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Walt Disney World Resort - Disney's Hollywood Studios, Part 1 of 8


Sorcerer's Hat
The Sorcerer's Hat, Disney's Hollywood Studio's park icon
Park maps are provided for relative location and area, not detail. Oh, original map ©Disney...
Disney-MGM Studios opened on May 1, 1989, a year before Universal Studios Florida. Coincidence? Not hardly. This is what happens when the CEO of one company sees future plans of his competition when he used to work for said competition.

The place called Sea World didn't pose much of a threat, but Universal presented Disney with their first real competition in Central Florida. (Interestingly, even when Disney opened Animal Kingdom, they didn't challenge any of the Sea World attractions. Animal behavior, yes, but not to the same creatures.)

To be fair, Movies was supposed to be a pavilion at Epcot, and was an active idea the Imagineers had laying around. But I'll bet that they have thousands of ideas laying around, and it was more than a convenient coincidence. :-)

So the first of the Eisner parks was Disney-MGM studios. Disney had licensed the MGM name to expand their catalog of shows for the new park, as well as for the backlot tour the Imagineers had planned. But a year before the park even opened, litigation ensued, and continued on for the next twenty years. Lawyers. Gotta hate 'em.

The culmination of this ended early in 2008. On January 6, 2008, Disney-MGM Studios closed for the night, and opened the next morning as Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you go to Disneyworld's web-site today, Disney-MGM has been wiped off the face of the planet. (And I can only find one reference to the old name in the park itself...)

I will use both the Disney-MGM name and the DHS name, depending on the context....

And actually, Disney's Hollywood Studios is in Burbank, California, but I digress.

Disney's Hollywood Studios is about Show-Biz. The making of show-biz, the people in show-biz, and the shows themselves, whether television, movies or stage...


DHS Map Like all Walt Disney World parks, outside of the Entrance are the bus stops, trams to the parking lots, and in Disney's Hollywood Studio's case, a boat dock from Epcot and the Crescent Lake Resorts. (Or you can walk instead of taking the boat.) There's also some sort of movie tie-in, and of course, your last minute souvenir cart...

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Hollywood Boulevard

DHS Map Hollywood Boulevard is sorta the Main Street USA of DHS. Just inside the entrance (known as the Crossroads of the World) is much the same as any of the parks, a Guest Services office, package pick-up, washrooms, park maps, lockers, wheelchair rentals, and places to buy things...

Further up the street, just as in Magic Kingdom, are Disney's gift shops. During the busier times of the year, you'll find the Streetmosphere performers, small groups of actors putting on shows for the guests...

Hollywood Boulevard
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Hollywood Boulevard - The Hollywood Brown Derby

The only table service restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard, is the Hollywood Brown Derby, where you can get a Cobb salad and a cup of coffee the size of your head. It is arguably the best table service restaurant in DHS. Of course the best food in the park are the turkey legs...

The Hollywood Brown Derby
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Great Movie Ride
The Great Movie Ride. Panoramic taken from the back of the hat...

Hollywood Boulevard - The Great Movie Ride

One of the original four attractions that opened on May 1, 1989, The Great Movie Ride was supposed to appear as its own pavilion in Future World in Epcot. It was Eisner that decided that Movies should get a grander vision than a pavilion, and was the impetus for creating Disney-MGM Studios. Well, that and Universal Studios Florida, but I digress...

The ride has been almost unchanged since it's opening. There have been several rumors to its overhaul and renewal. From what I understand, there were to be at least two ride paths through the attraction. One of the paths was to be open to riders of the attraction while the other path was to be updated for new movies, and the ride path alternated to keep the attraction fresh.

Didn't happen. Pity.

The ending movie seems to be updated every few years, however.

I have video of the Great Movie Ride on my Video Page. Since this video was shot, Disney finally put wireless mikes on the various cast members as the interact in the Gangster and Cowboys scenes. I'm really happy that Disney listens to my complaints and acts on 'em... :-)

In September 2012, I attended D23's 2012 Sip and Scream. I was also able to get the Super Scream level tickets, which included dinner in the Great Movie Ride. It was the ultimate way to see the attraction...

The Great Movie Ride
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Earful Tower/Sorcerer's Hat

At the other end of Hollywood Boulevard, is the Icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios. It was changed in late 2001, from the Earful Tower, a copy of the water tower outside of Disney's Burbank studios, to Mickey's Sorcerer Hat, often times referred to as the Big Ass Hat.

It's much bemoaned because it blocks the view of the Great Movie Ride, one of the original rides in the park. But let's face it, the park needed an icon centrally located in the park (like all Disney Parks), and one different from the icon at another Disney location.

Earful Tower
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The Sorcerer's Hat
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End Disney's Hollywood Studios - Part 1 of 8.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8

  • 05/15/2010 - Page rewritten, images added and upgraded
  • 06/17/2012 - Complete replacement
  • 12/31/2012 - Update to v3.1
  • 09/01/2014 - Update to v3.2