Disney’s Hollywood Studios Turns 35: A Nostalgic Journey Through the Park’s Storied Past

Happy birthday, Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Today, we celebrate the 35th anniversary of this beloved park at Walt Disney World Resort. Originally opened as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989, this gem has captivated millions with its homage to Tinseltown’s golden age. Let’s take a magical trip down memory lane through some of its most iconic moments and pictures from the archives.

From the outset, visitors entered through Hollywood Boulevard, welcomed by shops inspired by classic Hollywood architecture. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and even Roger Rabbit made their indelible marks, leaving imprints that still evoke nostalgia today. For nearly a decade, The Great Movie Ride courtyard was a hub where legendary celebrities etched their hand, foot, and even nose prints into the concrete, creating a “Hollywood Yard of Fame” right in Florida.

The park’s origins are fascinating – what started as a concept for an EPCOT entertainment-themed pavilion eventually blossomed into its own 135-acre wonderland. Breathtaking aerial views from the early days show familiar landmarks like the Theater of the Stars, where “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage” delighted audiences. The addition of Sunset Boulevard in 1994 transformed the skyline, paving the way for the thrill-inducing Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, whose Imagineers diligently watched over 150 episodes to perfect the experience.

In the 90s, “The Mickey Mouse Club” was filmed on location here, captivating a new generation of Mouseketeers. Who could forget the 1997 Hercules – Zero to Hero Victory Parade, which paraded guests into a world of adventure celebrating Hercules’ victory over Hydra? Star Wars fans also witnessed the awe-inspiring 35-foot Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport Walker (AT-AT) at the entrance of Star Tours, long before the attraction’s grand opening in 1990.

Looking forward, the park continues to enchant visitors with new experiences. Joy from Pixar’s “Inside Out” is set to join Pixar Plaza this June, just in time for “Inside Out 2.” And come fall, “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure” will debut in the Animation Courtyard Theater, promising to immerse guests in Ariel’s undersea world.

We’d love to hear your cherished memories of Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Share your thoughts and favorite moments in the comments below and don’t forget to share this story with fellow Disney enthusiasts. Here’s to 35 years of Hollywood magic and many more to come!

For more updates and to dig even deeper into Disney history, check out the Walt Disney World Resort blog [here].