Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(6/27/22) Star Wars Launch Bay To Reopen Next Month (MORE....)
(6/13/22) Construction Updates plus New Star Tours Destinations in the Works
(5/22/22) Hollywood Studios Now Showing Sneak Peek of Lightyear (MORE...)
(5/7/22) A Small Fantasmic! Update (MORE...)
(5/5/22) A Few Hints About The New Fantasmic! Scene (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Nothing is known to be planned at this time…
General Park News - (6/27/22) Consider me slightly surprised, but Disney World has announced that the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction area will reopen to guests on July 17, 2022, bringing back the return of Star Wars character meet and greets along with other fun Star Wars themed displays. Star Wars Launch Bay was originally built as a sort of preview Star Wars experience of sorts to be offered to guests while the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land was under construction, with the intention of closing the Launch Bay down once Galaxy’s Edge opened. Instead Launch Bay closed with the rest of Walt Disney World in March of 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic, but when the theme park itself reopened in 2021, the Star Wars Launch Bay remained closed.
(6/13/22) Orlando Theme Park News is back with a new update from Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week, checking on the progress of various projects taking place in the park. This includes a look at some upgrades taking place in Toy Story Land on page 2.
(5/22/22) As of Friday, Disney’s Hollywood Studios started now showing off a sneak peek at the upcoming film, Lightyear, at the Walt Disney Presents theater ahead of the film’s June 17th theatrical release.
(1/20/22) Walt Disney World has announced a couple of new expansion projects will be opening in Toy tory Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2022. Before you get too excited, either is a new ride, so curb your expectations. Coming later this year will be a new gift shop called Jessie’s Trading Post along with the opening of a reviously announced new restaurant, the Roundup Rodeo BBQ. The later is much needed as the land currently only has a quick service counter location to provide food and snacks.
(10/9/21) Here is the list of attractions that will have Lightning Lane and Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane access at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting Oct. 19, 2021.
Individual Lightning Lane Purchase:
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane:
Alien Swirling Saucers
Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
Disney Jr. Play and Dance!
Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Slinky Dog Dash
Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Toy Story Mania
2022 - New Fantastmic! - (5/7/22) According to a Disney press release, they have confirmed that “Fantasmic!” will return “later in 2022”, featuring a new show sequence featuring “Mulan, Elsa, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Moana - in heroic moments, as well as new technical enhancements.”
Unfortunately “later is 2022” is fairly vague at this point, so we could still be looking at later in the Summer, the Fall or even the start of the Winter holiday season. But as aerial photos of the drained show-theater posted not long ago indicate, the crews are still working on the technical and mechanical features of the venue currently, so any technical rehearsals of the tech, or on-stage performer rehearsals will have to wait until the venue is fixed and ready to go first.
(5/5/22) Laughing Place has posted a brief video interview with Matthew Hamel, the Director of “Fantastmic!” at Walt Disney World who gives a brief description of what we can expect from a new scene being added to the show.
(4/9/22) Screamscape sources have confirmed that the return of Fantasmic! is in the words for Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The problem time… no one seems to know exactly when the show may return. As technical crews have been preparing the venue’s systems for the return of the show, apparently more issues have arisen that have to be addressed first. So currently the show’s theater has been completely drained of water to allow for complete access to all the underwater systems for the various fountains, projection screen effects and the underwater track.
I believe the show lagoon was previously drained earlier this year and was reported to be refilled back in early March, only to now be drained all over again. So far any proposed opening date for Fantasmic! will have to wait until they finish all the technical work in the venue and get a grasp of how long it will take to re-program the equipment, and have the needed rehearsals for the performers and tech crews, so say nothing of working in any new rumored show segments. So stay tuned!
(4/4/22) According to a post from Orlando Theme Park Zone, Walt Disney World may be preparing to announce a return date for the Fantasmic! Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon. Also according to their sources the show is likely to feature some kind of new scene that is thought to replace the original show’s Pocohontas scene. More as we find out, though I imagine if Fantastmic! is getting close to a return, guests staying nearby should start to notice lights, sounds and pyro from rehearsals that would need to be held ahead of the opening.
(11/26/21) According to the rumor mill work to resort and prep Fantasmic for a re-launch at Walt Disney World is now under way. I don’t believe anything has been confirmed yet, but I’m told the water in the show arena has been drained and there seems to be a lot of behind the scenes activity taking place, as part of preparations to get the show ready to perform once again. Even better, there are rumors about some long-overdue improvements and changes expected to be made to the show when it does reopen. Hopefully we’ll find out more sooner than later.
It is worth mentioning that prior to COVID, in late 2019 the latest rumored suggested that WDW was preparing for a long refurbishment starting in 2022 and re-launch of a new version of the show anyway in 2023. Perhaps the early closure of the show in 2020 has only accelerated these plans to reopen in 2022, or at least make some of the planned changes.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to see the show become something more like what it was originally rumored to be, which was dubbed Fantastmic Hollywood, where the show would have focused more on some of Disney’s live action films and scenes instead of being entirely animated. If memory serves, one of the big action sequences proposed back in the day would have placed the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the water, making a slow pass through the stadium with crew members on the deck defending off an attack from the giant squid. In more recient years we’ve seen Disney’s studio efforts take to making live-action versions of their famous animated films, so the timing would be fitting to bring back the Fantastic Hollywood concept in my opinion.
(10/11/19) Consider this to be a long-out rumor, but the early word is that it may be time to revamp the Walt Disney World version of Fantasmic! In the not so distant future. I’m hearing the overall plan is to possibly hype it up as a 25th Anniversary upgrade for the show in much the same way that Disneyland upgraded their version for their shows’ own 25th anniversary in 2017, after opened in 1992.
