Walt Disney World
A History in Postcards
Chapter 9 Disney-MGM Studios Page 1 Lights, Camera, Action

I mentioned previously that the placing of Michael Eisner and Frank Wells at the head of Walt Disney Productions in the early eighties was in response to Wall Street pressures and to fight of hostile takeover bid that would have possibly resulted in of a breakup of the various parts of the company. By 1989 Eisner and Wells had changed a lot of things at the company, through the last half of the 1970's and into the early 1980s price increases at the parks had lagged behind inflation, also under the leadership of Card Walker expansion of the Hotels that had been planned for Walt Disney World proceeded more cautiously, several hotels that were included in the master plan for the resort originally ended up not being built. At the same time 40,000 hotel rooms were built by other companies in great part capitalizing on the tourists that Disney brought to town. Under it's new leadership Disney was once again building Hotels both on its own (the first two to open being the Grand Floridian and Caribbean Beach Resorts), and, as they had at the Disney Village Hotel plaza in the past, leasing property for others to build and run as well, Though these later hotels, The Swan and Dolphin hotels, were much closer to Disney's theme parks than the previous hotel leases properties. According to the book The Disney Touch by Ron Grover "Eisner and Wells wanted to expand the imagineers' idea for a Hollywood pavilion at EPCOT Center. True to his Hollywood background, Eisner envisioned a separate theme park dedicated to rides based on movies. The new park would have its own separate gate and entrance fee, thus generating new revenues for the company. It would also encourage many guests to spend an added night at one of the Disney hotels. "The idea was to encourage them to increase their length of stay" said Wells, It was two and a half days and we wanted to get it up to three or four days."

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0100-71101 The Earffel Tower
 The Earfful Tower
0100-71102 The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park
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0100-71103 The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park
 The Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park
Disney negotiated with Frank Rothman Chairman and CEO of MGM studios for the rights to use its name and its movies at the new studio theme park. Kirk Kerkorian owner of MGM reportedly was quite unhappy when he learned the eventual terms of the deal. (for a more detailed account of this check out The Disney Touch by Ron Grover page 169).
0100-71105 At Lakeside Circle
At Lakeside Circle


0100-71112 The Chinese Theater
 The Chinese Theatre
This is a nice dawn post card of the Chinese theater at Disney MGM studios, so I guess you could say it does such a good job of capturing the feel of the early studios that it hits the feel of the studios at that time right on the nose. Maybe you could, but that's not quite where I am going with this. What I am actually referring to is Walt Disney Worlds largest hidden Mickey. What is a hidden Mickey you say, well according to Steven Barret Author of Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide To Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets http://www.theotherorlando.com/hidden-mickeys.html Here’s the definition of an official Hidden Mickey: a partial or complete image of Mickey Mouse that has been hidden by Disney’s Imagineers and artists in the designs of Disney attractions, hotels, restaurants, and other areas. These images are designed to blend into their surroundings. Sharp-eyed visitors have the fun of finding them. The practice probably started as an inside joke among the Imagineers (the designers and builders of Disney attractions). Then guests and "cast members" (Disney employees) started spotting them and the concept took on a life of its own. Today, Hidden Mickeys are anticipated in any new construction at Walt Disney World, and Hidden Mickey fans can't wait to find them. So when the studios were being planned for Florida in the mid 1980's it was right in the middle of the Hidden Mickey building boom. In planning the studios the Imagineers worked in the biggest Hidden Mickey of all. Unfortunately the intervening years have not been kind to this Hidden Mickey. It covered the area from the Chinese theater back to the beginning of where Sunset Boulevard now stands, in fact the addition of Sunset Boulevard was the beginning of the end for this Hidden Mickey. In the first few years the park was open Sunset Boulevard did not exist The Theater of the Stars (where Beauty and the Beast now plays) was also the name of the theater that stood in the location where the corner of Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards now meet. In that area changes in the color of the concrete marked the edges of what would be seen as Mickeys' ear if viewed from the air, Mickeys Mouth and eyes were similarly created by the differing color of concrete in the plaza in front of the Chinese Theater. With the creation of Sunset Boulevard the brightly colored concrete would have broken the reality of the new "street", in front of the theater you could say it fits in better, since in the real Hollywood after all you have the Walk of Fame. The remaining ear is still there, Echo Lake, the location of both Min and Bills dockside diner and Dinosaur Gerties Ice Cream of Extinction is Mickey remaining ear, on older guide maps of the park (before the addition of the Sorcerer Mickey Hat) you could see the Mickey by turning your park map upside down, of course one ear was missing for most of those years, but to make a matching Mickey all you had to do was buy a Mickey shaped Ice Cream bar and bite off one ear.
Disneys largest Hidden Mickey
As far as my title for this piece "Right on the Nose" that refers to the flower planter at the center in the foreground of this post card, you see, that planter made up Mickey's nose (gee I hope he doesn't have allergies!)

0100-71106 A shimmering lagoon
 A shimmering lagoon
0100-71107 Stepping through the Chinese Theater entrance
Stepping through the Chinese Theater entrance

E-mail Me martsolf@mindspring.com

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Last modified by Brian K Martsolf at 8:28 AM on 9/25/2004