Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(3/19/19) Indy Could Be Staying Around After All (MORE...)
(3/9/19) Runaway Railway Opening Thoughts (MORE...)
(3/8/19) Disney Sets Opening Dates For Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (MORE...)
(3/3/19) Will Star Wars FastPass Access Cost Extra? (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - The following information is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Beauty & The Beast - Live on Stage - NOW CLOSED through March 9
General Park News - (2/27/19) Walt Disney World caught up with Larry the Cable Guy to talk about the Cars franchise, as well as the new Lightning McQueen Racing Academy show experience set to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 31st.
(2/21/19) Rumor has it that Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror may be taking care of some long-overdue maintenance issues with the various effects on the attraction over the next several months. From the sound of things, they may be trying to do this a bit at a time, without having the close the attraction, but to get the work done, this will mean closing one of the sides at a time, leaving the ride running at only 50% capacity. So if you are visiting and the lines seem extra long, take a moment watch the front of the building to see if both drop shafts are running or not before you opt to get in a stand-by line.
(1/4/19) Walt Disney World has released a new special logo (see above) for Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the park’s 30th Anniversary that features Mickey and Minnie Mouse. I’m told that other versions of the logo that feature other park characters may also be added throughout the year.
(11/12/18) For those wondering, if you want to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios the old entrance roads off World Drive and Buena Vista Drive are now closed, with entry and exit access now only available at the intersection of Osceola Parkway and Victory Way. Look for the new direction signs as you drive onto property for the new way into the park.
(9/24/18) Disney's Hollywood Studios will be home to some new Pixar character experiences in 2019. This includes a new section of Pixar Place that will become a "Municiberg" city area with a block-party for The Incredibles, a chance to meet Edna Mode who is showing off some of her best creations, a quest to find Jack-Jack and more. Elsewhere a new Mike & Sulley meet and greet area will appear along with a door to the monster world. Look for these starting January 18th. In Spring 2019 the park will also open the previously announced Lightning McQueen Racing Academy show.
(6/12/18) According to the Disney Parks Blog a new 'Disney Junior Dance Party" show is coming this Fall to Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show will feature characters and segments from popular Disney Junior shows like Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Doc McStuffins, The Lion Guard and Vampirina.
The new show will replace the current Disney Junior - Live on Stage show which will close down at the end of Sept. 1st.
(4/3/18) According to a post here, once the new Toy Story Land opens at Disney's Hollywood Studios the FastPass+ Tiers will shift on the park's attractions, putting all the Toy Story Land attractions into the Tier 1 category, and moving everything else down to Tier 2. What this means is, guest pre-booking their FastPass+ options gets to pick only ONE Tier 1 option, and TWO Tier 2 options, or they can opt to have no Tier 1 and get THREE Tier 2 passes instead.
2018 - Toy Story Land - (7/2/18) Disney has posted a recap of the official grand opening of the new Toy Story Land ceremony. Check it out below.
(6/21/18) The latest video from the Disney Parks Blog, they show off a new look around the inside Toy Story Land and the attractions... but at night, revealing some really incredible looking night lighting throughout the land and on the attractions themselves.
(6/20/18) CM Previews of Toy Story Land have started apparently, though the early word is that the only the Slinky Dog Dash coaster is up and running so far. The Alien Swirling Saucers ride is still being worked on, as well as construction on the new entrance to Toy Story: Midway Mania. With ten days to go until the grand opening on June 30th I know it is going to be a race down to the deadline to finish it all in time.
The good news is that Slinky Dog Dash, while being a bit on the short side, is actually said to be a much more fun coaster than anyone expected (thank you Mack Rides), and should prove to be a big hit.
(11/14/17) Disney has posted a new video from the Toy Story Land construction site showing off the arrival of the Jessie and Rex figures inside the land. As you see in the video both figures have been installed as scenery around the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster.
(10/25/17) Disney has unveiled some new details about Toy Story Land that we haven't seen before, including a look at a new restaurant in the area called Woody's Lunch Box. Appropriately, the walk-up quick-service eatery will be themed to look like a giant lunchbox and thermos. No word on the menu yet... but they promise more details to come soon.
(9/4/17) The first train cars for the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios have arrived, and I've got to admit, Slinky Dog looks cute as all get-out and will be the focus of many a family vacation photo in the near future. Check out his arrival at the park in the video below.
(8/2/17) Disney has posted a video showing off the placement of the last piece of track for the Slinky Dog Dash coaster at Toy Story Land. The video includes a ton of behind the scenes footage from the construction site giving everyone a great look at what's been going on behind the construction walls.
(7/20/17) Disney has confirmed that Toy Story Land will open in Summer 2018 along with the official names of the two attractions: the Slinky Dog Dash family launched coaster and the Alien Swirling Saucers.
