Disney’s Hollywood Studios turns 30 this week! The park has undergone quite a few transformations over the past three decades, and continues to evolve and expand.
The original idea for Hollywood Studios was for it to be a pavilion in Epcot. Much like Innoventions or Wonders of Life, Disney Imagineers were going to add a pavilion dedicated to the magic of making movies, radio, and television. However, they had some competition opening an entertainment-based theme park down the road (cough, Universal, cough), so Disney decided to turn this concept into an entire theme park. And thus, the idea of Disney-MGM Studios was born.
The partnership of MGM and Disney came from then-CEO Michael Eisner reaching out to the studio and agreeing to make a headliner attraction using classic MGM movies (the Great Movie Ride). In 2008, the contract ended and the park’s name was changed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Not much is left of the original park in the way of attractions or shows — and by not much, I mean not a single opening day attraction or show is still running. The last of these to close was the Great Movie Ride, whose final journey into the movies was in August 2017. But several shops and restaurants are still thriving!
What is still standing? Well, let’s take a look!
The ticket windows are virtually the same today as they were in 1989 — with the biggest change being the name.
The iconic “Crossroads of the World” still greets you as you enter the park. This is based on the entrance to an outdoor mall in Hollywood with one major difference — Mickey stands proudly atop the globe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Oscar’s sits on your right as you enter the park. It appears to be a typical gas station you’d see in L.A. in the 1940s, but its purpose here has always been the same — stroller and wheelchair rentals!
Sid Cahuenga’s is now a spot to view your PhotoPass photos, but when the park opened, they sold movie memorabilia and autographed photos.
Th Superstar Television attraction is now home to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration.
Where The Monster Sound Show once lived, you can now find Path of the Jedi.
Quick eats have always been available at Backlot Express.
Meanwhile, sweet, cold treats can still be purchased at Dinosaur Gertie’s.
Just across Echo Lake, a quick bite is also still available at Dockside Diner — although it recently lost its tie-in to Min & Bill. (Click here to read more about who Min & Bill were and why they mattered!)
For the past 30 years you’ve been yelled at by your cousin to keep your elbows off the table at 50’s Prime Time Cafe.
Hollywood & Vine has also been open since the beginning — but now the buffet features characters such as Disney Junior Pals and Minnie Mouse!
The last remaining icon of the park, Grauman’s Chinese Theater is still standing — but it’s currently closed as we await Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is set to open in Spring 2020.
The Hollywood Brown Derby remains as a signature dining location in Hollywood Studios — and the famous Cobb Salad has been on the menu the entire time.
There sure has been a lot of change at this park over the years, including its name. We may miss Superstar Television, The Great Movie Ride, and The Magic of Disney Animation, but we love the new shows and attractions and can’t wait to see what’s next! As Walt once said, “Keep Moving Forward…”
Happy Birthday Disney’s Hollywood Studios! We can’t wait to see what’s next.
You can read more about the Studios’ opening day attractions in Chuck Schmidt’s blog! CLICK HERE to read “Opening Day Attractions at the Disney-MGM Studios: Gone but Not Forgotten.”
What do you remember from opening day at Disney-MGM Studios? Let us know in the comments!
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