'Honey, I Shrunk the Theme Park': A Look at the State of Disney's Hollywood Studios
So... is there anything left to close in Disney's Hollywood Studios? We kid, of course, but some fans are feeling that way after Disney this week announced yet another attraction closing at the park, which has seen several other closures within the past year.
To give you a look at what's closed — and soon will be closing, according to insiders — a Theme Park Insider reader put together this map, which shades the closed and soon-to-be-closed locations within the park.
Here is the breakdown:
Closed or announced to be closed:
- Magic of Disney Animation
- Studio Backlot Tour
- The American Idol Experience*
- Sounds Dangerous
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
- Sorcerer's Hat
*The Frozen sing-along is playing in the former American Idol theater now, but that's expected to be a (relatively) temporary run that won't preclude the long-term re-development of that theater.
Expected to close:
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid
- One Man's Dream (added)
- Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- MuppetVision 3D
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: Movie Set Adventure
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
Maybe it is easier to list what's safe in the park and not expected to close:
- Sunset Boulevard, including Tower of Terror and Rock n' Roller Coaster
- Toy Story Midway Mania
- The Great Movie Ride (thanks, TCM!)
- Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
Star Tours is expected to anchor a new Star Wars land, while Midway Mania is expected to anchor an expanded Pixar-themed land within the park. The lower section of the park, where you'll find the car stunt show now, once was slated for Cars Land, but now could go to Star Wars, or to other Pixar franchises, or maybe something else, given the rate at which ideas seem to be getting spitballed at the wall inside the Walt Disney Imagineering headquarters back in Glendale.
Many fans and insiders expected to hear Disney's long-term plans for Hollywood Studios, including the park's new name, at the D23 Expo in Anaheim next month. But Disney Parks hasn't yet released information about any D23 presentation that would lend itself to that sort of announcement.
So... we wait, make maps, and speculate.
Update: Here's our Twitter debate...
Hey, I suggested the marked map! :)
Hoping desperately for some huge news on DHS to come on D23 Expo!
Lets also not forget about the rumored new entrance from Victoria Way, possibly eliminating the entrance off of World Drive, thus creating even more real estate for this park!!!
Planning a visit in late September. Is the park even worth visiting?
Orlando needs an Indiana Jones attraction. Why not build a replica of the Indiana Jones Adventure ride in Hollywood Studios?
Why Lights Motors Action, Muppets and Indiana Jones? They were all great attractions
I think what's interesting is that everyone's always assumed the Pixar Place extension would be South-ish, toward the old Backlot Tour. Now, it's obvious it could extend North-ish, toward Art of Animation, leaving an even bigger, contiguous chunk of land for Star Wars to occupy. And maybe leaving room for something new from the Muppets.
It sounds like Disney is doing the Universal plan.
This reminds me of visiting DCA when it was being transformed. Man, I was TICKED OFF. How dare they lure me into a park that's barely operational? At least there you could hit the few rides and then easily walk back over to DL--here, you're looking at half-hour to get back over to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
C'mon folks! Cut Disney a break! The Imagineers are overwhelmed from designing and building attractions all over the world (especially those places where Disney has little or no money involved). Why in the world would you expect them to even try to keep up with those one-trick-Potter pretenders up the I-4? And for crying out loud, do you know how hard it is to design a boat ride with upside-down, floating mountains when you've got to deal with James Cameron? Talk about impossible...
Tim.... reading your post with a big smile....
I'm going to make a reverse prediction. Originally I thought the whole Echo Lake area should become Star Wars Land. Why demolish perfectly functional guest spaces when its not necessary for expansion? Disney always cheaps out so this won't be the first time.
Everything I am hearing is that WDW's development strategy is gravitating toward October 1, 2021.
TH, 2021 is only 6 years away. How many years did it take for New Fantasyland to be finished from when they first broke ground? And Avatarland has already taken 4 years to get to where it is now. Maybe WDW/WDI use a "magical" calendar to plan these improvements.
I heard 2071 is more realistic for the expansions to be completed in Orlando.
