The third theme park at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in 1989 as the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to many rides, shows, and exhibits that pay tribute to some of Hollywood’s greatest movies and television shows. It’s also home to some fascinating and interesting secrets.
The idea for the Disney-MGM Studios came out of a brainstorming session of Disney Imagineers in the 1980s. The then CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner, asked a team of Imagineers to come up with ideas for new pavilions for the Future World section of Epcot. The imagineers came up with two ideas: The Wonders of Life Pavilion and The Great Movie Ride. The Wonders of Life Pavilion was built and opened at Epcot in 1989. The Great Movie Ride, however, was a idea that Michael Eisner thought could be the centerpiece of its own theme park and asked the Imagineers to come up with a whole movie-themed theme park and the Disney-MGM Studios was born.
The Great Movie Ride opened with the rest of the Disney-MGM Studios on May 1, 1989. And this attraction holds some hidden secrets and amazing facts. Before you the ride this attraction housed in the replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, pause and look at the handprints in the forecourt. All of the celebrities with handprints here also have had handprints at the the original Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. All that is except for one; Audrey Hepburn. Her handprints only reside here.
Once inside the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, you’ll board The Great Movie Ride and pass recreations of scenes from famous movies. While careful attention was made to make the scenes are authentic as possible, there are a few hidden surprises. For example, in the Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene, look at the hieroglyphics on the wall. If you look closely enough, you’ll notice one of the scenes features R2-D2 and C-3PO. It was the Disney Imagineers way of paying tribute to George Lucas, the director of the Indiana Jones movies.
Over on Sunset Boulevard stands the Tower of Terror, one of the park’s most thrilling rides. The line for this attraction winds through the long-ago abandoned Hollywood Tower Hotel. In the hotel’s library look for the marquee. Like much of the hotel, it’s in disarray. In fact, many of the letters have fallen on the floor. And those letters have spelled out a warning to visitors; “Evil tower u r doomed.”
And on the New York backlot, there’s one of the park’s best family attractions, Muppet Vision 3D. While waiting in the pre-show area of this attraction, you’ll notice doors to several office in the “Muppet Labs.” One of the offices has a note on the door saying “Out – Key under mat.” If you lift up the doormat, guess what you’ll find? That’s right, a key!
Like all of Walt Disney World, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is full of magic and secrets… if you know where to look!