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Aug 19

Disney Traveling Around the “World” – Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Part 1

 

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Welcome Back “World” travelers! I hope you enjoyed Epcot and all the many things to see and do. Today we’ll begin exploring a new park as we head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Try to keep up, because there’s so much to see and do! Let’s get started.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Disney-MGM Studios until 2008), is the third of four theme parks built at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Studios opened on May 1, 1989. Spanning 135 acres, Hollywood Studios is dedicated to show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. In 2012, the park hosted approximately 9.9 million guests, making it the eighth-most visited amusement park in the world. (FYI:The other top seven are also Disney parks.)

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Dedication:

The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was—and always will be.
—Michael Eisner, May 1, 1989
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The Walt Disney Company’s original concept of the Disney-MGM Studios was to operate it as a full fledged television and motion picture production facility, not just a theme park. In 1988, among the first feature-length movies filmed at the facility, prior to its completion and opening as a theme park, were Ernest Saves Christmas and Newsies. When the park opened in 1989, the studio/production facilities housed two major components, the first of which was Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida, where Disney produced a number of projects, including Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, and sequences from other 1990s – early 2000s Disney animated features. The second, larger component was Walt Disney Studios Florida, which consisted of three sound stages used for various Disney projects including The Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club; Teen Win, Lose or Draw; Star Search; and Adventures in Wonderland. Some of the many television shows which have taped at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include: ER, Full House, Wheel of Fortune, ESPN College Football Awards, Talk Soup, Step By Step, Barbara Walters Special, and Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee.

In 2004, Disney management decided to downsize Disney’s Florida operations by closing the animation studio, laying-off personnel and then moving the operations to the main animation studio in Burbank, California.

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On August 9, 2007, Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton announced that Disney-MGM Studios would be re-branded as Disney’s Hollywood Studios, effective January 7, 2008, saying, “the new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today’s Hollywood has to offer—in music, television, movies and theater.”

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Today’s Disney Hollywood Studios is a lot different than it was in 1989. When the park opened up in May 1989 there were only 2 attractions. Here’s a list of the attractions at the Disney Studios and when they opened.

Opening Day Attractions (May 1, 1989)

Studio Backlot Tour

The Great Movie Ride

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Attractions Since Opening Day

Date Attraction
August 25, 1989 Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
December 15, 1989 Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
December 17, 1990 Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure
May 16, 1991 Muppet*Vision 3D
November 22, 1991 Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
January 7, 1992 Voyage of the Little Mermaid
July 22, 1994 The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
October 15, 1998 Fantasmic!
July 29, 1999 Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
October 1, 2001 Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream
October 17, 2004 The Magic of Disney Animation
May 5, 2005 Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
October 9, 2007 Jedi Training Academy
May 31, 2008 Toy Story Mania!
February 14, 2009 The American Idol Experience
March 27, 2011 Disney Junior – Live on Stage!
December 6, 2012 The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

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Today’s Hollywood Studios is growing and forever changing. Some of the best attractions, restaurants, and entertainment can be found at Hollywood Studios. Here are the different themed areas we’ll be looking at in the weeks to come:

Hollywood Boulevard

Echo Lake

Streets of America

Animation Courtyard

Pixar Place

Sunset Boulevard

Next week we’ll begin to take a look at each of these areas and see what each area has to offer. Stop #1 – Hollywood Boulevard! Hope to see you next time!

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