10 Year $3 Billion Redo of Disney's Hollywood Studios?

July 6, 2015, 7:35 AM

"Say goodbye to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios you have come to love over the years, and get ready to welcome with open arms the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do. Details of Disney’s Hollywood Adventure are set to be rolled out at this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim come August, but we’ve got the exclusive on some of the secrets The Mouse was trying to keep under wraps until then."

"Per our reliable source Uncle Walt, Disney’s board has approved $3 billion for a massive overhaul of the Studios park, complete with rebranding to better reflect the shift away from how movies are made to more how they live and breathe inside of us. Along with that money, we’ll be seeing the park dominated by STAR WARS, Pixar and Indiana Jones as a great deal of the park’s older attractions are put out to pasture and about six new ones are ushered in."


Replies (34)

July 6, 2015, 7:59 AM

If that is true, that is awesome news for theme park fans!

Edited: July 6, 2015, 9:41 AM

I can confirm Muppet's and Lights Motors Action (in it's current form) is gone.

July 6, 2015, 9:53 AM

Hey, Anon. I didn't see the 10 year timeframe in the original article. Is that a best guess based on recent Disney upgrade efforts (ie. New Fantasyland)?

July 6, 2015, 10:02 AM

A second article claimed the 10 year schedule. I didn't post it earlier since it merely restated the original article.


"Will Disney announce next month at the upcoming D23 Expo a ten year $3 Billion overhaul of WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios? According to Billy Donnelly's article on his This Is Infamous website, the answer is yes. Billy even calls this huge $3 billion overhaul “the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do” adding that full information on what is in the plans for the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios will likely be announced at D23 Expo this August during the Parks and Resorts awaited presentation."

July 6, 2015, 10:45 AM

Ten years is an awful long time for a 47 year old like me. My kids and their kids will love it.

I heard elsewhere that the changes will come in phases (of course) with Pixar Place (and three new attractions) first.

July 6, 2015, 11:02 AM

I would have to imagine it would be completed in phases, otherwise the announcement would constitute the longest period of time between announcement and completion of a project ever by a theme park.

July 6, 2015, 11:10 AM

I wonder when will EPCOT get its $1 Billion redo. A big overhaul of DHS will mean it is possible its attendance will exceed EPCOT when completed. Maybe they will wait 5 years later after the first phase of DHS is done to announce a overhaul of EPCOT.

July 6, 2015, 12:05 PM

My god, my god

$3 billion? That's crazy! Also 10 years is just as, if not more, insane. I expected a name change and a Star Wars expansion for around $1 billion, but $3 BILLION?

July 6, 2015, 12:19 PM

Looking forward to a D23 announcement with a nice ... ambiguous ... time frame.



Edited: July 6, 2015, 12:42 PM

That is a lot of monies $$$$$$$..

Seems like they will do this in phases for 10 years. If they closed down the park for 1 year, did everything and had a Grand re-opening - that would be impressive....

New Name - The Chewbacca Park.

July 6, 2015, 1:24 PM

I'm reading a lot of different slants from the insiders on WDW Magic that are different than this quoted article. Those insiders are saying some of the 3 billion is for MK, Epcot and infrastructure improvements (ie. new road entry system for DHS etc.) And,keep in mind, this figure is over a fairly long period of time. And, none of the Magic insiders are mentioning Indy. Though, Star Wars & Pixar are probably a given. I'm excited & happy that DHS is getting substantial upgrades, and the park certainly needed that. And, it appears this rumored capitalization amount is a return to the capitalization expense ratios that existed during the pre Iger, read Eisner, days at WDW. So I believe it's great that WDW will get the type of love they received in the past. It will be interesting to see what the official announcements from Disney will be. When all is said and done, the improvements will probably be at a level similar to the DCA makeover, which proved very successful.

July 6, 2015, 1:29 PM

Surprised by the Muppets possible demise. As they do have a new show on ABC this fall.

Would be interested if they are relocated within the new park or maybe moved to EPCOT.

Edited: July 6, 2015, 2:06 PM

@ Rob Pastor - Got some likes to what you are reading?

I want to keep up!

July 6, 2015, 2:03 PM

Muppets have no future because they keep rehashing the same storylines that get no traction from the audience. They keep reusing the same tired devices and characters. Their characters don't get better. They keep digging the same dirt until they are 6 feet under.

Don't do this.
1. Stop with celebrity associations. Many celebrities are not child friendly. They are not interesting to most kids. Many don't even have respect from the adults. Thus adults won't watch and bring their kids to watch them.

2. Update the characters. They are straight out of the 1960s and even earlier. Miss Piggy harkens to Mae West. Some characters seem to resemble the old fogeys from the 1940s. The Miss Piggy and Kermit relationship is just tired and need to be removed.

