Is it time for Disney Hollywood Studios to change the name?

With one Disney park changing its name, is it time for DIsney Hollywood Studios to finally let go of the Studios name?
Disney 100 sign Hollywood Studios. Photo credit: Brian Miller
Disney 100 sign Hollywood Studios. Photo credit: Brian Miller /
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As Disney's Hollywood Studios prepares to hit 35 years, a new move brings up the question that's been bouncing around Disney fan sites for years: Is it time to finally drop the Studio's name from this park?

Recently, Disney made news by how the much-maligned Disney Studios Park in Paris is going to be changed to Disney Adventure World. The park has long been slammed for its weak design and the idea of a "backlot" setting not appealing to guests. That's a good move by them and sparked the idea if the Florida Studios might follow suit. 

That may seem strange but it has to be remembered that the original concept of this park has changed so much from what was going to be a legit working studio into more a "celebration" of the movies with some exciting rides. With Disney having distanced itself from what the Studios started out as, can it be time for a change? 

The Universal reason for the Studios creation

Let's be utterly blunt: The only reason the Disney-MGM Studios existed in the first place was because Michael Eisner wanted to one-up Universal. 

When Eisner took over Disney in 1984, one of the first projects he saw in Imagineering was a proposal for an Epcot pavilion focusing on movies. Eisner thought it was too limited and a full park was better to give WDW a third gate. 

Of course, this was right around the time Universal was planning to put their own theme park in Orlando in the first major competition for Disney. So this was Eisner pushing through a park idea to get a jump on their rivals. 

Disney did try to mix it up with the Disney touches, the tram tour with Catosophre Canyon and the walking tour interspaced with major stars taking part. It's interesting how the Animation Building debuted months before The Little Mermaid kick-started a new golden era for animation, and Disney had a fun time focusing on how movie-making was done. 

Keep in mind, in 1989, long before the Internet existed, such "behind the scenes" stuff was rare so guests were interested. It was a time when slow-moving rides like The Great Movie Ride were commonplace and the tram a nice way to kill time. It really felt like a fun way to learn about movie-making and the real productions going around added to it.

Disney made this the big selling point of the park with lines of "meet a star and be a star" and hoping this would spark Orlando as a filmmaking center. For that time, seeing some Hollywood glitz in Orlando made for a fun visit.

There was the drawback in that the Studios weren't quite the all-day park guests may have wanted. They did make a big addition with Star Tours in early 1990 which brought in more attention. There were plans for a lot of the Muppets but the unexpected death of Jim Henson meant Muppet Vision was the only big one. 

Still, the Studios went on for a few years as a spot for actual productions from TV shows to even pro wrestling. It was also a savvy way for Disney to promote their latest movies with special showcases for current blockbusters about. Yet, change was coming.