When the Disney-MGM Studios opened in 1989, there was a great deal of hoopla about how the city of Orlando was now “Hollywood East”. With Universal Studios Orlando opening soundstages a few miles up I-4 from Walt Disney World, there was suddenly an arms race for soundstage space in town, and with plenty of plans for future expansion it seemed certain that productions would be flocking to Florida to take advantage of its lower taxes and economic incentives.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Of the three Disney soundstages that were built, two have been converted to ride and show space. A third is earmarked for conversion into the Monsters, Inc. roller coaster. None of them have been used for actual filming purposes in years, and the Disney “backlot” has been slowly pared away as well. Looking back, the hype seems so silly now. But at the time, it was very, very exciting.