Avatra is slated to open in 2017.
We do know for sure that something big is coming (something that will result in a name change for the park, even, thanks to Iger's slip-up at the Stockholder's Meeting -- though the word "Studios" in the name has been inaccurate for a very long time now).
I am laughing so hard. These are some of the funniest comments I've ever read on the TPI forums. And Robert's title, "Honey, I Shrunk the Theme Park" is a classic. Keep the comments coming.
NO YOU CAN'T TAKE MUPPPETS FROM US.
NO YOU CAN'T TAKE MUPPPETS FROM US.
It would seem like all these closed attractions should mean they need to quickly build replacements to justify the high ticket prices. Is it possible they will do Pixar Place first and wait for a bigger Star Wars expansion later? They didn't take too long to build Toy Story Playland at Hong Kong Disneyland. With the third track of Toy Story Midway Mania in construction, this is the time to add Pixar Place. They can also add a Star Wars shopping mall area to enhance the already very popular Star Wars Weekends.
I quickly became Disney obsessed after planning and completing my first trip 2 years ago. We spent thousands at Disney...then, we went on a whim a few days before our trip to IOA. I love WDW, but Universal is making a big stand right now, they are cleaning up their themeing and if WDW doesn't add some strength using their assets (Pixar and Star Wars) families like mine will start splitting our Orlando time- and we all know that leaving the bubble is not what the Disney folks want. We went to the beaches of Florida last year, and the time we spent in Orlando was in Diagon Alley, not Echo Lake. I disagree that the imagineers have too much to do to get it done quickly.
"I think what's interesting is that everyone's always assumed the Pixar Place extension would be South-ish, toward the old Backlot Tour. Now, it's obvious it could extend North-ish, toward Art of Animation, leaving an even bigger, contiguous chunk of land for Star Wars to occupy."
I appreciate all the...
I think Disney missed a window for innovation by waiting for Universal to step up their game. Imagine if that never happened... Universal delivered a sucker punch and went 24/7 construction on all of their new expansion.
Maybe they are planning a DCA-in-reverse move. Like, plunk in some "Hollywood-themed" boardwalk flat rides quickly while building out the bigger stuff? I don't hope this happens, but anyone know if something like that is on the table?
My absolute favorite attraction at Disney Hollywood Studios is One Man's Dream. We go to WDW once each year, and that experience, along with the Art of Animation drawing studio, is one I NEVER MISS! After all, Walt Disney STARTED his career with animation, not Theme Parks. This is the Disney experience I want when I come to Orlando. We just returned from a trip to San Francisco, and all eleven of our family members agreed that our favorite activity was visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum on the west side of the city. SPECTACULAR for a true Disney fan!!! I am so sorry to hear that these attractions in Orlando will be closing.
They better outdo or come really close with Star Wars to the level of quality and detail that Universal has done with Harry Potter. And with so many closings they better do it fast.
You can bet some cool themed spinners are coming to Disney.... they are the masters at taking a local carnival ride and making it "magic".
I met with an Imagineer in April 2014 down in Orlando and although he was working on a different project at the time, he made a mention saying that the Hollywood Studios revamp was coming (which was interesting because we were in Hollywood Studios at the time, loooooong before these closures began).
Disney. Please don't disappoint me with Star Wars land. PLEASE make some thrilling rides not just a motion simulator. Or worse, a boat ride.
They obviously have massive plans for DHS, but for how many years will we have to put up with a neutered park? It's going to be a handful of rides, plus Fantasmic! The surviving attractions will be mobbed all the time, and all FP+ capacity will be gobbled up faster than ever.
The 76ers of theme parks! That's an awesome analogy, thanks for that.
Between now and October 21, 2021 Walt Disney World will continue to enjoy great success as the leading vacation destination for themed entertainment.
DHS also has some developmental space northwest of rock n roller coaster outside the current park boundaries, that could come in handy.
Disney owns Reedy Creek. They regulate themselves people.
