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News & Rumors

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World

 

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----    THE LATEST BUZZ    ----
    (9/18/14) Toy Story Mania Expansion (MORE...)
    (9/2/14) New Starbucks Coming to Hollywood Studios Park (MORE...)
    (8/19/14) American Idol Closing Early (MORE...)
    (7/11/14) How Would You Update and Expand Disney's Hollywood Studios? (MORE...)

Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
American Idol Experience - NOW CLOSED FOREVER
Fantasmic! - Nov. 19 through Nov. 21, 2014

 

icon_STOPGeneral Park News - (9/18/14) While we’ve heard about the rumored expansion that could add another track to the Toy Story Mania dark ride at the Studios inside the Stage 1 area, the latest update at WDW News Today mentions that the temporary Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post currently located on Stage 1 will be closed and removed after September 28th. Could this be to open up the space for this new construction project, or is it simply time for Oaken’s to go?
    (9/2/14) Disney has confirmed that a new Starbucks location will open at Disney’s Hollywood Studio theme park in early 2015. It will be called the Trolley Car Café and will be themed to look like a classic trolley car station along Hollywood Blvd.
    (8/19/14) Walt Disney World has decided to shut down the American Idol Experience attraction far earlier than previously announced. The new final date is now August 30th.
    (7/11/14) It’s always fun to dream about how you would change and improve any given theme park, and some of us have taken that passion and creativity to a new level. ThemeParkTourist is working with S.W. Wilson to begin a series of write-ups about how they would give each theme park an ultimate makeover. They start off the series with a look at what they would like to see done with Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The plan includes Ratatouille, Muppet Studios, Metroville, Star Wars Outpost and much more. The only thing I missing that I’d like to see is a Tron coaster and maybe Cars Land. Check it out!
    (7/8/14) DisneyAtWork.com claims that Disney may be ready to move ahead with plans to expand Toy Story Mania by adding another ride system that will be built inside the soundstage area next door in order to increase guest throughput. Even years after it has opened, Toy Story Mania still has the longest line in the park, with FastPass bookings filling up shortly after the park opens each day.
    So will it happen?  I can say that I’ve heard this exact same rumor for years, on and off, as the site of the proposed expansion is often pitched to be used to build other ride concepts instead… ranging over the years from a Crush Coaster or Monster’s Inc dark ride/coaster, only to be pondered to expand Toy Story Mania once again. While it would be a good idea to do this, I still have to wonder after all this time, if perhaps they couldn’t find a way to increase the number of riders per vehicle instead. The Toy Story cars are quite bulky, and I’ve often wondered if they could redesign them to be more open and seat three across instead per row, though this would also likely result in them being forced to upgrade the games to handle the extra player as well.
    (7/7/14) MouseSteps has posted a review of the Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios which offers you a number of perks to make your day visiting the new additional ‘Frozen’ themed additions to the park more enjoyable. For those that are huge Frozen fans, I’m told that you should really enjoy the various special events in the park… if you can deal with the crowds, but paying the upcharge for the Premium Package will help you cope with that of course.
    (7/2/14) According to photo reports on Twitter and Instagram, there was a bit of a wreck during a performance of Lights, Motors, Action at the Studios on Tuesday afternoon. According to this one picture post, all the drivers are fine, but the incident was scary to watch.
    In fact, a video of the actual accident has been posted to Instagram here… you can see how the hero car (red) takes that final jump out of the building at too high of a speed, catches way too much air and slams the back of the car into the overhead crossbeam at the bottom of the landing ramp.
    (6/30/14) In what seems like an attempt to draw some attention away from all the Potter / Diagon Alley hype down the road at Universal Orlando, Disney is launching a summer of temporary Frozen themed entertainment additions to plus their Disney’s Hollywood Studios park for the rest of the summer. Starting July 5th and running daily through to September 1st, the following will be added to the Studios.
    Olaf on Summer Vacation – Apparently Olaf will chime in throughout the park’s PA system throughout the day to update everyone on his Summer adventures.
    Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome – 11am each day Allan & Elsa will be brought down Hollywood Blvd in a horse-drawn sleigh along with an assortment of other friends… parade style, where they will be welcomed to the park at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage.
    For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – in the Premier Theater daily.
    Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Build inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his coustins have created an unique Frozen themed funland along with a wide assortment of Frozen merchandise.
    at 5:30p pm each evening the “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party will take over the Sorcerer’s Hat stage area with a live band and DJ.
    And ending it all each evening will be a special “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular at 9:45 pm.
    (6/17/14) According to a tweet from WDW News Today, Disney management is said to have confirmed to the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular cast and crew that the rumors of the show’s closure are not true. Only the American Idol show will close down in January 2015.
    I’m a bit torn on the issue myself… as the show is still a fantastic attraction, but it is also very long in the tooth and has hardly changed at all over the years. I’d be down with keeping it if they were to consider adding some new scenes and stunt sets, replacing some of the other less spectacular moments, or sections where the show gets a bit long and drawn out.
    (6/16/14) According to a report at Attractions Magazine, the American Idol Experience show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will come to an end in January 2015. In the update posted there, Disney themselves have now confirmed this as fact after the rumor leaked shortly after the show’s cast were informed late last week.
    On a possible related note, DisneyAtWork has also posted that their sources tell them that the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! will also close down around the same time period. While this original park attraction is really long overdue for a major makeover, the site that the show is located on was also earmarked to be repurposed for the rumored new Star Wars themed land. Perhaps we will see some progress on this amazing new concept at long last.   
    (6/11/14) In an interesting move, Disney has decided to promote their new Guardians of the Galaxy movie from Marvel Studios with an exclusive 3D preview that will play not only at Disneyland (in the old Captain EO theater), but also inside Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios theme park inside the ABC Sound Studio, starting on July 4th.
    This actually marks the first time we will see Marvel characters presented in any form (other than merchandise) within Walt Disney World, though following the terms of the contract they will not apparently refer to them as a Marvel product in the WDW promotional area. Theme wise, as the Guardians inhabit their own little corner of the Marvel Universe far away from the rest of the regular Marvel characters, they are not part of the related ‘family’ of heros/villains that have been put to use at Islands of Adventure which seems to allows them to slip through a legal loophole in the Marvel/Universal deal according to a report at ThemeParkInsider.
    (6/10/14) MouseSteps has posted some fun pictures from Star Wars Weekends, featuring the first ever appearance of Mark Hamill and some interesting video clips from his interview show at the park where he talks about everything, even his work as voicing The Joker for so many years. There is a great video having Mark Hamill voice a quick conversation between Luke Skywalker and The Joker that is just fantastic.

