The story of Hollywood Pictures Backlot operates on a number of on-stage and off-stage levels. The Hollywood Boulevard set and the shows inside the soundstages are onstage while everywhere else is considered off stage. Viewed from the park hub, the land appears to be a classic golden age Hollywood studio, but instead of passing through the ornate gates into a bygone era, entering guests notice some decidedly contemporary icons right away, like the friendly Playhouse Disney! logo on the side of a soundstage.
All along the Boulevard, with its facades that hearken back to the 1920s and 1930s, there are window signs for modern small businesses that have opened up in the storefronts and on the 2nd floors of these grand old edifices. Since this is Hollywood, these fictitious businesses are colorful and bizarre: Ben-Hair, an "Epic" Beauty Salon; Philip A. Couch, Casting Agency; Gone with the Chin, a plastic surgery center.
While much of what is encountered in this land is the story of the entire past century of movie-making, it's soon clear to guests that the real time frame is contemporary. Once guests move off-stage to the backlot or go behind-the scenes along the Boulevard, they're in the story of a modern, functioning Hollywood studio. There are soundstages, backlot facades, a TV studio where daytime soap operas could be taped, an animation building, a special effects lab, studio stores and even support departments like props, paint and greens. Just like real movie studios, several of the soundstage exterior walls sport enormous larger-than-billboard-size movie posters advertising current Disney films and television programs.