Get ready for history to repeat itself. It looks as though Kalogridis and his team have gotten the green light for a project to remake the Disney's Hollywood Studios park on a scale similar to what Disney just finished at California Adventure.
The projects will share one very large component -- Cars Land, the highlight of the California Adventure makeover, will come to Florida as part of the Hollywood Studios revamp, according to multiple insider sources. But it won't necessarily be the highlight of the changes coming to the park.
That's because Disney's Hollywood Studios is also getting…
Star Wars Land.
Yep. Multiple sources have told me the long-awaited dream of theme park geeks everywhere is actually happening. Disney's moving ahead with both Cars Land and Star Wars Land at the Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.
From what I'm hearing, Cars Land will replace the Lights, Motors, Action auto stunt show as well as Catastrophe Canyon on the southern edge of the park, providing a logical extension to the existing Pixar Place. The demise of the Backstage Tour also would free up space for an additional attraction in Pixar Place (Monsters Inc? Incredibles?), but I've not yet heard any chatter about that happening in this phase of the park remake.
So what about Star Wars Land? The logical places for that expansion would be on either side of the existing Star Tours ride. From what I've heard, it appears that the expansion would take out the area between Star Tours and the auto stunt show stadium, including the Muppet theater and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area. But I've also heard of consideration of going in the opposite direction, which would place the new land on the site of the Backlot Express restaurant and Indiana Jones stunt show theater. Given that the Indy theater's used for several other events throughout the year, and that both the Muppets and Honey I Shrunk the Kids attractions long ago passed the height of their popularity, I'm hearing more forceful arguments for the first option.
This appears to be a five-year project, putting completion in 2018, though Disney could choose to throw money at it and accelerate it by a year.
Imagine a future Disney's Hollywood Studios with Star Wars Land, Cars Land and Pixar Place anchoring the southern half of the park, with Sunset Boulevard, featuring Tower of Terror and Rock 'n Roller Coaster, anchoring the north end. After many months of Universal Orlando pummeling Disney with one popular new expansion after another -- Harry Potter, Transformers, Springfield, and more Harry Potter -- it appears that Disney might, finally, be ready to strike back.Tweet
Adding omni-movers and meet n' greets will only get you so far. Time for Disney to put up or shut up.
I don't understand the Disney time frame. There used to be something new to see every year or two at WDW. With four parks, how is there not an e-ticket opening every year, even if it's a clone of something that already exists in another park?
I understand from the cost perspective the desire to replicate projects, but I wish they wouldn't in this case. California Adventure deserves a signature, can't experience it anywhere else attraction. Disney Hollywood Studios deserves the same as well.
I think the secondary Disney parks (basically anything that isn't a magic kingdom park) should be unique & have signature attractions & lands.
DCA, Epcot, AK, DHS, TDS, WDSP all are different parks for a reason.
Star Wars land is obviously a huge addition, but it would have been cool if the other land would have been based on a different property (Monstropolis, Incredibles, Wall-E) something brand new!
Anyway, both Carsland & Star Wars land will be a big makeover for DHS!
That elicited a few reactions from people who, uh, know things. They told me that while they agreed that Disney World has been slow with new attractions in the recent past, things were changing. And that's led me to several conversations over the past day, ultimately resulting in this post.
Reading between the lines of my online conversations, it's apparent to me that there are many people at Disney who are over have to sit aside and watch while Universal Orlando claims so much fan love online. They're proud of what they can do, and they want to show off, too.
To use a Star Wars metaphor, they want to go off on Universal like the Death Star went off on Alderaan. So the Battle of Orlando is on. And theme park fans will be the winners.
Let's talk timing now. I can't imagine Disney opening both of these lands at the same time. Given the head start on development thanks to having done Cars Land once already, let's assume that it debuts first. Let's say in 2017. That gives us Star Wars Land in 2018. Throw in Avatar in 2016 and you've got Disney World's line-up for the rest of the decade, following Seven Dwarfs next year.
That leaves a hole in 2015, but that's Disneyland's 60th anniversary, so perhaps Disney will be happy to let the focus shine on the west coast that year.
the mention of them getting rid of the muppets theater is kind of disturbing since they are relaunching that franchise with a sequel of the muppets coming next year. Also who doesn't love the muppets? I can not see that attraction leaving the park, revamping yes but not demolish.
But if they go vertical for parking, they could actually reclaim some the parking lot and turn into into more Park space.
AND to throw in Cars Land, too! That's totally awesome!
In regard to Star Wars Land, I'd think that removal of the American Idol building would free up a bunch of space to expand. IMO, it's time to send AI packing as it really is dwindling in popularity.
2015 Soarin redo
2016 Star Wars
the next two years belong to Uni for sure but disney can change things quickly
If you look at DHS in Google Earth or satellite view on Google Maps, you'll see that the southern entrance road and toll plaza runs just behind the Star Tours building. Disney could expand into the open woods behind Star Tours, but it would need to reroute the entrance road to do that first.
Plus, much of that "open land" is, in reality, woodland bordering on swampland. There's a *ton* of environmental-impact and land and water work involved in developing that land. Taking down something already in the park instead? That's a piece of cake, from an administrative point of view.
So it's much, much cheaper for Disney to redevelop something already in the park. And if that something includes attractions that aren't driving the fan passion that moves admission and vacation sales, it's pretty easy to justify replacing them with something new that will elicit that fan passion.
Only issue with going other direction besides Muppets closing would be how to keep Osbourne Lights intact. Can't see the lights leaving DHS.
They're probably trying to make it feel more like Universal Singapore where you're immersed in the world of the movie. This would be opposed to when the MGM and Universal parks first opened where you would just be at a studio or movie set.
Star Wars MUST come first. The solution to where to build is simple.
- Knock down American Idol, Backlot Express, and Indy Stunt Show.
- Build a HUGE parking structure where most of Television parking lot is.
- Build one e-ticket super headliner thrill attraction (Hoth battle?) and AT LEAST 2 other B or C attractions.
- Build at least two eateries, one would obviously be the Cantina.
- Several "themed areas" for street entertainment, character greets, etc.
These are huge areas and could easily accommodate all of this. And it wouldn't even have to touch echo lake or muppets, leaving part of the charm of old MGM Studios intact. And if more room is needed, take more of Television parking lot and adjust the parking garage size and placement.
In regards to Disneyland rushing these projects to completion, I think it's unlikely. They still have the lion's share of the market (despite the quality offerings from Universal) and I think our view as Theme Park freaks is skewed (and our opinion of Disney's lack of development in recent time). The average Orlando tourists do not keep up with park developments as we do. They go there for the holiday with Disneyworld being the number one attraction - such is the power of their brand recognition. Universal and Sea World do not have that same power (although it is likely increasing). I think Disney will be happy to not have the extra outlay with expediting these projects because they already have the business. Financially it MAY not be worth it.
In doing Star Wars Disney has huge power now. It is a long standing franchise with a fan base as large (or larger) than Harry Potter. The biggest advantage is that Harry Potter as a creative franchise is for the forseeable future finished. There are no new books and no new films. Without future development of the franchise there is nothing to stop it becoming a "fad". There is risk with Universal that in future years Harry Potter land may become obsolete, with younger audiences having moved onto the latest thing and unable to relate to it (this will be delayed by the sheer brilliance of the lands of course). The idea of Lord of the Rings has similar limitations.
Star Wars in contrast is an ongoing concern, with new movies, television shows, books and comics (and everything else). As such there is very little risk in a Star Wars land ever becoming outdated, and new additions will most likely always be a possibility.
Ultimately, we the consumer win with this new development. It also means that at some point in the future, unless DLR receives a Star Wars land, I'm going to have to deal with an added 7-8 hour transit time to experience what I feel would be the ultimate in theme park experience (long time Star Wars fan that I am).
Changes I would love to see:
-Magic Kingdom: I was hoping for a villains themed land, I heard that rumor years ago and I am sad it never came to fruition! Maybe move Liberty Square to the World Showcase and have the Haunted Mansion surrounded by other villain-type attractions/shops.
-EPCOT getting an update, for a land of tomorrow, it looks incredibly 80s.
-EPCOT World Showcase featuring more unique pieces from the countries instead of WDW souvenirs that can be bought at any shop. Japan's store is great with the inexpensive souvenirs and candies.
When the rumors first started coming in about Cars Land coming to DHS, I was not a fan of the idea. But now that it looks like the expansion is inevitable, I can live with it, especially over LMA and a very, very tired Backlot Tour.
Plus, if they place Star Wars Land in the best location, we'll see the demise of the Muppets at last! Best rumor of the day! I cannot stand talking socks! YES!
Thank you, Universal for starting this war!!! It looks like in the end, as true theme park fans have been saying for years, WE THE PEOPLE are the VICTORS!!!
Incidentally, DHS will be THE theme park destination on the East coast - maybe in the United States - maybe even in the world - come 2018.
The conversion of Muppets from film to digital is no reason to keep it. If you know anything about conversion process then you're aware that it's a minimal investment.
The exhibition industry is in the process this year of phasing out prints and with the exception of IMAX it's going to be very costly and hard to find someone to make prints come next year. Even IMAX is in the process of converting their ground up built 15/70 houses (which sucks).
Down with the Muppets. It was NEVER a good attraction (average at best).
Having said that, I hope they will find a way to keep Muppets in the Park. It's something the whole family, and many age ranges and different types of people, can enjoy. It could use an update though.... (as any film focused attraction usually will every few years anyway).
Parking is definitely a concern at DHS. With expansion comes changes, and I think that everybody will deal with it just fine (whatever they might be). If you get the plans, please share as we would all really like to know what attractions are going where. Exciting times!
1. The Muppets are closing because its past its prime? No it's not, Disney just made a movie 2 years ago and another coming next year.
2.Why Cars? That was a bad film. disney should just make...Meh.
Goodness knows there are PLENTY of planets/lands that could be developed, much like an "Islands of Adventure" concept, especially if they'd consider branching out into the expanded universe.
I hope Disney doesn't screw this one up.
The problem always with Disney Hollywood Studios is that it is hard to expand on the park because of limited space. What they should do is first figure out what to do with the parking lot because it is already a problem. They should first expand the parking lot.
With now more parking, they can move some of the park into the already existing parking lot, mainly for 'said' Star Wars land. I would think that they would want to complete Star Wars land by 2016. I honestly won't be surprised if Epsidoe 7 is pushed back to 2016.
As far as Cars Land, I think it is a bad idea to mimic it from California Adventure. They should expand Pixar Place to a Pixar Land. It allows more variety and creative flexibility then having a Cars Land. This way they can still build Radiator Springs if they feel like it and maybe some rides dedicated to other Pixar movies like Monsters Inc, Incredibles, and others. This land as expected should replace the car stunt show and backstage tour.
I hope they keep the New York and San Fransico themed streets and the Muppets courtyard. However, all of this is in the hands of Disney, I just hope they don't mess it up.
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is a popular show AND its stage is also used for special events and conventions, not to mention that it is another partial Lucas project acquired from the acquisition, so it would be good to keep. I also think that Pizza Planet could be torn down and relocated close to Pixar Ave possibly where the Studio Catering Company currently is and again, the former location could become Star Wars themed.
I would really hate to see Muppet Vision 3D as we also have acquired Jim Henson Productions and have NO other attractions or shows to represent that other than that one..... Not to mention the nostalgia of
knowing that that was the LAST project that Jim Henson personally
had his hands on! I still hear stories from Cast Members who spoke
with him while he was there and told of what a cool and nice guy he
was...... That he was so good to his employees.
Because the park is no longer an actual working studio, I understand that it needs a retheme and because we don't actually have a back lot or any sound stages used for production anymore, it makes sense to rid of the Back Lot Tour. I would however, HATE to see Lights Motors Action leave because it is the only one in the U.S, it caters to the action, adrenaline, and testosterone filled, and motor enthusiast which we only cater to at DHS. I think that possibly the show COULD be rethemed to Cars and rewritten, but I like the idea of an auto stunt show as it is again, unique at Disney World and is only also in Disneyland Paris.
There are so many more ideas I could add, but I just wanted to stick with the topics at hand and the project themes that more than likely will occur.
The modifications suggested by Robert Niles to build Cars Land seems to be logical, and there is no explanation why this couldn’t be ready in 2016, since the land is already there and they have the plans from DCA in their hands, there is no development time.
But for SW, Disney should aim high. They could transform the restaurant near Star Tours in a Mos Eisley Cantina, and make the road between them in SW land entrance. They could build a passage over the road to the woodland / swampland behind Star Tours and create a big lake there (that would solve the swampland problem) with planets around it, à la Epcot’s World Showcase.
Disney could add a new planet every 2 years, so they would have new attractions there for 2 decades.
The park is pretty small and doesn't have that many attractions. It would seem logical to deal with what should be some pretty large crowds in the future that it would be necessary to expand the park beyond it's current borders as well as keep existing attractions.
I am excited to see further confirmation of this rumor. I love Star Wars and can not wait to see a whole area dedicated to it. Cars wasn't that great of a movie but it looks like the attraction is top notch and its a logical addition to Pixar Place. Now let's hope for the Monster's Inc. coaster.
Move Star Wars Land into Sounds Dangerous and American Idol locations. Taking out Back Lot Express would cut into food locations unless they themed it as the Cantina perhaps?
My point is that if you're going to build an expansive new land, why not come up with something UNIQUE?
The creativity, resources, finances & talent are all there, sure you can use carsland as an insipration, but I'm just saying it would be cool to see something different! Something you can only find at DHS.
As it's been mentioned, many people can't afford to go to both, & I agree & understand, but most won't care if they have something EQUALLY impressive.
That said, I'm think DLR might be getting a marvel themed land if stars wars is going to DHS (or they'll just "duplicate" it :-)
But I also think Disney World should take all the stuff from backlot tours and build A museum in Epcot. Where Journey Imagination Pavilion is. It might take a little bit from one mans dream but a whole complex to disney history would be very cool and would probably get more revenue in Epcot. Then maybe get rid of 1 mans dream and rename the new 1 in epcot 1 mans dream. And they can use the 1 man dreams pavilion for something else maybe a pixar ride or something like that.
Glad to see they are finally stepping up to the plate and expanding. All you Disneyphiles have UOR to thank for this.
1. Speeder Chase Ride- Even though Attack of the Clones wasn't the best, that scene is pretty cool.
2. Something with Hoth
3. Mos Eisley
4. A life size model of the Death Star (just kidding)
One has only to look at what Universal is doing to see that cloning is the wave of the future. It is quicker, cheaper, and less risky to clone a popular attraction/land than to build something brand new. At least give Disney props for attempting Star Wars Land - a somewhat new, definitely underused property - in this expansion as well.
At any rate, I must admit that I too feel Cars Land would be best suited to be a singular DCA experience, but at this point I will take just about anything new at DHS. And if it means cloning something that is already a bona fide hit, then so be it.
And while Disney is at it, can they clone Mystic Manor as well? It would be at home in a new, fully rethemed Imagination Pavilion at Epcot....
There: you now have access to a big area which part woodland and part parking lot. Develop the woodland area first. With expansion into the parking lot are building up---just multi deck an a joining parking lot and use visual screens to keep it out of sight of the crowd--or theme the visable side to SW.
So what would happen with the muppets, surely they'd want to be promoting the muppets in some way since they are rebooting the franchise. Wasn't they meant to be putting in the build-a-muppet store?
I do love the idea of a full on star wars land though, i hope it's going to be truly original and unique
Apology excepted, Goofy.
As for Cars - It sounds great and looks great - but aren't the basic structures of Cars and the Epcot car ride basically the same? Isn't it kind of like putting the sameish ride next door? All the other stuff that goes with it will be awesome though... You would think it will be an easy decision.. if the CARS themed hotel is doing well in wdw - than the area will too. AHHHH - Maybe they will come up with a Star Wars themed hotel - too! OMG.
"Lights, Motors, Action" and the "Backlot Tour" are aged features that were in need of retirement years ago, and had been getting short-shrift in attention for some time. I remember when LMA was a huge deal at DHS, but now it hardly attracts much attention. With its production work now gone, Disney needs to ditch the moviemaking theme of DHS because, frankly, its no longer relevant. Parkgoers are no longer compelled by forced-perspective movie street sets, and even venerable attractions such as Muppets3D are growing long of tooth.
Anyone not thinking Star Wars Land at DHS won't do phenomenal business is fooling themselves. This will be a monumental project and, if done right, could be a blockbuster success. A completely immersive Star Wars environment will prove an immense success. I just hope Disney puts better creative thought and energy into it than was implemented for the New Fantasyland at WDW Magic Kingdom.
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