    (6/6/14) Disney has confirmed that a new separate ticket required event will take place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this year on August 23rd called Villains Unleashed. The idea is that pretty much every Disney villain in the universe (over 50) will drop into the park that night for a one-night only party where you can get up-close and personal with your favorite villain, watch the Hades Hangout & Dance Party show, Oogie Boogie’s Vareity Show, see a special Star Wars villain zone, and new special Villain themed pre-show for the night’s viewing of Fantasmic as well as the new Villainy in the Skies fireworks show. Of course there will be special food and merchandise to be had, along with ride time on your favorite parks attractions, including Twilight Zone, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours. This will also be a rare opportunity for you to “dress up” as your own favorite villain and show your Disney side.
    It will cost you $67 bucks to get in (Children are $62) and there will be a limited number of tickets sold, but all in all, this almost sounds like a more mature and adult version of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party… which could be a lot of fun. I’m just wondering why they are having this in August and not in September or October.
    (5/20/14) A fun photo update from the start of Star Wars Weekends has been posted to OrlandoParksNews. You can also see the Star Wars: Symphony in the Stars fireworks show over at DaMouse.

 

icon_STOP???? - MuppetVision 2 - Rumor - (8/20/2014) The end of the latest MiceChat update mentions that the long rumored on again/off again proposal to make a new film for MuppetVision 3D is not only still in development, but just may be up to finally get green lit in the near future.

 

