Before we get into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Disney, let’s explore the history of where this strange show happened. The park that is now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios originally opened under a different name. It was initially called Disney MGM Studios. The Walt Disney Company had partnered with MGM Studios to bring this park to life. Well, actually, it was not just a theme park back then. Disney MGM Studios was also a fully functional movie studio, complete with an entire back lot.

Disney MGM Studios was built and dedicated to the golden age of Hollywood–around the 1930s. Of course, this version of Hollywood would be cleaner, family-friendly, and drug-free. It was supposed to represent the ideal, fantasized version of Hollywood. On opening day, Michael Eisner described it as “the Hollywood that never was, and always will be.” Disney MGM Studios opened to the public on May 1, 1989.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the Backstage Studio Tour

In the 1990s, the hit television show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was extremely popular among young kids, and maybe a few of their adult parents as well. The show followed crime-fighting, human-sized, teen turtles as they conquer evil with their martial arts skills. How did that happen? Well, at first, they were just average turtles who were released to live in the New York City sewer by their owner.

The sewer was full of mysterious radioactive fluid that mutated the four regular turtles. They expanded in size, reaching around the size of a human. Another victim of this radioactive technology, a rat named Splinter, trains the teenage turtles in martial arts. Each version of the story varies a little bit, but that is the overall outline of each variation.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are each named after four Italian Renaissance artists. They are Da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

All four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

During certain times of the day, on the Streets of America in the park, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song would randomly blast through the speakers and the sound of a truck revving up fills the area. Guests looked to the source of the noise to see a truck being driven by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves!

The truck drives through the street while the turtles pump up the crowd. Finally, the truck stops at a nearby stage, with each teen turtle hopping out of the vehicle and onto the stage to put on a quick show of singing and dancing. Joining them is a singing and dancing lady wearing an 80s-style jumpsuit. Just as quickly as it started, the show was over.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on stage.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was never an intellectual property owned by The Walt Disney Company. In fact, even though the Disney Company has acquired many more intellectual properties since then, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has never been one of them. The Walt Disney Company was not short on cartoon characters at this time either. It just seems strange to purchase the license to create a parade out of these characters when Disney already had so many other options to choose from in their own repertoire.

The entire show – including the time it took for the truck to drive down the street – lasted a little under five minutes.