As we start off our blog here at Travel to the Mouse, I thought it would be fun to share one of the most exciting bits of Disney gossip floating around these days. As you may or may not know, big changes are in store for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When the park opened in May of 1989, it was envisioned to be Hollywood East. It would be a hybrid of a theme park and working movie and television studio. A huge part of the park was the famed “Backlot Tour” where guests would take a combination tram/walking tour and see how a studio worked. Guests could see animators working on upcoming shows and movies, see Residential Street where the fronts of famous TV houses could be found, maybe catch a glimpse of a movie being filmed, and much more.
Alas, the Studio never really took off. Companies never embraced the idea of Orlando as a filming destination, and apparently having the noise of screaming people riding the Tower of Terror wasn’t exactly conducive to filming! Over the years, the Studios has become much more theme park focused than studio focused. Recently, the last real part of the old studios, The Backlot Tour, was shut down. This along with the closing of The American Idol Experience, a live show where guests could compete in the Studio’s own version of the hit TV show, means that there is a ton of space now open for something to be brought in. The question is, what will it be?
Recently in a conference call with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Star Wars would have an expanded presence in the parks. What does that mean? Hollywood Studios already hosts Star Wars Weekends during the summer. These weekend are super popular and feature special Star Wars character meets, autograph sessions with members of the Star Wars cast, a special Star Wars parade, and a Star Wars themed fireworks show.
It would make sense that the “expanded presence” of the Star Wars Universe would happen at the Studios, where there also happens to be Disney’s only Star Wars ride, Star Wars 2.0! The thought currently is that the entire left front side of the park will be turned into Star Wars Land that would feature rides, restaurants, and more! Of course, this is all just rumor at this point, but all signs point to something happening! Disney is under pressure to compete with the massively successful Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios both in terms of it growing share of the Orlando tourist marketplace and with the sense the Universal is being more creative than Disney right now. We will have to wait and see. Of course, if you are familiar with Hollywood Studios you know that the Backlot Tour is at the back of the park, not near where the rumored Star Wars Land would be. So what’s going on there? Will Disney leave it empty? Not likely, but that’s for another post!
So what would you like to see if Star Wars Land does come to the Studio? Leave a comment below! Also, if you are interested in not waiting for something new to come, why not check out Star Wars Weekend this summer? At Travel to the Mouse we can put a great package together for you and help you get the most out of your trip! Contact Kris today!