5th theme park in the world and the third park on WDW property. Although it rained throughout the day, the park was packed. It was the largest opening day press event in Disney World history. The park was so crowded that officials had to close its parking lot at only 9:15 a.m. - just about an hour after opening!
The park includes a replica of the entrance to Grauman's
Chinese Theater, with a courtyard for celebrity handprints
and signatures. A program called "Star Today" (which would
allow celebrities over the years to leave their mark) started
on this day. The very first "Star Today" was original
Mouseketeer Annette Funicello.
Among the Hollywood legends who visited the park were
George Burns and Bob Hope, who helped cut the filmstrip
ribbon dedicating the Studios.
Entrance to the park was $29 for adults and $23 for children
(between the ages of 3-9).
MAY 1, 1989
In 2008, the park hosted about 9.61 million guests, ranking it the fourth-most visited amusement park
in the United States, and seventh-most visited in the world. That was the same year
the park was re-named Disney's Hollywood Studios!
"The world you have entered was created by the Walt Disney Company & is
dedicated to Hollywood - not a place on a map, but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream & wonder & imagine, a place where illusion & reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was - and always will be."
-opening day dedication of Disney-MGM Studios
During that opening year, the park added two attractions based on popular George Lucas
The Walt Disney Company's original concept of the Disney-MGM Studios was to operate it as a full fledged television
and motion picture production facility, not just a theme park. (In 1988, among the first feature-length movies filmed at the facility, prior to its completion and opening as a theme park, were Ernest Saves
Christmas and Newsies. ) Despite the "MGM" in the park’s name, Metro-Goldwyn-
Mayer had no part in designing, owning, or operating Disney-MGM Studios -
although many of its famous films are featured in The Great Movie Ride.
Disney-MGM Studios draws inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930
and 1940s. The park consisted of 4 themed areas in 1989 - but unlike the other Walt
Disney World parks, it does not have a defined layout. The park features a mass of
streets and buildings that blend into each other, much like a real motion picture
studio would. In 1989, the areas consisted of Hollywood Boulevard, Echo Lake,
Streets of America, and Animation Courtyard. (Sunset Boulevard and Pixar Place
were later added - giving the park a total of 6 themed areas.)
The park's icon in 1989 was the Earful Tower (but as of 2001 the park was represented by The Sorcerer's Hat, a giant
stylized version of the magical lid from Fantasia.)