The Creation of Warner Bros. Movie World

The Warner Bros. Movie World gateway arch. Photo courtesy of Sam Simpson
Everyone is familiar with seeing Warner Bros. characters like Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck in one of Six Flags' many theme parks. Which the theme park chain originally gained the rights to use in 1984. In the years that followed, Warner Bros. saw an increase of public interest in the Looney Tunes characters, due in part to their usage in the various parks.

Two things occurred as a result of the new public interest, firstly Warner Bros. began buying large amounts of stock in Six Flags, Inc. ultimately leading to them buying Six Flags out right in 1993. The second thing was that Warner Bros. had the idea to build their own theme park, built as a joint venture with Village Roadshow, the park was to be centered around Hollywood, the film industry, and most importantly of all, WB intellectual properties.

In 1989, the Warner company chose theme-park veteran Cornelius Vanderbilt Wood, also known as C. V. Wood, to be the President of the newly created Recreational division of Warner Brothers,  Warner Bros. Recreational Enterprises. Woody, as he was affectionately known as, designed an over 400 acre large theme park that would sit behind the company's already existing Warner Roadshow Studios complex, now named Village Roadshow Studios in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Wood, had previously been the chief developer of Disneyland, and was responsible for choosing the construction site for the park in Anaheim, California, when the park opened he served as the first President. After a falling out with Walt Disney, Wood went on to create Marco Engineering, which helped built various theme parks around the United States, including Six Flags Over Texas in 1961m the first Six Flags park.

From the moment Wood flew to assess the land in Australia, Warner Bros. Movie World was born. Construction commenced February of 1990, and lasted 16 months. In that time, the land which was mostly swamp had been converted into prime real estate, and a 415 acre park was built in its place. June 3, 1991, the park opened to rave reviews, the opening ceremony featured Queensland Premier Wayne Goss cutting a golden film reel, declaring the park open. The ceremony was attended by film stars such as Clint Eastwood, Goldie Hawn, Mel Gibson, and Kurt Russell.

The opening day attractions focused on familiarizing the guests with the movie making process, and included a Movie Studio tour, The Movie Magic Special Effects show, and The Warner Bros. Classics & Great Gremlin Adventure, which was a ride that featured guests trying to escape the maze of the Warner Archives all while being chased by Gremlins.

The success of Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, led to the construction of three more parks, Warner Bros. Movie World Germany, which opened in 1996, (in 2004 the park was renamed Movie Park and dropped all WB branding). A third Warner Bros. park opened in Madrid, Spain in 2002 entitled Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid. The park was later renamed in 2004 to Warner Bros. Park Madrid, and again in 2006 converting the name to Spanish, and since then the park has been Parque Warner Madrid. The newest Warner park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi opened in July 2018 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

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