Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort, which opened as Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park on May 1, 1989.Happy birthday today to
Disney's third gate started as an entertainment industry pavilion at EPCOT, before Disney Imagineers and executives decided to upsize the attraction into a full theme park. Was that in response to rival Universal's announced plans to open a studio theme park in Orlando? Maybe... but Disney beat Universal to the finish line, opening its studio park more than a year before the official debut of Universal Studios Florida.
"Movie studio" wasn't just a theme for the park at its beginning. Disney built working sound stages and an east coast home for its animation studio in the new park. Granted, those soundstages weren't always filled with Hollywood productions [see Cast Member Stories: On stage the first summer at Disney's Hollywood Studios], but The All-New Mickey Mouse Club that Disney created to film at its new Orlando park changed the industry, launching the careers of Ryan Gosling, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Rhona Bennett, and others.
The park lost its MGM branding in 2008, after the expiration of that licensing deal. The last MGM properties left the park with the 2017 closing of The Great Movie Ride inside the park's Chinese Theater, which today houses Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway.
But the top-rated attraction at the park is Theme Park Insider readers' pick for the number-one theme park attraction in the world, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance in the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge land.
For more reader rankings as well as our advice for seeing the park, please visit our Visitors' Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
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