Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been moving away from its roots as a film and animation studio for awhile now, but with new additions and changes to existing attractions, it seems set to become a celebration of movies.
As attractions began closing, rumors circled about what Disney’s plans were for the smallest of its four theme parks. Last summer, American Idol gave away its last golden ticket, and shortly after, the Backlot Tour permanently ceased production. This year, the popular Animation Studio closed its doors, the Sorcerer's Hat was removed, and we bid farewell to one of the last remaining traces of what the park as a working studio used to be. These closures left the Studios with unused space just waiting to be filled with new experiences and attractions.
Along with the closures, the park has begun to see new additions and refreshing changes to current attractions. Most have been small, but the sensation is building that something big is coming to Hollywood Studios. The opening of Trolley Car Café welcomed Starbucks to Hollywood. The Great Movie Ride gained a sponsor in Turner Classic Movies. The Hyperion Theater became the new home of Frozen: A First Time in Forever Sing-a-Long. Most recently, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular has modified its storyline to more closely reflect the beloved film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
With these small changes, it seems Hollywood Studios is creating a new vision for the park. No longer a working film and animation studio, the current nomenclature is inaccurate, and with the accidental confirmation of a name change, it seems the Studios are primed for a new focus. Whether it will be Pixar, Star Wars/Lucasfilm or Marvel has been widely speculated over the last several months, and now with revelations from the D23 Expo, we have some answers!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to both a Star Wars themed land AND an expanded Toy Story land. Details released at the D23 Expo included the announcement of a third track for the immensely popular Toy Story Midway Mania attraction, as well as the addition of a Green Alien attraction featuring “The Claw” and a Slinky Dog family coaster. The 14-acre Star Wars area will feature two attractions, one that allows guests to fly aboard the Millennium Falcon and another that places guests in the middle of a battle with the First Order. The immersive land will also be home to familiar venues like the Mos Eisley Cantina (serving blue milk!) along with other restaurants and merchandise locations that might be found in the Star Wars universe.
With these huge additions coming to the park over the next several years, we can’t help but wonder what else is in store for the Studios. Despite closing the curtains on the days of live studio production and animation, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, under whatever name it may be, will remain “the Hollywood that never was – and always will be.”
What do you think of all the changes? What do you hope Disney's Hollywood Studios will become? Share in comments below!