'World of Color' at Disney California Adventure Park

Our Hollywood Yard of Fame at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on January 16th, 2012 by Gene Duncan, Photographer, Walt Disney World Resort


A virtual Who’s Who of entertainment history lies just outside the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I believe thousands of guests walk right by (and over) it each day without realizing that it is completely authentic.

Hollywood Yard of Fame at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Between 1989 and 1995, some of the most iconic and legendary entertainment celebrities of all time took time out to place hand and foot prints (even a nose) into the wet concrete squares in the Great Movie Ride courtyard, signing their names with a wooden stick.

These legends of stage, screen and television were celebrated with great fanfare, usually riding down Hollywood Boulevard in a convertible, often seated next to either Mickey or Minnie and accompanied by a marching band, ending up in the ceremonial courtyard to the delight of our park guests. There was always the ceremonial picture, and I was often lucky enough to be the photographer. Ah, yes – Hooray for Hollywood…

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Filed: Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort

24 Comments

1

Victoria from NJ on January 16th, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I know the handprint ceremony continued after 1995 but the prints were not placed outside GMR. (the members of NSYNC all had prints made in 1998/1999, for example). My question is where are all the prints that didn’t get placed outside of the attraction? Are the held somewhere or we’re they destroyed?

2

ryan from FL on January 16th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I miss seeing Jim Henson’s name before The Muppets.

3

Adam on January 16th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

There are also prints outside of the Beauty and the Beast stage.

4

Chad from NY on January 16th, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Do not forget there are also hand prints at Theater of the Stars (home of Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage).

5

Eric on January 16th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Back in the first couple years of the park, before the Hat took over the hub, I remember Grauman’s Theater being the central “wienie”, and the weekly Walk of Fame ceremony being the big afternoon draw:
Those who don’t think the names are authentic, look closely, they’re all Disney-related celebrities who could come to the park for their day–First solo trip I made in ’91, Sandy Duncan was getting her print, but the “classic” prints for Jim Henson, Julie Andrews, Michael Jackson and George Lucas were there already.

(As for Victoria’s question, didn’t rock groups get a similar “gold record”, etc., at Rock ‘N Roller Coaster?)

6

Mike on January 17th, 2012 at 12:08 am

I’ve always loved that whole concept / area. I recall wishing they’d have Neil Diamond place his hands in cement etc… When that event finally happened, I was out of the state for two months and missed it LOL. Nonetheless, I was still quite happy when I returned and saw the honoring Disney gave Mr. Diamond. Great times. Great memories! And I think I remember seeing you there taking pictures, Gene :)

7

Mariah from CA on January 17th, 2012 at 10:19 am

I would also like to know where the handprints go that are not in use. I believe one of the New Kids on the Block did his handprints and would like to know where the prints are…

8

Craig on January 17th, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Great story and shot, Gene. Keep them coming!

9

Gene Duncan on January 18th, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Victoria and Mariah-
I have tried to get the answer to your question, but have been unable to locate the cast members who were involved with the handprint program. It seems that they have all moved on, so I can’t really say more than I can remember from my personal involvement…This is what I remember: During the early years, visiting celebrities were invited to The Studios as part of an ongoing program to help fill the courtyard with handprints and autographs, as well as create great surprise moments for our park guests. As the courtyard filled up, the program slowly faded away. The handprint ceremony continued, but plaster, not concrete, was used on a rolling pedestal that could be quickly utilized, continuing the tradition and still providing great experiences for our guests. At that point, it was primarily a photo op. The later castings were stored backstage, but I suspect that many, if not all of them have deteriorated over the years.
Perhaps one of those long lost entertainment folks will take notice and chime in if I misspoke.

10

Joanna on January 19th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I remember being super excited at my last trip to Hollywood Studios to stumble upon handprints and signatures from some of the “Nine Old Men” outside of the Animation building. Can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see prints from the likes of Ward Kimball and Marc Davis!

11

Christie from MI on January 21st, 2012 at 12:08 pm

My son had to have his picture taken with Mark Hamill’s prints, as well as R2-D2′s and C-3PO’s! I personally had to be photographed near Audrey Hepburn’s, and we loved going through there and seeing whose handprints were there! Fun!

12

Edmund from FL on January 21st, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I know they are genuine. We were there the day that Jane Russell did her prints.

13

Marcus on January 21st, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I love this. I was just down there for a great family reunion / vacation for twelve days over Christmas and we all went to the Great Movie Ride. I was sad not to see Claudette Colbert’s hand prints out there, but I didn’t realize that the stars themselves came to Disney to do this, which would explain why she wasn’t there, since she was much older and not living anywhere close to Florida.
The detail at Disney is what makes me and my family keep wanting to come back, I’m the youngest at 24 in my immediate family and we still have amazing vacations whenever we visit WDW!

I also love the Kermit was able to sign this too!

14

Janice from NY on January 21st, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Last August my two daughters and I spent about 30 minutes examining this courtyard. We loved discovering the famous names ~~ real and Walt’s creations ~~ but our favorite was Robby Benson’s (Beast). His square has his own prints and signature, his child’s and an announcement of an upcoming baby. It was so touching it brought tears to our eyes.

15

Justin on January 21st, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I was there the day David Prowse did his handprint, with Darth Vader on stage with him. That day, my Dad explained to me that the man in the Vader suit was not the same man who did the voice! (I’m now a huge Star Wars fan and I’ve been on the new Star Tours ride 10 times!!)

16

William on January 21st, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thanks for sharing your memories Gene. I have loved Disney since I was a child like most people and I always enjoy learning more about the behind scenes to past events. It’s truly amazing how many people take part in creating the magic that Walt envisioned.

17

Stephanie on January 21st, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I sure wish Disney Parks would bring back the walk arounds versions of The Muppets. I have never met them before. I did meet up with Kermit, Miss Piggy and Sweetums at Disneyland for Hororary Volunteers calvacade parade. Maybe the people at the parks would be delighted to have the walk around version of Walter around. I also never met Walter before. I think Walter amazing and talented.

18

Tracy on January 21st, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I was there in December of 1991 and saw Robby Benson (the voice of the Beast from Beauty & the Beast) and his daughter put their hands in the cement. I shot video of the ceremony.

19

Stephanie on January 21st, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Oops, I meant “Honorary” Volunteers parade

20

Ryan from NV on January 21st, 2012 at 3:21 pm

I worked as a CM on the GMR for a few years and spent a lot of time looking at these gems of the entertainment industry. We had a lot of celebrities come and do hand prints, but only one was ever used permanently during my time at GMR, Michael J. Fox. Rumor has it that all of the hand-prints are stored in an archive and that occasionally certain hand-prints are swapped out of the courtyard for others. I cannot verify this as I never saw it happen, but that’s what we were told.

21

Rhonda from MI on January 21st, 2012 at 9:43 pm

My step-grandfather used to set these so when we visit he always has to show us the different ones! He is retired now but proud of his work.

22

denise on January 22nd, 2012 at 12:21 am

Can you tell me where Shirley Jones’ handprints are located? I can’t find them and I even had a Disney employee helping me search!

23

Gene Duncan on January 25th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Denise- I did some checking and learned that Shirley Jones did indeed visit the Disney-MGM Studios on April 2, 2000, appearing in a motorcade down Hollywood Boulevard and placing her handprints in one of the “portable” squares with Mickey at her side. Those handprints were never placed in the courtyard, and are most likely stored in a warehouse somewhere. If anyone has more information, please join the discussion.

24

Chelsea from IL on January 25th, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Really?! I have walked across that courtyard too many times to count, but my dad & I always assumed they were fake! I should have known!

24 Comments