Articles, Blog

Top 10 BEST Disney Hollywood Studios Secrets! | Disney-MGM Studios History

Welcome to TPMvids Disney beat where we talk
about all things Disney. If you’re new to the channel, hit that subscribe button and
click the bell icon to be notified when we upload a new video. Disney MGM Studios opened on May 1st 1989
and was Walt Disney World’s third theme park at the resort. It was built over the
course of 3 years and cost the company over $500 million dollars to build. With today’s
inflation is approximately 1 billion dollars. The park was inspired by the Golden Age of
Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s and was also designed to be a working film studio in addition
to the theme park. This is the map from opening day. All the purple buildings were part of
the production studio and everything else was the theme park which was a very small
portion of the 135 acre park. Well since opening as Disney-MGM Studios,
the park has seen many changes including the name change to Disney’s Hollywood studios
in 2008 and the loss of the working studio aspect through the late 90’s into the early
2000s. As of recently, the park has become a shell of its former self. It used to be
a place where Hollywood came alive and you could experience the movies and feel like
you were part of the action. It was an exciting park to visit so we’re gonna relive the
prime of Disney-MGM Studios. Through the video we’ll be looking at the park’s history
and will refer to it as Disney-MGM studios where necessary. So today, we’re gonna be
counting down the Top 10 Disney’s Hollywood Studios secrets & facts. Number 10- The Crossroads
When you walk into Disney’s Hollywood Studios one of the very first things you’ll see
after you pass through the turnstiles is the Crossroads of the World monument. This opened
with the park in May of 1989 and did you know that this is almost a full scale replica of
the original Crossroads monument in Los Angeles? Built in 1936, the original sits outside of
what is said to be the first shopping mall of America off Sunset Blvd. At Disney’s
Hollywood Studios, the monument sits outside Hollywood Blvd and is the exact size and scale
of the original, but has one major difference; Mickey Mouse. Thats right, the Disney version
features a statue of Mickey mouse on the top of the spinning globe and he’s actually
there on double duty. Not only is Mickey the company’s icon, Mickey’s right earn which
is actually made out of copper actually doubles as a lightning rod to protect guests at from
the inclement Florida weather. Number 9- A Universal Idea
When Disney MGM Studios opened in 1989, the main attraction at the Park was the Backlot
Tour. The attraction used to be a combination of a tram and waking tour that lasted over
2 hours; a much longer experience than the 30 minute tour the attraction closed with
in 2014. It would take guests through the Streets of America, through the Residential
street and into the iconic Cat Canyon. So lets rewind back a bit. In 1982 while Michael
Eisner was the current CEO of Paramount Studios, he was approached by Universal to join their
theme park project in Orlando. Eisner declined but while he stepped into the CEO position
at Disney in 1984, he was very knowledgeable on the details of the Universal Studios Orlando
theme park. This included the headliner attraction that was supposed to be a tram tour that would
feature a scenario like what opened in Universal Studios Hollywood in 1988. Well looking at
Cat Canyon in MGM studios, you can definitely see the similarities to the attraction at
Universal Studios, so you could say Eisner borrowed this idea from Universal Studios.
Cat Canyon was demolished in February 2016 to make way for Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Number 8- The Disney Airplane
On October 8th, 1992 an airplane touched down on World Drive in Orlando and found a home
on the backlot at Disney MGM studios. Well this aircraft, which went by the name of “The
Mouse,” was in fact Walt Disney’s actual airplane and holds a lot of Disney history.
Walt Disney bought the Grumman Gulfstream 1 in 1964 and in addition to transporting
Imagineers from California to New York in preparation for the 1964 New York World’s
fair, it’s also said that it was responsible for going on secret missions flying over Florida,
scouting land for Project X which would then became Walt Disney World. Well here’s the
problem; Walt’s decision to locate Project X in Florida was made in 1963, but this aircraft
was purchased in 1964. Well it turns out the decision was made on the Beechcraft Queen
Air, another aircraft the company owned at the time. The Mouse may have very well been
used to scout out specifics of the land after the fact, but it’s not where the decision
was made to locate to Florida. Now As of 2016, the entire backlot section
of Disney Hollywood Studios like we mentioned before has been demolished to make way for
Star Wars Galaxy’s edge. This includes the spot where Walt’s airplane was found for
almost 25 years. So now the question becomes, what’s actually happened to Walt Disney’s
air plane and this piece of Disney History? Well its honestly a mystery since no one in
the Disney community, aside from Disney themselves, knows the actual location of the plane. What
is known is that it was repainted to the original orange and white color scheme it used to have,
and was removed in tact, from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s rumoured that its now in the
hands of the Disney Archives but who knows where the plane might pop up someday. Number 7- The Key Under the Matt
Muppet Vision 3-D opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 16th 1991. A major part of
the attraction is its queue and pre show which includes a lot of details, gags and theming
that will definitely keep you entertained. As you enter the front doors of the attraction,
on the right hand side theres a security booth with a sign that says back in 5 minutes, key
is under mat. Well because it’s Disney where no little detail goes unnoticed, if you lift
the mat on the floor you will in fact find a gold key. Now the key’s screwed into the
ground so don’t get your hopes up of trying to take it home as a souvenir but its another
little secret that makes Disney attractions stand out from the rest. Number 6- The Chinese Theatre
As you walk down Hollywood Blvd you can’t help but notice the Chinese Theatre. It’s
kinda like the Cinderella Castle of Hollywood Blvd. But did you know that the theatre is
an exact full scale replica of the Graumen’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood? It’s actually
