Hollywood Studios is a park that is undergoing a lot of changes in the near and not so near future. This is a good thing because, in my opinion, the park needs some breaths of fresh air to bring it up to par with the other Disney theme parks in Orlando. This is a classic case of addition by subtraction where Disney is getting rid of some older attractions to make room for some new attractions which will, hopefully, drive foot traffic into the park. It may be a tough go, for the short-term, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term losses.
WHAT IS LEAVING (OR HAS LEFT) HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
- American Idol Experience (to make room for a more permanent Frozen sing-a-long)
- The Backlot Tour
- Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
- The Sorcerer’s Hat
- Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – RUMOR
- Lights, Motors, Action – RUMOR
That list is a good chunk of attractions. As of now, only one attraction, The American Idol Experience, has been replaced by another attraction, The Frozen Sing-a-Long. The Backlot Tour was taken down to make room for either a Pixar Place expansion or a Star Wars expansion. I wouldn’t be surprised if Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow was taken down for the same reason. Park layout leads me to believe the expansion taking place where The Backlot Tour is located will be Pixar Place and not Star Wars. Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is located closer to Toy Story Midway Mania than Star Tours which could make a Pixar Place expansion even bigger.
The Sorcerer’s Hat was never supposed to be a permanent addition to Hollywood Studios. Now that is being taken down, Imagineers can go to work with some of the traffic flow issues that plague Hollywood Studios. “The Hat” took a great deal of space in “The Hub” of Hollywood Studios. The space behind it is too cramped to spin-off into either Pixar Place or down Mickey Ave. to the Animation Courtyard. Removing “The Hat” can allow these exit points to be moved forward and made wider to handle more traffic.
WHAT HAS BEEN OR IS BEING ADDED TO HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS
- Frozen Sing-a-Long (located in the American Idol Experience building)
- A potential Pixar Place expansion
- A potential Star Wars expansion
Moving on the rumored removals, the vast amounts of space that Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and Lights, Motors, Action take up. Getting rid of these two attractions could bring a massive Star Wars expansion to the park. It would also bring a balance in the force, I mean to Hollywood Studios. On the right side of the park, you would have Sunset Boulevard with Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Rollin Coaster for the adventurous types. Then, you have Mickey Ave. with Disney Junior Live on Stage and Voyage of the Little Mermaid as the highlights.
On the left side of the park, you would have the expanded Pixar Place in the back with a Star Wars expansion in the front with Muppetvision 3D (please don’t rid of Muppetvision) and the Frozen Sing-a-Long in the middle. An excellent balance of “thrill attractions” for the older kids and kids-at-heart and attractions geared for the younger kids and adults who don’t like thrill attractions.
WHAT DO I SEE HAPPENING
I believe that we are in phase 1 of a massive expansion/makeover of Hollywood Studios. The American Idol Experience is gone and has made way for the currently very popular Frozen Sing-a-Long. In the near future, I expect Disney to announce the Pixar Place expansion. I would guess that this would take 18 to 24 months. About this time next year, Disney will announce “Phase 2” of the Hollywood Studios expansion/makeover which would be the removal of Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and/or Lights, Motors, Action for a Star Wars expansion. Again, construction would probably take 18 to 24 months which gets to 2018. Think of this process as something similar to what Orlando’s other theme parks just completed. One section was completed followed shortly there after by the second phase of the project.
In the end, I don’t expect Disney’s Hollywood Studios to remain the name of the theme park. I’ve heard the name: Disney’s Hollywood Adventure or maybe even Disney’s Florida Adventure tossed around as potential replacements.
By the end of the decade, the only park which will have gone relatively untouched will be EPCOT. The other parks will have undergone the following expansions:
- New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom
- Pixar Place in Hollywood Studios/Adventure
- Star Wars Expansion in Hollywood Studios/Adventure
- Avatarland in Animal Kingdom
- The completion of the Disney Springs project at Downtown Disney
That’s a lot of expansion and “new-ness” coming to a Disney theme park near you.
What do you think of the proposed expansions and “addition by subtraction” at Hollywood Studios?