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(3/24/14) Mark Hamill Star Wars Weekends Appearance Update (MORE...)
(3/21/14) Mark Hamill Confirmed for Star Wars Weekends (MORE...)
(3/20/14) Maleficent Sneak Peek Trailer Coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios (MORE...)
(2/24/14) Big Changes For Star Wars Weekends 2014 (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Nothing is known at this time...
General Park News - (3/24/14) A quick update on the Mark Hamill appearance at Star Wars Weekends. According to the comments posted on the Disney Parks Blog page, Mark Hamill will not be participating in any autograph sessions, but will instead take park in some other special “experiences” that will allow more guests to see and hear from him during his time at the event.
(3/21/14) Exciting news came from the Mouse House today regarding this year’s Star Wars Weekends. For the first time in the history of Star Wars Weekends, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) will appear as one of the celebrity guests during Weekend IV (June 6-8). For all the latest, keep an eye on the official Star Wars Weekends site.
(3/20/14) Starting on April 18th, a special sneak peek trailer for the new Maleficent feature film will be shown to theme park guests on both coasts. In California it will be shown in the Bug’s Life theater at Disney California Adventure and in Florida it will be shown in the ABC Sound Studio theater at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. Maleficent opens in theaters on May 30th, so I’d expect to see these special preview showing to continue on until then.
(2/24/14) Behind the Thrills reports that the annual Star Wars Weekend event at the Studios will be extended by an additional week to run into June this year: running on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16th through to June 15th. The event will also see the addition of a special Star Wars themed fireworks celebration each night called Symphony in the Stars.
On the downside however… there will be no more Hyperspace Hoopla / Dance Off of the Star Wars Stars show. As popular as the show’s cult like following has made it over the years, I think Disney may have realized that with new Star Wars films due to hit theaters on the horizon, it may be time to reign back in on the silly side of the Star Wars Universe in order to focus everyone for the new more serious adventures to come. On a related note, these same reasons were the ones given for the cancellation of the animated Star Wars: Detours series by Seth Green. At the time that Star Wars: Detours was canceled, the comedy / slap-stick side of the Star Wars Universe had already completed 40 full episodes. 4 – 0… yep… somewhere there are 40 full episodes of Star Wars: Detours sitting in the can and ready for viewing, but they will remain hidden away while Disney focuses on returning to the more serious space fantasy origins of the Star Wars series with new films.
It isn’t like Disney to sit on their hands when there is still easy money to be made, so it’s likely we’ll see Star Wars: Detours released eventually, even if only on DVD, at some point in the future after the first couple of new movies are released.
(12/27/13) ThemeParkUniversity takes a look at the return of the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special show running at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park through January 5th. Don’t miss it!
(12/24/13) Walt Disney World has set the dates for the 2014 Star Wars Weekends event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for four weekends from May 16th, 2014 through to June 8th, 2014.
(12/15/13) As rumored the troop from Disney’s demolished Comedy Warehouse will return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park daily at the Premier Theater from Dec. 21st through to January 5th.
(11/13/13) The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it seems they too have been programmed to interact with Disney’s new Glow With The Show ear hats. You can see a ton of great pictures from this year’s light display posted to MouseSteps.
(11/12/13) Screamscape sources tell us that we should expect to see the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special show return to the Studios once again this winter. We assume it will go back into the Premier Theater location where they played last winter, as the old Sounds Dangerous theater is far too small. Some of last year’s show can be see on YouTube (see below). The show is expected to return for a 2 week run approximately from Dec. 22 to around January 4th.
(10/31/13) Click here to catch a video showing off the new Glow With the Show Ears debut at Fantasmic.
(10/30/13) A new quiet patio lounge opens today right outside the Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. Guests enjoy a cool drink in the afternoon or evenings with wine, beer, Champagne and the full range of cocktails available as well as a menu of smaller fancy things to nibble on like artisanal cheeses meats or (don’t tell Donald) “duck confit tacos”. A small desert menu is also available. Seating is first-come and they will not take reservations.
(10/23/13) Two new characters from the upcoming animated film, Frozen, started making appearances at the Studios this week. You can get a first peek at Anna and Elsa over at MouseSteps before they make the move over to Epcot next month.