The higher-ups have already said a number of times that Radiator Springs "Can only be one place on a map" meaning there won't be a Cars Land clone out East.
I guess my other question is on the concept of space for this park. With plenty of space available in almost any direction, is Disney unable to just expand the park? Are they limited to the footprint that is currently used, or just unwilling to increase the size of the park? Is it more important to close and reopen attractions rather than just adding on, especially when so much of the park is experiencing turnover?
What happened to re-theming that playground to A Bugs Life?
I love your rationale and enthusiasm, TH. You never fail to pull the attendance card out when pressured, as it seems to be your only defense. A lot of people drive Toyotas, but I'll take the less popular Lexus any day.
As far as WDW's continued success is concerned, I believe everything will be alright. I have no reason to doubt that Disney will remain the leading theme park operator in the Orlando market. And my opinion is partially based upon the extraordinary amount of construction activity currently taking place across the property
Sounds like something a company says shortly before becoming the second-leading theme park operator in the Orlando market.
@ Mr.McKaig: How "shortly" do you imagine it will be before Disney becomes (your words) "the second-leading theme park operator in the Orlando market?" Do you believe that is an inevitability?
I believe it is an inevitability before one of Universal's Orlando parks overtake one of Disney's Orlando parks.
Listen, I don't want to start a big thing here.... oh, wait, yes I do..... I actually feel bad about hijacking a thread involving a park that has six actual rides. Our local traveling carnivals usually have eleven or twelve.
Really out there idea which will never happen, but with the whole park becoming a construction zone, why not just close it for a few years so around the clock work can be done?
@ Mr. McKaig: I appreciate your analysis that leads you to conclude that one of the Universal parks could surpass Disney in attendance. In fact, in one of my TPI posts criticizing the absence of methodology in the TEA/AECOM report I expressed my belief that the Universal parks have already experienced higher numbers than some of the WDW parks.
Regarding wait times for the rides that will remain in the park-
I hope all of you people realize that Universal is probably as lazy Disney. Yes, they are building new attractions, and yes, they are good attractions, but only two of them really count as something "new," Forbidden Journey and Hogwarts Express. The rest of them are carbon copies of stuff that's already been done, taking almost no effort to build whatsoever because Universal knows that just because they are new, and are at least decent, people will automatically see them as "cutting-edge" or "better than whatever Disney has." Let's run down this list of lazy clones:
I hate myself for admitting this, but everything TH Creative has said on this thread is pretty much on the money.
Disney is already in second place in Orlando, but they and their sheep are to blind to really see what's going on. Universal is rockin it and will continue to do so. I am a huge Disney fan, but finally woke up and cancelled my annual pass and just go to Universal. Disney has gotten crazy and lazy and the magic band is a bunch of crap. Sorry Disney, but ----bye bye
Michael Eisner expanded the WDW Resort 10 fold in his tenure, adding two theme parks, two water parks, multiple resort hotels and expanding Downtown Disney and opening Pleasure Island. Don't you dare talk badly about Michael Eisner!
Wouldn't expanding Disney 10 fold mean 20 theme parks? Just asking....
Islands of Adventure at Universal is a great example of successfully tying together a potpourri of themed IP-based lands and rides together under one roof. DHS 3.0 is the solution for WDW's direct competition to IOA. I imagine the new park theme and concept will be similar to that of IOA, with the inclusion of a Marvel area that will not be announced until much later after Star Wars and Pixar - assuming that the legal discussions and trade-offs are successful in regards to the Marvel contract.
Idk guys I would pick a trip to Universal Orlando resort over WDW any day. A. I'm not a child and don't find amusement in ridding space mountain. B. universal makes great attractions. C. Disney just makes mediocre ones.
Well I guess closing half your park is one way to increase profits.
