The agreement with MGM began back in 1986 as Michael Eisner’s new management sought after more “adult” properties for the park Disney hoped would beat Universal Studios’ Florida outpost.

On 1st May 1989, Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park opened its gates in Orlando, Florida, the third theme park at Walt Disney World Resort. Since then, fans have long used the ‘MGM’ tag to refer to the park, but not for much longer…

The troubles began way back in the 1990s, as MGM became unhappy with Disney’s use of the name and Disney became unhappy with MGM’s use of the name for casinos, hotels and a small theme park in Las Vegas. The news of a name change has been expected for years… but did fans expect this? Not a hint of ‘Pixar’ in sight, a possible sign that the park will return to its purely Hollywood roots…

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Disney-MGM Studios name to be put to rest January 2008

The press release from late yesterday:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Aug. 9, 2007) — In the Walt Disney World theme park famous for all things Hollywood, it’s curtain up on the launch of new attractions, new looks, new breakthrough experiences…

…and a brand-new name.

Disney-MGM Studios will be renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios, effective January 2008, announced Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney World Resort.

“The new name reflects how the park has grown from representing the golden age of movies to a celebration of the new entertainment that today’s Hollywood has to offer — in music, television, movies and theater,” she said.

Framed by the park’s supporting cast of classic Hollywood architecture are shows and attractions straight from contemporary Hollywood, such as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show” and many more. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also the place to meet favorite character stars of today including Lightning McQueen and Mater from Disney-Pixar’s “Cars,” Power Rangers and Little Einsteins.

With exciting coming attractions and experiences, the best and brightest of Hollywood is about to emerge for park guests, Crofton said.

“As Disney continues to grow and invest in our family entertainment business, we constantly explore new ways to deliver high-quality, immersive experiences for our guests,” she added. “As a park all about entertainment, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will deliver like never before. Now we can say that Hollywood is literally our middle name.”

Initial reaction from a Paris perspective: relief.

The ‘Disney-Pixar Studios’ name was always the favourite (or rather the “most likely”) amongst most followers, but there was always the off-chance that Disney-MGM could become something along the lines of ‘Walt Disney Studios Florida’, casting our much-loved little park in Paris into the shadows, in the eyes of the public nothing more than an offshoot from the older brother.

Luckily, that hasn’t happened. The park in Florida stays true to its “Hollywood that never was” roots and the fast-growing park in Paris can stand on its own two feet, still the only park with Walt Disney’s name on it… whether its critics like that or not.

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Still the one and only Walt Disney Studios Park

The release goes on to confirm several new attractions for the park — ‘Toy Story Mania!’, ‘Block Party Bash’, a new ‘Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage!’, ‘Disney’s High School Musical 2: School’s Out!’ show and ‘Handy Manny’ meet ‘n’ greets. Obviously having exclamation marks at the end of names will be a new criteria for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Ever confident and superlative of their offerings, Walt Disney World announce this line-up as “one of the most ambitious attractions rollouts in the 18-year history of the park.”

‘Toy Story Mania!’ has been anticipated for a long time to be the attraction to launch the new park name, but not confirmed until right now is the second new offering — Block Party Bash. The high-energy parade from Disney’s California Aventure park coming to Florida means that the old 2002 Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade finally jumps ship…

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Disney Stars and Motor Cars freed up for Paris?

…and if you remember the rumours on magicforum or our article from March, you’ll know where rumour says it will wash up. Yes, our very own Walt Disney Studios Park. The news today that its five-year run at Disney-MGM Studios will come to an end in Spring 2008 fits perfectly with the rumours that it could premiere in Paris ready for the first summer of Hollywood Boulevard and a slightly extended 15th Anniversary Celebration.

Is that really likely to happen? Visit Disneyland Resort Paris tomorrow and watch the current parade, Disney Cinema Parade. A little later, hop over to Disneyland Park and catch the new Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade — the difference is quite shocking, don’t you think? For all its charm and interesting avant-garde designs, Disney Cinema Parade is, after over five years of daily “lights, camera, action!”, tired and ready for replacement — especially next to the dazzling show on offer next door.

A brand new parade on the scale and budget of Disney’s Once Upon a Dream Parade is out of the question, so the park would be a fool not to pick up the Stars and Motor Cars to celebrate its very own new Hollywood, don’t you think?

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“Walt Disney Studios: More than just Hollywood”

So, as it works out, Disney’s Hollywood Studios could mean very good things for Paris’ Walt Disney Studios Park. A new parade, it’s own identity. Good things at least… so far.

Yes, the shadow being cast over this “good news” for Walt Disney Studios Park is that several online news sources continue to push Crush’s Coaster as a possible new attraction for the new ‘Pixar Place’ area of the park, next to ‘Toy Story Mania!’.

Kevin Yee mentions it as a rumour in every ‘Rumour Rundown’ article on MiceAge.com and today Jim Hill even spoke of Pixar Place as the area that will “play host to the studio theme park’s ‘Toy Story Mania’ attraction as well as the soon-to-be-announced stateside version of ‘Crush’s Coaster‘.”

Crush’s Coaster, “soon-to-be-announced” for Disney-MGM Studios? The bright blue showbuilding and its wacky blue rockwork don’t seem like an instant match for the more serious Florida studio, not to mention this would give Walt Disney World its third consecutive Nemo-based attraction at a third different park (after The Musical at Animal Kingdom and The Seas at Epcot).

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Haven’t folks in Orlando had enough ‘Nemo’ yet?

It’s no secret that Crush’s Coaster was built on a fairly tight budget for Paris, so a second version in Florida could end up teasing unlucky fans in Paris with enhanced effects. Even if the attraction arrived in Florida in identical form, it would mean Walt Disney Studios Park losing a unique attraction, one which has finally helped to edge it onto the Disney map in a very positive way.

Hopefully rumour of Crush’s Coaster in Florida will go the same way as the ‘Disney-Pixar Studios’ name… to a Hollywood that truly “never was”.

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