one of the very few replica buildings in Walt Disney World thats built to the exact scale.
Disney imagineers used the original blueprints from the theatre in California to build their
theatre at Disney MGM studios. Imagineers took numerous reference pictures of exterior
details to match everything as close as possible from the doors right down to the stone foo
dogs at the theatre’s entrance. After the Florida theatre was built, the owners
from California asked Imagineers for their blueprints so they could be used for the theatre’s
renovation since they were gonna be more up to date with building codes. So the Florida
blueprints of the replica were used for the California renovation of Grauman’s Chinese
theatre. Actually Disney wasn’t able to secure licensing rights to use the Grauman’s
name, so from the park opening until now, the theatre is simply referred to as just
The Chinese Theatre. Number 5- The Largest Hidden Mickey
Hidden Mickey’s can be found all over the Walt Disney World Resort. Now for those of
you that don’t know, hidden Mickey’s are representations of Mickey mouse found designs
of pretty much anything at the Disney resorts. They’re typically made up of three circles
creating the silhouette of Mickey mouse. Well did you know that Disney’s Hollywood Studios
is home to the largest hidden Mickey at Walt Disney World? Thats right, and its a hidden
Mickey that you won’t really be able to see from in the park. You sort of need to
be above it. When Disney-MGM Studios was built, a giant
Hidden Mickey was designed right into the park’s central hub through the buildings
and landscaping. Do you see it? The Chinese Theatre is Mickey’s mouth, Echo lake was
the right ear, the roof of the Brown Derby restaurant was the left ear and the planters
and trees were his eyes and eyebrows. Now every day thousands of people walk right by
all these things not even knowing they’re a part of the largest hidden Mickey. Now over
the years, with expansion and just the overall evolution of the park, you can see that the
Mickey silhouette is slowly becoming harder to make out but its a cool little feature
incorporated into the design of the theme park. Number 4- Studios A & B 
Rock n Roller coaster opened in July of 1999 and is definitely a thrilling attraction.
In the ride’s queue while waiting to tour Studio C, try to listen to the sounds coming
from the doors of Studio A and B. You’ll hear sounds from real Aerosmith recording
sessions. Some of the sounds even came from the rerecording sessions for the attraction
at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Also while you’re in Studio C watching the pre show,
take a look at the ground of the recording studio to spot a hidden Mickey. The wires
by the rack of guitars are coiled up into the silhouette of Mickey Mouse! Number 3- Theatre of the Stars
Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage opened on November 22, 1991 at Disney MGM Studios
playing in Theatre of the Stars. The current theatre can be found off Sunset Blvd but the
Sunset Blvd expansion opened in July of 1994 and Beauty and the Beast opened in 1991. So
how can this be? Well that’s because where theatre of the stars is today, isn’t the
original Theatre. The original actually opened with the park on may 1st 1989 and was located
where Sunset Blvd and Hollywood Blvd meet today. This theatre didn’t have covered
seating but the stage design and circular proscenium arch was very similar to whats
there today. Since the entire park is based on Hollywood, its design inspiration seems
to have come from the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater located in Los Angeles, California. From park
opening until Beauty and the Beast opened, the theatre was home to a couple stage shows
about Hollywood that featured many of your favorite Disney characters. In Sept of 1993, theatre of the stars closed
while the Sunset Blvd expansion was being completed. In Sept of 1993 Beauty and the
Beast was temporarily relocated to the Premiere Theatre in the backlot section of Streets
of America. The show played the premiere theatre until July of 1994 when it reopened at the
newly built Theatre of the Stars on Sunset Blvd. Stop! Stop it I say. DO you hear me! Number 2- Don’t pull the rope
So the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular officially opened on August 25th, 1989, almost
3 months after the park opened. The show takes place in a amphitheatre type venue but the
experience actually begins outside of the theatre. So you know how we’re always told to not
do something but we do it anyways cause we wanna know what would happen, well Disney
knew this would be the case when designing elements for Disney MGM Studios. So outside
of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, there’s an archeological dig site with a
sign that reads “Warning: Do Not pull rope” but you’ll notice that the not is crossed
out. Well next time you’re at the park, go ahead and give the rope a couple pulls
and you’ll learn there’s some people down in the excavation site.
Number 1- Moroccon Pink The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened at
Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July of 1994 as part of the Sunset Blvd expansion. The
Hollywood tower hotel is a 199 foot building with a pinkish brownish facade, but have you
ever wondered about that pinkish color on the Hotel? Why that exact color? Well Epcot
and Disney’s Hollywood studios are very close in proximity. Since they built Tower
of Terror just one foot under the Florida building code, the imagineers knew it would
be visible from parts of Epcot. If you’ve looked across the World Showcase lagoon at
the Morocco pavilion from the right angel you’ve probably completely missed it. When you look at the buildings in Morocco
they have a very similar color scheme and architecture design to the Tower of Terror.
So to solve the problem of seeing the ride from Epcot, they designed the attraction to
blend right into the Morocco pavilion so it appears like its part of the architecture. Now as of today Disney’s Hollywood Studios
is going through a lot of changes, specially the construction of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge,
as well as Toy Story Land and the new Mickey and Minnie attraction. There’s also rumours
that the name of the park will be changed once again.
So the question for you today is how do you feel about the loss of so much history at
the former Disney-MGM Studios? Do you have any
favourite memories or stories from the park? Leave a comment down below and start a conversation!