(4/4/17) According to a document posted to Instagram by coastr101, the new Slinky Dog coaster coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios is actually a Mack Rides launched coaster creation. This is actually the first Mack coaster to be purchased by Disney for Walt Disney World, and the second to be purchased for the company. (note: The only other Mack coaster bought to date is Goofy's Sky School at Disney California Adventure)
(4/22/16) Disney did give out new details for their upcoming Toy Story Land project. New concept art of the land featuring the new Skinky Dog Dash coaster attraction as well as the Alien Swirling Saucers was shown off. The coaster in particular looks pretty fun, as it takes a long ride all around the new land full of giant themed toy pieces. The coaster appears to be an entirely "launched" coaster experience rather that rely on any lift hills. You can see an early preview rendering of the ride posted below.
Much like the new version of Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom, the new Alien Swirling Saucers will also put a pair of identical flat rides to work, hidden under giant green flying saucer ships. The ride appears to be a spinning style ride experience, set to lights and music as the little aliens attempt to capture your rocket ship with "The Claw!"
If you really look close at the artwork you will see what looks like little purple flying saucers piloted by aliens pulling green square rider vehicles behind them on the circular platforms. Based on this, I have to think that this will be a Toy Story themed version of the Mater's Junkyard Jamboree ride system built at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure.
(8/21/15) If you can't wait for Star Wars land to come to Disney's Hollywood Studios, they've decided to build a whole new OTHER land first at the park... Toy Story Land. Inspired by Pixar's Toy Story film series, guests can shrink down to the size of a toy and visit Andy's backyard.
Again, no exact timeline was given for this to open, but the land will feature two new attractions, a family-friendly outdoor roller coaster themed to Slinky Dog and a grounded spinning flat ride where guests can ride in the little-green alien's flying saucers while avoiding The Claw. The land will also include the existing, but soon to be expanded, Toy Story Mania! ride, which certainly narrows down the location of this new themed land. Test footage of the Slinky Dog coaster was shown off (see below) that looks to be quite fun and have a good length as well.
Late Fall 2019 - Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - (3/8/19) Despite my hopes that Disney might have just tried to avoid the huge headache that a grand opening for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge would bring, they opted a few hours ago to announce official opening dates for each coast. Disneyland will open their Galaxy’s Edge on May 31st and Walt Disney World will open their version on August 29th.
So now the crowds know when to descend upon Disney, but oh wait… and situation is going to get a little worse than we expected. If you watch the promotional video Disney posted on Twitter, be sure to read the fine print near the end when they post the dates. “Capacity is limited. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction opens later this year.” And yes, this applies to both parks… so when Galaxy’s Edge opens, and all those people arrive… your wait time just doubled, because there will only be one attraction (Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run) ready to open. For those of you who have dealt with the crowds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Pandora, imagine what the lines would be like if it only opened with one functioning attraction instead of two, and you may see my point.
Disneyland guests also take note… because you have more fine print to read. It also says, “Reservations required for visits between May 31 and June 23”. So for the first four weeks guests to Disneyland will not be able to even enter the Galaxy’s Edge land unless they have signed up for a free reservation online ahead of their visit… though these will be limited and subject to availability, but otherwise the information about these reservations will be coming at a later date. Guests staying at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels during this time period who have already signed up for theme park admission as well will be assigned a reservation date, though again… final details about this are still to be announced.
If there is one bit of sane news, it is this… Disney has confirmed that when it initially opens there will be no Fastpass (or MaxPass) reservations available. Access to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run will funnel everyone through just one big line, like the good old days. Oh… and the height restriction for this attraction will be 38 inches. When Rise of the Resistance opens later in the year, you will have to be 40 inches tall to experience that one.
(3/3/19) Want to ensure you will be able to experience both of the new Star Wars attractions on your visit when they open? You might want to be prepared to open your wallet a little wider. The rumors started almost as soon as the project was first announced years ago, but so far we’ve been hearing that Disney management is heavily considering only allowing the use of a special extra cost level FastPass option when the lands first open to try and control the chaos. At Disneyland, this likely means that they could require guests to only use the existing extra-cost “MaxPass” system, and while Walt Disney World currently has no such system in place, they’ve got the time to see how it all works out when Disneyland opens first before making a final decision about how things will work at Walt Disney World, especially in regards to hotel guests who get to make FastPass+ reservations 60 days out from their visit. Stay tuned… as we get closer to the opening of the Disneyland version (likely in June) I’m sure more concrete information will start to flow.
(3/1/19) A great collection of new photos and concept art showing off in inside of Galaxy’s Edge in more detail than ever can be found over at StarWars.com this week. This includes an actual look inside the First Order Star Destroyer as well as the halls of the Millennium Falcon. We also get a look at some of the otherworldly food items you will be able to try, some new exclusive merchandise you can buy (need a Droid? Want to build your own lightsaber?).
