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Has Disney World Started Work on the New Entrance for Hollywood Studios?

March 26, 2015, 8:34 AM · A reader drew my attention to some interesting work going on around the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot. Let's pull up Google Maps are take a look at the aerial view of the site.

Studios parking lot before

That's an older satellite image, showing the wooded area to the east of the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot, with the Caribbean Beach Resort off to the far right. But things get more interesting when you compare that view with a more recent image of the same location.

Studios parking lot after

You can see where Disney has created a new right turn lane at the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Victory Way, at the top right. But look a little below that. See that dirt roadway, extending west from Victory Way into the woods, toward the DHS parking lot?

Yeah, that.

On both images, you can see an interruption in the trees along the pathway of that new road, suggesting that its ultimate destination is the parking lot. So what is this road for?

Insiders have been telling us for some time that Disney's ultimate plan for the Studios theme park calls for the removal of its current entrance off World Drive. The plan is for the access into the Studios' parking lot to change to come from Victory Way.

The park's current second entrance, off Buena Vista Drive, then would be restricted to buses only. Cars would enter and exit the Studios lot from a new access road connecting to Victory Way, pushing traffic exiting the Studios more directly toward the Osceola Parkway. This would eliminate the current bottleneck when guests exiting the parking lot are stuck at a traffic light to get onto Buena Vista Drive, where they then often face additional back-ups to get onto World or Epcot Center Drive.

The crush of vehicles waiting to exit the park after big events such as the Villains parties has demonstrated that Walt Disney World simply can't add anything to that will draw more visitors Disney's Hollywood Studios without first addressing the traffic problems in and around the DHS parking lot. With Disney planning to build a Star Wars Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, along with the potential for a major new Pixar-themed land at the park, Disney's got to get moving with fixing this parking and traffic problem ASAP.

This dirt road on the satellite image is the first sign that Disney's started work to connect the Studios parking lot with Victory Way. Whether this is the start of construction on the actual new public access road to the parking lot, or simply a construction or maintenance support road for the project, remains to be seen. (If you ask us to place a wager, we're betting on the second explanation.)

Creating a new entrance and exit for the parking lot not only will help smooth the flow of traffic into and out of the park, it will allow DHS to expand onto the land currently used for parking access road leading from World Drive. That road runs right past the back of Star Tours, effectively cutting off access to the expansion space the park will need for Star Wars Land. So the Victory Way approach allows Disney to solve two problems at once: fixing the auto traffic flow problems with the park, and clearing access to the space needed to expand it.

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Replies (12)

March 26, 2015 at 9:42 AM · Looking at Google Earth the dirt road has been these since at least October of 2012. An actual new road there would require approval from the South Florida Water Management District and at this point no permits have been filed.
March 26, 2015 at 9:56 AM · That's funny. When discussion of a new Star Wars Land came up a couple of years ago, I looked at the google map view of the DHS property and thought, "It's a shame that road is running along the side of the property. There's lots of area to expand just to the South. You could have tied it into the Star Tours. They should find a way to get rid of that road."
Looks like somebody at Disney is stealing my idea that I told nobody about.
March 26, 2015 at 10:13 AM · they'd have to shift some backstage stuff before pushing out beyond the parking lot entrance road from world drive, but there's plenty of space to do that if they got rid of the world drive access.
March 26, 2015 at 10:14 AM · With a possible expansion of Star Wars Land back towards that road, is there a chance that they will not need the space that currently holds Muppet Vision 3D? Are the Muppets saved from the upcoming expansion? I sure hope so, as a continued Muppets presence in WDS (Walt Disney Studios) would be great!
March 26, 2015 at 10:36 AM · Or is it for new parking area. To free up space from behind Star Tours, for the new land. Will then need to move the Cast Services costuming from behind Indy to a new location. Thus freeing up the old cast parking area the woodland behind South Studio Drive for a MASSIVE expansion
March 26, 2015 at 10:42 AM · This has been rumored for quite awhile. It's a much-needed modification to the current congestion on BVD and a way to allow expansion of DHS in the south-east corner area. A thought - rather than totally closing the access from World Drive, use it to create a second route to the new parking plaza toll site that will have to be constructed to handle the traffic using the new Victory Way entrance. On the current World Drive, just before the road widens at the toll plaza (south-west of the Plaza and directly south of the Lights, Motors, Action seating) there is a creek/canal/roadbed; not sure exactly what it is. Using this as a guide, re-route World Drive to the east and then north to the new parking-plaza toll where it would merge with the traffic entering from Victory Way. That way the Park gets the south-east area expand, and you still have a second road to access the parking lot, which might relieve some of the congestion that will result at the BVD and Victory Way intersection.
March 26, 2015 at 11:00 AM · In the Google maps, I noticed that the park has lots of employee parking lots that are not available as park space. No wonder the park seems so small when you can't go beyond Toy Story Mania in the west. The buildings are butted up against each other with narrow streets. Expanding to the south with Star Wars Land isn't a solution. They should consider moving the parking lot further east towards Victory Way and coverting the existing parking spaces into the park with a new entrance.

