Say goodbye to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios you have come to love over the years, and get ready to welcome with open arms the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do. Details of Disney’s Hollywood Adventure are set to be rolled out at this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim come August, but we’ve got the exclusive on some of the secrets The Mouse was trying to keep under wraps until then.
With the attention of geeks centered on what comes out of San Diego a short time from now at the 2015 edition of Comic-Con, there have been some major developments swirling beneath the radar as it pertains to Disney. The Mouse is going to have a huge presence at the event, pulling back the curtain on a great deal of STAR WARS content to whip the fans into a frenzy for the weekend, but for those who don’t just want to watch the things they love, but experience them as well, the enthusiasm will reach a much higher level when they learn of the pilgrimage to Orlando, Florida, they’ll have to make in the near future.
Per our reliable source Uncle Walt, Disney’s board has approved $3 billion for a massive overhaul of the Studios park, complete with rebranding to better reflect the shift away from how movies are made to more how they live and breathe inside of us. Along with that money, we’ll be seeing the park dominated by STAR WARS, Pixar and Indiana Jones as a great deal of the park’s older attractions are put out to pasture and about six new ones are ushered in.
Let’s start with what goes… Basically everything. It’d be easier to list what is going to be sticking around, as that list is much shorter, so here you go – The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania and the Great Movie Ride. If an attraction is not in that company, it’s not going to last. And yes, that even includes Muppet Vision 3D and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, with things like the Magic of Disney Animation to be on the cutting room floor.
But fear not, Disney lovers. Not all change is bad. What is in the works is something that should inject some new energy into the park, with two new STAR WARS attractions tapped to be in the works, including a Dagobah centerpiece for where Echo Lake and Gertie the Dinosaur currently reside. Details on what those attractions will be have managed to escape me for now, but, with STAR TOURS and the Jedi Training Academy, which I hear will be relocating indoors to an existing building, already in place, you’re looking at four STAR WARS attractions on the ground inside the park, not to mention the possibilities for dining and shopping experiences that would mimic what you’d encounter in that galaxy far, far away.
Indiana Jones will not be staying away from Hollywood Adventure for too long. He just won’t be doing it in a stunt capacity with the rumors of the long-standing show closing up shop finally coming true. However, an updated version of the Indiana Jones Adventure that can be found in Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, will be breaking ground in Florida finally. So there’s that to look forward to.
As for Pixar’s presence, Pixar Place will continue to grow, with three new attractions being added to the mix, and that doesn’t even count the expansion of Toy Story Mania that is currently in the works. In fact, sources tell me that construction may already be underway, hidden from public view where the Studio Backlot Tour used to exist. That would make the time from announcement to completion feel much shorter, a strategy Universal has successfully employed in recent years for their theme parks.
Now the time frame for all of this to be completed is a bit of a mystery. Disney is well aware that the park remains popular, and they’d like to keep guests coming through the turnstiles as they work through this period of transition. As a result, you’re not just going to see each of the rides and shows set to go closing their doors all at once. Disney will be moving through in waves, knowing that a handful of rides aren’t going to be enough to satisfy their crowds. So you’ll see a few things close down in order to make way for the new attractions, and, as those come along in the process, others will then start shuttering up for the new construction.
Once again, I’ve been told all of this will be revealed at D23 in greater detail and with many more specifics, but at least for now you have the blueprint for what The Mouse has planned for the next few years in Orlando.
Oh, and that doesn’t even include the new nighttime show being lined up for EPCOT to replace Illuminations or the new attraction that will be kicking Journey Into Imagination to the curb.