22 October 2018

The Business of Show Business

Construction photos can tell us a lot about how far along a project is while tantalizing our senses into dreaming about what will be. In a historical context, construction photos, particularly large aerial photos like the one above can give us a glimpse into timelines for projects and when certain aspects were started and completed in comparison of one another. This view of a mid-construction Disney-MGM Studios is not dissimilar to the views we’ve been seeing in the past couple of years for Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge, but the subject matter is wholly different.

Starting with what we can see that has already come to life, the Earffel Tower stands tall to the far left of the picture. Below that we can see several of the house facades from Residential Street, including the houses for The Golden Girls and Empty Nest, are also in their finished forms. Warehouses for costuming and props are also up and running by this point in time. Many of the soundstages are also completed structurally, such as those for The Great Movie Ride, animation facilities, and the walking portion of the Backstage Studio Tour, but I’m willing to bet if we could venture inside that the elements of these attractions are nowhere near ready for their close-ups.

It is also worth noting, speaking of complete pieces, that much of the Magic Kingdom, particularly Space Mountain, can be seen in the upper left of this photograph, right along with the Contemporary Resort. Likewise, shifting our attention over to the upper right of this picture gives us a nice view of Spaceship Earth, The Living Seas, Imagination, and other structures of EPCOT Center.

Starting right near the backside of EPCOT Center, we can see the groundwork being prepped for the Swan and Dolphin Resorts, as well as the future sites of the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. When it comes to recognizable construction, however, we need to get back to Disney-MGM Studios and the main focus of this photograph.

It’s easy to see the progress being made on New York Street, the amphitheater for Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and Superstar Television. The framework is done for Echo Lake’s 50’s Prime Time CafĂ© and Hollywood and Vine. Similarly, just across the way, the bones are up for the original Theatre of the Stars and the Hollywood Brown Derby.

While the footprints are recognizable, there are still and lot of walls, dinosaurs, and walkways to be built before Disney-MGM Studios’ opening in just a little more than a year. Not to mention the rest of the park that would come along in just a few short years between opening day in 1989 and the completion of Sunset Boulevard in 1994, including Star Tours, MuppetVision 3D, a new Theatre of the Stars, Rock ‘N’ RollerCoaster, and, of course, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. A single moment shows a lot of promise and a lot of hard work, both completed and yet to come, and are great time capsules when we can dig them up.

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