Monday, October 20, 2014

What Will Replace the Studio Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios?

So with the Back Lot Tour now closed, the inevitable question arises..."What will be replacing it?"With so many sizzling hot properties just waiting to be infused into their theme parks, Disney could not be in a better position to develop new attractions. Many also believe (yours truly not among them) that Hollywood Studios is dying on the (Hollywood and...) vine and quickly falling to the bottom of the Disney "must do" list of parks. Star Wars Land and Cars Land have both been rumored for some time now, including in the darthmaz314 posts linked below. 

Both of these rumored park expansions have the potential to infuse new life (and millions of dollars) into Disney Hollywood Studios. But where would these expansions be built? A quick look at the Disney Hollywood Studios park map may hint at where we may see them surface in the near future. 

One would think that if Star Wars Land were to become a reality, it would need to materialize around the existing Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attraction. The fact that the Backlot Tour is at the opposite end of the park most likely means that the Force is not strong with the notion of a Star Wars expansion on the Backlot Tour footprint. Both MuppetVision 3D and Lights, Motors, Action! fall in between Star Tours and the Backlot location and both have also been rumored to be on their way out. Then again, very little at the Studios has not been rumored to be on its way out. Removing both Muppets and Lights, Motors... would clear a huge footprint on which Star Wars Land could be developed.
What Will Be Done on the Site of the Former Studio Backlot Tour?

However, this plan would also require the elimination of the Streets of America section, leaving nowhere to insert the hugely popular Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Christmastime. This would also seem to require the removal or retooling of both the Pizza Planet and Mama Melrose dining locations. All possible in a place where anything is possible, but not very likely. If the Osborne Lights were removed, it is hard to imagine it not being relocated to another section of the park, given its huge popularity and ability to drum up attendance at the Studios, a park which some feel needs an overhaul. Is there really another area of the park where Osborne Lights can be overlayed each year? With the development and implementation of the display over time and its long run in that location, it almost feels as if the Osborne lights were meant to be in that area of the park; an area which outside of the two months a year when Osborne in in residence, is one of the Studios lowlights.
Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney Hollywood Studios - courtesy darthmaz314

So where does this leave Star Wars Land? It leaves it in the current location of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, another attraction which just happens to be adjacent to Star Tours, has a large footprint on which to build, and has also rumored to be on the chopping block. Expanding in the area of Indiana Jones still allows the option of removing MuppetVision 3D and keeping the Streets of America, whose tall facades already provide an existing barrier to separate the two areas which would feature vastly different themes.
The Far Side of "Streets of America" Near the Lights, Motors, Action Arena - courtesy darthmaz314

What then happens with the enourmous footprint of the Studio Backlot Tour? Some have speculated that an expansion of Pixar Place in inevitable in that spot, particularly since it lies adjacent to the the Backlot Tour area (see map above). Could that expansion include the development of Cars Land? This would seem to be a no brainer, particularly considering how the west coast Cars Land re-invigorated Disney's California Adventure park.

For Disney fans, it is now all a waiting game. Waiting to see what attraction, if any, closes next. Waiting to see if Disney develops anything Star Wars or Cars related. And most importantly, waiting for any new attractions to be developed, built, tested, and opened to the public. With the current rate at which Disney builds attractions, by the time they open a new Star Wars attraction, I will be too old to ride it. Here's hoping for the best! 

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