I've recently shared some fun movie lists for you and your family to enjoy from the comfort of your home inspired by Walt Disney World. But I've created this special extended edition of my most recent marathon list for the ultimate movie buff binge celebrating Disney's Hollywood Studios; 60 movies to celebrate the park inspired by tinsel town. It's a unique way to experience the stories from the parks by bingeing some classic titles on your favorite streaming platform and in some cases, relieve the glory days of this park.
Now if for some reasons you're not ready to commit to hundreds of hours of binging movies and tv shows, I've highlighted my TOP TEN movies in red. But feel free to branch out and explore a few extra titles you haven't enjoyed in a while or curious about seeing for the first time.
The Great Movie Ride - BONUS!
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
An extended version of this ultimate movie marathon allows us to relive the glory of The Great Movie Ride. When the Disney MGM Studios opened in 1989, it only featured two attractions; a two-hour backlot tour of the studio portion of the park and this epic dark ride inside The Chinese Theatre. It was the Spaceship Earth for movie lovers and took guests on a journey through Hollywood history, exploring all the key genres from musicals to gangster films, westerns and even a sprinkle of some sci-fi.
In this section of the marathon list, I've included ten film titles that will take you through the various scenes on the ride and in order. However, I've made three adjustments. First, I've included Steamboat Willie because let's face it, it was the film that started it all. It's the birth of Mickey and Minnie and I can't think of a better way to salute Disney's movie history. But you'll also notice two omissions here, Mary Poppins and Raiders the Lost Ark. Don't panic, they haven't been omitted from the list, they are simply placed in other sections to do them more justice.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Mickey might be the star of Hollywood Studios' new headliner attraction that replaced The Great Movie Ride, but this park will forever be Roger Rabbit's park in my heart. Who Framed Roger Rabbit premiered just eleven months before Disney MGM Studios opened its gates. It was an ambitious film that showcased then-CEO Michael Eisner's ability to negotiate with a multitude of Hollywood executives; somehow convincing them to combine the likes of Bugs Bunny with Mickey on the big screen together for the first time. The film was also somewhat more adult than most Disney films. A sexy femme fatale cartoon character turned some heads and the film involved a good amount of violence. Still, Roger Rabbit was a huge success and in many ways paved the way for the Disney renaissance that followed it. But MGM Studios was the park to showcase Roger front and center. He was meant to have is own attraction where guests would ride a bus into Toontown, just like Eddie Valiant did, and similar to what guests can experience now on Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. Therefore, the golden age of Hollywood setting of this film, the timing of it's release and story blending the real and cartoon world together is the perfect introduction to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The next best thing to watch after Roger Rabbit would be a collection of Mickey shorts that inspired the new attraction inside the Chinese Theatre. These animated shorts can all be found on Disney+, however I've highlighted just a sample that have similar settings and storylines to what you would experience on the attraction. Watch these eight titles and you can live out your own Mickey and Minnie adventure at home.
But the vision of the beautiful Chinese Theatre at Hollywood Studios also serves as a reminder of Walt's huge success in tinsel. It served as the setting for many Disney premieres such as Star Wars and of course, arguably the best live-action Disney film ever made, Mary Poppins. This legendary musical about a magical nanny who saves the Banks family hit the big screen in 1964 and held one of the biggest movie premieres ever. It would go on to be the first Disney film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and to this day, holds the record for receiving the most Academy Awards by any Disney movie. If you are a true Poppins fans, an additional screening of Saving Mr. Banks is a must in honor of this park. The film explores the complicated history between Walt and Poppins' original creator, P. L. Travers. You'll even see the premiere of Mary Poppins at the Chinese Theatre in this touching and beautiful film.
- S4 E19: "Roll ‘Em"
- S2 E18: "Bronco Busted"
- S1 E2: "No Service"
- S3 E14: "Ku’u Lei Melody"
- S3 E7: "Wonders of the Deep"
- S4 E18: "Flushed"
- S2 E8: "The Boiler Room"
- S1 E18: "The Adorable Couple"
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Echo Lake is home to one of the only offerings inside Hollywood Studios that opened in it's initial year of operation; the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Back then, Spielberg's adventure film following a handsome and heroic archeologist on his quest to capture the Ark of the Covenant away from the Nazis, was officially outside the Disney library. But George Lucas, who served as a producer for Indy, had already established a good relationship with Disney with the development of Star Tours at Disneyland just a few years earlier. This relationship would eventually lead to Disney scooping up LucasFilm an officially owning the rights to franchises such as Indiana Jones. The iconic opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is of course the opening to the stunt show at Hollywood Studios, but watching the original three films in this epic binge session is a must for Indy fans.
But then we arrive to the biggie....Star Wars. I've placed this classic film right here after a viewing of Indy, mainly because of the geographical location of Star Tours right next to the stunt show at Hollywood Studios. Star Tours is after all, the ride that started it all for those wishing to travel to a galaxy far, far away. But Jedi fans, may be surprised to see that I only included one Star Wars film in this marathon list. It is mainly an effort to keep things concise and believe it or not, there are some Disney fans who are not up for the nine-film saga. If you're like me and a hardcore Star Wars fan, then you might enjoy my EXTENDED EDITION of this Movie Marathon List that explores 60 titles celebrating Disney's Hollywood Studios. It includes all the films that were once seen on The Great Movie Ride and even a list of films and tv shows that are screened at 50s Prime Time Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine-In! It is the Hollywood Studios marathon for the ultimate movie buff. But for the rest of you, one film in the Star Wars universe is sufficient. I struggled to pick the best one, which could be argued as Empire Strikes Back, but I decided to stick to the original 1977 classic.
50s Prime Time Cafe - BONUS!
