Where Will Disney Build Star Wars Land? Part Two, Disney's Hollywood Studios
This morning we talked about Disney's build site for the new Star Wars Land at Disneyland Park in California. Disney also has announced that Star Wars Land will be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. But the answer to the question of where within that park Disney will build this new land is less clear.
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.)
Google Maps' satellite view of Disney's Hollywood Studios
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.
I sure hope they expend the park beyond it's current boundaries. The park is small and it helps the backlot area is going to get more traffic due to Toy Story land but some extra land could help the park greatly and would keep space free to offer new rides in the future, something the park still lacks even after the expansion is done.
My dreams may be coming true, after all! An actual expansion of this tiny park! Lol.
I've read that the executive heading Star Wars Land comes from Universal. Could this be a will from Disney to build quickly and within "tight" boudaries as it was done with Potter and Transformers?
I really hope they leave Muppet Theater alone...not a fan of the whole addition by subtraction thing Disney seems to love...just because you are building a few new attractions doesn't mean you need to close down another. It's a great opportunity to work towards DHS being a full day experience...plus, crowd eating 3D shows are never a bad thing to have.
It's difficult to picture 14 acres, but what size area would Echo lake and the Indiana Jones stage take up? Would that be enough?
On a completely other note, wherever they put the new lands, I hope they work towards creating a better defined layout for the DHS park. The whole "mass of streets and buildings that blend into each other, much like a real motion picture studio" design doesn't really work for me.
I think the interesting thing will be, how do they incorporate all time favorite characters like Darth Vader and Yoda into a world where they technically no longer exist?
B Goodwin asks:
Busted for skimming...
Looks like Star Wars could be anywhere, but if you look on Google maps and the Toy Story Land Concept art, on the map, the building below the building slated for the second track resembles the show building on the concept art all the way to the left. It has the same tiny "bridge" connecting the two buildings and then forms a L. They both even have a sort of rectangular court yard, the concept art showing it filled with trees. So I think it may stretch out towards the studio backlot tour and honey I shrunk the kids playground areas.
Based on Disneyland's Star Wars Land's plans, they want to build on virgin territory more than change out existing infrastructure. Therefore, I have to conclude they don't necessarily want to change the Hollywood theme at Echo lake at the theaters on the south side and the stores and restaurants on the north side. Echo Lake is a big space waster. They should remove it, but maybe this is the water drainage issue, nonetheless, the space should be recovered so Disney has more space for crowds during the fireworks shows.
I'm willing to bet the land takes up the area behind Star Tours as well as Muppet Vision's area.
I was also trying to wrap my head around how big 14 acres is myself. According to Wikipedia (Here's your grain of salt...) Cars Land at DCA is 12 acres in size. That helps put the scope of the new Star Wars land into clearer perspective for me.
You know what screw the millenium falcon ride and the other ride.
Surely this is part Artoo, with the previous being Obi-Wan. Looking forward to part Threepio :p
For those trying to imagine 14 acres, I did an overlay last night that covered Star Tours, Indiana Jones, and the restaurant in between. Total size was just under 8 acres.
The Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular may be a bit outdated and in need of an update, but it is NOT an unpopular attraction. In fact, he continues to play to Standing Room Only crowds. Also, with new INDY films on the drawing boards at Disney/Lucasfilm it seems unlikely that they would want to scrap the lone attraction the franchise has at WDW. Regardless, I think it would be a mistake to close it. Just update it instead.
I used the Google Maps measuring tool and got about 13 acres for Cars Land. If I remove the building I think is used for parades, I'm right around 12 acres.
I think we're missing the bigger picture - where's the Ewok "yub-nub" boat ride going to go?
An acre is about 208 ft by 208 ft. and 14 acres is about 400 ft by 1500 ft. At DHS, this includes the entire area southwest from Backlot Express to behind Lights Motor Action and Catastrophe Canyon, including Star Tours & Muppets area & Streets of America & backlot tour turn-around area.
The more Star Wars Disney adds, the less the ticket price hikes (and elimination of the NX option) bother me. I have no desire to experience anything Star Wars related.
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