Sunday, May 1, 2011

35. O.T.D. - 5/1/89 - Disney's Hollywood Studios Opens

On this date, May 1st 1989, Disney's Hollywood Studios opened.  Actually, that isn't entirely true.  The park that opened 22 years ago today was actually called Disney-MGM Studios for its first 19 years in existence.  Disney re-branded the park as Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2008.  The reason for the name change was summed up by the President of Walt Disney World, Meg Crofton.  She said, "the new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today's Hollywood has to offer - in music, television, movies, and theater."

There is an interesting story on how this theme park came into existence.  A team of Imagineers were brainstorming to create two new pavilions for Epcot.  One of these pavilions was the Great Movie Ride, which was going to be built between the Land pavilion and the Journey Into Imagination pavilion.  When newly appointed CEO Michael Eisner saw the design of this attraction, he decided that instead of placing it in Epcot, it should be surrounded by a brand new theme park with a Hollywood theme.  The idea for Disney-MGM Studios was born.

When Disney-MGM Studios opened, it incorporated a real working television and movie studio into the theme park.  A few of the movies filmed early on here were Ernest Saves Christmas and Newsies.  In addition to live action movies, the animated films Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear were created here.  Several TV shows were also taped at the Disney-MGM Studios including the Disney Channel's Mickey Mouse Club.  In more recent years, the production of movies and tv shows has subsided and Disney's Hollywood Studios has focused more on building bigger and better theme park attractions.  

This theme park has grown dramatically since it opened in 1989.  Most notable are the additions of three major attractions that are considered some of the best in the world.  I am speaking of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock n' Roller Coaster, and Toy Story Midway Mania.  These are three of the most unique attractions in Walt Disney World.  Tower of Terror and Rock n' Roller Coaster are loved by thrill ride enthusiasts and Toy Story Mania is simply the most popular attraction in all of the vacation kingdom.  The lines are typically well over an hour long and the fastpasses are usually gone before noon.  However, it isn't a bad thing to wait in the queue for 
Toy Story Mania, as it is themed very well and has a giant, interactive 
Mr. Potato Head to keep us entertained.  

Today we say happy birthday to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  It is the fourth most visited amusement park in the U.S. and draws close to 10 million guests per year.  It continues to be a great theme park and should not be missed on any trip to Central Florida!

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward.  See ya real soon!

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