There is even a list of 27 new facts about Galaxy’s Edge, including characters you might run into, where this all fits in the Star Wars timeline, clothes you can buy in Galaxy’s Edge to fit right into the Galaxy Far Far Away and much more! Oh… one more thing, you will want to have the Play Disney Parks App downloaded and running on your smartphone when you enter Galaxy’s Edge because it will automatically switch over to a Star Wars datapad app once you enter the land, unlocking some missions you may want to complete, telling stories and details about the land, and giving you a way to interact with your surroundings like never before. They also say you will be able to translate the language used on the signs with the app, hack droids and receive messages from various characters.
(1/17/19) BlooLoop has posted a new preview about what we can truly expect to find within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge when it opens later this year.
(12/27/18) A new teaser video from Disney showing off Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge has been posted which actually seems to feature some footage shot in the land (made to look as if it was open), as well as some new footage that looks to be shot on both of the main attractions themselves that looks incredible.
(11/20/18) Disney announced some great new details about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge over the weekend. For starters, we have the official names for the land’s two attractions, along with some new teaser videos for each: “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run” and “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance”.
Below that, check out the third video where John Williams is creating all new Star Wars themes and music exclusively for Galaxy’s Edge, and you can hear a sample piece of some new music.
(9/16/18) Some fun new photos of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge area under construction were posted to MouseSteps this week as the finishing touches are being put on the buildings and the final detail is going on all the impressive rockwork.
(9/1/18) Disney announced that Oga's Cantina is coming to Star Wars: Galaxy Edge as the name of a cantina style watering hole for the Black Spire Outpost, home to pilots, smugglers, bounty hunters... and mixed drinks?! Yes, while this will come as not surprise when it opens inside the Walt Disney World version, this addition to Disneyland will be the first public location in the park to serve adult beverages. (To be fair, Club 33 has been doing so since it was created, but it isn't open to the general public.)
"Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.
Oga’s Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!"
The site is also home to one familiar face in particular... the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid "Captain Rex", otherwise known as RX-24, who has now modified his programming to become the cantina's new DJ.
(6/2/18) A great aerial photo overlooking the whole Galaxy's Edge site can be found below.
(5/28/18) The Star Wars: Galactic Nights event was held at Disney's Hollywood Studios park and some new details, photos and pieces of concept art were released regarding the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction area under construction. For starters we have the name of the actual port-city you will be walking around inside... it will be called "Black Spire Outpost" and is described as the largest settlement on the planet Batuu. The spaceport is a popular one with "traders, adventures, and smugglers traveling around the Outer Rim and Wild Space" due to its location being really off the beaten path. In other words... they've been operating in the Empire's blind spot with great success for some time now.
You can scroll through the many pictures posted to Disney & More collected from the event, which includes three actual pictures of the massive pair of AT-ATs constructed inside the attraction itself where you battle The First Order. An image of a new starship was also shown, a "Resistance Troop Transport" which guests will board to go on their journey. For you Star Wars fans out there, I think you'll like this one as the new starship looks a lot like a mini-bus version the classic Corellian Corvette (CR90) blockade runner class ship. Another fine product from the minds of the Corellian Engineering Corporation most likely.
Other new factoids to drop was the fact that the character Nien Numb will play some kind of roll in an attraction at Galaxy's Edge. Nien Numb is best known to most fans for serving as Lando's co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon during the attack on the second Death Star in orbit over Endor in Return of the Jedi (Star Wars Episode VI). Disney is also working on a way to bring versions of various animal-like creatures to life for Galaxy's Edge, including the Tooka Loth-Cat from the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series.
To learn more, check out the great video posted by BigFatPanda who was sitting in the front row last night at the Galaxy's Edge Panel discussion show, featuring Warwick Davis, Scott Trowbridge and more. It's a little over 30 minutes long, so grab a snack first, then sit back and enjoy.
(5/24/18) Disney has officially confirmed that Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will open to guests for "Summer 2019". As I had been saying for some time now however, Walt Disney World wont be so lucky and the official date for the Floirda version is listed as "Late Fall 2019"... which essentially sounds a lot like the week of Thanksgiving at this point. Either way, they'll be opening these new additions just in time for the most crowded peak-seasons for each resort, so expect lines, crowds and more lines.
(4/14/18) Who's ready for a peek as some possible attraction footage from the upcoming Millennium Falcon ride experience? Apparently a demo of the visuals we will get to experience was shown off for an audience somewhere, with claims that this isn't just canned CGI video footage, but that the entire environment was being rendered in real-time in 4K quality. Why rendered in real-time? Because it looks like Disney will hold true to the promise that we will actually get to pilot the Falcon, allowing guests to take her on a custom ride through the Star Wars universe. Fantastic!
