This time around, we are visiting Disney-MGM Studios in June 1996. Of course, many years later, this park became known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is its current name. But back in 1996, the MGM portion of the name was still going strong. And in that year, Disney-MGM Studios had some new additions. Check out the photos below!
One of the recent additions at Disney-MGM Studios was the Hollywood Tower Hotel, home of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The attraction actually opened in 1994, but it still felt new at the time. The long lines and crowds waiting to ride it contributed to that new-attraction feel, too. And this time, it had a new double-drop sequence - instead of one drop, the elevator went back up and dropped again. The Tower of Terror has always been a favorite of mine, although others in my family do not agree. This attraction has been replicated in different forms in other Disney parks, but this one right here in Florida was the original.
Something not new was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, because it opened in 1989. We did not see the show on every visit, but I probably took a photo very similar to this on every visit, since Indiana Jones has always been a favorite. And back then, who would have guessed that there would be a new Indiana Jones movie way out in the future in 2023?
Laura pauses with some cotton candy in front of Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction, with the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the background. I liked how you could see the Tower of Terror from so many areas in the park. And who doesn’t love having a giant dinosaur in the background of a photo, too?
Out in the Animation Courtyard, back when they still created hand-drawn animated movies in the animation building, there was some sort of character thing going on. At this time, I have no idea what that was all about. But here on one stage you could see Mary Poppins and penguins, Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother, Pocahontas and John Smith, Dopey and Snow White, Alice and the White Rabbit, Aladdin and Jasmime, Belle and the Beast, and Timon and Rafiki. Some newer characters and some older characters. And Mary Poppins, too, even though she was not an animated character. I am guessing that they were all available for photos afterward. Also, the sign behind them promoted the newest release, but that was not the only thing in Disney-MGM Studios having to do with the new movie that year…
The Disney animated version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was released to theaters in June 1996, the same month as our visit here. And thanks to that Disney Synergy (which meant having everything everywhere so that you could not avoid it), there was a new stage show to go along with the movie. Here, we see Clopin introducing the story.
Next, we see Judge Claude Frollo arriving on his horse at the Notre Dame Cathedral. Yes, it was just a sheet backdrop. But then the setting of the show was that a troupe of gypsies was retelling the story of Quasimodo. So that explains the lack of more detailed sets, although the set of the gypsies’ theater was pretty detailed, as you can see here.
And here is the star of the show, the Hunchback himself, Quasimodo, along with the comic-relief gargoyles Victor, Hugo, and Laverne, named for the author of the original story and the third of the Andrews Sisters. And Clopin, the show’s narrator as in the movie, is lurking overhead. As with most of the Disney theme park movie-related shows, this one was mostly a greatest-hits version of the movie, presenting most of the songs and a bare version of the story. All of the actors actually sang their parts, which I thought was a nice touch.
Here comes Minnie Mouse and a guest grand marshal to start the parade! Or maybe they were just cruising the park. I am not quite sure, since the people in the background do not look to be a typical parade crowd. But I took a photo of them for whatever reason. And yes, there was a parade…
In November of 1995, Disney had released the Pixar animated film Toy Story. By now, you know how big of a hit that was, and we knew it by June 1996 as well. Disney had the foresight to have a parade ready in time for the movie’s opening (again, Disney Synergy, that word that they loved to throw around). This trip was our first time to see the parade, and so I have lots of photos of it. Here, we see those famous green army men out on patrol.
Next up, Slinky Dog comes strolling by, checking out the SuperStar Television theater as he walks by.
We then have a float featuring Hamm and Mr. Potato Head, along with several familiar board games.
What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? I am not sure, but the monkeys were out of the barrel along the parade route.
Next up, we have some of those green three-eyed aliens wandering down the way. Oooooooh!
And here we have one of the stars of Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear, standing atop his box and surrounded by more of the aliens. Here’s a fun fact: several years later, those aliens were used as props in the Toy Story Pizza Planet restaurant, also in Disney-MGM Studios.
Here comes Bo Peep and her sheep. We got a good laugh out of the sheep trying to get a drink out of the water fountain. It was hot that day, and sheep need water!
And at the end of the parade are Woody and Rex. If you look closely, you can see cast members carrying the giant jump rope marking the end of the parade behind them. I felt that the character heads were not quite right here, and fortunately they have come out with some newer, more accurate character heads for Buzz and Woody in the last few years.