The Rumors Swirling around Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Darth Vader on Star Wars Weekend PosterI love a good Disney rumor, don’t you?  Some juicy tidbit of really-true, might-happen, or totally-fabricated gossip is FUN to think about – imagine if it actually happened!  I love to mentally weigh in on the possibilities –  Am I okay with it?  Horrified by the very idea!  Or jumping up and down with anticipation.  One of my favorite places to hear about all the possible happenings at Walt Disney World is on a podcast called The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill“.  Unlike all the other Disney podcasts I’m addicted to, the Disney Dish with Jim Hill doesn’t come out on a regular schedule.  An episode might come out once or twice a month…then skip a month….then magically reappear.

While I’ve been hearing a LOT of bits and pieces of what may or may not happen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Star Wars, ride closures, attraction removals, updates, refurbs, and so on.  One of the last Disney Dish episodes really made me sit up and take notice – it was “Episode 62: Disney World’s Next Five Years”.  Keeping in mind that it’s all “unofficial” – there was a lot to chew on in that 73 minutes of commentary.  Basically, the discussion is basedSorcerer's Hat on what may potentially happen at Disney World now that Universal has really upped their game.  Much of the discussion focused on Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

So – based on the information I gleaned from Mr. Hill’s revelations, there are some major changes headed to the studios while some long discussed rumors appear to be just that – rumors – and will not become reality.

Here are the one’s I was most interested in (listen to the show for all the rest of the details):

The Sorcerer’s Hat – Source of much debate between the hat lovers and haters, the big blue centerpiece of the Studios has long been rumored to be on the way out.  Seems like it’s actually staying.  I understand its purpose – a place to draw crowds away from other areas of the park, a centrally located performance venue, etc.  And if you believe the other rumors about the hat’s original purpose – it was put there to actually HIDE the Chinese Theater due to legal issues with Disney’s use of a replica of the California original.  I’m not necessarily offended by the hat – I would LOVE DHS Imperial Speeder, Jasonto see an updated version though.  It’s so 2001 – cartoonish and hardly designed to fit in with any of the existing park theme.  I imagine that its removal would be a bit of a headache considering it reportedly weighs 156 tons.

Star Wars Land is a GO – And I am ecstatic!  I’m not much of a Star Wars geek, but I appreciate the broad spectrum of potential, the plethora of possibilities, if you will.  Now, this exciting news means big changes to the landscape of Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Echo Lake will be no more allowing the new land to begin much closer to the park entrance than the Star Wars area is now.  Think about it though!  All those lands, worlds, creatures, vehicles, andWookie in Star Wars Parade characters that are wonderfully amazing and unique!  This is what Disney Imagineers do best and I can’t wait to see how they transform elements from the Force (and the Dark side) into rides, attractions, restaurants, and shops.  The epic battle between good and evil…in the Studios!  Wookies and Ewoks and Sand People, oh my!

Indiana Jones may STAY – Can you believe it?  I braced myself to tell Indy so long and I may not have to! (See that blog post here)  Personally, I’m confident that Indy’s presence in the Studios will be updated.  Disney’s ownership of the Indiana Jones franchise opens the door to a lot of possibility…it would be a shame to waste it.

The Great Movie Ride is on its way OUT – Take a deep breath and think about it for a minute.  The Great Movie RideIt’ll be okay!  Original to the park, this 25 year old tour through classic movie genres was fun and edgy in the beginning.  Over the years though, no updates were made, no new movies were added, no new scripting for those poor Cast Members was written, things that stopped working correctly weren’t repaired (just adjusted to try to hide the problems).  Have you been on this ride lately?  Tarzan makes me feel embarrassed – he’s just awful.  The good news, though, is that according to Mr. Hill, the ride won’t be leaving anytime soon, so you can go and say a proper farewell.  My favorite part has always been the final scene from Casablanca.  What’s yours?

Still hungry for more scoop?  Check out The Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish with Jim Hill!Star Wars Weeekend's Parade  Download from iTunes or Stitcher.  Every episode is interesting.  Most recently (#63), the discussion was based on the history and future of DVC with information about plans that never happened and what DVC options may be available in the years ahead.

How do you feel about the possible changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  What would you be most excited about?  Would you be disappointed by any of the proposed changes?

 

 

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

Walt Disney: One Man's Dream / Disney's Hollywood StudiosIf you haven’t done it before, next time you’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and have about 30 minutes to spare – go see the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream exhibit.  If you’re a fan of all things Disney like I am – it’s an amazing experience and a prime opportunity to see and hear details about Walt Disney’s life and work.  It’s a great way to show children that Walt Disney is not just a brand or a company or a theme park – he was a real person – one who faced many hardships during his life and overcame them by refusing to give up on his dreams.

The exhibit, located in a sound stage on Mickey Avenue, begins with a treasure trove of Life-sized Walt Disney photo / Walt Disney: One Man's Dreammore than 400 artifacts from Walt Disney’s life.  Photos, vintage toys, props, costumes, sketches, and more are cleverly placed throughout the exhibit’s rooms.  There’s a lot to take in and the displays are each very interesting and unique.  You can see the special camera Walt used to film the very first cartoon with synchronized sound – Steamboat Willie.  You can see the special Oscars Walt Disney won for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  One of my favorite displays is of Walt Disney’s office as it was at Disney Studios in California.  I also love all the Mickey Mouse Club memorabilia.  As you meander through the rooms, you move forward in time, beginning with Walt Disney’s birth in Display wall in Walt Disney: One Man's Dream / Disney's Hollywood StudiosChicago and ending with models and dioramas of modern Disney theme park rides and attractions from around the world.

The experience ends with a 15 minute film and this, to me, is the best part!  In the movie, narrated by Julie Andrews, we get to see and hear Walt Disney as he describes his life in his own words.  Never-before-seen home movies allow us to get to know the passionate, happy man who made it his life’s mission to bring his own special brand of happiness to so many people around the world.  It’s no wonder Walt Disney’s name and legacy are still so important, playing an enormous role in our lives today.Walt Disney's Office Display in One Man's Dream

Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream is a cool and quiet escape from the busy (and HOT) hustle and bustle of the Studios.  Tour the exhibits at your own pace and don’t miss the movie at the end which begins every 15 minutes throughout the day.  Oh, and if you’re a sappy sentimental cry baby like me, bring plenty of tissues.

Have you toured One Man’s Dream?  What was your favorite part of the exhibit?

Oswald Poster Mickey Mouse Club artifacts in One Man's Dream Castle Model in One Man's Dream The Walt Disney Theater inside One Man's Dream