Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, Experiences and Products division. Based on a concept by Marty Sklar, Randy Bright, and Michael Eisner, the park opened on May 1, 1989, as the Disney-MGM Studios (Theme) Park, and was the third of four theme parks built at Walt Disney World. Spanning 135 acres (55 ha), the park is dedicated to the imagined worlds from film, television, music, and theatre, drawing inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios was initially developed as both a theme park inspired by show business and an operating production studio, with active film and television production services, an animation facility branch, and a functioning backlot. Construction on the combined park and studio began in 1987, but was accelerated when the construction of the similarly-themed Universal Studios Florida began a few miles away. To increase public interest and the variety of film representation within the park, Disney entered into a licensing agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, from which the park’s original name was derived. The park’s production facilities were removed throughout the 2000s, and many of the park’s soundstages were retrofitted for newer attractions and guest use. The park’s current name took effect in 2008, with the removal of the MGM-branding throughout the park. In the 2010s, the park began to distance itself from the original studio backlot intention and entered a new direction of immersive theming and attraction development inspired by Hollywood stories.
The park’s icon was originally the Earffel Tower from the park’s opening until 2001 when the Sorcerer’s Hat—a stylized version of the magical hat from Fantasia—was erected in the park’s central hub. It then served as the park’s icon until its removal in January 2015. In 2018, the park hosted 11.258 million guests, ranking it the fifth most-visited theme park in North America and the ninth most-visited theme park in the world.