Happy 30th Anniversary Disney's Hollywood Studios

Great Movie Ride Disney

30 years ago today Disney-MGM Studios opened its gates for the first time, and it may have changed more than any other Disney Park in its first 30 years.

In this time it lost its name, its icon (twice times), its studio, and every single ride. There is almost nothing left

For this anniversary lets look at some of the best things from this park throughout its history.

The Earful Tower

Earful Tower Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's MGM Studios original logo was the earful tower. Based on the water towers on Hollywood backlots, this was a part of the studio tour attraction for most of the history of the park. It served as the icon until it was replaced by the Sorcerer's Hat. It continued as a part of the backlot until it was torn down to make way for Toy Story Land.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Osborne Family Spectacle at Disney World

This may have been the best Christmas spectacle Disney has ever done. It turned the entire Streets of America land into a musical light show. It was a fan favorite show that only ended when Star Wars Land was announced and the entire Streets of America was demolished, leaving the show with nowhere to go.


Fantasmic Steamboat Willie

Disney's Hollywood Studios opened without a night show. Luckily they got a popular import Fantasmic. Reworked from the Rivers of America to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater this show has an exclusive Pocahontas scene as well as a much longer villains sequence. It has been a welcome part of the park for years and remains popular in the rapidly changing park.

Live Shows

Disney Hunchback Show Hollywood Studios

Disney has always been famous for its immersive rides, but this park more than any other thrived off of their live entertainment. In fact, recently it had more shows than rides in the park. These gave longer more in-depth looks at films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast, allowing guests to see their favorite films portrayed on stage before them in full Disney glory.

Star Wars

Darth Vader Jedi Training Academy

No best of compilation of Disney's Hollywood Studios would be complete without a mention of Star Wars. Star Tours was one of the first additions to the park after its opening and remains different than all other versions of it to this day. Instead of it being an actual spaceport it was themed as a movie set that you could then enter and ride the ride. It remains as one of the few studio based rides still in the park.

Active Studio

Disney Studio Tour Tra, Crash

The park opened with the selling point that it was going to be an East Coast Hollywood. It wasn't. However, a lot of significant films were produced here especially in the early years of the park, including all of Mulan and significant parts of Newsies, Lilo and Stitch, Brother Bear and more.

Greens Department Disney's Hollywood Studios

The Muppets

Miss Piggy Fountain

The Muppets were supposed to anchor their own land at Disney-MGM Studios, but the unfortunate death of Jim Henson kept this from coming to be. However, a major part of Grand Avenue remains themed to the Muppets. the crown jewel of this section is Muppet Vision 3D. This was one of the last projects Jim Henson oversaw prior to his death and it remains the only attraction dedicated to the popular characters in the Disney Parks.

Muppet Vision 3D Grand Avenue

Tower of Terror

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Disney World

Shortly after opening the park was in desperate need of new rides after opening with just two main attractions. This problem was solved with the creation of one of Disneys best rides ever, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. In this Disney managed to create their own episode of the beloved classic TV series in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. This ride has been copied to other parks, but the full-length original version has always been exclusive to this park, and currently serves as the parks official icon.

The Great Movie Ride

Great Movie Ride Western

Now we have to end with the original thesis statement of the park. The Great Movie Ride was a journey through the history of all of the movies, not only Disney movies. This was at a time when Disney was much smaller than today and so they had a number of rides with characters owned by other companies in their parks, including two earlier ones on this list. 

Singin' In the Rain Great Movie Ride

It featured historic movies from Singin' In the Rain to The Wizard of Oz to Alien.

Nowadays times have changed. Disney is bigger and only wants their own films in their parks, which led to the end of The Great Movie Ride, marking the pivotal turning point from the history of the park about making the movies, to its future of stepping into the movies.

This park has had an eventful 30 years, and with the upcoming opening of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge it shows no sign of slowing down.