(2/22/18) Some pretty amazing new aerial photos of the Star Wars: Galalxy’s Edge construction site in Orlando were posted to WDWMagic last week that are worth checking out. Of course the site is still utter chaos with machines and steel everywhere, but man… it isn’t hard to see how it will all shape up and be finished looking in a year or so. Now if only they could have built some kind of underground tunnel to funnel all the guests exiting Star Tours directly INTO Galaxy’s Edge… now that would be magical.
(1/24/18) An incredible batch of new aerial construction photos showing off Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge have been posted to ORLParkPass this week that you don't want to miss.
(11/12/17) BlogMickey has posted some new aerial images showing off Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge this week. They do focus a bit on the Millennium Falcon attraction building structure and compare the circular entrance area forming on site to how it is supposed to look in the concept artwork, with the steelwork going up on the roof to form the mountain-side landscape.
(7/20/17) As rumored, Disney confirmed that the new Star Wars themed lands will indeed be called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge when they open in 2019 at Disneyland at Disney's Hollywood Studios parks. An impressive model of the huge land was on display at the D23 Expo which we mentioned last Saturday, so if you haven't seen it yet, scroll down to the video and take a look at all the beautiful detail. New artwork showing off a hint of what scenes from the "First Order Battle Attraction" as well as a ride inside the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon (now outfitted to have 6 seats) will look like.
The First Order ride shows off a scene inside a huge hanger inside of a Star Destroyer, "an attraction built on the scale we've never done before." This would be the same attraction that we've seen the steel framework for a pair of AT-AT walkers set up inside as well, so you can imagine how big the scenes inside this attraction be.
"The second attraction will give guests the opportunity to fly the Millenium Falcon, piloting the ship, shooting blasters or preparing for hyperspace – all while completing a critical mission. But how you perform on the mission holds even bigger stakes: perform with skill and you may earn extra galactic credits, while bringing the ship back banged up could put you on the list of a bounty hunter. End up on Harkos’s list and you may face a problem if you show up at the local cantina!" Speaking of the cantina... Disney has even confirmed that Rex, the former pilot of Star Tours, is alive and well within Galaxy's Edge where he has taken on a new job as a DJ at the local cantina. While you enjoy the latest tracks, you will also be able to enjoy a cool glass of "blue milk", a custom drink created just for Galaxy's Edge.
(7/15/17) D23 is underway and while the official Disney Parks presentation isn't until later today, lots of little things have been already revealed and/or leaked out. For starters, apparently the source code of the Disney Parks Blog accidentally contained a reference to the true name for the "Star Wars Land" spotted by the always curious people at Reddit who seem to excel at this kind of thing. The code has since been removed, but according to the source code it will be called, "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" which does make sense considering how they have described the theme of this location from the start.
Also, who's ready to see Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge? Our friends at Behind the Thrills have posted a video looking over the Star Wars booth at D23 where a huge scale model of Galaxy's Edge has been set up showing off every nook and cranny is perfect detail along with awesome concept art, costumes, and much more. Watch through to the second half and they even have a model of the ride vehicle you will sit in for the "First Order" ride, an 8-passenger (2 rows of 4) trackless vehicle piloted by a black and red Imperial Astromech Droid in the front.
The inclusion of the droid pilot also does help explain how an interesting twist of the ride's rumored experience will take place, as you may recall the rumors that at one point guests will be asked to depart the vehicle and take a journey on foot in the middle of the ride, only to find and climb back aboard the vehicle elsewhere in order to make your escape. Nothing like a timely rescue by your friendly/sassy Imperial Astromech Droid, who has been reprogrammed to assist the Rebel Alliance.
Take a look at the video below and look about at the world of Galaxy's Edge in art and the model... and you’ll notice something right away. This looks more like a model built to film a movie special effects scene from the old days (before digital effects) and not so much like something for a theme park. Why is this? Because it looks like a living, breathing world... no sign of tacky theme park style gift shops, vending carts, queues, or even stroller parking spots.
Could Disney have decided to take a nod from Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter concepts and be rolling out their own persistent world rules for Galaxy's Edge? For example, at Universal when you are inside one of the Wizarding World areas, you can’t even buy a Coke to drink or a bottle of Dasani branded bottled water to drink. All the food and beverages are themed to the Wizarding World universe. In the case of Disney just launching Pandora: The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom a few weeks ago they had fully embraced the concept of themed food and beverages, but you can still also get Coke brand products because... hey... why not? It’s themed around the Earth of the future and you know Coke is still going to be around. But in the case of the Star Wars Universe... Earth is not a part of it and everything you know about food and even merchandise is... well.. from a Galaxy Far Far Away. So it would be very impressive if Disney were planning on going this route where they have to redesign everything to function and look in a new way and somehow keep the elements of the outside world just beyond the Galaxy’s Edge from creeping in however they can.
