On May 1, 2014 Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrated their 25th Anniversary. A rededication ceremony was held as well as a special parade, dance party and fireworks display. Cast Members distributed special 25th Anniversary buttons to guests as they entered the park and a special edition park map with the events for the day as well as a look-back through the years at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. During the rededication ceremony Dan Cockerell, Vice President, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, was joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and friends as well as cast members who have been with Disney’s Hollywood Studios for 25 years.
After the ceremony was complete I got to thinking about my memories of Disney’s Hollywood Studios over the years. I thought that there might not be many considering I never traveled to Disney’s Hollywood Studios when it was MGM Studios. I have really spent more time at the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. I was surprised to realize the onslaught of memories that came to me from my visits to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Some of my favorite memories at the Walt Disney World Resort have come from Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I would like to share a few with you.
When my oldest son was almost 3 years old we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the first time. During this trip he was excited to see JoJo (JoJo’s Circus) and Stanley(Stanley) from Playhouse Disney. I have fond memories of living through him as he met each of them and watched Playhouse Disney Live on Stage, which is now Disney Junior Live on Stage. Ten years later and we were again having those experiences with our youngest son. This time it was Handy Manny and Jake and the Neverland Pirates but the look of wonderment and excitement in his eyes brought back the memories of 10 years prior.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also home to the first “thrill” ride that I attempted. I am not a thrill ride person. I cannot ride rollercoasters and the thought of a simulator ride flying through space did not appeal to me. One day at the urging of my son I threw caution to the wind and tried Star Tours. I was extremely nervous but in the end it was a lot of fun. It is now one of my favorite Disney attractions and rarely do I travel to Disney’s Hollywood Studios without riding Star Tours. This opened the door for me to enjoy many other attractions that I formerly had been too afraid to give a chance. For that reason Star Tours will always hold a special place in my heart.
The single best example of Disney Cast Member customer service that I have witnessed occurred at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My wife had a very long day at work and all she wanted was a cupcake from Pizza Planet. Strange request I know but we all get those cravings. We headed to the park and by the time we had made it there, through the gate and past a few distractions along the way we were disappointed to find out that Pizza Planet had just closed. A cast member saw us looking through the door and came out to talk to us. We explained how disappointed we were that we did not make it in time to get the cupcake. She told us to wait there as she went back inside. She came back out with not one but two cupcakes for us to enjoy. She didn’t ask for payment and said that she hoped that this would help to make our day a little more magical. If she only knew how that experience would stick with us for years to come.
Another great memory from Disney’s Hollywood Studios occurred in 2013 when we attended the park to see an event with the American Idol contestants from that year. We watched the event and were able to see many of our favorite contestants as they were interviewed.
After the event ended we decided to go to the finale performance of The American Idol Experience. During the show the actual American Idol contestants we had just seen interviewed came out on stage and informed us that the entire audience in attendance for that show were getting tickets to their concert at The Amway Center in Orlando for the following night. Something completely unexpected and because of this my son, who was nine at the time, was able to go to his first ‘real’ concert.
Even as recent as this trip as we were there for the rededication ceremony we had an incredible memory that will stay with us. Before the ceremony the Streets of Hollywood performers were going through the crowd and asking some trivia questions and my son was picked to answer a question and become part of the show. This was a wonderful moment for him but also for his mother and me. We knew that this would be something that he could share with his children when he took them to see the 50 year rededication ceremony.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a way of bringing you to Hollywood and making you part of the action. For this reason it is beloved by guests. We have made many memories there and are sure that you have as well. Feel free to share your memories from Disney’s Hollywood Studios as we all take a minute to celebrate this great Disney Park.
Check out some more picture from the ceremony below.
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