3. The shows resemble the past. They seem like vaudeville or the varieties shows of the past. They just don't work anymore. The recent movies don't work either. The audience didn't gravitate towards them.

Do this.
1. Find a new audience. Begin with toddlers (2 to 5 years) and pre-teens (6 to 11 years). This means no more celebrity associations and no more Miss Piggy's vulgar persona.

2. Relaunch the show on Disney Jr. or ABC Family, not ABC Primetime.

If they do this, I will recommend the show for my kid to watch. Right now, it's not on my watch list and my kid doesn't care either. It's not on the kids radar either.

Muppets doesn't have an audience so it continues to tank.

July 6, 2015, 2:26 PM

Oh I think they will keep the Muppets. They own the IP, there is a symbiotic relationship with Disney/ABC. New generations always discover them. Plus they appear in television commercials hawking other products. Also if they keep 'em in a theater production (attraction) it's always nice to sit down in an air conditioned building.

Plus they have that cool fountain.

Also Miss Piggy reminds me more of Hot Lips Houlihan than Mae West.

Just sayin'.

July 6, 2015, 2:41 PM

"Miss Piggy reminds me more of Hot Lips Houlihan than Mae West."

Where do you watch Mash reruns? This show ended on 1983. 32 years ago.

Mae West died on 1980 at age 87. Her career was at its height in the 1930 to 1940s. Did not appear in any films in the 1950s. 65 years ago.

The Muppets are a relic unless they update it, which they won't.

Edited: July 6, 2015, 5:16 PM

TH: There's four threads over at Magic, ton's of pages, and myriad comments from insiders Spirit, Marni, Lee, Articos, Parents of Four on the DHS stuff. They've actually been talking about it for a while now, even though the board news just broke last week. Spirit mentioned the info before any of these other sites picked it up, so I guess they were feeding off of his original info, but have bastardized it in the translation. It's a long read though since you need to read through all the pages to pick it up. Their pretty positive about it all but realistic also concerning the money & where it's going. I guess that roadway entrance change alone is going to be expensive, but they say it will free up a lot of space for expansion.

July 6, 2015, 4:03 PM

I saw a Henson interview long ago where he says Loretta Swit (Houlihan) was the inspiration for miss Piggy.

July 6, 2015, 4:28 PM

Anon, the Muppets are still popular, not Star Wars or Marvel popular, but popular . And your idea to make them successful is to change what made them sucessful in the first place? I I get that the plots havent changed much. But when was the last time Mickey did something totally new? And in case you never noticed the Muppets have never been plot driven. The Muppets also were never intended to cater to children either, and that was Jim Henson's greatest frustration at the success of Sesame Street, because he was typecast. That show is still going strong, and thats awesome. But The Muppet Show was intended for all ages, and for the most part that's what the franchise has done. You don't have to like it, but there are plenty of people that do. I hope MuppetVision 3D, stays.

July 6, 2015, 4:36 PM

I think you are cutting the Muppets short. They are getting their own TV show during the week. I think they are safe.

Lights Motors Action is too expensive and in a really bad spot. It will go

Sadly, I think Indy will go too. I thought it still held up, but unless Disney is going to do another Indy movie, I am not sure how that is going to stay.

Edited: July 6, 2015, 5:49 PM

Muppets Most Wanted performed as bad as Tomorrowland comparably. It might not have earned back its costs. We shall see if the television show can find an audience, but I suspect it will fail. I doubt it will last beyond one season. Why they keep trying to save it using the same tired formula is disappointing. There is still value in its characters, but it needs an update and it needs to skew younger.

July 7, 2015, 6:36 AM

The new Muppets TV show is a bit of an update. Instead of the variety show from the late 70's/early 80's, the new show is done in documentary/reality style format.

As far as celebrities, I think that's what makes the Muppets so great. The characters appeal to the kids while the celebrities appeal to the adults. Our son has seen many of the original Muppet Show episodes on DVD, and aside from Elton John, doesn't know a single one of the celebrities (some are dead), but still got most of the humor from the Muppet characters. The balance is difficult to pull off, and it doesn't always succeed (see Muppets Most Wanted and Muppets in Space), but when you can perfectly blend kid-based/low brow humor with celebrity/adult humor above it, it works amazingly well. Too many shows and movies go for one or the other, and where movies/TV shows have attempted to blend both, it's rare that both can be successful (even Pixar has trouble with this from time to time - see Cars 2 and Monsters University).

Prime time television (if you believe there is such a thing anymore) is seriously lacking entertainment that the entire family can watch together, and my hope is that the Muppets can bring some of that back. There are very few scripted TV shows that I can sit down and watch with my son, so it will be a welcome change to have something we can watch together.

Ultimately, I probably wouldn't miss Muppets 3-D if it left DHS (or DCA for that matter), but I think Disney would be better served updating the attraction than dumping a valuable property altogether.