(4/18/17) Some interesting news about the new Star Wars Land came out over the weekend when it was mentioned at a Star Wars Celebration Orlando panel that the actions you take within the land’s attraction (or those you decline to take) will help build up some kind of reputation profile on you and cause certain effects on your experience elsewhere within the land. For example, it your skills in the cockpit on the Millennium Falcon attraction are exceptional, you could attract the attention of certain characters who may seek your services elsewhere. By contrast, if you bungle your duty and bring the Falcon back with some extensive damage due to your bad pilot skills, you may also have to answer for that in some fashion elsewhere. The First Order will also have a presence within the land, so I suppose if you really stand out in your fight against them in the First Order battle attraction, you could find yourself on their most wanted list while they patrol the city. Or perhaps you'll even find yourself being trailed by a Bounty Hunter.
While this all sounds amazingly cool to me, I suppose there could also end up being some kind of outcry against this kind of guest profiling from those who value their privacy above all else, and would probably rather keep their experience as anonymous as possible. Depending on how this all plays out, it should be interesting to see how Disney can cater to both ends of the spectrum, allowing some guests to go unnoticed while others are seeking a Westworld style interactive experience.
Oh, one more thing… while I assume most of you have already seen the launch of the new teaser trailer for the new movie coming this December, you may have noticed one interesting scene where a group of flying ships appear to be crossing a large empty piece of terrain, but dragging something below them into the dirt, causing a red dust-cloud to appear below them. Apparently this is the planet “Crait”, which will be used as the location for a new action scene to be added to Star Tours after the movie hits theaters.
(4/11/17) Fly-over footage shot from a helicopter of the Star Wars Land construction in Florida was posted this week which you can see below. Unlike the Disneyland footage we've been seeing for months now, you can tell that the Florida version is months behind them, as predicted.
(3/13/17) Ready to see a bit more of the new Star Wars land? Our friends at BlooLoop have posted a couple of pieces of new artwork showing off a close up look at two new areas of the land we haven't seen before that will be built in both California and Florida.
(12/19/16) While things are still too far away to guarantee this for sure, Screamscape sources tell us that the first Star Wars land to open will be the Disneyland version, currently tracking to open in the first half of 2019, with the Walt Disney World version tracking to open about 6 months later in later half of 2019. Just don't buy your plane tickets yet, because a lot can happen between now and then, pushing the timetables months in either direction, but at least things are looking better than the previously rumored 2020 date for the moment.
(11/30/16) An awesome set of aerial photos showing off the work in progress taking place for Toy Story Land and the new Star Wars land at Disney's Hollywood Studios has been posted to WDWNT this week. While Star Wars appears to be mostly still in the dirt pushing phase, vertical construction has started over in Toy Story Land however. If you find the right photos (or watch the video) you can also make out the huge clearing work that has now been done across the toll plaza to make way for the park's future entrance and parking expansion, as well as open things up a little for more space for the park itself eventually.
(11/21/16) Fun news for Star Tours fans. Bob Chapek announced at a presentation that they are working on adding one or more new scenes to the attraction that will be themed to the new "Episode 8" film hitting theaters in December 2017. I'm going to guess that the new material could be added to the ride sometime in the first half of 2018.
On a semi-related note, Disney also released a new piece of artwork showing off how the new Star Wars themed land may look at night.
(10/19/16) In an interesting bit of news mentioned to me, those leaks last week about the Star Wars Stormtrooper battle/escape themed dark ride were apparently fairly on target, including the bit about getting out of the vehicle in mid-ride to walk around a themed environment before jumping back on and taking off once again on your dark ride experience.
The trick here is that when you get out to explore the environment, you will apparently be going on a specific path, where I imagine you will be kept separate from other guests somehow either by timing your experience to run through specific rooms in a specific order, or perhaps you will enter into one specific room of a group of identical rooms. Either way, from what I'm told, the actual vehicle you return to will not be the exact same one.
Between this and a ride experience that takes place inside a very large multi-level building structure, and an experience being designed from the bottom up to be the most intense themed adventure story attraction that Disney can tell, we are looking at something coming down the pipe that will be like nothing any of us have experienced before.
I can't wait for it to open... whenever that will be... because apparently no one knows when it will open because there is no set date... only that Disney wants to finish it all as soon as possible. The goal is to be able to open both the California and Florida versions at the same time, but it also seems fairly clear that Florida is fairly behind schedule by comparison to where Disneyland is at right now. So we'll just have to wait and see... a lot can change over the next couple of years.
(6/11/16) SlashFilm reports that Disney may be building and testing designs for actual interactive droids that will wander throughout the new Star Wars themed lands in California and Florida in the future. It isn’t known if they will be entirely human controlled or if they would be just semi-automatic droids they could let loose in the lands (with a handler nearby of course) and return to a base when they need a charge. (Kind of like a Roomba maybe? LOL) Either way, adding the droids to the lands would add another layer of realistic theming to bring the Star Wars environment to life, as droids are an important part of the Star Wars Universe, and I’m sure guests would love to take pictures with them as well. In addition to the Droids, add in ways for guests to try to learn to use The Force and interact with other aspects of the new land, and it sounds like there could be a lot of fun to be had in addition to the new attractions.