The Mickey Mouse Club (1955)
Disney's Hollywood Studios may not be revered for it's dining options like Epcot, but the park does offer two very unique dining experiences that have become Disney World staples. The first is 50s Prime Time Cafe, which is tucked away in a small corner of Echo Lake. This fabulous flashback to the 1950s puts diners inside ma's kitchen for a hearty, good ol' fashioned American meal. I love dining here for all the kitschy midcentury knick knacks but many come to feel no guilt watching tv while enjoying a slice of meatloaf.
50s Prime Time screens several classic television programs that take you back to simpler times. Think Leave It to Beaver or the Dick Van Dyke Show. They all play table side while you enjoy your meal. Some heavy research has led to me discover that the tv shows listed below are just some of the programs you can watch at the restaurant. But in an effort to avoid you having to find the best episodes to watch of each series, I've included the top rated episodes of the shows I could find on various streaming platforms. If all else fails, I recommend watching the highlighted episodes of the Dick Van Dyke Show. Not only does it perfectly sum up the ambiance of this food spot, but also features an American icon often associated with Disney history.
- S1 E2: "Guest Star Day"
- S1 E3: "Anything Can Happen Day"
-S1 E4: "Circus Day"
- S2 E20: "It May Look Look Like a Walnut"
- S3 E1: "That's My Boy?"
- S4 E2: "The Ghost of A. Chantz"
- S5 E1: "Coast to Coast Big Mouth"
- S1 E3: "Hiring the Maid"
- S1 E8: "The Kid"
- S1 E13: "Masquerade"
- S1 E4: "Margie's Sister Sally"
- S3 E17: "Margie's Millionth Member"
- S4 E24: "Too Many Ghosts"
- S3 E21: "Short Wave"
- S4 E11: "Mr. Beal Meets His Match"
- S6 E28: "Blind Date:
- S1 E14: "Grandpa and the Driver's License"
- S1 E30: "It Pays to be Poor"
- S1 E32: "Three is a Crowd:
- S2 E9: "Toddy Undercover"
- S2 E22: "The Biggest Day of the Year"
- S2 E25: "I've Been Here Before"
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Grand Avenue will always be referred to as Streets of America for me and the unofficial land of The Muppets. This land is home to Muppet Vision 3D, another one of the very few attractions that opened in the early years of Hollywood Studios. The 3D film is not based on any of the films produced by Jim Henson and his cast of characters, but rather draws inspiration from the original television series with its grand, vaudeville-esque setting. However, this is a movie list paying homage to tinsel town, therefore a viewing of the 1979 hit, The Muppet Movie is a must. If you're a big fan of Kermit and the gang, then a viewing of the first three films will also pay tribute to the Easter eggs I mentioned in my 17 Hidden Details at Hollywood Studios videos on YouTube. Inside the Stage 1 Company Store, you'll see props and set pieces not only from The Muppet Movie but also from The Great Muppet Caper and The Muppets Take Manhattan.
This is also the appropriate place to enjoy long-forgotten Disney films from the 90s, 80s and even 60s. The Backlot area of MGM Studios once featured some fun shows and attractions that have now been replaced by Galaxy's Edge. My older millennials may recall the fantastic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Adventure Set in Streets of America. I could get lost in there for hours if you let me when I was a young boy; climbing the giant grass slide or riding an oversized ant. A revisit to the original film is a great nostalgic look back in time for the more committed marathoner. As wells as films such as The Love Bug. For those who remember the original Backlot Tour, Herbie made could be seen on the tram tour for a period of time and made a brief appearance during the Lights, Motors, Action! Stunt Show Stunt Show Spectacular; more great examples of the gone but not forgotten history of the MGM Studios Backlot.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant - BONUS!
Mars and Beyond (1957)
When choosing a restaurant to enjoy a meal at Hollywood Studios, I am often torn between 50s Prime Time Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre. I've come to the conclusion that you go to Prime Time for the food, but Sci-Fi for the scenery. Where else can you enjoy the glory days of the drive-in movie theatre than at this Disney restaurant?! Now I will warn you that the films listed below in honor of this restaurant, are some pretty terrible B-Horror movies. But this is the extended edition for the hardcore fans. I have admittedly watched an entire video clip of all the trailers screened inside the restaurant and my research has led to the discovery that these are all the titles that are currently available on streaming platforms. If I was to choose just one title to watch it would be Mars and Beyond, mainly because it's the only Disney-made program you'll see here. But I guess a viewing Cat-Women of the Moon would be rather interesting.
Star Wars (1977)
In my original 25 Movies Inspired by Disney's Hollywood Studios list I only included one Star Wars movie. I know, it sounds like blasphemy to Star Wars fans. But the truth is not everyone can handle watching all nine films in the Skywalker saga. But again, this is the extended edition for the truly dedicated fan. Therefore, in honor of Galaxy's Edge at Hollywood Studios, here all nine movies from the main franchise. (If I included television shows and spin-off movies we would never get through this list.)
But you'll see I've recommended a specific viewing order. The 'Machete Order' was conjured up by a dedicated fan a few years ago and I think it's the best way to go in this scenario. Since this is a list celebrating Hollywood history, a start with A New Hope is essential because it kickstarted this whole thing. The theory is after learning Darth Vader is Luke's dad in Empire Strikes Back, you experience a major flashback sequence by watching the prequels. Some, including myself, opt to skip Phantom Menace all together since it is considered one of the weaker films, but I think it deserves a little more love than that here. This viewing order will also allow you to finish by watching the new trilogy which is where the land inside the park is set. On May 4th, the entire Star Wars series will become completely available on Disney+. The only place to watch all nine episodes in the space epic.