MGM Hollywood Studios did not fail. It was popular when it was a working studio. It filmed lots of movies, straight to DVD, and TV shows. The huge problem with MGM, MGM Studios pulled rights from Disney due to new ownership which killed Great Movie Ride. Disney stopped doing animation and movies due to cost of bringing everyone needed and fly them to Florida. It was cheaper to film in California. Now currently it is cheaper to film in Georgia.

We lost a True Disney Legend and was forced to resign Eisner. And family company had a Corporate Whore Ogre Called Iger who refused to listen to Disney Family Members. And we have a new Jackass Clown Chrome Dome who only cares about profits and hates Walt Vision. Walt would never charge for lightning. Walt would NEVER force vaccinations on HIS Cast Members and would call Chrome Dome Baldilock the Nazi and Fire him with a Mickey Mouse voice “haha haha”. Walt and Roy O Disney would have voted for Trump and never have Liberal/Socialists as Executives WALT would FIRE the WHOLE Executive Board for not being the Disney Image. Knowing and learning the Disney Image from my Cousin Diane Miller, current executives are the Disney Abomination!

I was a Guide on the Shuttle part of the Backstage Studio Tour in that first year.

I kept waiting to read why it was all such a failure. I know that Production at the studio never really took off, but I don't think anyone then, or now saw those early years as such a huge mis-step. The park has certainly grown and evolved over the years, but that was always part of the plan.

While 'ride' attractions certainly were limited, I recall people spending the day at shows like The Indiana Stunt Spectacular, Superstar Television (where guests were chosen to be in various shows) and Monster Sound Show. (Guests chosen to provide sound affects to old scary movies). Oh...and don't forget Muppetvision 3-D. You can't really say the park only had a couple of attractions.

What a fun time of my life. We never got the feeling back in those days that the park was anything but a hit. Just because it grew and changed doesn't mean it wasn't well received in its day.

Plus, seeing real props from films was genuinely cool.

I have to disagree with your whole thesis that a 'behind the scenes' film experience was a fad that went out of fashion. You've said this in a few articles.

A huge amount of people still yearns for the real-life effects displayed by rides like Jaws, Kongfrontation, Earthquake/disaster - and the Studio Backlot Tour. And quite a few absolutely despise the over-reliance on screens and simulators in the same way they despise the overuse of CGI in modern films.

You talk about immersion - well, immersion comes in many forms. The layout of Hollywood Studios is as beautiful as Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom - just in a different way. The road the Tower of Terror is on is spectacular. I love the 'behind the scenes' theme and I love rides that have real animatronics, real fire, real water flooding in, live actors, etc.

Besides, I always thought MGM/Hollywood Studios was a celebration of films, not necessarily just the making of them. That was just one element.

There's not a lot between Hollywood Studios and Universal even now. Some of Hollywood Studios' attractions have been some of Disney's best - The Tower of Terror, the Indiana Jones show, Rock 'n' Rollercoaster, Star Tours, (the original more so, and the irony that this is a simulator isn't lost on me either!), The Great Movie Ride (a huge mistake letting that close) and I loved the Backlot Tour as well. That's like 6 rides that would all get in the top 20, if not the top 15 Orlando rides.

I don't know what everyone's problem with the park is, or this ride, which was always very enjoyable.

When I was younger I attended a few tapings of the Mickey Mouse Club. I loved it. Yeah, most 10 year olds may not like sitting in a studio for 6-8 hours watching the cast perform the same jokes over and over but to me it was the closest I would get to Hollywood/television. So for me it truly was a shame that the production portion of MGM Studios eventually dried up. The saddest part is given Disney's constant creation of new shows and movies they could have kept things going. Split sitcom production between Hollywood and Orlando or even just the television animation and keep the motion picture animation in Hollywood. No doubt part of the decision in this regard was Disney likely received no tax breaks for filming since it was a theme park first and studio second. Obviously this is simply IMO but it certainly wouldn't surprise me. Disney would have had everything to gain by keeping productions going. You keep the theme park size/number of attractions small, more competition with Universal, and you have many of these Disney stars coming out to WDW anyway for various specials/filming. But that's just me. Also, fun aside regarding filming at MGM. When they used to film WCW at the studios police were called during one episode because people thought the now faction beating people with tire irons and bats was an actual gang. :)

Wonderfully written article detailing an attraction that never really rose to the level it wanted to. I remember being a teenager in the 90's and enjoying the tour, and feeling suitably impressed. I remember the Bette Middler movie (pigeon steals lotto ticket), and the giant ant that they let kids "act" on to make a movie scene. The "fun fact" about being able to blast a basketball from Disney MGM to New York was so impressive, but I always felt a little disappointed that they never proved it. I remember watching animators working in the Art of Animation building. But like you said, as the years went by, it was more and more clear that nothing much was happening in the "studios," and that movie-watchers already had abundant chances to learn about how movies were made from other sources. With The Great Movie Ride gone, the park can choose to go in any direction it wants, and it's looking like Magic Kingdom II. Thank you for this comprehensive history of the tram/walking tour, it feels like Disney deserved it for trying to shut out Universal.

Growing up, Backlot Tours was one of my favorites rides and mGM was my favorite park.

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