February 20, 2023
Plan of the Disney MGM Studios Theme Park.
When the Disney MGM Studios opened to guests May 1, 1989, there was a clear distinction between the working production studio and the guest accessible theme park side of the park.
Aerial view of the Disney MGM Theme Park.
The three soundstages set on their own asphalt island and could be seen by guests from the public areas. But guests couldn’t go beyond clearly marked “Do Not Enter’ signs.
This was the park side guest view of the Disney MGM Studios soundstages.
After all, when a film or television production occupied one or more of the soundstages, the last thing they wanted was a flock of guests strolling along the services road. So, no guests were allowed on the soundstage service road.
What made control of the service road easy for the park operators was that only one of the several entry points was on the border of the theme park. And for the guests standing at that entry point, signage and cast members informed tourists that they could look but they could not touch.
Guest view from the Backlot Tram of the soundstages.
However, on the other side of the park next to the backlot residential street, there was a second entry point. Guests could only view the soundstage service road from the security of the Backlot Tram Tour vehicles.
This view shows soundstages on the left & Great Movie Ride on the right.
This view was a whole lot more ‘rough and ready’ than the park side. Chain link fence was the barrier instead of a polished swing gate. And noting in this view was guest view worthy, but that didn’t matter since was a working studio.
Guests on the former soundstage service road renamed Mickey Avenue.
This arrangement didn’t last long however, because due to the success of the Disney MGM Studios Theme Park, the backlot was soon opened to guests. The chain link was removed, landscaping was installed and then had been a true working production studio backlot with soundstages became home to thousands of strolling tourists.
When Disney MGM opened only trams allowed guests this view.
The soundstage service road didn’t last long, but while it did it made the Disney MGM Studios Theme Park a true working studio.