PHOTOS: Walt Disney World Resort Shares Vintage Disney-MGM Studios Photos

On Wednesday, May 1, Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrated its 35th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, the Walt Disney World Resort is digging into the archives to spotlight this unique park with vintage images from years past.

As many fans know, before being renamed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008, this park was called Disney-MGM Studios. And from the beginning, you’d enter on Hollywood Boulevard and find stylish shops inspired by the architecture of buildings in the Hollywood area of California.

Over the years, celebrating Hollywood glitz and glamor smack dab in the middle of Florida has created some unforgettable images. Here, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and even Roger Rabbit leave their mark at the park. In fact, between opening and 1995, some of the most iconic and legendary celebrities placed hand, foot (and even nose) prints into the concrete squares in the Great Movie Ride courtyard.

But before the park fun began, Disney’s Hollywood Studios started as a concept for an entertainment-themed EPCOT pavilion that expanded into its own 135-acre park. From the beginning, the park was spectacular! In these breathtaking aerial views of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can see several familiar landmarks, including the Theater of Stars where guests would eventually see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage.

In early 1994, things began to look a little more like we know them today. And when Sunset Boulevard officially opened, it completely changed the skyline and atmosphere of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror would eventually make the “5th dimension” the norm for visiting guests. Imagineers watched more than 150 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” to get it right before the attraction opened in July 1994. And when it all came together, the park shined. 

You may also remember that back in 1989, the third edition of “The Mickey Mouse Club” made its debut on the Disney Channel and was shot on location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This mesmerizing image is from one of the show’s seven seasons.

In another smile-inducing vintage image from the park, you can see the Hercules – Zero to Hero Victory Parade in 1997 as it rolled into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The 14-minute cavalcade celebrated the Walt Disney Animation Studios animated movie by taking guests on an adventure where townsfolk rallied around Hercules after his triumph over Hydra.

And for Star Wars fans – in 1990, before the popular Star Tours attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we captured a unique image of an impressive 35-foot Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport Walker (AT-AT).

We’ll wrap with Gertie. As we’ve shared, this giant dino is a tribute to Gertie the Trained Dinosaur – one of the first popular animated characters in film. The character was not developed by Walt Disney, but by newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay in 1913.

In 1989, Walt Disney Imagineers honored Gertie by constructing an oversized tribute to her at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Of course, there are many more amazing moments to share – from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Toy Story Land and other favorite park locations – but we hope you enjoyed this quick nostalgic look back.

Looking ahead, this summer (on June 10), Joy from Pixar Animation Studios’ “Inside Out” is headed to Pixar Plaza where she’ll join other Pixar stars. She’ll be in her new home just in time for “Inside Out 2,” which premieres only in theaters June 14.

Also, “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure,” a fully reimagined theatrical production inspired by the Disney Animation classic “The Little Mermaid,” will be debuting in the Animation Courtyard theater in fall 2024 along with other amazing experiences coming in the future.

Looking to plan and book an Orlando-area vacation? Contact Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC., specialists in all things Orlando, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld! Destinations with Characters is a Disney EarMarked agency and the official travel agency of Orlando Theme Park News!

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

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