July 7, 2015, 9:46 AM

"the new show is done in documentary/reality style format"

This makes The Muppets into full adult fare. Since when are reality or documentaries interesting to kids? Reality shows are about pushing the envelop of acceptability. Kids usually prefer scripted shows. That's why animated movies work best for kids. When the latest Disney movies debut, kids are the first in line.

Whether kids will enjoy The Muppets in prime time is an interesting proposal. Usually, they are not fully awake or doing other things. I recommend DVRing to ensure they see it on their own schedule.

Edited: July 7, 2015, 11:47 AM

"This makes The Muppets into full adult fare."

Why so? The docu/reality conceit is for the adults, but the show is still scripted (like the interludes of Modern Family). From the previews, the show's content will still be family friendly, so the format is merely there to give adults a chuckle on a plane above where the kids will understand. I appreciate and admire this type of entertainment when done well, because it is such a fine line to entertain two vastly different audiences at the same time.

If you saw the Lady Gaga Muppets special a couple of years ago, that's pretty much what I expect from the new show. Stylistically, it was geared towards the parents to keep them engaged (along with the celebrities), while the content (i.e. music) and Muppet characters entertain the children.

Like I said, it's a difficult balance to pull off, but the Muppets have succeeded in the past, and I hope they can succeed again. Something like this in prime time hasn't been pulled off in a long time. Home Improvement and the old TGIF lineup (Full House, Family Matters, et. al.) come to mind as the most recent examples of successful whole-family scripted shows - perhaps Dawson's Creek and some of the older CW Christian-based shows.

Most scripted television today is either post-apocalyptic drama, dark super hero, racy comedy, or crime and punishment (not that there aren't amazingly produced examples of each of those that I love to watch), that perhaps The Muppets offer the fresh air that the TV schedule needs. I'm skeptical that the audience will show up, but I'm hopeful and certainly rooting for the Muppets.

July 7, 2015, 12:11 PM

Muppets Most Wanted cost $50 million to make, Tomorrowland took $200 million to make. It wasn't a huge success but it made a profit.

Edited: July 7, 2015, 12:57 PM

The Lady Gaga Muppets special flopped. Tanked in the ratings big time.


"Even with guest appearances from Sir Elton John, Kristen Bell, Ru Paul and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the holiday special flopped big time in the ratings.

Only 3.6 million viewers tuned in to watch "Lady Gaga & The Muppets Holiday Spectacular" on ABC. Even worse, it had a 0.9 rating in the adults 18-49 demographic. For context, ABC aired an annual repeat of "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving," which celebrated its 40th anniversary, earlier in the evening and 5.3 million viewers watched. It had a 1.6 rating in the same demographic."


As for Muppets Most Wanted box office, Worldwide: $80,383,113, compared with Production Budget: $50 million.

The $80 million box office is not enough to earn back the money to make and market the movie plus the theater cut (at least 50% for the first few weeks). Box office had to exceed $100 million as the benchmark (double the production cost).

Comparably, Tomorrowland had to earn back $380 million to earn back the money it took to make it. Worldwide: $203,002,351, Production Budget: $190 million, and Disney wrote off $140 million. Using this math, 203 + 140 = 343 (breakeven), then divided by 190 = 1.80 as the multiple.

If I used the 1.80 multiple for Muppets Most Wanted, 50 * 1.8 = $90 million as breakeven. Therefore, the movie lost $10 million.

We have to hope Disney earns its money back on DVDs, on-demand, cable, and streaming. Maybe just take the write off now against profitable movies.

Edited: July 7, 2015, 1:28 PM

As I said Anon, I'm skeptical that the audience will show up (drawing that inference from the rating for the Gaga special and box office for Most Wanted), but my hope is that they can make it work. Whether it draws ratings does not diminish the fact that it fills what I perceive is a void in primetime programming.

I'm far from a Lil' Monster, but I found the Gaga special very cute, and perhaps Disney/ABC didn't do the best job marketing it, especially for a 1-off. They appear to be taking a very careful approach to marketing the new weekly show. Unfortunately, they are heading into recently uncharted territory, so my guess is that the ratings will be tepid and they will pull the plug after they run through the initial batch of episodes.

I find it ultimately disappointing that there is very little that parents can watch with their children and both be entertained (sadly theme parks are doing the same thing, sometimes due to local rules more so than deliberately fracturing families). I distinctly recall when I was growing up that there were a multitude of shows that my family watched together like Hee Haw, Muppet Show, Sha Na Na, Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, Star Trek (TOS, TNG, and DS9 mostly), Greatest American Hero, and many more. The parsing and specialization of programming has made it very difficult for viewers to find shows that have a broader reach. There are so many shows I enjoy today that I wish I could share with my son (Arrow, Flash, Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, Falling Skies, Defiance, Walking Dead, Modern Family, etc...), but they are simply not appropriate for a 5-year old even though many are based on comics and literature. Likewise, I appreciate some of the children's entertainment like Wild Krats, Miles from Tomorrowland, Phineas and Ferb, etc..., but there's very little entertaining on those shows for the parents (Phineas and Ferb is the lone outlier, but sadly just finished its run).