(5/19/16) Will select guests be chosen to be taught to "use the Force" in the new Star Wars lands coming to Disney in California and Florida? According to a report at Behind the Thrills they claim to have heard just such rumors that may at first sound like how Universal lets guests buy magic wands and interact with the Wizarding World. However the way they describe it, the objects guests may use the Force to move around may only happen a few times each day, which makes me believe we may see something more akin to The Sword in the Stone performance that takes place in front of the carousel at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.
(2/24/16) I've got some new updates regarding the Star Wars Land attractions this week. For starters, one of our sources confirmed that despite the media reports mentioning it, the E-Ticket "Battle Ride" concept is not a boat ride. Instead, the ride will feature a trackless ride vehicle that will move about and through very detailed sets and props from the Star Wars universe, including countless Stormtrooper animatronic figures, as well as large scale Tie Fighter, X-Wing starfighters and much more.
As for the Millennium Falcon attraction, there are two lines of thought on just what the Millennium Falcon ride system may be. Keep in mind this is mainly speculation right now, as facts are few and far between. Based on what is believed, one possible ride system may involve some kind ride cockpit pod that would also employ the use of a motion-base or KUKA power arm for some of the movement. Another concept I’ve heard of was essentially described as being a Disney Omnimover style ride system, loaded with an endless string of cockpit pods, featuring a steady stream of interactive projection screens for the riders to interact with.
(2/22/16) Eagerly anticipated Disney special that included a segment with Harrison Ford showing off new details of Star Wars Land has aired... and what did we learn? Apparently... not much.
A lot of new Star Wars themed concept artwork was shown, though for most of it, it is hard to tell if it was artwork made for the movies showing off possible new scenes and locations, or if it was made for the new theme park land. You can see many examples of the artwork, screen captures and posted to Disney & More already, and there are a few bits that seem clearly for the parks, especially when they contain the image of someone walking around with mouse-ears on. As for details on the new rides... not so much either. We know you'll ride in the Millennium Falcon and can apparently swivel left to ride and shoot at targets (which sounds a lot of Buzz Lightyear, doesn't it?) and there were a few brief images of the new big ride where guests will find themselves in the middle of a battle between the First Order and The Resistance which does almost look like that rumored "boat ride" concept, doesn't it? Check out the artwork and see what you think of it all.
(1/14/16) According to a little bird Disney may decide to announce, sometime over the next week or two, the actual final name of the new “Star Wars Land” they are preparing to build.
(1/9/16) An odd bit of news came forward today as Jon Snoddy (Disney’s EVP of Imagineering) mentioned in a panel at CES 2016 some new details about one of the Star Wars attractions in the works for the theme parks. We’ve already heard rumors about a Millennium Falcon themed dark ride / simulator concept, but what Jon mentioned was a new “boat ride”, that would take riders through the middle of a battle between the First Order and Resistance. He also mentioned they are working with ILM to allow for Disney to mix high-resolution projection scenes in with real-life physical sets and animatronic characters.
While a boat ride may seem to be an odd choice at first for a Star Wars attraction, keep in mind that Disney is putting the finishing touches on a next-gen version of Pirates of the Caribbean over in Shanghai, which is rumored to feature boats on a track that can offer complete control of the movement of the boat, including being able to spin them around a bit and point the riders in a specific direction to view the scenes as they pass. It is also worth mentioning that any Star Wars ride will need to be an extremely high capacity attraction, and few rides can pull through more guests per hour than Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride systems which also offer quick reloading due to the simple seating, no restraints to worry about and offer family friendly experience while still being able to offer the physical thrill of dropping rides down a chute or two along the way.
Another item possibly worth noting can be seen in the lower corner of the previously per-released concept art from Disney where the Millennium Falcon is flying down to land. If you zoom in (see image) you can see a small pool of water down there, with what looks possibly like a winding underwater rail-path that could run a boat ride into a cave under the waterfall, with some traces of blue that could be more river-pathway in the background of the rocky spire-filled landscape. Of course, this is just concept artwork to convey the overall feeling and look of the land and isn't meant to be a blueprint... but it does seem to indicate that the world being created for the land will have water design features.
Mix in the concept of digital projection technology, real sets and modern animatronics all around this new high-end boat ride concept and we have the makings of an attraction that can convey an all new tale from the Star Wars universe.
(12/14/15) I've been sent a fascinating new rumor regarding one of the new Star Wars Land attractions in development. So far, the only fact Disney has issued about the attraction concepts for the land is that guests will be placed in the actual cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in one of the main attractions. Today, one of our sources have sent in a little more information about the possible ride experience, though keep in mind that the attraction is still under design and a lot can change between now and when it opens.