The Chinese Theater location is deceiving. You might think you're at the center of the park, but you're actually at the end of the park. The park continues south or the north, or you must backtrack towards Tower of Terror in one direction or towards Indiana Jones going east. The layout is weird and not what you'll expect after visiting the Magic Kingdom.

March 26, 2015 at 12:54 PM · To the first commenter, it doesn't have to be filed with South Florida, it has to be filed with the Disneys RCID
March 26, 2015 at 3:06 PM · I love articles like this. (not being sarcastic). Who knows who is right.

Dirt roads like this are commonly made for access in case the woods catches on fire. It really means nothing. They are all over WDW property, but many overgrown with grass and shrubs so they are hard to see on google maps satellite view. I am surprised this one wasn't there all along, or maybe it was and just so overgrown they re-cleared it. Anyway, it's a road for fire engine access, nothing more.

If they were going to construct something, they don't need an access road first, they just start bulldozing. The fact that they put the road in or cleared it tells me the opposite, that they are not going to build there anytime soon and had to the fire road in.

Bob Igor himself has said they are "working on plans" to expand Star Wars in the parks. So it's really HOW they are going to expand Star Wars.

The predominate rumor, and i think most logical, is that they are going to move Studio Drive to the south, then Cypess drive with it to expand connect to where star tours already is, and put it in that space. It would have access through Tattooine Alley and additional access by the area in from of mute vision 3D and/or residential street, depending on how big they are going to make it. But it's basically a blank canvas at that point, which is what they need.

Expanding that way solves a lot of issues, including the most important, keeping the current entrances and parking lots and connecting to what the park has now.

But in my educated opinion, those roads have nothing to do with it. They are for fire access.

March 26, 2015 at 3:15 PM · I always thought that they should re-route the main entrance road to the south side of the drainage ditch (south of the toll plaza) and put a new toll plaza to the east. You can then expand the Star Tours area several hundred feet southward.
March 26, 2015 at 3:26 PM · I love articles like this. (not being sarcastic). Who knows who is right.

Dirt roads like this are commonly made for access in case the woods catches on fire. It really means nothing. They are all over WDW property, but many are overgrown with grass and shrubs so they are hard to see on google maps satellite view. I am surprised the ones you are pointing out weren't there all along, or maybe the road was there already and just so overgrown it was recently re-cleared. Anyway, it's a road for fire engine access, nothing more.

Besides, If they were going to construct something, they don't need an access road first, they just start bulldozing. That is what they did everywhere else. The fact that they put the road in (or cleared it) tells me the opposite that they are not going to build there anytime soon and had to have the road there for access.

Bob Igor himself has said they are "working on plans" to expand Star Wars in the parks. So it's really HOW they are going to expand Star Wars.

The predominate rumor (other posts agree and i think most logical) is that they are going to move Studio Drive to the south, then Cypess drive with it to expand there and connect to where star tours already is. It would have access through Tattooine Alley and additional access by the area in front of Muppet Vision 3D and/or residential street, depending on how big they are going to make it. It's a blank canvas in that area, which is what they need.

Expanding there also solves other issues, including the one of the most important to Disney I think in cost savings, keeping the current entrances/parking lots and integrating into what the park has now.

But in my educated opinion, those roads you are pointing out are for fire access.

March 27, 2015 at 3:34 PM · Sorry to post twice, but if you look at the picture again, before and after, you will see the "road" was already there, just covered in shubs and grass. Was probably getting too overgrown and they just cleared it in case they ever had to use it.

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