Disney Hollywood Studios
Location: Lake Buena Vista, FL
When you walk through the gates do you feel as if you step foot into a movie studio or theme park? How about both? That's what they had in mind with Disney's Hollywood Studios. They wanted a place where you are the star attraction. Let’s all get our close up and begin the journey into the third theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort.
With the licensing agreement in hand with MGM, they were ready to go. With that, on May 1, 1989 The Disney-MGM Studios opened to the public with four different themed areas dedicated to the magic of old Hollywood, and the movies. With only The Great Movie Ride, and the Studio Backlot Tour, many felt that the park was not up to par with what Disney is known for. As with Hollywood, you’re only as good as your last film. Disney knew this, and went full force to get people to see what the park had to offer. With the opening of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular in August of 1989, and Star Tours that same year in December, it quickly had folks changing their mind about the park. It was only the beginning.
In 1994 Disney opened a new area, Sunset Boulevard, and a new thrill ride in the form of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a ride like no other. To this day, with all the updates and modifications, the tower still provides a unique and hair raising experience every time you drop. With higher attendance came the park’s first and only roller coaster to date, Rock "n" Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith in 1999. This enclosed coaster launches you from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds as you race with Aerosmith to get to the concert on time. 2008 brought Toy Story Midway Mania!, an interactive 4-D adventure that lets you experience life under Andy's bed with Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang. Also in 08' saw a name change from MGM Studios to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The park has three major annual events; Star Wars weekends, which runs from May through June which brings fans up close with those who brought the films to life. ESPN weekends allow sports fans up close and personal encounters with some of their favorite ESPN analysts. During the Holiday season, over five million lights come to life every night with the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. This event provides a light and music show like none other.
From day one of wanting a theme park and a working studio, Disney's Hollywood Studios had to strive to bring the magic of the movies to one and all. So as the title of their night time show depicts, this park is Fantasmic!
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