Friday, May 1, 2009

Twenty Years Ago Today...

Michael Eisner's first attempt at a theme park emerged from the swamplands of the Reedy Creek Improvement District...

The Disney-MGM Studios debuted in Walt Disney World on this day. Now known as Disney's Hollywood Studios, the park was designed as an answer to Universal Studios successful theme park back in California(and opening ahead of Universal Studios Orlando). Conceived of originally as an attraction at another park it blossomed into a full park under Eisner's plans. Both for a park and as a way of upstaging Universal and giving guests less of an incentive to leave the resort.

While the park has gotten muddled in theming over the past two decades it's still a fun park. I personally love the Great Movie Ride, the Art-Deco theming and various attractions. It's far from perfect and WDI knows this. I believe the Suits know this as well and there have been numerous plans laid out as to what to do about this. I'm not really a fan of the Pixar Place area but any plans that were going forward were put on hold with the current economic situation. Should things turn around in the next year or so we may see those plans come off the back burner.

So even as much work lies ahead, hat, cough, hat, cough. I want to wish Disney-MGM St- errr, Disney's Hollywood Studios a happy Twentieth birthday!


And if you'd like to see some fantastic artwork from Disney-MGM Studios then go over to Disney and More and wallow in the details. The lovely, lovely details...

Part One HERE. Part Two HERE.


Capt. Tomorrow said...

Remove THE HAT!

Stitch and Buzz said...

The hat needs to go wherever the hand and wand went.
The park needs at least one more E ticket that relates to Hollywood or movie making, and definitely not another unrelated cartoon-based thing copied from another park just because it's cheaper to just order 2 of everything. Although, if they come up with something really good, they could fit it into one of the empty buildings in Hollywood jr. at DCA.

HollywoodBusted said...

Half a park. Half potential realized.

I felt this park from it inception was a big joke. It was counterprogramming to Universal Studios and it didn't work.

The good stuff is the entrance, entrance mall, Brown Derby, and the Chinese Theater. Everything else felt half baked, except for Tower of Terror, which is the only thing done right!!!

The tram ride is a mess and it's going down hill since. Indiana Jones is forgettable. The animation tour (still there?) is a mistake. Fantasmic is a poor import and pale imitation of a great show.

Overall, it needs a refresh in the same way DCA is getting it, but luckily, it doesn't need as much work; however, it must have a complete makeover.

Yeah, dump the Mickey sorcerer's hat. It doesn't belong in front of the theater. I propose they move it to the entrance plaza.

Cameron said...

Possible hat update: read a briefing about the Imagineers Talk given by Bob Weiss (one of the original designers and EVP in charge of the California Adventure remodel) @

Digital Jedi said...

Would really like to see The Great Movie Ride updated. Drop the plot line and spruce up some of the displays the way they were supposed to look originally. Update some of the animitronics. Ripley never really looked like Ripley. Alien standing in smoke and strobe doesn't really work anymore. Maybe put in some more classic movie scenes, like Gone with the Wind, The Day the Earth Stood Still, heck, even Star Wars. (No, I didn't really check to see who produced what, but you get the idea.)

Unknown said...

I just got back from a too-short 5-day round-about at the parks, including 1 day at Hollywood, and I just can't share the overall antipathy towards it. I love the Rock'n'Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. The Great Movie ride is also very groovy, but could use an update--as Digital Jedi says. The overall theming of the park may be muddled, but, c'est la vie. I find it part of the appeal. I like the stores, it has some of my favorite restaurants (The Sci-Fi Dine-In Movie Theater and the 50s Prime Time Cafe . . . got to the Sci-Fi again, this time, but not the Prime Time, alas). The Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground is always popular, and I finally got around to the 3d Muppet Movie thing, and thought the film is showing its age (that isn't digital?), I enjoyed it well enough. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast Shows won over my 3 year old, who thought they were some of the best things ever.

I didn't care for things like the Honey I Shrunk the Kids area closing at 5:00. But I really enjoyed the Toy Story Midway Mania ride. On the whole, it's a good solid park, and I really can't diss it.

That being said, it could definitely use some more E-tickets and, for that matter, a few more D-tickets. Another groovy movie-theme restaurant would be a Welcome addition.

BTW, the Hat isn't the problem. The problem is the park was built without a strong centerpiece in the Grauman's Chinese Theater. Then they put a big Hat in front of it, which only has a store in it. But unless they are prepared to demolish the Grauman's Chinese Theater, I'm not sure what they can do to equal Cinderella's Castle or the Tree of Life or Space Ship Earth.

Okay, I love all the parks. I just think they could all use a few more E-tickets and great themed restaurants. Especially Hollywood and Animal Kingdom.

Great place for a compelling Tron ride. Would be great if the Tron ride could be online when Tron hits DVD or at least within a year or two of the movie . . . just saying.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the Hat going anywhere anytime in the near future.

One of the reasons they put it up was because of copyright issues plaguing the Chinese Theater (they had to make a licensing agreement with the Grauman family in order to replicate the building in their park) and Disney didn't want to be forced to eliminate their Chinese Theater replica in any way, so they were able to hide it slightly and avoid the aforementioned legal issues at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Pleasure Island (or what's left of it) also had it's 20th anniversary on May 1st.

I was at Disney Hollywood Studios that day and you would never have known it was a 20th anniversary. No promotion whatsoever that I could see. No mention of it. The park was rather quiet that day.

On the other hand, I did see two guys dressed as characters from the Adventurer's Club, which also would have had it's 20th birthday that day