Disney's Hollywood Studios Celebrates 30 Years of Cinematic Imagination

Guests visiting the Walt Disney World resort today are invited to celebrate 30 years of cinematic imagination at Disney's Hollywood Studios, which officially opened to the public on May 1, 1989. Check out these interesting facts about the park:

Walt Disney Archives, Photo Library

Not a place on a map, but a state of mind
On May 1, 1989 Disney-MGM Studios officially opened to the public. The grand opening was attended by dozens of notable Hollywood stars including Bob Hope and Annette Funnicello. In the park’s dedication Michael Eisner welcomed everyone “to a Hollywood that never – and always will be.” Today, Disney’s Hollywood Studios lives up to that dedication. It is a place where everyone can play together, making memories to last a lifetime just as they have for the last 30 years.


Legendary Likeness
A replica of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium found in Los Angeles, California, the main entrance to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, then Disney-MGM Studios, opened just three weeks before the original was destroyed by fire.

Walt Disney Archives, Photo Library

A warm welcome
Wave hello to a lifesize, 5’ 3” Mickey Mouse on a spinning globe at Crossroads of the World. His skyward tilted right ear is made of solid copper and serves as a hidden lightning rod.


California Crazy
Beginning in the 1920s, crafty business owners designed eye-catching architecture to draw in potential customers. You can find this retro novelty architechture throughout the park including an oversized vintage camera at The Darkroom, the S.S. Down the Hatch at Dockside Diner, and of course, the beloved Gertie.



The Chinese Theater
Modeled after the Hollywood landmark, this near replica is built at a 9/10 scale of the original building.



Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Climb aboard a starspeeder and travel the galaxy! While your destinations may change, your flight number does not. Flight 1401 refers to the address of Walt Disney Imagineering Headquarters at 1401 Flower St. in Glendale, California.


A tale as old as time
Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage began enchanting audiences the same day the animated feature premiered on Nov. 22, 1991 and is the longest running stage show at a Walt Disney World theme park.



The Hollywood Brown Derby
Inspired by the historic Hollywood locale, this signature dining location includes three items from the original menu: the famous cobb salad, the grapefruit cake and the Shirley Temple cocktail. Look carefully among the celebrity caricatures and you may find a hidden Mickey!


Oscar’s Super Service
Strike a pose by a vintage truck at this gas station of yesteryear! Did you know Oscar’s Super Service is named in reference to the Academy Awards’ cherished statue, the Oscar?


How about some backstage passes?
A 40-foot-tall guitar greets you at the entrance to the first Walt Disney World attraction to take Guests upside down, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Over 900 speakers immerse you in the music as you race along the darkened freeways of LA.


Some imagination, huh?
Dream a fantastic dream at Fantasmic! with over 50 performers, pyrotechnics, laser lights, one million gallons of dancing water and a 40-foot-tall dragon. Did you know the show features over 75 costumes including 5 for Mickey Mouse alone?



Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
This Space Age-inspired restaurant opened on April 20, 1991 as part of 20 new attractions at Walt Disney World to mark the resort’s 20th anniversary. Check out the license plates on the back of your conver-TABLE next time you visit and you’ll see the initials for the Imagineers who helped bring this nostalgic favorite into reality.


A most uncommon elevator
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror began transporting Guests to the 5th dimension on July 22, 1994. Imagineers watched 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” in preparation for this iconic attraction.



Handprint history
Between 1989 and 1995, legendary stars in entertainment placed their hand prints (and doodles, signatures, foot prints – even a nose!) in the wet concrete squares in the Chinese Theater courtyard. Amid the dozens of handprints, you’ll find the only set of Audrey Hepburn’s handprints in the world placed mere days before the park opened.


New to the neighborhood
As part of the park’s reimagining, Grand Avenue opened on Sept. 29, 2017 with its cheerful corner pub, BaseLine Tap House. Did you know this location was once home to the Figueroa Printing Company? Take a look around and you may see some of their work supporting Disneyland!



Judge me by my size, do you?
The next generation of Jedi have been training at Disney’s Hollywood Studios since the original Jedi Training Academy opened on Oct. 9, 2007. Today at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, the Force is strong – so strong that they go through approximately 600 Jedi robes each day!


A suitcase and a dream
In a nod to The Walt Disney Company’s humble beginnings, a window advertising office space for rent paired with the door below references Walt and Roy’s first office in California. The space rented from Holly Vermont Realty was available for just ten dollars a month! Look for this hidden bit of history on the backside of Keystone Clothiers near Echo Lake.


A salute to all attractions, but mostly Muppet*Vision 3D
This muppetational show premiered on May 16, 1991 and has delighted us with cheap 3-D tricks ever since. Did you know Muppet*Vision 3D features the first computer-generated Muppet, Waldo C. Graphic? Waldo’s name refers to the “waldo” an electronic input device Muppeteers use to remotely perform characters.

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A high-octane new show
The newest addition the park, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, cruised into Sunset Showcase on March 31, 2019. Did you know the show features the ever-elusive Pizza Planet Truck? Keep your eyes peeled next time you make a pit stop!



Feature Animation
Disney’s Hollywood Studios immerses Guests in some of their favorite animated stories, but did you know Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear were animated primarily in the backlot of the park?



Thirty, Gertie, and Thriving
Drawn to life by Winsor McCay in 1914, Gertie the Dinosaur quickly became a star of the vaudeville screen. Many recognize her as the first animated character to show a distinct personality, paving the way for our own cast of characters – including Mickey Mouse himself. As a tribute to Winsor, Gertie has had a place in our park since the very beginning!


A toy-riffic new land
While Andy’s away, the toys will play! Disney’s Hollywood Studios Cast unboxed Toy Story Land on June 30, 2018. Did you know Andy’s footprint in Toy Story Land is about 25 feet long, or the equivalent of a size 240 shoe?



Once Upon A Time
You can find examples of architecture inspired by real life all throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Constructed to replicate the Carthay Circle Theater, this merchandise location holds a piece of Disney history. In 1937, the Carthay Circle Theater hosted the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated film.


Local Legends
Straight from the Golden Age of Hollywood, the Citizens of Hollywood are always ready for their close up. Did you know Imagineer C. McNair Wilson originally coined the term streetmosphere when creating this iconic band of entertainers?



Part of our world
1989 wasn’t just the opening year for Disney-MGM Studios, it also celebrated the premiere of The Little Mermaid in theaters. Just three years later on Jan. 7, 1992, Voyage of the Little Mermaid swam into Animation Courtyard. This lively retelling features water effects, lasers, 26 puppets, and of course Ariel to bring her story to life on stage.

DHS - Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
Join the 2nd Unit of the Raiders of the Lost Ark film crew and experience the thrills of a live set! Did you know it takes two hours each week to maintain Indy’s iconic weapon of choice?


Lightspeed to Batuu
Did you know Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the largest single-themed land ever created at a Disney park? This groundbreaking new land opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Aug. 29 will transport Guests to a far-flung destination along the galaxy’s Outer Rim, on the frontier of Wild Space – the uncharted region beyond all known star systems.

WDW - DHS - TSL - Pre K Guests

Rootin’ Tootin’ Shootin’
Golly bob-howdy! Toy Story Mania opened on May 31, 2008 and ushered in a new era of immersive (and competitive) playtime at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Did you know artists wore 3-D glasses while painting the artwork for this attraction to see the riders’ perspective?

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PHOTOS: © 2019 Walt Disney World Resort. All Rights Reserved.

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