history that predate Walt's Florida project and continue through a model of New Fantasyland.

•More Pixar love: The bigger-than-life-sized Green Army Men are interactive characters at their finest. It's gotta be the shoes.

•Sure, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is a holidays-only event, but couldn't it stay up year-round and save some hassle?

Five you might miss

•There's more to the Animation Courtyard than kiddie shows. Recommended: indoor character meet-and-greets, Animation Academy, Animation Gallery store and "Where Disney Characters Come From" film.

•Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is an inventive, oversized, interactive playground. Exhale.

•Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge is an in-your-face secret. The patio setting of the restaurant serves as a prime location — and it doesn't take reservations.

•The Earful Tower, the original icon of the park, is mostly seen from the Backlot Tour now. (Note: Is this the biggest groaner of a pun on Disney property? Discuss.)

•More movie memorabilia is found throughout the exit exhibit of the Backlot Tour. Where else might you find Superman's cape? Captain America can't be happy about this.

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