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indytim 07-03-2015 04:11 PM

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Could Undergo $3 Billion Overhaul to Add More Indy
 
http://www.slashfilm.com/disney-holl...udios-changes/

We all knew that Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando Florida is undergoing a major reworking. The Sorcerer’s hat has been removed, the studio tour has been shut down, The Art of Animation will be closing, and there are many rumors about what is yet to change in the movie-themed Disney-owned amusement park.

Now we hear that the Disney board may have approved a $3 billion overhaul of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which could eventually include a larger Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Pixar presence.

This latest rumor comes from Billy Donnelly over at This Is Infamous, who has had his hand on the pulse of Disney World developments. He calls the massive $3 billion overhaul “the biggest theme park expansion Disney has ever set out to do.” Full information on the new Disney’s Hollywood Studios will likely be announced at this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim this August but here are some of the rumored details:

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.” So basically it will be more about the magic of the movies than the magic of making movies — i.e. it will be more like the other Disney theme parks.

A lot of the park’s older attractions are shuttered, including some of my favorite attractions at that park, like Muppet Vision 3D and the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.

Here is a list of the attractions that will supposedly remain after the overhaul: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, Toy Story Mania (which will reportedly add additional track) and the Great Movie Ride (which has recently gone through refurbishment thanks to the Turner Classic Movies sponsorship).
Indiana Jones Adventure concept art

The updated park will be “dominated” by Star Wars, Pixar and Indiana Jones.

The Star Wars expansion will include “a Dagobah centerpiece” where Echo Lake and Gertie the Dinosaur currently sit. Star Tours will remain, and other attractions will be added, although no details have leaked yet on those. The Jedi Training Academy will be relocating indoors to an existing building.

An updated version of the Indiana Jones Adventure from Disneyland will supposedly be added.

Pixar Place will expand further, moving into the place where the Studio Backlot Tour used to exist, supposedly with three new attractions. (No word yet on what those will be.) Donnelly theorizes that construction could already be underway behind closed gates to allow a quicker opening, a practice Universal Studios has employed to great effect.

Also: No word on the time frame to complete this massive overhaul, but it will likely be done in phases or waves to keep rides open during the transition.

I don’t know that Donnelly’s information is true, but bits and pieces seem to line up with so many rumors from trusted Disney theme park insiders that it seems likely. I’m excited to see a larger Star Wars presence and can’t wait until I can finally walk around a huge Star Wars land in a Disney theme park. I’ll be excited to hear what Disney has planned when they make announcements at D23. And hopefully those announcements also include details on more Star Wars at Disneyland park as well.

On the other side of the coin, I’m disappointed that the Indiana Jones stunt show will be going away as it is one of the best stunt shows ever created. Also, Muppetvision 3D holds a big place in my heart, and I was hoping for an update with more animatronic Muppets. I guess Muppets Most Wanted wasn’t a big enough hit to make that happen?

And while the idea of Disney Hollywood Studios (or MGM Studios as it was called in my childhood) never fully worked, I’m disappointed they are going to be abandoning the magic of moviemaking theme of the park and instead focus on the magic of movies.

TheFedora 07-03-2015 06:44 PM

So we are effectively trading the Indiana Jones Stunt show for the Indiana Jones ride?

IAdventurer01 07-04-2015 11:35 PM

Seems odd they'd call out a specific Indiana Jones focus in the article for only one attraction. It's certainly possible, but at the very least I'd expect the area around it to have some nice shops and theme - more so than the old shop and carts around the old stunt show.

Lance Quazar 07-05-2015 02:28 AM

Having visited the park last year, a few thoughts on this-

the Indy stunt show was still a crowd-pleaser and I got a chance to see it (again) shortly before it shuttered. However, with Raiders receding further into the mists of cinema history, I'm not surprised it got shut down.

That said, it seems odd to plan more Indy stuff in the park (when already know Jock's is coming) without at least vague intentions for more Indy films. The Temple of the Forbidden Eye in Anaheim is starting to show its age, so I can't imagine they're planning a straight-up redo of that one.

The studio backlot tour was an embarrassment and needed to go. It was a relic from the park's early years, when it was conceived of (and briefly used as) an actual production facility in addition to being a theme park. But with all of that in the distant past, the backlot tour was just pitiful.

But nothing was worse than the Great Movie Ride. It's a monstrosity that needs to be burned to the ground. Or at least completely gutted with its Chinese Theater facade turned into something - ANYTHING - else. It's GOT to go.