???? - Star Wars Land - Canceled or On Hold - (11/10/13) In something about as close to an official confirmation as you can get before the big official press release, Bob Iger seems to have just confirmed that Star Wars themed lands are in the way to both of Disney’s domestic theme park resorts in the near future. Check out the details over at Disney & More.
    (7/17/13) According to a report at Disney & More we might see some new mission segments added to Star Tours 2 in 2015, featuring characters and destinations from the new film hitting theaters that same year. If true, this would launch at both Disneyland in California and the Hollywood Studios park in Florida.
    (6/27/13) New rumors are flowing about what we might see added to the park with a possible mini Star Wars Land, and there is an interesting twist to it all now. It seems the plan to bring Star Wars Land to life may actually be divided into two phases.
    Phase 1 would open rather quickly and see a Star Wars themed outdoor kiddie ride of some kind added, possibly the addition of a Cantina restaurant with Star Wars themed food items as a replacement for the Backlot Express restaurant which would be demolished for the new ride. Meanwhile an new and more impressive version of the Jedi Academy show (likely with a new name) would take up residence in a new indoor air-conditioned setting inside the old Sound Dangerous theater building.
    Phase 2 is a little more tricky, as the rumors suggest that the main focus of this phase would be to add a very large E-Ticket Star Wars themed thrill ride to the park. It gets even more interesting when I’m hearing that this massive thrill ride may be set to replace The Great Movie Ride. I’ve heard it mentioned that the building could be reused and I’ve heard it may be torn down, but either way it also sounds like the old Mann’s Chinese Theater façade out front may be doomed either way as the park prepares to also remove the giant sorcerer’s hat as well.
    The crazy thing is that there are even rumors about removing the nearby Echo Lake area as well, as it sounds like the park is ready to relaunch itself and may be in need of a new icon of some kind. If all those removal rumors are true, it seems almost strange that the American Idol show theater may sit untouched in the middle of it all… but we’re talking about long term plans over the next 5-7 years, and no one may care at all about American Idol by then. (As if they still do now…)
   More on this as it leaks out… but the rumors are starting to get juicy.
    (6/17/13) Continuing our story about the big makeover planned for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Land is rumored to have been given a final green light along with other park renovations as part of a 5 year land to upgrade the entire park experience. Previously I had mentioned that the Star Wars Land was looking to expand into the back area of the park as well as take over the Backlot Express restaurant site that sits between Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. The latest rumors now indicate that there is a possibility of Star Wars Land also expanding in the other direction to take over the site currently occupied by the Pizza Planet and MuppetVision 4D theater. Between the Cars Land project and Star Wars Land, we’re talking about a possible complete rebuild of everything in the park between the Star Tours building all the way down to Catastrophe Canyon. I don’t know if New York Street would be saved or not, as there is also a push to do something different with the old and tired Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playland area as well, which is sitting right at the doorstep to the entrance/exit of the Backlot Tour.
    According to our insiders, Star Wars Land may very well be announced at the D23 Expo held in California in August and could have the first phase ready to open by either mid 2015 or early 2016, which matches up quite well with the 2015 release date Disney has given for the new Star Wars: Episode 7.
    (3/22/13) It seems there may be a bit of truth to the mini Star Wars Land rumor for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. According to one insider, the various maintenance CMs who take care of the the parade floats have been told their positions are coming to an end to make way for a new Star Wars related project. Given the possible size of project area in question, this has also led several people to wonder if Disney may also try to repurpose the Sounds Dangerous theater across the pathway from Star Tours as well. More as we find out...
    (3/18/13) For months we’ve heard rumors that Disneyland Paris was looking into building a mini Star Wars Land project as a spin-off of their Star Tours ride (still running Version 1 by the way…) inside Discoveryland. I had also heard some early rumors claiming that a similar plan may have been talked about for Hong Kong Disneyland as well, though now it seems that they will move ahead with a Marvel themed land instead.
    With Disney’s Hollywood Studios being the center of the Star Wars Fan Universe for about a month each and every year during the annual Star Wars Weekends events, it would only make sense if Disney were to try and expand their Star Wars themed offerings, wouldn’t you think?  The problem as always been space… as the Studios park was not really designed with huge expansion capability in mind, beyond Sunset Blvd, and really was pigeonholed into a corner by nature of its location between World Drive and Buena Vista Drive. The oddly placed parking toll road to the south and a really strange parking lot layout intended to serve both a portion of the Cast Members and Guests as well was just the icing on the cake.
    Without expansion being options being mostly off the table, the only way to expand the Star Wars offerings of the Studios would really seem to be to start making some dramatic changes inside the park’s boundaries. MuppetVision and the themed New York streets are located just behind Star Tours and to the right side of Star Tours, while to the left side is the large Backlot Express restaurant and then the Indiana Jones Show area. So it is pretty landlocked unless Disney is willing to star removing something to make room.
    In today’s news entry up above regarding the closure of the park’s big parade, there is also a rumor that the Parade Float building may also be removed to make room for a new future project. The parade building in question is located, I believe, essentially right behind the Backlot Express restaurant. This is only an ‘IF’ right now, but IF they were to remove the Backlot Express and clear out the property all the way from there back to the Parade Float building, that would open up a fairly large space where they could possibly build a new Star Wars themed mini-land that could include the often rumored Star Wars Cantina restaurant project proposed for Paris.
    There are no rock solid rumors on this yet, but with the Walt Disney World parks blocked from ever putting the Marvel characters to use, it would only make sense that the Studios try to take as much advantage of the Star Wars franchise as they can. And who knows… if they really have some big ideas for a major new attraction as well, there is always a ton of extra space they could work with if they closed down the Indiana Jones stunt show as well.

