Terrific Trivia: Hollywood/Disney-MGM Studios

Nooks, crannies, and details are meant to be explored. The parks all full of all these things, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is no exception. Mysterious hotels closed since 1939, Shrinking down to the size of a toy, and the Hollywood that never was. Let’s look into the 25 year-old park, and explore some of its interesting facts.IMG_1942


“The World you have entered was created by The Walt Disney Company and is dedicated to Hollywood—not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was—and always will be.” –Michael Eisner, Disney-MGM Studios dedication, May 1st, 1989

Did you know that comedians/actors George Burns and Bob Hope helped cut the film ribbon to dedicate the Studios? Today, the 135 acre park is the fifth most visited United States theme park (after Magic Kingdom, Disneyland, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom).

Look up close at the gas pumps near the entrance of the park. They have the park opening date on them.IMG_9974

The original concept for Disney-MGM Studios was a fully functional television and motion picture facility and theme park. Before completion of the park, Ernest Saves Christmas and Newsies were filmed in 1988. Walt Disney Animation produced/entirely animated Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and Brother Bear in Disney-MGM Studios before closing Disney’s Florida animation in 2004.

Three sound stages were used for many various projects. Things such as Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse Club, Teen Win, Lose or Draw, and Adventures in Wonderland. Other third parties also used the park to film, Superboy (season one), Thunder in Paradise, Let’s Make a Deal (revival), and the interior airplane sequences for Passenger 57.

Select episodes of television shows; ER, Full House, Barbara Walters Special, Live! With Regis & Kathie Lee, Wheel of Fortune, and the ESPN College Football Awards, were also taped there.

Sadly, the park is no longer a working studio.

IMG_1663The park’s current icon is the 122 foot tall Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat. It was added during the 100 Years of Magic (100th anniversary of Walt’s Birthday) celebration in October 2001.The hat’s size is 342 3/8. Mickey would be 350 feet tall just to wear it!

Tributes are hidden everywhere. Outside The Great Movie Ride is a sign about the opening date of The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in California. It was the model for the exterior of the attraction, and the sign states it was in 1928. Now being a Grauman’s Chinese Theatre expert, you probably know that it actually opened on May 18th 1927. Did the Imagineers make a mistake? Nope. It’s actually an inside joke referring to the 1,928 foot long attraction track.

MGM declined to renew contracts, causing the Jan 7th 2008 name change from Disney-MGM Studios to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It’s always going to be Disney-MGM to many people (including myself)….

The Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant is a themed replica of the one from Hollywood, California. Inside, look for the pictures on the walls. The black frames are copies of pictures, and the gold frames are originals from the real Brown Derby (open from 1929-1987). Did you know that in the 1930s, the Hollywood Brown Derby was the birthplace of the Cobb salad?

Finally to cap off our journey, there are 1.9 million gallons of water surrounding the Fantasmic stage. That’s enough water to fill every bathtub in the over 24,000 Walt Disney World resort rooms – twice. Crazy enough though, the lagoon is only 1.5 feet deep!

Hope you enjoyed this assortment of facts to impress your family/friends with on your next trip to Walt Disney World.

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Want to read some more Hollywood Studios Trivia and History?

Question of the week… What do you want me to cover? Leave a comment below with an attraction, topic, area, Imagineer, etc.

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