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When the Disney corporation began making films and TV shows for adults - most notably Who Framed Roger Rabbit - they also set about devising a theme park to entertain adults as much as kids. Buying the rights to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) oeuvre of films and TV shows, Disney acquired a vast repertoire of instantly familiar images to mold into shows and rides. Opening in 1990, Disney-MGM Studios served to mute the opening of Florida's Universal Studios, and at the same time found an extra use for the real film studios based here. The people you'll see laboring over storyboards aren't there for show, they really are making films.
There are more stage shows and tours than rides as such, though thrill-seekers will be more than happy with the delightfully sadistic Twilight Zone Tower of Terror , set in a haunted, cobweb-strewn hotel, or the new Rock & Roller Coaster , which, with a 2.8 second 0-60 mph launch, is Disney World's wildest ride. Star Tours , a flight-simulator trip piloted by Star Wars characters R2D2 and C-3PO, is toothless in comparison, and the Great Movie Ride , with actors and robotic figures re-creating scenes from classic Hollywood movies in an ersatz Mann's Chinese Theatre, is a tad disappointing.
Don't miss the half-hour Backstage Studio Tour , climaxing with the special-effects bonanza Catastrophe Canyon : the interest level fluctuates but you won't get your money's worth if you miss it. The same applies to Magic of Disney Animation , an enlightening trip through the animation studios, and Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3D show - enormous fun, with some great surprises. Capping them off is the twice-nightly Fantasmic , a 25-minute special effects-laden show in which Mickey battles the products of his own imagination.
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