 

???? - Cars Land - Canceled or On Hold - (6/17/13) The rest of the world’s media just exploded with a big breaking story over the past weekend about a possible major California Adventure style overhaul of the Hollywood Studios park that would see Cars Land and a mini Star Wars Land added over the next 5 years. Of course, this should come to as no surprise to loyal Screamscape readers as we’ve been telling you about both of these pending project rumors in detail for the past 3 months. So what changed this week?
    According to many of the new articles, they say that the project has been given the Green Light, though as I mentioned previously, this seemed to clearly be the case as soon the President of the Disneyland Resort, George Kalogridis, who oversaw the 5 year overhaul of the California Adventure park was suddenly transferred/promoted to now oversee all of Walt Disney World. That’s when the all the big rumors for the Hollywood Studios theme park really began to gain traction.
    According to many of the latest rumors, as predicted, the remainder segment of the Backlot Tour will be closed down to make room for Cars Land. This will include the Catastrophe Canyon attraction and according to some of the latest rumors, may actually see the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show closed down entirely s well. Previous rumors suggested that a new Cars 2 themed auto spy themed stunt show could be placed into the existing venue. Now apparently a member of the LMA crew let it leak that about one year from now they will be performing their final shows before the venue is shut down.
    As of right now the chatter about it including a new version of the iconic Radiator Springs Racers attraction is also most likely. As mentioned before, don’t look for Cars Land to be complete until about 2018 however. As for the other big component of the Studio’s makeover… make the jump to learn more about the proposed Star Wars Land.
    (5/22/13) I’ve got some semi-good news this week for everyone who was disappointed in the concept of a Walt Disney World version of Cars Land without the Radiator Springs Racers. In typical Disney fashion, they come up with more than one plan for any given project… and while there are proposed versions of Cars Land without the iconic ride… there are also versions being pitched that will include a Radiator Springs Racers ride… though with a slightly different layout.
    If the Dark Ride version is approved, I’m told that the basic plan for the attraction would be to recreate most of the dark ride segments of the existing Radiator Springs Racers ride anyway... but feature some kind of new indoor finale.
    (5/20/13) The date seems so very far away... but according to a new rumor sent in, 2018 may be the date that a Walt Disney World version of Cars Land could open, with an expected construction timetable of about 24 months expected. Ever since Cars Land was announced for Disney’s California Adventure, people have talked about the possibility of bringing it to the Studios at WDW, and from the sound of things, Disney was listening enough to see if it would actually work as a replacement for the aged remains of the Backlot Studio Tour site.
    BUT... and you knew there was going to be one of these... from what I’m hearing, if Cars Land is approved for Walt Disney World, this will not be a carbon copy of the one built in California. You’ll still get to wander the streets of Radiator Springs, eat in Flo’s V-8 Cafe and even try out Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree... BUT...
    There will be no Radiator Springs Racers.
    I’ll let that concept sink in for a second.  The iconic ride that all of Cars Land was built around will not be cloned in Florida and as disappointing as this seems on the surface, this could be a very good thing as the concept has two strikes against it from the start.
    After all... Walt Disney World has already had the same Radiator Springs Racers ride system running since the late ‘90s as Test Track at Epcot. (Strike 1!) 
    Disney has also just finished pumping several million into that same Test Track attraction at Epcot to reinvent it as an all new version of Test Track less than a year ago. (Strike 2!)
    So as much as most Walt Disney World fans want to experience the Radiator Springs Racers, there is too much of a fear that the end result will simply me a “Meh!” from guests as they cross the finish line, as Test Track is not only the same ride system... but one that also goes much faster through it’s high speed finale.
    So what to do? Well, if the rumored project gets the green light and gets built, apparently we can expect to see an all new Cars themed dark ride experience built just for Walt Disney World instead. Given the location, I do have to wonder if they might try to include some of the old Catastrophe Canyon set as part of this new attraction as well. Oh, and you may have noticed that I left Luigi’s Flying Tires off the list as well. As many can attest, the attraction has not lived up to expectations and we should also expect to see another flat ride or two themed to the Cars universe built instead. One possibility is said to be a ride based on the WDI pattent for a “Twister Ride System” discovered earlier this month. (Click here) A version of this conceptin Cars Land, but themed to the new “Planes” film characters (Coming in August 2013) may fit the bill nicely.
    A lot can happen between now and 2018... but there are enough rumors going around now claiming that the Studios may have been targeted for a major 5-year overhaul masterplan, much like California Adventure was, and this does fit within the timeframe as a nice finale for the project... much like it was for DCA. Stay tuned...
    (3/25/13) Could the rumored Star Wars Land be just one part of a larger project to overhaul Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  Much like the now completed plans to overhaul Disney’s California Adventure park, there are a few early rumors claiming that the Studios may also be given a smaller budget version of the same concept in order to freshen up the entire experience. I know there have been voices calling out for the demise and redevelopment of the old Backlot Tour which has long since outlived any real purpose, so it would be fantastic if this rumor were true. No one is entirely sure what the future may hold… only that changes are coming, and that we can almost guarantee that the giant sorcerer’s hat plopped down in front of the Great Movie Ride will be demolished once and for all.
    (6/25/12) With the work on Fantasyland well under way by this point, and Avatar at Animal Kingdom still looking to be a few years out, this has led to a few thoughts and speculations about a possible series of major new projects rumored to be under development for the Studios. There are still the old rumors floating around, like the Monsters Inc. themed door coaster ride, a revamp of the Great Movie Ride or even a possible new generation MuppetVision concept. But then there are also a few other new rumors banging through the pipes… like a possible small upgrade to Rock ‘n Roller Coaster that could see Aerosmith dropped, or how about replacing Fantasmic! with a copy of World of Color… or the big one that I think everyone really wants… killing off the useless Backlot Tram Tour and redeveloping that whole property as a WDW version of Cars Land, complete with a new Cars 2 themed version of Lights, Motor, Action full of spy action, fast chases and big explosions.
    Cars Land sure would be an awesome gift to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary in 2014, wouldn’t it?  Just saying… but whatever Disney has planned to celebrate the 25th, they’ll probably need to start on it before the end of this year.

