I 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 based 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 to 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, and 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. It’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! 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?