If we use Disneyland as an example, this would mean that the Florida version of Fantastmic! would end up closing down for about a year to perform the upgrade, so in order to reopen in time for 2023, the existing show would likely close down sometime in 2022, just in time for whatever long-term 50th Anniversary plans for the WDW resort will be coming to a close.
???? - More New Star Tours Destinations - Announced - (6/13/22) According to news released at the Star Wars Celebration event in California, Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, who has overseen the creation of Galaxy’s Edge confirmed that more new sequences / scenes will continue to be added to Star Tours going forward. No further details were given as to what new locations might be added to the attraction, though the last few sequences added to the attraction involved locations from the final trilogy in the series. Since then, with the launch of Disney+, the Star Wars universe has been expanded again through shows like The Mandorlian, The Boot of Boba Fett and the new Obi-Wan Kenobi mini-series. With more Star Wars projects on deck like Andor, Ahsoka, The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew, it would seem to be a good bet that any of these could serve as the inspiration for new Star Tours segment locations.
Without a timeline as to when the next addition could appear, it’s hard to even guess what it could be, as Disney will likely tie the launch of the new segment(s) into whatever new programming is about to air on Disney+ at that time.
???? - Pixar Place Expansion - Rumor - (2/12/20) We’ve heard a small tidbit about the possible future of the Star Wars: Launch Bay along with that entire surrounding area of the park, including One Man’s Dream, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show and possibly even the soundstage where the Disney Junior shows are performed. According to the rumor, the concept of “Pixar Place” would be extended down to the Launch Bay area, with all the available space to be transformed into possible new attractions themed to various Pixar movie characters. Something themed around the Monsters Inc. universe seems very likely, as the Monsters Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom is always rumored to be on the chopping block. There is always buzz about trying to make a mini version of Cars Land as well, but I’m not sure they are ready to invest in a full blown Radiator Springs Racers attraction just as they are turning their focus onto the Epcot update. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing something with The Incredibles or Wall-E added here as well.
Of course, there is also the matter of what they intend to do with Indiana Jones at the park. Keep it, renovate it into a new show, turn the area into a full attraction… or are they ready to let Indy leave the Studios and head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
???? - Revised Rock ‘n Roller Coaster - (9/8/21) Are the days of Aerosmith on Disney’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster coming to a close? Perhaps, but only when Disney is ready to try something else. Another article posted elsewhere has been making some waves with a somewhat deceptive headline that seems to imply that the longevity of Aerosmith’s music on the coaster may be in Universal’s hands. The truth is in the article, but you have to read it very carefully, because when they say “Universal” they are not talking about Universal Orlando, Universal Studios, NBC/Universal or even parent company Comcast.
Instead they are talking about Universal Music Group, which a long time ago was part of the greater Universal empire when it was all owned by Vivendi, but has long since been spun off as a separate company with no ties at all to the current Universal Studios that is owned by Comcast. So don’t let the UMG’s logo fool you. As for the Aerosmith connection, the aging band signed a deal with UMG that will give them control of the band’s entire catalog starting in 2022.
Now, with that fact out of the way, don’t for a moment think that the Disney ride will have to remove the soundtrack next year. Long ago Disney signed their own contract with Aerosmith to use their name and music on the attraction. If this follows the typical theme park IP contract, the initial contract would have gone into effect either when the ride opened, or maybe the year before (so 1998-1999) and typically those kind of IP deals are signed in 10-year terms. Usually with terms for an automatic renewal built in for a second 10-year term, and then some verbiage in place to allow for further 10-year extensions to be added down the line at a higher price, unless one of the parties is very desperate to break the contract, or found to be in violation of the terms.
So in a worst case pay-out, Disney and Aerosmith have already begun their third term, which would have begun 2018/2019, and would see Disney able to keep using the theme, the band name, the existing soundtrack, and footage of the band in the preshow until at least 2028 or 2029 if need be. I have a feeling some modifications were made to the deal during the last renewal however, as it has been pointed out that Disney stopped selling merchandise with the Aerosmith name in the giftshop a few years ago, and the clone of the ride in Paris ceased operation in 2019 and is currently being renovated to have a Marvel / Iron Man theme for when it re-opens as part of that park’s Avengers Campus.
With the band having been started in the 1970’s and the various members either in the late 60’s to mid 70’s, it does seem like time is catching up with them all, and Disney could very well choose to transform the ride to either have a new musical focus on another band, or a variety of musical bands that could be played at random, or simply change the entire theme of the ride entirely into something new, as they are doing in Paris. But I wouldn’t count on seeing anything change until we get closer to the end of the current contract.
(4/24/19) Our friends at Attractions Magazine were lucky enough to take a little tour of Walt Disney Imagineering not long ago, and while they had to keep the cameras put away for much of the time, they did learn a few fun facts about new Disney projects in the works. One of which was a confirmation that they were working on some new theme ideas for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the company’s license contract with Aerosmith is expiring in the near future.
We already know that the counterpart at the Walt Disney Studios Paris park is being given some kind of new Marvel theme, rumored to be tied to Iron Man or the Avengers, but that also won’t happen in Florida. Nothing was said about when the Aerosmith deal would end, but I believe these kinds of deals are often in 10 or 20 year increments, and since the ride opened in 1999, this year would be the 20 year mark. Of course Disney also always opt to pay for a small term extension if all parties agree so don’t count Aerosmith out just yet.