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Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney MGM Studios dedication - May 1, 1989 - Michael Eisner

The world you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood- not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was- and always will be.

Disney Hollywood StudiosThe Disney-MGM Studios opened on May 1, 1989 to extremely high expectations. Universal Studios had announced plans to build a theme park and open a movie studio in Central Florida. Disney was able to open their movie park first. The Studios were first intended to be just that, a working TV and Film production location. The park had several sound stages, a backlot containing residential and city streets, an animation facility, mixing and editing rooms, and a lot of labor at a relatively inexpensive price compared to Hollywood.

For the parks opening there were very few attractions open and the park drew some incredible crowds who stormed the park and were done by lunch. Over the next 15 years the parks grew and its focus changed. It moved away from a working studio and toward a theme park. The balance had tipped and in the mid 90s the decision was made to make the park a destination for teens by adding thrill attractions such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Even the nighttime entertainment changed from an incredible movie theme based show to a version of the popular Disneyland nighttime spectacular Fantasmic!

In 2003 it was announced that a new attraction would be coming to the park and the residential streets were demolished to make way. The New York Street will be enlarged slightly and retitled Big City Streets. In 2004 Disney shut down its feature animation unit and the Magic of Disney Animation attraction was basically gutted and versions of the Disney's California Adventure animation buildings attractions installed.

On January 1, 2008 the park was renamed to Disney's Hollywood Studios. In 2007/2008 the parks attractions were reorganized a bit and the areas of the park were redrawn slightly and some boundaries changed. Gone was the familar term of Backlot and added was the Pixar Place.

On April 2, 2016 Lights, Motors Action and the Streets of America closed as construction on the next phase of the park gets underway. This will bring Toy Story Playland as well as a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge to the park.

Geek's Thoughts & Suggestions

The Disney Studios is the smallest theme park at WDW and has a little something for just about everyone. Ranging from found memories of Hollywood's by gone era, to the screams of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, to Playhouse Disney Live on Stage to Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.

My favorite part of this park is just walking around and taking in the plusses the imagineers have put in. Living in Los Angeles for the past 20+ years has made many of the names, places, and sites depicted in the park mean something, I wish the real LA places were as good as the Disney re-creations.

I was a big fan of the original concept of the park. Spending time seeing how movies are made really fascinates me and learning a little movie history along the way was fun, but obviously the paying public disagrees with the Geek and Disney has moved into thrill rides and a mixed theme. (Which by the way I think is a wrong direction to go in too). The current offerings in this park have no real link to the original premise of the park to explore film making.


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Quick Facts
  • Opened May 1, 1989
  • On Opening Day:
    • Disney-MGM Studios Park 154 acres
    • Disney-MGM Parking Lot 77 acres
    • 16 attractions, 13 food locations, 28 merchandise locations
  • January 1, 2008 Renamed to Disney's Hollywood Studios

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Explore the Park
* Note: Looking at the parks guidemap the areas are separated by color but the colors are not named, so I have broken my pages below into these colors except I separated Pixar Place from Mickey Avenue/Animation Courtyard


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