Walt Disney World renaming Disney-MGM Studios

So long, Disney-MGM Studios. In a widely anticipated move, Walt Disney World is renaming its movies-oriented theme park, dropping the "MGM" name from the brand. But unlike much of what has been anticipated in Disney-gossip circles, the new name will contain neither Pixar nor ABC.

Disney's Hollywood Studios will debut in January, Disney World officials announced today.

"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," Disney World President Meg Crofton stated in a news release.

Disney-MGM studios opened on May 1, 1989, and the original lineup of attractions was weighed heavily toward images and themes drawn from Hollywood's "golden age" of the 1920s-'40s. Since then, however, shows, rides and other attractions have drawn much from Disney's television shows and more modern movies.

In fact, in announcing the name change, Disney also announced several entertainment changes keyed to contemporary shows, to be rolled out at about the same time.

The current "Disney Stars and Motor Cars" parade will be replaced with "Block Party Bash," a higher-energy play, party and dance, featuring the "Disney Pixar Films Pals," which has been a hit at the Disney's California Adventure theme park in California. In addition, a new cast of characters from Playhouse Disney, notably those from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny, will take over the Playhouse Disney-Live On Stage! show. And this fall's release of the new Disney Channel movie Disney High School Musical 2: School's Out will coincide with a new show to replace the High School Musical Pep Rally street show in the theme park's plaza.

The name MGM was originally adopted for the park through a 1985 licensing agreement with MGM movies company that had its origins as Metro Goldwyn Mayer. However, in the 1990s the two corporations sparred in court several times over Disney's use of the name. In 1992 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe ruled that Disney retained rights to the name for Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World, but that MGM had rights to the name in most other uses, including a theme park MGM wanted to build in Las Vegas.

Almost ever since, speculation has centered on whether Disney would drop MGM from its name. Officials had long denied that the theme park would be renamed either as Disney-ABC Studios, in honor of the broadcast network owned by the Walt Disney Co., or as Disney-Pixar Studios, in honor of the computer animation movie company that Disney bought last year.

Crofton said the new name, "Disney's Hollywood Studios," reflects the park's present and future.

"As a park all about entertainment, Disney's Hollywood Studios will deliver like never before," she stated in the release. "Now we can say that Hollywood is literally our middle name."

Leave a Reply