The Disney World Park That Looks NOTHING Like it Did on Opening Day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened on May 1st, 1989, and brought the magic of old Hollywood to central Florida.

Hollywood Studios

But over the years a whole lot has changed; in fact, even the name of the park is different from when it originally opened as Disney-MGM Studios. So besides a rename and rides that have been added since opening, how do the attractions compare from then to now? Let’s take a look!

Let’s Stroll Through Time to Talk About All the Opening Day Attractions — and What They Are Now in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Great Movie Ride

One of the most iconic opening day attractions was the first to welcome guests as they entered the park down Hollywood Boulevard — the Great Movie Ride. This attraction was located inside the Chinese Theater and featured a 30-minute slow-moving ride through some of the most classic Hollywood movies like Mary Poppins, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Wizard of Oz.

Great Movie Ride

Many guests came to love the ride, as it let them step right into some of their favorite films, and there was even some action onboard from the trusty Cast Members!


The attraction remained in its original state for a LONG time in the park until it was finally closed in 2017 to be made into a brand new attraction — Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Learn More About the History of the Great Movie Ride Here!

Backstage Studio Tour

Another ride that welcomed guests on opening day was the Backstage Studio Tour which originally took guests on a two-hour guided tour through all the details of movie-making.

A replica of the arch in New York City’s Washington Square Park greeted guests along the Backstage Studio Tour. ©Disney

During the combined walking and tram tour, guests would get to see everything from wardrobe and prop making to Walt Disney’s actual Gulfstream airplane and even got to participate in a controlled movie set at Catastrophe Canyon.

Studio Backlot Tour ©Disney

The attraction was eventually shortened (and renamed Studio Backlot Tour) but it was still a pretty long ride up until it closed in 2014 to make way for the new Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which we have today.

Five Things We LOVED about the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Magic of Disney Animation Tour

But the Backstage Studio Tour wasn’t the only tour-type attraction in the park; there was also a shorter one called The Magic of Disney Animation Tour.

The Magic of Disney Animation

It was created to give guests a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s animation process and featured two short films that detailed how an animated feature is developed, a gallery of some of the early drawings of classic Disney characters, and culminated in a glass-enclosed area where guests could actually watch as Disney animators created actual artwork at their desks.

Guests watch as a Disney artist works on a drawing. ©Disney

Throughout the years, the building has morphed into many different attractions including meet-and-greets and an animation class and is now known as Star Wars Launch Bay where guests can meet Star Wars characters, see props from the films, and more.

Click HERE for More Details About Disney-MGM Studios Opening Day Attractions!

The Monster Sound Show

Much like today in the park, there were also plenty of shows to see throughout your day at MGM Studios, and The Monster Sound Show was one of those!

The Monster Sound Show attraction ©Disney

The show itself was meant to teach guests about the importance of sound in movies through a hilarious live interactive stage show. Set in a 272-seat theater, four guests were chosen from the audience and had to recreate the recorded sound effects for a short horror-themed film set on a dark and dreary night. Of course, guests weren’t always the best at timing the sound effects (like knocking on a door and claps of thunder), which resulted in a humorous show.


It was located near Echo Lake in the small theater between what is now For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and Star Tours. Though that location has been home to quite a few different shows over the years, if you were to head to the same spot today, you’d find the short show called Vacation Fun — An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie.

Learn About What Originally Replaced The Monster Sound Show HERE!

SuperStar Television

Another interactive show that opened with the park was SuperStar Television where up to 30 guests a day were selected to be part of the cast in the live recreation of some of TV’s greatest shows.


During the show, guests were cast in roles in popular TV shows like “General Hospital,” “Bonanza,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Cheers”, and more. They would then pair up with SuperStar Television cast (aka the show’s Cast Members) and act out their assigned roles “on set” in front of a screen while the live audience was watching the finished product “air” on screens above. The only thing is, the live actors’ performances were merged with clips from classic shows, which made for a funny show based on the poor timing of performers’ delivery.


The show was located in the theater that now hosts For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration though throughout the years it has been home to Doug Live! and The American Idol Experience as well.

Learn About Some of the Other Shows at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Throughout the Years HERE!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios sure is quite a bit different from when it first opened back in 1989, but it still brings guests right into the middle of iconic films like Toy Story, Star Wars, and more! But not all guests think that the updates to the park’s attractions are stellar — you can learn about the rides that people think are the WORST in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in our video below!

And, stay tuned for more Disney history, trivia, and news!

What’s Left of Disney-MGM Studios 30 Years Later? Learn More HERE!

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Do you remember any of the original Disney-MGM Studios attractions? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “The Disney World Park That Looks NOTHING Like it Did on Opening Day”

  1. We sure miss the old DHS aka Disney MGM. The Movie Ride was great. All they had to do was update it and not gut it completely. The Studio Tour was fun no matter how many times we rode it. We also enjoyed watching the artists and tried timing our visit before their lunch breaks.