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Hooray for Hollywood - Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates 35 years!

Walt Disney World is today, Wednesday, May 1, 2024 is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Disney's Hollywood Studios, or as many of us know it, MGM Studios!

Hooray for Hollywood - Disney's Hollywood Studios celebrates 35 years!

On this day in 2008, Disney-MGM Studios opened at Walt Disney World. As many of you know, before being renamed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008, Disney World's third 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.   

Today, as the theme park celebrates its 35th anniversary, Disney is marking the occasion by sharing 14 rare and unique vintage images from years past.

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 – seen in the aerial photo above.  

On opening day, the only two operating attractions were the Studio Backlot Tour and the Great Movie Ride, now both sadly gone.

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.  

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, check out this unique image of an impressive 35-foot Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport Walker (AT-AT).  

No look at Hollywood Studios would be complete without a look at Gertie. 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. 

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