Hollywood Studios turns 30 this year!

Hollywood Studios 30th Anniversary

Have your party poppers at the ready; 2019 marks a special year for Disney World, as Hollywood Studios turns 30 on 1st May! Expect plenty of Disney magic with all of your favourite characters in a fun-filled celebration of this big birthday!

Hollywood Studios was the brainchild of Walt Disney Company CEO Michael Eisner, who was inspired by plans for a new pavilion at Epcot’s Future World, to instead create a new theme park around the concept of The Great Movie Ride; a soundstage backdrop with a cinema-style entrance. This ride was at the heart of the new Hollywood-themed park, styled around showbiz, movies and entertainment.

Park dedication plaque at the end of Hollywood Boulevard reads:

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.

Michael Eisner, May 1, 1989

With the help of a licensing agreement between MGM and Disney (leading to the park initially being branded Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park) The Great Movie Ride was able to feature a number of MGM films. In fact, this ride only shut in 2017; making way for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which is set to open later this year.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Florida

The park soon expanded, with Sunset Boulevard and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror attraction following in 1994, while the 1990s saw a number of Disney films worked on at the site’s studios! Over the years the film-studio aspect of the park has been gradually phased out, with a host of new attractions and areas added to the park, including the newly-opened Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which has recently been announced as opening on 29th August this year!

So what is laid on at Hollywood Studios for this big birthday? Celebrations around the park have already started; keep an eye out for all of your favourite characters adorning special 30th anniversary banners around the park, including The Incredibles! The superhero family and friends are also at the heart of the newly-refurbished Pixar Place. This is a time-limited experience, running through to 30th September, where the area has been themed to resemble a Municiberg city block from the films. Pick up some souvenirs from the shop, pose against the fun photo walls, dine in the eateries and have a meet-and-greet with Edna Mode in her Super-Suit Gallery. Afterwards, head to the fun party area – The Super Shindig – where kids will have a great time dancing and playing with all their favourite Incredibles stars!

The Incredibles and Cars characters at Hollywood Studios

In addition, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy opened on 31st March! Using a state-of-the art wraparound racing simulator, Lightning McQueen will demonstrate his speedy techniques and everything that he has learnt over the years! Once you have discovered how to be a champion, head outside for a photo with Cars 3 character Cruz Ramirez, and celebrate like a winner on the Sunset Showcase with DJ the party car, for DJ’s Ready! Set! Party Time! games and dance party!

If you are at Hollywood Studios on 1st May, the date of the 30th anniversary, you’ll be lucky enough to be among the first guests to experience the Wonderful World of Animation; a stunning new cinematic night-time show which makes use of high-tech projections that will take guests through a 90 year celebration of Disney’s animation history. Starting and ending with a Mickey Mouse animation, the façade of the iconic Chinese Theatre will be the backdrop to sequences that celebrate magical themes, as well as moments from classic Disney films, including Sleeping Beauty and The Incredibles.

Hollywoo Studios Wonderful World of Animation

The biggest new attraction to the park is going to be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! We’ll cover this land in more detail in a future blog, but for fans of the films this will be a must-see experience! Head to the smuggling haven of the Black Spire outpost on the planet of Batuu for shops, eateries and two brand new attractions – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run – where you are behind the controls of the iconic Millennium Falcon, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – where you are at the centre of a battle between the First Order and rebel fighters. Although the Millennium Falcon ride will be open on 29th August, the Rise of the Resistance is scheduled to open later in the year.

Holiday hint: If you can’t wait for the opening of Galaxy’s Edge, then head over to Walt Disney Presents on Mickey Avenue. This attraction provides a fascinating look at the history of Walt Disney, as well as interesting models of Galaxy’s Edge and concept art screens of the new land.

As we mentioned earlier, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is also planned to open later in the year, but there is still no official date announced. However, the park’s upcoming Mickey-themed dark ride will move into the Chinese Theatre, filling the space left by The Great Movie Ride. Have a wild time aboard a train driven by Goofy as you follow Mickey and Minnie who are off for a picnic that is set to feature plenty of crazy antics before you even get there!

Don’t forget though, that there are plenty of other popular attractions around the park if you can’t wait for all of these new areas and rides to open. More Star Wars entertainment awaits at the live action show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away where villains and heroes alike take to the stage, as well as the night-time fireworks and projection show Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Toy Story Land (which we covered in an earlier blog) only opened last year, and features all of your pint-sized pals along with some great new rides!

Rock n Roller Coaster Disney's Hollywood Studios

Other fan favourites include the all-seasons snow-filled For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, where you’ll need to be in fine voice as you belt out the lyrics from Let It Go, while thrill-seekers and lovers of music won’t want to miss a thing on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, where you will whizz past iconic Hollywood locations to the greatest hits of the band! For more terrifying fun, face your fears at long-standing ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as you enter the haunted hotel tower lift, ready to be hurtled up and down in the dark.

Whenever you plan to go to the park during 2019, there will be plenty to see and do; so why not begin your Disney adventure at Hollywood Studios? We’d love to hear about all of the new rides and attractions as well as any special merchandise you picked up, so get in touch using our social channels!

Main image credit: WDW News Today