  1. michael silver Author

    Walt Disney's airplane? It's STILL in the backlots at Disney World. We saw the gutted carcass during the Keys To The Kingdom tour last summer. . . Someone just posted pictures from the interior, and it's been completely gutted. That's a shame.

  2. Samii Serrano Author

    I can’t really say much since I just started going to Disney recently as all the changes really started(I come from out of state) but I will say the great movie ride was probably the saddest for me to be leaving the park. I was only able to ride it once but even though they were old movies I can say it was my favorite attraction there

  3. Jessi Barrett Author

    One of my favorite memories was when my family and I were at a 50’s restaurant in the park and my brother didn’t eat all the corn so the waiter gave him his corn and mashed potatoes for desert

  4. rachael rox Author

    The thing I miss most is The Great Movie Ride!! My sister worked on that ride as a performer for years and it was always one of my family’s favorites. It was a nice break from the crowds of the park and took us through our favorite movies. It’ll be missed!!

  5. Jenny Xox Author

    i miss all of the history!!! wdw (like I say to my family) was better when I was 6. nothing was different, everything was magical (still is), and Disney didn't raise the prices!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Stacie Nicholson Author

    hollywood studios is my least favorite park i like tower of terror and star wars but not enough to waste a day there grom now on i will go to epcot and magic kingdom

  7. Finn Weasel Author

    I feel like theyre changing too much at once. I loved riding around behind the park and looking at all the sets and stuff, I feel like theyre doing it just to make a lot more money but its taking away a ton of what made the place imo

  8. KaitlinDoesStuff Author

    it honestly disappoints me that they got rid of so many good things in hollywood studios just to replace it with star wars…it feels like one big cash grab

  9. Steeler X83 Author

    My family owns a deck of cards that we bought at Disney World that has the 4 parks but it has MGM with the mouse water tower as the image for that park. I loved the back lot tour, walking and riding part. I understand that the park needs to evolve to remain relevant but I feel like it MGM/Hollywood has been just nipping and tucking.

  10. G Bro Author

    I have never liked this park and have no attachment whatsoever to its original attractions. Sorry to be a hater! TOT is fun but not worth the day there.

  11. Avery Gaitens Author

    I hate that they got rid of the great movie ride. That is the only thing me and my siblings really liked at the park when we were little. It was incredible! The ride is honestly still one of my favorite rides to this day.

  12. Flcoasterfan- Arcade and Coasters - Author

    I am indifferent to the ip lands, but I do remember power rangers. My god childhood in 2006 was great for mgm studios

  13. Wuffball Author

    I miss the backlot tour most, and the giant hat.
    I wish classic Star Tours could return every once and a while, too.
    I do think the entirety of disney is getting too tied to specific movies/shows over original experiences of their own.

