Disney’s Hollywood Studios Turns 35  

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Today, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is celebrating its 35th anniversary! And to mark the occasion, we’re digging into the archives to spotlight this third park built at Walt Disney World Resort with 14 of our rarest and most unique vintage images from years past. 

As many of you know, before being renamed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008, this popular park was called Disney-MGM Studios. And from the beginning, you’d enter on Hollywood Boulevard and find stylish shops inspired by the architecture of buildings in the Hollywood area of California.   

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Roger Rabbit leave their mark at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Over the years, celebrating Hollywood glitz and glamor smack dab in the middle of Florida has created some unforgettable images. Here, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and even Roger Rabbit leave their mark at the park.   

Prints in the concrete squares in the Great Movie Ride courtyard

In fact, between opening and 1995, some of the most iconic and legendary celebrities placed hand, foot (and even nose) prints into the concrete squares in the Great Movie Ride courtyard.  

Aerial view of Disney's Hollywood Studios

But before the park fun began, Disney’s Hollywood Studios started as a concept for an entertainment-themed EPCOT pavilion that expanded into its own 135-acre park – seen in the aerial photo above.  

From the beginning, the park was spectacular! In these breathtaking aerial views of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can see several familiar landmarks, including the Theater of Stars where guests would eventually see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage.   

Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios

In early 1994, things began to look a little more like we know them today. And when Sunset Boulevard officially opened, it completely changed the skyline and atmosphere of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   

Construction on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

The iconic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror would eventually make the “5th dimension” the norm for visiting guests. Imagineers watched more than 150 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” to get it right before the attraction opened in July 1994.  

The entrance to Disney-MGM Studios

And when it all came together, the park shined. We found a beautiful and unforgettable look at the park’s entrance years ago with its original moniker, Disney-MGM Studios, on the marquee.  

"The Mickey Mouse Club" shot on location at Disney's Hollywood Studios

You may also remember that back in 1989, the third edition of “The Mickey Mouse Club” made its debut on the Disney Channel and was shot on location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This mesmerizing image is from one of the show’s seven seasons.   

Hercules - Zero to Hero Victory Parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios

In another smile-inducing vintage image from the park, you can see the Hercules – Zero to Hero Victory Parade in 1997 as it rolled into Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   

The 14-minute cavalcade celebrated the Walt Disney Animation Studios animated movie by taking guests on an adventure where townsfolk rallied around Hercules after his triumph over Hydra.   

35-foot Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport Walker (AT-AT) at Star Tours

And for Star Wars fans – in 1990, before the popular Star Tours attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we captured a unique image of an impressive 35-foot Imperial All-Terrain Armored Transport Walker (AT-AT).  

Construction on Gertie at Disney's Hollywood Studios

We’ll wrap with Gertie. As we’ve shared, this giant dino is a tribute to Gertie the Trained Dinosaur – one of the first popular animated characters in film. The character was not developed by Walt Disney, but by newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay in 1913.  

In 1989, Walt Disney Imagineers honored Gertie by constructing an oversized tribute to her at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. 

Mickey Mouse at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Of course, there are many more amazing moments to share – from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to Toy Story Land and other favorite park locations – but we hope you enjoyed this quick nostalgic look back.   

Looking ahead, this summer (on June 10), Joy from Pixar Animation Studios’ “Inside Out” is headed to Pixar Plaza where she’ll join other Pixar stars. She’ll be in her new home just in time for “Inside Out 2,” which premieres only in theaters June 14. 

Also, “The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure,” a fully reimagined theatrical production inspired by the Disney Animation classic “The Little Mermaid,” will be debuting in the Animation Courtyard theater in fall 2024 along with other amazing experiences coming in the future.  

Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for the latest on those upcoming experiences and others at Disney’s Hollywood Studios throughout the year.