(9/10/13) The much awaited WDW debut of the infamous Glow With the Show Ear hats from the Disneyland Resort has now been confirmed at last. Look for the Glow With the Show Ears to premier at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Fantasmic! on October 15th. (And there was much rejoicing…)
According to the Disney Parks Blog, that date marks the 15th Anniversary of Fantasmic at the Studios. Also starting on October 19th the ears will also become part of “Wishes” and “Celebrate the Magic” at the Magic Kingdom, and they will also be put to use during the Christmas holiday season when you visit the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the studios.
Now, I’m a little surprised they aren’t putting them to use at Illuminations at Epcot yet. It kind of makes me wonder if there may be some pending changes in the works that may need to take place first. Or perhaps the viewing area is just too big and they haven’t finished installing the necessary infrastructure needed to make the Ears work yet. After all, World Showcase is a big place.
(7/11/13) File this one in the WILD RUMOR cabinet for now, but a reader did send in a rumor claiming to have heard that the Osbourne Family Christmas light display would not return for the 2014 season. Funny how this fits right into the timeline of the rumored building of Cars Land / Monstropolis, which would take over the site used for the Christmas light display. Anyone else know more?
2015-2018 - Star Wars Land - Rumor - (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 fašade 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.
2016/2017 - Monstropolis - Rumor - (6/27/13) There has been some interesting buzz coming from various sources regarding the future of the Hollywood Studios theme park and the new long-range plans. According to a posting at the Disney & More Facebook page, a plan to build a Monstropolis themed area is also under consideration here, Shanghai as well as the one we already mentioned for California Adventure.
While the entire idea of the Monsters Inc. Door Coaster concept has been bouncing around as an idea for the Studios park for years to no avail, I had also heard not long ago that the idea of adding any Monsters attractions to the Studios had been dropped. Of course, nothing ever seens to stay dead at Disney… though I find it curious that the newer rumors of building a full Monstropolis area seem tied to the fate of the Cars Land idea. In fact, some are saying that Cars Land at the Studios could be dropped entirely to build Monstropolis instead, but I’m not so sure.
I have heard that the previous giant version of Cars Land envisioned for the park (from Catastrophe Canyon to MuppetVision) may have been scaled back to only take over the Canyon, LMA show site and remainder of the Backlot Tour. This would leave all those themed New York street sets and MuppetVision area not only intact, but possibly now available for conversion to become part of Monstropolis.
2018 - Cars Land - Rumor - (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.
???? - Sunset Strip Renovation - Rumor - (5/13/13) I’ll keep this listed officially as a “Wild Rumor” for now… but according to a source the Beauty and The Beast show may soon come to an end at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. This part makes sense on all fronts, as not only is the show older than dirt, but the characters from the film have all pretty much moved into The Magic Kingdom now with the addition of the Be Our Guest restaurant, Gaston’s Tavern and the Enchanted Tales with Belle walkthrough adventure.
So it’s safe to say that the show really isn’t “needed” on the Sunset Strip location anymore. This is where the rumor takes a turn for the wild however. You could think that Disney would simply replace this with a new live show of some kind and reuse the existing show venue. (There were once rumors of a show themed to Tangled for example.) However our source tells us that the theater building / structure itself may have some issues that need addressing, and rather than repair or even rebuild what is needed, they could very well opt to use the site as the location for a new dark ride attraction of some kind.
The location is an interesting one because just behind the theater is a large open section of land that Disney has not been able to use for the theme park. The site behind Beauty and the Beast was originally earmarked to become the home to Copperfield Magic Underground, a restaurant concept that would have allowed guests to visit from inside the park as well as those outside. Apparently Copperfield’s side of the investment failed to materialize and the project never went any further than site clearing and a brief appearance by a promotional billboard outside the park entrance before the idea was quickly scrapped and brushed under the rug.
Anyway… take a quick look at the site of the Beauty and the Beast show next to the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror… and then see the huge empty lot behind behind it. That is a seriously big piece of property that Disney could use for a major new attraction or mini-land if they wanted to. In fact, about the only way Disney would ever be able to use this property for the park is to remove the show theater and redevelop the entire site once and for all. So if the show is ready to be retired… now would be the time to make this happen. Stay tuned!