What’s Left of Disney-MGM Studios 30 Years Later

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.

Over the past 30 years, we’ve seen the additions of Sunset Boulevard, Toy Story Land, and soon we’ll be welcoming Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Sunset Boulevard Construction in March 1994 ©Disney

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.

A publicity photo of the Disney-MGM Studios after opening in 1989. [The Walt Disney Company]
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.

Disney-MGM Studios Original Map (click to enlarge) ©Disney

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!

Wizard of Oz in the Great Movie Ride

What is still standing? Well, let’s take a look!

MGM Ticket Windows ©Disney

The ticket windows are virtually the same today as they were in 1989 — with the biggest change being the name.

Crossroads of the World

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 Super Service

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 One-of-a-Kind-Shop

Sid Cahuenga’s is now a spot to view your PhotoPass photos, but when the park opened, they sold movie memorabilia and autographed photos.

Superstar Television

Th Superstar Television attraction is now home to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long Celebration.

The Monster Sound Show attraction

Where The Monster Sound Show once lived, you can now find Path of the Jedi.

Backlot Express

Quick eats have always been available at Backlot Express.

Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction

Meanwhile, sweet, cold treats can still be purchased at Dinosaur Gertie’s.

Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner

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!)

The 50’s Prime Time Cafe

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

Hollywood & Vine has also been open since the beginning — but now the buffet features characters such as Disney Junior Pals and Minnie Mouse!

Chinese Theater

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

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.

Magic of Disney Animation

The Magic of Disney Animation closed in 2015, but the building remains and has been transformed into Star Wars Launch Bay.

©DisneyParksBlog

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…”

©Disney

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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Molly is a lifelong Disney enthusiast, and former Walt Disney World Guest Relations Cast Member and tour guide. Her Walt Disney World favorites include Festival of the Lion King, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Fantasmic!, Mickey-shaped pretzels and rice krispie treats, and anything with Buzz Lightyear! She lives in Orlando with her husband (who she met in Guest Relations) and their two rescue dogs, Kronk and Cruella de Vil (Ella for short!)

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4 Replies to “What’s Left of Disney-MGM Studios 30 Years Later”

  1. This is the saddest statement of all —- 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.

    I am an avid Disney fan. Some would say I’m obsessed. But DHS is such a disappointment. It’s nothing now like what it was designed to be. It was supposed to let us look “behind the curtain” to see the exciting world of how movies are made. All the other parks are “show” parks. But DHS was supposed to let us see what it’s like backstage. It was thrown together with a confusing layout, horrible restaurants, poor theming, and it lacks any sense of magic and wonder. And with each passing year it gets further and further away from its roots. Sorry for being so negative, but it could have been such an amazing park. In spite of my park bashing, I still love WDW and treasure every moment that I’m there!

  2. You missed “Screen Tests” aka “Pacific Electric Pictures”, “Legends of Hollywood”, and later with the release of “Dick Tracy”, it became “Calling Dick Tracy”. Improv actors played directors and assistants circa 1949 looking for new talent on the boulevard. I was in the original cast. It was located in what is now a Starbucks on the right side of the end of Hollywood Boulevard. Also, Streetmosphere is still there, now called Citizens of Hollywood, I believe. Improv artists out on the street. We all trained together in March and April of 1989.

    1. I remember this “pacific electric pictures” place, my mom and my aunt and I came in there and made a video as Dr. Frankenstein, his assistant and the monster, it was hilarious to watch it after we got home to Va., and super fun making it while there, fun cast, it was in 1990, so you were probably there~!!

  3. I love the change throughout the resort but I do miss some of the attractions. I really miss The Great Movie Ride, the back lot tour (although get to see in Paris next year), and the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set. The Art of Animation was fun as well. You can still see similar at California Adventure.