For the past two decades, "MGM" has been one of the most widespread acronyms thrown around in Walt Disney World conversation. Next year, that may begin to change.
Now, Disney-MGM Studios, one of the four theme parks comprising the Walt Disney World complex, will become Disney's Hollywood Studios. Come next January, all ties to classic Hollywood media giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its famous Leo the Lion logo are scheduled to be completely severed — just a year and a half shy of the park's 20th anniversary.
Still, Disney insists that the Hollywood enchantment enshrouding the experience of its third Florida theme park will remain in place now more than ever. An official statement offered enthusiastic words from Meg Crofton, the resort president of Walt Disney World.
"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," she said. "As a park all about entertainment, Disney's Hollywood Studios will deliver like never before. Now we can say that Hollywood is literally our middle name."
Disney's official statement also included mention of next year's major ride investment for a park known for attractions like the steel coaster Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and freefall ride Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. That attraction is the interactive, family-geared dark ride known as Toy Story Mania, which will join a counterpart at Disney's California Adventure at the original Disney theme park location of Anaheim, California.
According to the Disney news site Jim Hill Media, the name change reflects a requirement in the contract between Disney and MGM Studios. Jim Hill also reports that Disney's initial idea to change the name to "Disney-Pixar Studios" was rejected after a group polled naturally associated other Disney parks' attractions with the Pixar name.
While Disney will officially instate the new Hollywood Studios name next January, references to "Disney-MGM" will be removed over the last several months of 2007.
Crofton emphasized the uniqueness of next season for the Florida park.
"This is easily one of the most ambitious attraction roll-outs in the 18-year history of the park," Crofton said. "With so many great coming attractions, we are thrilled to be launching a Studios year unlike any other, wrapped in a brand-new name: Disney's Hollywood Studios."