That said, I'm told that guests will board a vehicle where it appears that they are sitting inside the cockpit of the Falcon. In reality, there will be several such vehicles (unseen) on a track layout, where the ship will take off and move into a large star field projection room at first. Eventually the cockpit ships will move into place behind an individual projection screen for the simulator/action portion of the ride. The way this will work was described to me as being similar to how Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey works during specific sections of that ride (see picture), where the individual rider pods are placed inside a projection dome that is mounted to a huge carousel structure. The projection domes and rider pods will move around the carousel in sync during these sections of the ride, where the guests may have some control over the action taking place and what the outcome will be.
If you watch the start of this video showing off the addition of a new Star Wars themed area on-board the Disney Dream cruise ship, you will see mockup of the Millennium Falcon cockpit that simulates space travel, that may give you a good visual as to what your ride on the Falcon could be like.
(8/21/15) Star Wars themed lands have been confirmed for two Walt Disney theme parks so far... Disneyland in California and for Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Both of these similar lands will be approximately 14-acres in size, making them the largest single-themed land expansion ever added to a Disney park.
Instead of picking one or two of the various Star Wars world's to theme the land to, they will instead theme the land to a new, never-before seen world. The Star Wars land will feature two major "signature attractions", one of which will put guests into the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. I'm not sure if the location of the land at Disney's Hollywood Studios was confirmed, but I would assume it may fit in somewhere nearby to the existing Star Tours attraction. Meanwhile at Disneyland the new land was apparently confirmed to be taking over the Big Thunder Ranch area, plus backstage property behind there. How the Disneyland Railroad will manage to pass unseen through this area remains to be seen... but I imagine it may involve a large dark tunnel.
Unfortunately, no timeline was given as to when we can expect to see this Star Wars land open, but if we use the Avatar project as a guideline, I wouldn't expect to see the Star Wars land open until around 2020.
(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.
Fall 2019 - Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway - (3/9/19) So far Disney has only listed a “Fall 2019” opening date for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction. Word is that things may move a little later than expected and we might not seen it open until very late 2019 and not in early fall as many were hoping. The good news is that we expect it to open around the same time period as the delayed Rise of the Resistance ride in Galaxy’s Edge, which will give the Studios parks another major ride to open within the same time frame and help disperse the crowds a bit more. Again… this is all rumor right now, so stay tuned!
(11/21/18) For those hoping that Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway might be ready to open in Spring or Summer 2019… you are going to be disappointed. Disney’s latest timeline indicated that the new dark ride attraction is now slated to open in Fall 2019, the same basic timeframe as Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
The good news is at least there will be another major new ride opening in the park to give people a reason not to hang out in Galaxy’s Edge all day long.
(7/2/18) Disney released a new piece of concept artwork for the Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway ride late last week along with a few new details about how the guests will enter the cartoon world.
"The fun begins when you see the premiere of a new cartoon short with Mickey and Minnie preparing for a picnic. As they head out, they drive alongside a train and find out that the engineer is Goofy. Then, one magical moment lets you step into the movie and on Goofy’s train for a wacky, wild ride."
(2/21/18) A pretty good breakdown of what we can expect from the new Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction was posted to ThemeParkInsider this week. Take a look.
(2/14/18) Disney has confirmed that the new Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway ride at the Studios will be ready to open in 2019. Putting guests "inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen" the attraction will feature "a new experience that defies logic that we’re calling 2 ½-D".
(8/28/17) A fun photo update from Disney's Hollywood Studios showing off all the latest construction taking place was posted to OrlandoParkNews.com a few days ago, including a look at the closed Great Movie Ride, peeks at Star Wars Land and more! Check it out!
(7/20/17) As rumored, Disney has confirmed that The Great Movie Ride will close down forever at the end of August 13, 2017. The attraction will be replaced by a brand new attraction inside the Chinese Theater themed structure called Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway. This will be the first attraction at any Disney theme park themed entirely around Mickey Mouse. As rumored, this new attraction themed around the new Mickey Shorts shown on The Disney Channel will involve some special movie magic and traveling through the silver screen into the world of Mickey and friends.
" On Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll step through the movie screen and join Mickey and his friends like never before. The attraction will put you inside the wacky and unpredictable world of a Mickey Mouse Cartoon Short where you’re the star and anything can happen. This zany out-of-control adventure features surprising twists and turns, dazzling visual effects and mind-boggling transformations that happen before your very eyes."
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature a new story and a new singable attraction theme song as well as a new experience we’re calling “2 1/2 D.” No glasses required. Walt Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty said teams are inventing new technologies that turn the flat world of a colorful cartoon short into a “dimensional display of amazingness.”
“This is one of the boldest…most impossible things I’ve ever worked on in almost 40 years of being an Imagineer. And you know what? That’s what I love about it. Well, that, and Mickey,” Kevin said. “This is not going to be a small attraction, it’s going to be game-changing.”
