For over 50 years, Walt Disney World has been the filming location for hundreds of television shows. Disney aficionados are likely familiar with many of these, be they holiday parades, grand opening specials, or the seemingly countless episodes of TGIF sitcoms (including Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Roseanne, and others) filmed at the parks. However, for every well-known piece filmed at the resort, there have been many that have been forgotten.
These are 5 Productions You Probably Didn’t Know Were Filmed at Walt Disney World
Ernest Saves Christmas
This holiday installment in the series of films starting Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell was one of the first productions filmed at the Disney/MGM Studios (which Disney was attempting to fashion as the capitol of “Hollywood East”) before the park was even open to the public. In fact, the facade of Ernest’s friend Vern’s home was built on the park’s residential street and was part of the park’s Backlot Studio Tour attraction until 2002.
The film also featured scenes filmed at other Orlando area-landmarks, including Orlando International Airport, Lake Eola, Church Street Station, the Bee Line Expressway, and the Orlando Science Center.
MTV’s Remote Control
During the 1980s, MTV was at the height of its power as a pop culture institution. The network had made stars out of countless musicians thanks to their catchy music videos, which the network aired exclusively. In 1987, the network launched their first no-music program, the game show Remote Control.
While 1980s MTV and Disney might not seem like a match made in heaven, the 1988/89 season of Remote Control was filmed at the Disney MGM Studios.
SeaQuest DSV was a science fiction series that aired from 1993-1996, set aboard a futuristic submarine. The second season of the series was plagued by disputes between cast and crew, which led to a 10-year time jump, and a rebranding to SeaQuest 2032 for its third and final season.
Episodes for both versions of the series filmed scenes at EPCOT’s Living Seas pavilion, which at the time still featured its original Sea Base Alpha theming.
Thunder in Paradise
In the early 1990s, professional wrestling legend Terry “Hulk Hogan” Bollea was attempting to transition to acting full-time. In 1994, Hogan teamed with the producers behind the series Baywatch to launch the series Thunder in Paradise.
The series, which followed Hogan as ex-Navy Seal-turned-mercenary, was filmed at numerous locations around the Walt Disney World resort. The most heavily featured was an area of the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, which served as the character’s base of operations. Other filming locations included the Old Key West Resort, the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, and numerous locations around EPCOT.
While Thunder in Paradise only lasted one season of 22 episodes, it wouldn’t be the only time professional wrestling’s biggest star filmed at Walt Disney World.
World Championship Wrestling
During the 1990s, WCW — then a major competitor to Vince McMahon’s WWE in the professional wrestling space — filmed episodes of their syndicated professional wrestling programs at the Disney/MGM Studios. These tapings began in 1993 and continued through 1997. The most well known syndicated episode featured Hulk Hogan, who at the time was still filming the aforementioned Thunder in Paradise, being given a ticker-tape parade through the park’s Streets of America section upon his signing with WCW.
In addition to WCW’s syndicated programming, several 1996 episodes of the promotion’s flagship series WCW Monday Nitro aired lived from MGM Studios. These episodes are well known for the early appearances of the villainous New World Order faction, including a gang-fight scene that looked so real that local residents who lived near the park allegedly called police to report violence at the theme park.
Did you know about any of these broadcasts filmed at Disney World? Did we leave any of your favorites off the list? Let us know in the comments below.
Turn the pages of Disney history at the links below!
- Ranking Disney World’s Anniversary Celebrations (And Where the 50th Stands So Far)
- The Magic Kingdom Resorts Were Originally VERY Different
- Is Walt Disney World Actually More Expensive Now?
- The Disney World Park That Looks NOTHING Like it Did on Opening Day
- The Most Bizarre Parts of Disney History
- Details You’ve Missed in Every Country in EPCOT’s World Showcase
- Five Mind Blowing Things We Learned From Disney+’s ‘Behind the Attraction’