When I was growing up, more than half the primetime lineup was appropriate for kids under 10, but today, you're lucky to find a couple hours on scripted broadcast TV that fill that need and still entertains adults. Star Wars Rebels is one of the few shows on today that both my son and I enjoy together, but that's buried on Disney XD. The Simpsons is another, but after 25 years, the show is clearly running out of ideas (and lost one of their most versatile voice talents in Harry Shearer). As The Boss once said, "57 Channels and Nothin' On".

So, while the cards are stacked against The Muppets succeeding, I can still hope, and applaud ABC for at least trying to satisfy what I think is a much-needed niche. Regardless the success of the show, I think it's still a valuable IP to maintain and update in the parks.

Edited: July 7, 2015, 3:05 PM

I am not a fan of talking socks, but I totally agree with Russell that there are way too few shows geared toward the whole family these days (Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street on Amazon Prime was a nice exception). If the Muppets can start to fill that gaping hole, then I wish them the best, but I likely won't be watching.

(P/S Has there ever been a LESS family oriented channel that proclaims to be family oriented than ABC Family?)

July 7, 2015, 3:27 PM

Family shows are a misnomer. Just because they are Rated G doesn't mean the whole family will enjoy them. They are designed to appeal to kids first and may be watched by adults, but unlikely. Or they are adult oriented, but made less mature by generous cutting of bad language, sex, and violence. A toned down adult movie doesn't attract kids. A neutered show is boring.

Good family shows should be designed for kids that can appeal to adults. Pixar gets it right that other companies have trouble, including Disney Animation. Pixar has all the animation tricks done right and have characters that express a full range of emotion. Dialog is suitable for kids, yet not so dumbed down for adults.

When it comes to Muppets, it is merely a tame Avenue Q. Let someone from Pixar reinvent it. That Disney keeps trying to push the same tired formula and characters don't help. It is already over and they don't know it.

July 7, 2015, 3:41 PM

Not to mention that MuppetVision (along with most 3D shows) are pretty cheap to run. Just got to pay Sweedums.

July 10, 2015, 11:32 PM

Back to the topic at hand...

$3 billion is not too much, to overhaul a park and get rid of at least half a dozen aging, played out attractions. I hope this is true!

Edited: July 11, 2015, 5:24 AM

Before all the occurring closures, Hollywood Studios was still a half-day park. What I hope to see is those 3 billion dollars being put to good use into making Hollywood Studios a better experience.
As a name, I don't think Hollywood Adventure works very well either, and sounds sort of corny.
As for my input on this Muppet discussion, personally, I'm surprised the Muppets (the 2011 film) only grossed 300 million. I thought that more people would see it due to the Muppets being a pretty big property. I have a bad feeling about the new Muppet Show on ABC. Could be a omen for all I know.
But my point is, 3 billion dollars is a lot of money, but what really matters is what Disney does with it..

July 22, 2015, 10:59 AM

3 billion and 10 years, unitl of course the suits start undercutting and decide to go on the cheap for things. WDW hasn't wowed the crowd with decision making lately. The Fantasyland Expansion was mediocre and perception was that it took too long, with no E-ticket pay off. Pandors at Animal Kingdom is the expansion no one was clamoring for. Hopefilly teh rumored Star Wars expansion won't be mediocre also.

July 25, 2015, 7:29 AM

I think Disney's Hollywood Adventure is a fantastic name. And like it or not, names grow on you.

Think about "Superman". It's no different than "Amazingman" or "Incredibleman", but those sound really corny because we're not used to them.

I still remember when Apple had just announced the iPad. The internet was laughing at the name, calling it the iTampon, making fun of the stupid name. How many people think twice about the name "iPad" today?

Whatever name this park is given, it'll grow on us.

Any infrastructure improvements that help ease the traffic along Lake Buena Vista Drive are welcomed by me, and if part of the $3b is earmarked toward a new entrance layout, I support it 100%. If it allows for expansion of the park as well? Even better.

Like renovating hotel rooms, building a new facility for the resorts's laundry needs, building parking garages and new Vacation Club rooms may not be sexy. But it's necessary, and so are infrastructure improvements.

I just hope a good $1b is dedicated to the park itself. And no Toy Story Playland! Someobody kill me if that happens. Pixar is too important to be dumbed down to copies of Paris and Hong Kong's ugly step-sister land.

D23 is next month, and August is going to be EXCITING!

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