(7/14/17) While the announcement has not happened yet, the name 'Great Mickey Ride' has been making the rounds online lately as the likely name to replace the Great Movie Ride.
(7/13/17) You gotta love this time of year… the rumor mill is firing on all cylinders right now left and right. According to Screamscape sources we can expect to see The Great Movie Ride retired at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park sometime in the not too distant future. I don’t know exactly when, because closing it is going to create a touchy situation right now with so much of the rest of the park under construction, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they wait until Toy Story Land opens first in 2018 before they close The Great Movie Ride.
While I don’t know for sure what is replacing it, they have talked about retiring the old ride for a number of years now to build a new iconic E-Ticket attraction inside the space… so if this latest plan follows suit with the previous, you can expect for the Chinese theater facade to remain standing and the new attraction built inside the existing structure.
One rumor I heard over the past year was a new take on an older proposal. As I recall, the original proposal goes back to 1999 when Universal first opened Islands of Adventure and the Adventures of Spider-Man ride took the world by storm. Spider-Man was celebrated for many years as the best dark ride ever created at the time, and in many eyes, it still is. According to the rumor-mill from back then, WDI was just as impressed by Spider-Man as everyone else and didn’t want to look like they had lost their mojo, so they developed their own concept for an idea that they felt could best Spider-Man.
Keep in mind this rumor is about 17 years old, and I’m just going on raw memory here, but as I recall the idea was to gut The Great Movie Ride back then and great an all new version, using the theme of Chinese Theater building for what it is… a multiplex theater. They could keep the theater themed queue, but update it with posted featuring a slightly more modern collection of movie choices along with some timeless action film classics including Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Guests would climb into a vehicle with similar movement abilities to those used by Spider-Man which would journey down the movie theater hallway and turn into one of the theaters, move down the aisle and towards the giant silver screen.
Here is where things get interesting, as the rest of the ride experience sounded a bit like something out of Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Action Hero” as your vehicle would travel through the silver screen and into the living breathing world of a classic film where you stumbed into one of the iconic scenes from that film, but upon leaving the movie-world a hero or villain from the film just might follow you back into the real world as you traveled into the next theater. An example of one major scene near the end of the ride that was proposed would have seen Darth Vader follow you out of the world of Star Wars, use the force to stop your vehicle from running away, and as he approached with a lightsaber drawn, a loud thunderous crack would fill the air and Vader’s weapon would fly out of his hands, revealing that Indiana Jones, whip in hand, had just saved you from certain doom, allowing you to quickly make your escape.
Obviously it didn’t happen, and the reason I was always given was that pride got in the way. I’m not sure if it was Eisner who nixed it back in the day or someone else, but however it happened, apparently Disney didn’t want to be seen trying to copy and catch up with what Universal had done, so they quietly nixed the project. But you know what they say about how no good idea at Disney is ever fully forgotten.
Jumping ahead to today, you could easily see how a ride like this would still be great fun. If the last rumor going around still holds true, Disney may try the same concept once again, but updated this time to focus on Disney animated films, creating a huge mashup of characters, worlds and unique experiences involving tons of great films from over the decades, including those who may have never been given a ride of their own before. Now add into this concept the appearance of Mickey and friends who are likely to serve as your storytelling device to make all the mischief and chaos happen in much the same way that Donald and the Sorcerer’s Magic Hat serve as the central part of the story told by Mickey’s PhilharMagic over at The Magic Kingdom.
Again… this is just a rumor right now, serving as an update to a much older concept, and maybe Disney have some entirely other plan in mind, but either way you should plan to get your last rides in on The Great Movie Ride while you still can. It won't be around forever.
Oh, and while you are at it, you also may want to visit the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular as well, because I’m also hearing that it too will be removed in the not too distant future as part of the ongoing re-imagining of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
2019 - Wonderful World of Animation - (11/21/18) Disney’s Hollywood Studios will put in a new night show in May 2019 called “Wonderful World of Animation” as part of the park’s 30th anniversary celebration.
2020/2021/2022 - Indiana Jones Land - Rumor - (3/19/19) I’m not sure how serious this rumor is, but according to the latest whispers on the wind, the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular may actually not be removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Instead the show could close for a very lengthy makeover sometime between 2020 and 2021, and reopen with an enhanced show experience in time for Indiana Jones 5 to be released.
(10/24/18) Could an Indiana Jones themed land be the next major project for Disney’s Hollywood Studios once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is complete? According to Disney & More and other rumor sites out there, Disney has been playing around with ideas of how to expand and update the Indiana Jones presence at the Orlando parks. We previously heard a rumored pitch that would have seen Indy moved to Animal Kingdom and the Dinosaur ride modified to become a full blown Indiana Jones Adventure ride like the one at Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, but it seems that the Studios park may need more immediate help than Animal Kingdom. Make the jump to read about where it may go and what existing attractions could be removed to make way.