What’s In a Name?
HOORAY for HOLLLLLLYWOOOODDDD…. Studios. The Disney Hollywood Studios. Yes, 30 years in the making and this park has to be the most dynamic in the shortest period of time then any other park. Not just in geography, but in name and even park icon! Name you say? How about Disney MGM Studios, until the lease was not renewed and all the MGM references were removed, TADAAAAAH! Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Earffel Tower was the park icon until 2001 when Mickey’s Fantasia hat took over. The hat has since been removed and we have gone back to the beginning.
When first built, the Disney Hollywood Studios park was not just a park. It was an actual working studio with movies and TV shows being created. Over the years, the identity of the park morphed into what we have today. The production is gone and those studios have been converted into new attractions or just closed waiting for inspiration. New additions for Toy Story Land and Star Wars and the Gondola’s at the entrance are part of a complete facelift to go along with the re-branding of the park icon and name.
Disney has forever built history and inspiration into their product. Did you know the entrance is patterned after the Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles?
Walt loved to take his family to parks, in fact, it was the seed that germinated Disneyland and the Disney Park Empire, so why not continue with a winning formula?
Star Wars thematics have found their home at the Studios. The Giant AT-AT out front of Star Tours with working sound effects is not just a crowd pleaser, but a landmark that can be seen from quite the distance. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was an ingenious creation. Getting Rod Serling from the grave had to be challenging. I wonder if he was one of the 999 ghosts at the Haunted Mansion? This ride also spawned a movie for the Wonderful World of Disney episode in 1997 starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirstin Dunst.
My favorite ride is the Rock N Rollercoaster. The imagery of the LA freeways are where I grew up. That, and listening to one of my favorite childhood bands at volumes exceeding normal ranges is like this ride was made just for me. I love it live and loud baybeeeee! I especially like the Randy’s Donut scene. My Nonna lived a block from there and I have spent many a Sunday after church walking there with her for a chocolate sprinkle donut.
We absolutely cannot talk about the Studios without mentioning the best meatloaf EVER!!!!! (Insert drooling icon here). The 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a restaurant fashioned after your Nonnas 1950 kitchen with all the knick-knacks paddy wacking all the way home. The servers cosplay family members and will interact on a level that might be a bit embarrassing. There are TVs playing vignettes from classic episodes of the 50’s, but make sure you get your meal reservations, this place fills up fast with the best Betty Crocker homestyle recipes EVER and,… uh, ….. keep your elbows off the table and no hats at the table please.
Oh yeah, there are some other food places called The Brown Derby (where you can dine with an IMAGINEER!!!). The Sci-Fi Diner where vignettes from movies are playing while you eat in a car theme booth, the new Woody’s Lunch box, just to name a few. Just Disney doing food on every level….. again!
With sunset attractions like The Great Movie Ride, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Catastrophe Canyon, and new additions like Toy Story Land, and the classics like Star Tours, The Lights and Stunt show spectacular, Fanstasmic, the Tower or Terror, the Rock N Roller Coaster, Muppets, and future attractions like Galaxy’s Edge to Mickey and Minnie’s runaway railroad (try saying all that in one breath!), Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a bright 30 years ahead.
I always find it interesting to look through the past as I look forward to the future. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is like a time traveling moment with a little of the past, the present and the future, all in one snap shot. So sit back, relax and get ready…..
Lights, quiet on the set. Marker – Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the next 30 years…… aaaaanaannnnnd ACTION!
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I had forgotten about Who Wants to be a Millionaire! loved this article! It really was taking a trip down memory lane. I liked what you said about this park being a little of the past, present and future. 50’s Prime Time is a favorite and we’ve taken to eating there every trip! I love the 50s! Also, your sign off was perfect!