 

???? - Parking Lot and Parking Toll Plaza Changes - Rumor - (7/25/13) An interesting article about the possible future changes coming to the Studios has been posted to DisneyAtWork this week. This seems to follow up on our previous rumor from March that major changes may be coming to the parking lot and toll plaza entry roads. According to this report the parking toll plaza off World Drive will close down entirely. The smaller entrance off Buena Vista Drive across from the Boardwalk will become a Bus only route, following the construction of a brand new entrance road and toll plaza off Victory Way, the road that runs from Buena Vista Drive down to the Pop Century and Disney’s Art of Animation Resorts. If this is all true, freeing up the property along the World Drive Toll Plaza road will be enough to allow for decades of future expansion room at the Studios.
    (3/22/13) I’m not quite sure what is going on, but I’ve heard a few whispers coming in from the rumor mill claiming that there could be some kind of change coming to the road you use to enter the Studios in the near future. Of course, unlike the rest of the parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios actually has two entrance roads to their parking lot… the larger main road that exits right off World Drive for those coming to Disney World from the south or Tampa side of I-4, and then there is the smaller but more commonly used entrance located across Buena Vista Drive from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, which also serves as the only exit from the parking lot as well. I’m not sure which one may go under the knife, but if is the larger entrance, that could make for some interesting growth opportunities for the park.  If anyone else knows more, please do let me know.

 

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Track Record

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney Theme Parks

Abbreviation: ST
Opened: May 1st, 1989
www.disneyworld.com

Tickets: as of 2/24/14
Adults (10+): $94.00
Adults Magic Kingdom: $99
Child (3-9): $88.00
Child Magic Kingdom $93
Discounts for Multi-Day Tickets
Parking: $17.00

The park is open Year Round

Newest Attractions:
2013 - Disney Junior Update

2012 - The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

2011 - Star Tours 2, Disney Junior: Live on Stage

2009 - American Idol Experience

2008 - Toy Story Mania &
Block Party Bash

2005 - Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show

2004 - Tower of Terror 4

1999 - Rock ‘n Roller Coaster

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