The Earffel Tower

The Earffel Tower was one of the first icons of Disney's Hollywood Studios when it opened back in 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios. The tall structure on the Park's back lot, stands a proud 130 feet high and is capped with one gigantic pair of Mickey Ears. It was meant to pay homage to the water towers found on studio backlots during the early days of Hollywood. The original water towers were a vital piece of equipment, not only holding a potable water supply but by having enough water directly at hand to extinguish any fires that might occur on set. The Disney version, doesn't actually hold water.

The Earffel Tower Is An Original Hollywood Studios IconThe Earffel Tower Is An Original Hollywood Studios Icon

The placement of the Earffel Tower on the back lot was not only symbolic of the early days in making movies, but let guests headed down World Drive that they had arrived and would soon be at the Disney-MGM Studios theme park. The first thing to go up, it also acted as a sort of "coming soon" sign during construction to entice visitors to come back once the new park was complete. However as an icon, it's back lot location and out of line of sight existence made it difficult for guests to form an emotional attachment with the symbol.

One of my favorite things on the backlot tour is not seeing the original Earffel Tower, but the mini version created by Disney's talented horticulturists who wanted to pay homage in topiary form.

A Charming Homage: Earffel Tower TopiaryA Charming Homage: Earffel Tower Topiary

In 2001 the Earffel Tower was replaced by a gigantic Sorcerer's Hat in front of the Chinese Theater as the main symbol of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Love it or hate it, the controversial hat gave guests a distinct central icon connecting them to the Disney Park and a great photo opportunity.

The Tower's hat size, by the way, is 342 3/8.

Do you have memories of this classic Walt Disney World Icon? Leave a comment and let us know if it's one of your favorite or if you're happy to let it fade into history.

TinkRN wrote on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 15:25:

TinkRN's picture

I have to say I was upset when the sorcerer's hat replaced the Earful Tower on all the merchendise. I love the tower. My first trip to WDW was the same year the Studios opened. So for me, the Earful Tower will always represent the park.

JoAnn C wrote on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 15:53:

JoAnn C's picture

I've only known DHS with the hat. I do like the tower better than the hat.

One of the Disney groups on Facebook posted over the weekend that there is a rumor that the hat will be taken down by November. Don't know where they heard this. They didn't post any sources.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 17:13:

Kristen K.'s picture

I've heard rumblings of that in the blog-o-sphere as well JoAnn, but I haven't seen anything official yet. I've never been fond of the hat and preferred the "old hollywood" feeling that the park had before it went up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Marianne Schafer wrote on Tue, 04/19/2016 - 16:41:

Marianne Schafer's picture

I LOVE everything about MICKEY MOUSE, DISNEY, etc. I've grown old with the same excitement I had as a child.

I am looking to BUY an original EARFUL TOWER. Does anyone have any leads as to where this item can be found and purchased?

Most sincerely,

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