Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years...Part Three!

With Thanksgiving upon us tomorrow, and the rest of the holiday season rapidly approaching, the lament for the now defunct Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights is already in full swing. As a Backlot Merchandise cast member that worked on and around The Streets of America (also now defunct) in Fall of 2010, I saw it so many times that I lost count.   

With so much of Disney's Hollywood Studios now closed or walled off, I thought this would be a great opportunity to look back at what The Disney-MGM Studios looked like in the beginning, before Star Wars Land, before the Osbourne Lights, and even before Sunset Boulevard. So, why not take a break from your last minute Thanksgiving prep and take a journey with me back to Hollywood in its heydey:

Disney-MGM Studios well under construction. If you look closely, you can the faint outline of the upside down Mickey head that could later be seen in the aerial photos of the park. (Hint: Mickey's nose is the oval directly in front of The Great Movie Ride.)

Hello again, old friend.

In the early days of the park, New York Street was merely set dressing for the Backlot Tour. It was not meant for foot traffic, and when it was later opened to the public to walk through, many guests (right up until its demise) were confused as to why there were so many buildings with nothing in them.

This clock tower and church would later be replaced by the bathrooms next to Lights, Motors, Action.

As we make our way over to the Echo Lake area of the Disney MGM-Studios, we find Superstar Television, as well as the Monster Sound Show. This is one attraction that I truly miss and in my mind truly embodied the idea of Disney-MGM Studios. I would have loved to have been chosen for the "Job Switching" scene (aka the chocolate factory) in "I Love Lucy."

Also in the book, we find a publicity photo taken at the entrance of Hollywood Boulevard. Luckily, most of this remains intact, however the car is gone. I remember seeing it on my first trip in 1991.

Soundstage Restaurant used to be where Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage! is now, across from Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It featured movie memorabilia and the famous Catwalk bar, high in the rafters above the restaurant.

Since the pictures included in the Walt Disney World: 20 Magical Years book are pretty limited, I've decided to include the pictures I took of the Streets of America, which includes New York Street, San Francisco Street, and the area in front of the Backlot Tour. 

I took these in March of 2016 after it was announced that the entire area would be demolished to make room for Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. I honestly didn't even truly appreciate all the small and beautiful details until I started taking the pictures, even though I had worked right next to them every day for six months. 

Backlot Tour Entrance Area:

Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground:

Even if it wasn't being taken down for another attraction, it's probably for the best it was getting an overhaul since the wood was heavily rotted in some places.

                                                   New York Street:

I'm pretty sure this pink marble column is an homage to the original Penn Station.


Rat pizza, that is. No, wait...

I didn't intentionally get this bird in the shot mid-flight, but looking back, I am so glad that I did.

   San Francisco Street:

Looking back, I will probably have to make this a two-parter, just based on the sheer number of details there were to take pictures of. I included a great deal of them, obviously, but there are still many more I can post. 

I hope you enjoyed this trip down the Streets of America with me, and were able to discover little details you never noticed before. I know I did while I was taking them, and I still do every time I look through them again.

Until next time, to you and yours, a very safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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