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Maelstrom isn’t the only attraction closing soon at the Walt Disney World Resort. In a Friday night news dump, Disney confirmed that the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would close in one week, on Sept. 27. With that, the final remnant of the movie-and-television-production theme for the original Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park will be whisked away.

Not much is left of an attraction that once dominated the park. Patterned after the enduring Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood (and let’s quit denying that, everyone), Disney’s Backlot Tour once included a drive through extensive residential and streets and a tour of production facilities, in addition to the Catastrophe Canyon set piece that remains to this day. But Disney never had enough filming happening at the park to justify devoting so much space to those production facilities.

Not much is left of an attraction that once dominated the park. Patterned after the enduring Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood (and let’s quit denying that, everyone), Disney’s Backlot Tour once included a drive through extensive residential and streets and a tour of production facilities, in addition to the Catastrophe Canyon set piece that remains to this day. But Disney never had enough filming happening at the park to justify devoting so much space to those production facilities. I’ve told this story before, but during the park’s first summer, my future wife and the rest of the Disney All-American College Orchestra practiced in one of the Backlot Tour soundstages, simply so Disney would have some activity in it to show tour-goers.
Those soundstages long ago were converted into the Toy Story Midway Mania building. The residential streets were torn down to make room for the Lights, Motors, Action show. Disney opened the New York Streets to foot traffic and built the Muppets theater and Mama Melrose’s there. That left the water tank special effects demonstration, a drive through the boneyard and the costume department, and Catastrophe Canyon as the remaining elements on the tour. (The animation production facilities at the park closed long ago, standing in what’s now the The Magic of Disney Animation pavilion.)

The tour’s fate was sealed a couple of years ago, when Disney first slated the area for the east coast version of Cars Land. When Disney management changed its mind and killed the Cars Land plan, it was simply a matter of deciding what else would move into this space. The consensus is that Pixar Place will expand into the remaining Backlot Tour area, perhaps with a clone of Toy Story Playland, or a Monsters Inc. ride from California Adventure or Tokyo Disneyland, or one of many other Pixar attraction concepts that Walt Disney Imagineering has “blue skied” over the years.

In other news, Disney’s announced that the Legends of Frontierland game will close at Disneyland, also on Sept. 27. Disney’s latest attempt at creating a massive, multi-player, in-park role-playing game has been running since July.

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