Disneyland has about 58 attractions. DCA has 35. I think there were only 18 attractions at DHS before the closures in the last 3 years. There will be 15 if you count all the Frozen stuff as one attraction at the end of the summer. I think the old problem is that Eisner wanted to build more gates, but it is a massive undertaking to give them enough long lasting attractions to try to match Disneyland/MK and they just didn't spend enough money on it. They had to pump major money into DCA to turn it around, and will probably spend even more. So everyone has a point about questioning why DHS is a similar admission price to DL because even without all these closures there just aren't enough attractions.
Let's make money the Disney Way!
"...When they finally open in 2025," I'm sorry, but according to TH, don't you mean 2021? ;)
I agree with the post above... Disney seems to make a lot of odd decisions. Most recently, the replacing of DisneyQuest with a franchise (NBA) Universal couldn't wait to get rid of. Both resorts wanted an celebrity infused restaurant chain as the anchor for their night life areas (Universal CityWalk and Downtown Disney). One chooses Hard Rock and dedicates a hotel to the theme... the other... Planet Hollywood. A once popular chain of 100 restaurants now down to 7 that has filed for bankruptcy more times than Trump.
From what I've read from a reliable source, Disney is preparing to unveil a entire transformation of the park that will cost 3 billion dollars to make (3x as much as the DCA overhaul) in this years D23 event in August. That is a substantial amount, but again, with all these closures and expected closures it makes sense why a extended amount of budget is necessary. Disney wants to retire the movie-making aspects of the park to rely on "movie adventures" harking what Universal as done recently with Potter. Star Wars and Pixar will definitely dominate the park with their respective lands but I also read that Indiana Jones Adventure will also finally make an appearance in the Orlando parks with updated effects.
Sometimes I wish some of our anonymous posters would get a handle and sign in because it’s hard to tell if they are presenting truly earnest opinions with incredibly bad logic or just tongue-in-cheek observations that cleverly prove the opposite of what they are flatly stating.
Tim, you posted a lucid, well thought out rebuttal so someone who probably doesn't deserve a minute of your time. I have some unique insight to what I refer to as Disneyphiles.
Sadly, NB, part of me enjoys slapping the fanboys around. I despise bad logic, and I would hate to see this site overrun by the Disneyphiles like so many theme park sites seem to be. Plus it's hard to turn down the opportunity to skewer a fanboy and extol the virtues of the Universal parks at the same time. If we had Universal fanboys on this site posting the same type of ridiculous nonsense as the Disneyphiles, they'd get slapped down too, but as you have observed with your Facebook friend, this blind devotion is totally mindless. They don't want to objectively compare Disney with anything else because that might ruin the magical time they're having in their heads. If you were to ask a Disneyphile to rate anything that Disney does, they would probably say that "These go to eleven."
I look forward to a day when there are more folks who appreciate both Disney and Universal, as well as the good things being accomplished by Herschend, Cedar Fair, some of the smaller independent operators, and even Six Flags (ugh, I can't believe I wrote that last one!). This list of awards may be dominated by Disney and Universal, but there are a lot of great things happening in this industry. You all can pick on Disney fans all day, but CaliFloridians, a term coined by Jim Koehl and made infamous by Jeff Elliot, are the most frustrating fans of all.
James, I actually enjoy Six Flags (Gurnee) quite a bit. There were something like 13-14 coasters last time I was there. Most of the best rides were included with Flash Pass Platinum. Unfortunately, most of the coasters are simply clones of others, so it would be hard to snag a top spot in the awards.
^I grew up at "Marriott's" Great America in northern CA... which was a sister park to the one in Gurnee before Six Flags took over. Turn of the Century was my first Arrow looper, and Tidal Wave was a MONSTER hit back in the day.
So this was interesting (published at thisisfamous.com - 7/2/15):
The last rumor is interesting. Why not just save the money by redoing Dinosaur as Indiana Jones Adventure. The theming of DHS as Hollywood doesn't fit the jungle theme of Indiana Jones. Then again, maybe they should do an entire land to make it work. My preference is they dump Dino Land in the Animal Kingdom and do a full Indiana Jones Land with a big temple.
Really hope they do not close Muppets! IT doesn't make sense since they are launching a new Muppet Show in the fall.....
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