  14. nunya biz Author

    I really wish they stop taking away and just expand! Even if it was separated. Don't they still have so many acres to build on?! You need at least 1 day at each park. I wouldn't care if it became 2!

  15. Cascadian Ranger Author

    As sad as it is to see history go, Star wars Galaxies edge has the potential to push interactive entertainment to a whole new level. To be not only considered in a canon part of the Star Wars Universe, but for things that occur in the park to have Impact and weight to the story means its story telling will fit into an even grander canon, albeit more so in terms of the EU instead of the movies

  16. Clowns Claws and Coasters Author

    Besides rockin roller coaster and tower of terror, the other parts of the park I just didn't like at all, with all of those fake paper buildings, lack of atttactions, and it just didn't feel very Disney. I'm very glad they are almost completely revamping the park to make it much feel newer and enjoyable.

  17. White Sox Nation Author

    The jedi stage where they do the march too was really the old mickey mouse magic hat. I was there before it was taken down…..memories…..

  18. WiiGuy2014 Author

    As long as they can keep a little bit of the old stuff in as some kind of easter egg, that would keep the legacy alive. Like how Winnie the Pooh at Magic Kingdom has a picture of Mr. Toad giving the deed to Owl in reference to how the Pooh ride replaced Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

  19. Paul Caridi Author

    This park has so much potential. They should mix 1930, 1940 and 1990 Hollywood with how Disney developes, produces and animates their films.

  20. John Elliott Author

    There is an aircraft near 2010 S Service Ln on the west side of Disney World near what looks like a treatment plant. …wondering if this is Disney's missing plane, 28.3776 -81.5877

  21. Addie Cotrill Author

    Who else is gonna miss the great movie ride I went there so many times and it was a party of my childhood my mom loved the ride so did I and my brothers and dad it was the perfect ride entertaining for younger kids slow for my mom fun to watch in all!!

  22. Venaben Author

    It’s sad that a lot of the classic MGM studios is gone now, but expansion is just part of the process. Over the years, the backlot area of the park was becoming slow, with fewer people visiting this section. The logical thing for Disney to do is to tear-down and expand. As long as they pay homage to what was there originally, I think it’s a great change. Hollywood Studios is my favorite Disney world park and I’m so ready for the new rides and attractions.

  23. cassandra423 Author

    I loved the Great Movie Ride and was so sad when it closed. The first time I went to WDW was a few months after MGM Hollywood Studios opened and I loved it so much, it’s disappointing to see what’s happened to it.

  24. Shannon Nichols Author

    I’m so sad that they got rid of both the backlot ride and the movies ride! The backlot ride was fun & just enough excitement for young people and older people without being “painful”! But my favorite was the movie ride…idk the real name but it showed the wonderful things of the Hollywood movies that made Hollywood a magical place. It made you forget that it’s become a bunch of spoiled elitist…at least for a while! I suppose even Disney couldn’t make people continue believing that! I will choose to remember Hollywood as “old Hollywood” & wish it was how that ride made us feel it was.

  25. Shannon Nichols Author

    Furthermore, these new things are going to be great, I’m sure, for people who are into it. But not everyone is into Guardian of the Galaxy, Star Wars, or whatever the other one is! Whereas, MGM/Hollywood is a universal theme! They seriously could have put that stuff even in Epcot…as the Earth, “space-themed” or something! Or made it a separate park with the hotel in it, since it’s hotel is completely space-immersive. It seems they just stuck it there without a thought of what makes sense! You could have made a lot more money if you had paused and maybe had a focus group. It’s just a senseless afterthought and it doesn’t do justice to the things you ruined or the things you are putting there now.

  26. uhh madeline Author

    i love hollywood studios, but i’m kinda mad/disappointed that they closed The Great Movie Ride in the Chinese Theater for good. ahh i loved it so much the last few times i went to disney world

  27. BAILEY WOOTEN Author

    Who else is sad about the great movie ride leaving? But also who else is excited about the ride thats replacing it? (Micky and minnies runaway railroad) BECAUSE I AM BOTH

  28. King Snake22 Author

    The thing with Disney parks is that the imagineers respect and honor Disney's history, but are more concerned with making the parks better in any way possible, which I fully support. If there is a ride or attraction that is very popular with the guests, but could use some change to spice it up a little, the Imagineers won't hesitate. Change is good, and it's all about accepting the fact that some things can be improved, even if you don't want it to change

  29. Ava Jean Author

    I personally loved all of the backstage rides and tours especially the muppets one and I was so sad when they took it away. I’m not a hugeeee Star Wars fan but I still have seen all the movies I’m just not that excited for an area to open that removed so much of what I loved


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *