May 1, 1989: Disney-MGM Studios Opened

by | May 1, 2024 | Disney History, Disney's Hollywood Studios

Ever wondered about the history of Disney-MGM Studios? We’re sharing how the park opened and how it later transformed into Disney’s Hollywood Studios park that we know today in Walt DIsney World.  

On May 1, 1989, Disney-MGM Studios opened its gates to the public. At the time, the park marked a big expansion to Walt Disney World, bringing a third gate to the park a little less than 20 years after its opening. The park, which is no known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios, was originally conceived as both a theme park and a functioning production studio to capitalize on the burgeoning interest in film and television production in central Florida. Over the years, it has evolved significantly, shifting its focus to a broader celebration of the entertainment industry. We’ll be taking a deeper dive into the history behind the park and its opening date.

The History of Disney-MGM Studios

The inception of Disney-MGM Studios traces back to the mid-1980s when The Walt Disney Company partnered with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The initial idea was to create a theme park that offered guests a behind-the-scenes look at the owkrigns of film and television production. With that in mind, the park featured actual production facilities along with attractions and shows inspired by Hollywood classics.

When it opened, teh park included attractions like The Great Movie Ride, which took guests on a journey through iconic scenes from classic films. Theere was also the Backlot Tour, which showcased various aspects of movie production. The park was also home to working production studios, which produced content such as TV shows The Mickey Mouse Club and news broadcasts.

The Transition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Over the years, the park’s focus shifted away from actual movie and TV production. The change was marked symbolically and practically when, in 2008, Disney-MGM Studios was rebranded as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This rebranding reflected a shift towards offering experiences that celebrated cinematic achievements and storytelling without the operational aspects of a working studio.

With that in mind, the park shifted more towards attractions that brought you into the movies as opposed to going behind-the-scenes. From that concept, we’ve gotten lands such as Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Today

Today, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a testament to the evolution of the entertainment industry and Disney’s role within it. The park is less about the technical side of filmmaking and more about bringing the magic of movies, music, and theater to life. New additions like Galaxy’s Edge immerse guests in one of the most beloved cinematic universes of all time, offering experiences that are both technologically advanced and deeply narrative.

The park also is now home to the first Mickey-themed ride at a Disney Park, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. This attraction represents a blend of classic Disney characters with cutting-edge ride technology, embodying the spirit of innovation that drives Disney’s Hollywood Studios today. As Disney’s Hollywood Studios continues to evolve, it remains a central piece of the Disney World, inviting guests to step into the stories they love and experience them in ways only Disney can provide.

Posts by Morgan Flaherty

epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu
Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu

Authored by
Morgan Flaherty

Morgan is the Staff Editor for WDW Magazine. A lifelong Disney fan, her dream day involves just about anything to do with Animal Kingdom. Along with several years of experience writing about Disney, Morgan has also written as a contributing writer for Well + Good, Scary Mommy, Brit + Co, and Baby Chick.
0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop