First up, it's not even clear that Disney will build the new land within the current boundaries of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Unlike at Disneyland, DHS is not land-locked by surrounding city streets and outside properties. If Disney wants to expand DHS' boundaries into the surrounding woods, it can. (Pending approval from the South Florida Water Management District, of course. More on that in a moment.)
In California, Disneyland is going to move some backstage facilities to newly acquired property across Harbor Boulevard (and other locations nearby) to clear space for its Star Wars Land expansion. In Florida, Disney World would need to move the access road from World Drive into the DHS parking lot to allow the park to expand into the wooded space south of the park. Disney also could expand the park eastward into the DHS parking lot.
Given that the roads and parking lot around DHS can barely handle its current crowds, it is inevitable that Disney will have to change them to accommodate the larger crowds that Star Wars Land will attract. Even if Disney were to contain all of Star Wars Land within the current boundaries of the park, it would still need to make significant access and parking improvements. Given that Disney called Star Wars Land the largest land expansion in its parks' history, that free land is available around the park, and that the access road in the way will need to be changed (or moved) anyway, it seems a bit much to swiftly assume that Disney would contain all of Star Wars Land within DHS' existing boundaries and not seriously consider a move to expand the boundaries of the park.
Heck, if Disney can expand the land-locked Disneyland for Star Wars Land, there should be no excuse for not expanding the boundaries at DHS, too.
Again, this is assuming that there's not a problem with the water district, which would have the authority to reject a proposal to develop a property if it adversely affected water supply or drainage in the area. (There is a substantial detention pond across Studio Drive from the Lights, Motors, Action stadium, for example.) And it's also assuming that Disney isn't itching to obliterate the southern third of the park, including the Muppets theater, Streets of America, and the Lights, Motors, Action stadium. If either assumption is incorrect, then the 14-acre Star Wars Land is staying within the existing boundaries of the park, and the build site most likely would be on 14 acres southwest from Star Tours all the way back through and including Lights, Motors, Action.
In case you are wondering, the area north of Star Tours, including the Indiana Jones theater and Echo Lake, isn't large enough to get to the announced 14-acre size. But that doesn't guarantee those locations' safety. Disney could opt to build Star Wars Land on a mix of existing and expanded land in and around the current park footprint. Expanding east from the Indiana Jones theater would require taking out some backstage facilities, however, while expanding south of Studio Drive offers no obstacles, save trees.
What about building Star Wars Land on the other side of the park, away from Star Tours? After all, Disneyland's Star Wars Land will be built on the edge of Frontierland, well away from its version of Star Tours, which lies in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. In Disney's Hollywood Studios, the land west of the current Pixar Avenue appears to be slated for the new Toy Story Land, which Disney said would include the Toy Story Midway Mania ride, which is expanding by not relocating. But if Disney tore out all the backstage facilities between the Rock n' Roller Coaster and the old Animation pavilion, all the way west to World Drive, it could carve a 14-acre site there, too.
But why do that, when there's all that open space to the south of the park?
At this point, Disney World has not confirmed its build site for Star Wars Land via Twitter or interviews with the local newspaper, as Disneyland did. But knowing the size of the new development (14 acres) and the current layout of the park, it's not difficult to see the options that Disney World has in finding a site for Star Wars Land.
Update:We will know the exact site for Star Wars Land when permit applications show up on the South Florida Water Management District website. You can find out how to search that site and others for upcoming theme park attractions on our How to Research New Theme Park Construction Projects page. (Just be sure to post anything you find to our discussion forum!)
My sources tell me that Disney plans to file permits to reroute S. Studio Dr and to remove those backstage buildings behind Indy, as mentioned above.
This is a no-brainer. Don't mess it up.
It's okay that you didn't actually read Robert's article, because in it, he stated:
In case you are wondering, the area north of Star Tours, including the Indiana Jones theater and Echo Lake, isn't large enough to get to the announced 14-acre size.
Is that you Mr. Stafford (my grade 12 English teacher)?
We should speculate on the next things to go for they no longer fit the vision of Star Wars and Toy Story. They need to recover 28 acres total:
1. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular
2. New York Street
3. Muppets Vision 3D
4. Residential Street
5. Lights, Motors, Action
6. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set
7. Backlot Tour facilities
The Chinese Theater could be the dividing line. The east is Toy Story Land and utilizing the closed backlot virgin territory. The west is Star Wars Land and utilizing the outdated unpopular attractions and backlot scenery and going into the woods possibly.
It would make sense to do Toy Story Land first with the virgin backlot. Then Star Wars Land with more attractions closures and more disruption.
They should just make a show starring Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks (ducks to avoid tomatoes)
So I used the tool on DHS. I included the entire New York area right up to where it abuts the stupid car show as well as neighboring New York St. On the other side of Star Tours I included the Backlot Express, Indy, the American Idol/Sounds Dangerous building and Echo Lake. I ignored any building touching Hollywood Blvd, including the 50s Prime Time Cafe, and I ignored the backstage buildings behind Indy and the Backlot Express, and I left out the Honey play area also. I got 627,000 square feet, give or take. 14 acres is just under 610,000. So the Star Wars expansion could easily fit into the current area.
Which, frankly, I think Disney will do. They need to see how much interest there is before expanding out in unknown territory. We all know interest will be high, but Disney is more interested in pleasing stockholders than in pleasing the people that go to the parks. They would love nothing more than to have the "First Phase" of Star Wars Land be a Cars Land-level success, then they wouldn't have to even bother expanding. The Disney motto is "Why spend a billion when half that did the trick?"
If they do ever expand, then they can do so easily into the area south of this "land" or into that stupid car stunt show. But nobody should expect to see anything for quite awhile, because I suspect Toy Story is coming first. I cannot see them closing down two more attractions - Muppets and Indy - without opening SOMETHING, and I don't think the new theater by RnRC is something new. I think it's going to be the new home for Little Mermaid or Playhouse Disney or both. I can't see them holding onto Little Mermaid after opening the ride - they kind of feature the same songs and storyline - but it's still fairly popular, so who knows. Regardless, with both those shows gone, the only thing left in Animation Courtyard/Mickey Ave will be One Man's Dream, which can be easily transferred elsewhere. In fact, it could go into the new theater also (it was presented as "multi-use"). Toy Story could literally be built without closing down another attraction. They CANNOT close down another attraction!!! They know they're pushing it as is.
Looking at the concept art for Toy Storybookland (TM me!), It looks like the middle section will be "Andy's Backyard", with Midway Mania pointing at the walkway to the similarly-themed Slinky Dog coaster. In the general area of Animation Courtyard will be the Woody-themed area, which will most likely connect to the expanded RnRC/Multi-Use Theater courtyard. The other side could be Buzz-themed (the Aliens are here), but it looks like Midway Mania has a new entrance (Pixar Place is GONE) and it faces this courtyard, so it's all probably going to be carnival-themed. The Little Green Men spinner will probably come off as the claw game, and I bet the little building to the left of Midway Mania will be actual carnival games. Or a meet-n-greet, because there simply aren't enough of those!
So two attractions and three themed mini-lands could open before they close down the Muppets and Indy for Star Wars. The rides are inexpensive, as is the rest of the land, so this really shouldn't take more than 2 years IF THEY START NOW! Even New Fantasyland was more difficult than this! They could - and probably will - do it in phases. The Woody area appears to be ride-free, with a barn that appears to be ANOTHER character meet-n-greet. That could open in less than a year! The Midway area shouldn't take much longer as the spinner is uncomplicated. A completed throughway from RnRC to the car show could be completed in 18 months! The only construction walls after that could be to the entrance to the coaster.
When that ridiculous $3B expansion rumor started, I TOTALLY called crap on it because I said Disney wouldn't spend money on the Pixar expansion. They went even cheaper than expected! This looks like a B-ticket and a C-ticket, but considering how few things in this park actually move, maybe trading two aging shows for two any-tickets is acceptable. The theming looks to be cute, but not as immersive as Harry Potter. In fact, the coaster looks like WDW came up with a solution on how to make Cars Land but still be cheap about it. (Roller coaster is WAY cheaper than the Test Track ride system! And no mountain range!) That said, Disney fans should go wild over it. It's Pixar's Harry Potter, there will be more places to meet characters and, undoubtedly, a bunch of new places to eat. They needed SOMETHING quick and cheap, and they at least improved upon the mess that is Paris's Toy Storylandia. (Though I will NOT be surprised if some flat rides show up in the Midway area!) There certainly seems to be room for bigger and better rides here.
In fact, what is that building to the left of the spinner??? It looks suspiciously haunted-housey, which works with the midway theme. In fact, it is shaped kind of like Mystic Manor. I don't know enough about MM to know whether it is even possible to retheme it to something Toy Story, but is that building ever a sore thumb in the concept art! It looks kind of blue and green so maybe it's just a poorly drawn Buzz Lightyear meet-n-greet!
Anyhow, Star Wars shouldn't even get started for two years, and it'll be a good three years after that before we see anything. 2020 AT THE EARLIEST! And AT LEAST $2B shy of that rumored $3B!
This could be the place Star Wars Land could go or they could move the south edge of the park outwards and build new where the access road and parking lot toll area is now. As Robert said, look for the water management district permit applications to get a better adea.
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The main problem I hope Disney will fix is the flow of the park. The infrastructure is a mess and it's confusing to navigate.