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.
May 1, 1989 Michael D. Eisner
On May 1, 1989 a theme park like none seen out of Hollywood opened in the form of Disney-MGM Studios, becoming the third Disney Park in Central Florida. This park would celebrate and recreate the true studio experience for guests with The Great Movie Ride, a Backstage Studios Tour, and a chance to see how real Animated Features were made, this was something very different than the Magic Kingdom and E.P.C.O.T. Over the past 30 years, the park has evolved from seeing how movies are made to giving guests the ability to step into the movies with bringing Toy Story Land and the upcoming Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge to life.
To start the celebration of the 30th Anniversary we, the invited media, were given a special presentation by Walt Disney Imagineers Charita Carter and Kevin Rafferty detailing the upcoming Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction along with a special announcement about the expansion of Toy Story Land to include a full table service restaurant.
The celebration was full of special food items, available throughout the summer, that will give everyone with even the smallest of sweet tooths many reasons to return to the park.
Another new addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios just in time for the 30th celebration is Disney Junior’s Fancy Nancy.
Fancy Nancy is a hit show on Disney Junior that debuted last summer and centers around Nancy a French loving six-year-old. Nancy is out meeting guests daily in the Animation Courtyard and also makes time in the morning to join in the breakfast fun at Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood and Vine Restaurant.
By far the highlight of the celebration for me was the ability to step behind the wall and get a sneak peek at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
Some of you may have seen my loss for words on Facebook after I spent five minutes behind the wall. Still, three days later, it is hard for me to describe what I saw other than “amazing.” In my years working for this site, I have had some amazing experiences from traveling the world to meeting many Disney stars I never thought I would, but for me, the experience that has topped it all was in my own backyard. For all my life Disney and Star Wars have been the two constants, but since the announcement of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, it has been a countdown to the cumulation of those two things and what I saw for those few minutes it has been worth it. The detail and richness of this new land tops anything seen to date. We entered through a door and stepped into a “galaxy far, far away,” it is hard not to compare the area to a planet of eight-foot-tall blue beings or one of the two worlds a wizard may visit but it is so much more than that! We entered closest to the queue for “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” and just the wide open space for the queue was astounding. Since this area doesn’t open here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a few more months the trees and plants are just getting put into place, but that worked to our benefit because we could see to the walls and toward the Black Spier Outpost and take in all the hard work that has gone into the creation of this stunning land.
The above picture (minus the Resistance ships) is as close to the view I had when I entered through the cave. As we found out, the two major differences between Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be the lay of the land. For Disneyland, the area is turned 180° and there will be only two paths in (i.e. Critter Country and Frontierland). The hanger in the background of the above picture was so huge in person I had to pull my safety goggles up to actually confirm it was not just some Disney trick. While I couldn’t see the Falcon from where we stood we could see the walls of the outpost and they looked like they have been there for centuries with markings and damage that give it the feel of someplace you wouldn’t want to approach if you saw it in the real world. After what felt like 2 seconds, it was time to exit the land. Of course, I walked backward to keep taking in everything. As I did, I noticed the small details of plants along the cave entrance that look so perfect most guests won’t even notice them or think of how much work had to go into finding a space for a little plant that will need water and drainage to live that was added just for that extra touch of realism. Below you will find my interview with Jon Georges, Executive Producer, Walt Disney Imagineering about his part in bringing Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge to life. Please note the footage shown is from the nearly complete Disneyland version of SWGE but will be very much what guests will see when the new land opens here on August 29th, 2019.
May 1st was topped off with a special celebration cavalcade really embracing everything past, present, and future of the park (including an announcement of a new logo) that reminded me of the Hollywood Christmas Parade which was perfect for the park that still captures the true fun of the “Hollywood that never was”
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.