The idea that led to Disney’s Hollywood Studios began at its sister park, Epcot.
A team of Imagineers led by Marty Sklar and Randy Bright had been given an
assignment to create two new pavilions for the park's Future World section. The
fruits of the brainstorming sessions were the Wonders of Life pavilion and the
Great Movie Ride pavilion. The second of the two was to have sat between the
Land pavilion and the Journey Into Imagination pavilion, and was to look like a
soundstage backdrop, with a movie theater-style entrance in the middle. The
actual attraction is very similar to the plans for the equivalent at Epcot, only,
when newly-appointed CEO Michael Eisner saw the plans for the pavilion, he
requested that, instead of placing the ride in an already existing park, it should
be surrounded by a brand new theme park which extended the showbiz,
Hollywood and entertainment theme.
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 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 and Adventures
in Wonderland. Several third party productions also used the Studios, including
Superboy (first season only, from 1988-1989), Thunder in Paradise, a revival of
several tapings for World Championship Wrestling (as well as live broadcasts of
Florida-based post-production facility located on the Studio lot throughout the
1990s. All these production and post-production facilities were constructed to be
an integral part of the theme park's Backstage Studio Tour as well.
During the closing credits of the Mickey Mouse Club (later, MMC in its final
seasons) and Adventures in Wonderland, the lit Disney-MGM water tower
appeared on the screen and one of the cast said, "... was taped at the
Disney-MGM Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida."
Disney management (including CEO Michael Eisner) 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,
A radio studio is also located on the lot, appropriately behind "Sounds
Dangerous". It originally housed the first children's radio network Radio Aahs
which rented the studio. Later, Disney founded Radio Disney and essentially
drove Radio Aahs out of business. Radio Disney decided it was no longer
profitable to operate in Florida so they moved all of their shows from the
Disney-MGM Studios to the Radio Disney headquarters in Dallas, Texas and
the once bustling Disney Studios Florida radio studios are now used as remote
studios for radio shows that are visiting Disney or the Orlando area and need a
On August 9, 2007, Walt Disney World President Meg Crofton announced that
the theme park's name would be changed to Disney's Hollywood Studios in
January 2008. In announcing the name change, Crofton said, "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."
The Florida resort later announced that the new name would be effective
January 7, 2008, adding that it would take several more months to change all
|Disney's Hollywood Studios