Jesus, I really hope they don't go overboard with Star Wars theming. It should still be a "movie-centric" theme park, which means keeping the terrific faux-Los Angeles styling, including the lovely Echo Lake. Ruining Echo Lake to put in a "Dagobah centerpiece" sounds like a horrible and deeply short-sighted idea.

Getting rid of the Sorcerer's Hat sounds like a great idea. It looks pitiful and lame and only exists to try to give the park a shorthanded icon, like Spaceship Earth at EPCOT or the castle at the Magic Kindgom. But it felt very forced. Go back to the drawing board on this one, Disney. As long as it's not a giant R2-D2 head or Indy fedora.

JasonMa 07-05-2015 08:40 AM

I was at the studios last week and my wife is well tied into the Disney community and has been tracking this stuff for a while.

*The hat was taken down a few months ago. It looks much better without it.

*The Stunt Show is still active, they haven't announced a closing date yet as far as I know.

*One rumor is that Muppetvision will still be in the park but it will be moved to free up the current location to be included in Star Wars land. This would make sense as there's another Muppet movie coming I believe and a new Muppet weekly show on ABC this fall.

*The new Star Wars land will almost certainly include some form of Mos Eisley Cantina restaurant.

*The third track for Toy Story Mania is already under construction and has been for a few months.

*Like others I'm not sure I buy a copy of the Indiana Jones Adventure coming to the Studios. Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom is the exact same vehicles and track as Indy, just with a dinosaur theme. I can't see them building another copy of the same attraction at the Studios.

*The rumored completion date for everything is 2019.

*The rumored new name for the park is Disney's Hollywood Adventure (tying in to Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim).

Attila the Professor 07-05-2015 12:47 PM

I'm somewhat tied into the theme park community too; generally speaking, it seems this piece has been met with skepticism. In particular the alleged price tag; the likely comparable second take on Disney California Adventure cost around $1.5 billion. No way they plunge double that into Hollywood Studios, which doesn't have the burden of being the second gate of two at a smaller resort.

JasonMa 07-05-2015 05:50 PM

Oh agreed, there are some raised eyebrows at the number being floated around. At the same time seeing what Universal is doing down the road with Harry Potter and Kong Disney needs to respond and respond big. Avatar-land at Animal Kingdom seems to be a waste of money, nobody seems excited by it, so Star Wars as the Studios is the response to Universal.

And the DCA makeover would qualify as "good enough" I think, but not enough to respond to what Universal has done in Florida so I can see why the price tag would be bigger. The question is will the board actually follow through with the rumored expansion at $3B or will they scale it back?

Pale Horse 07-06-2015 02:22 PM

This thread gets a moderators approval
 
Well done.

Attila the Professor 07-07-2015 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonMa
Oh agreed, there are some raised eyebrows at the number being floated around. At the same time seeing what Universal is doing down the road with Harry Potter and Kong Disney needs to respond and respond big. Avatar-land at Animal Kingdom seems to be a waste of money, nobody seems excited by it, so Star Wars as the Studios is the response to Universal.

And the DCA makeover would qualify as "good enough" I think, but not enough to respond to what Universal has done in Florida so I can see why the price tag would be bigger. The question is will the board actually follow through with the rumored expansion at $3B or will they scale it back?


Yeah, I wasn't really disagreeing with you. I was just waiting around for someone else to speak from a position of knowledge so I wouldn't feel obligated to research a bunch of things, that DCA price tag aside.

The other thing I've been hearing a bunch of chatter about, incidentally, is the idea that the deeply mediocre Toy Story Playland, seen below in its Hong Kong iteration, might be joining the park's ranks, presumably in what was the animation area. Its creative flaws aside, it would boost the number of attractions significantly and offer the first area in that park that's decidedly for kids.


JasonMa 07-08-2015 10:15 AM

Yeah, I heard something along those lines as well. But what the Studios really suffers from is full family friendly attractions. They have some little kid stuff, some thrill rides, but not a whole lot of stuff both the kids and adults can enjoy at the same time.

Attila the Professor 07-08-2015 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonMa
Yeah, I heard something along those lines as well. But what the Studios really suffers from is full family friendly attractions. They have some little kid stuff, some thrill rides, but not a whole lot of stuff both the kids and adults can enjoy at the same time.


Well, they suffer from an overall lack. Not enough rides, period, though also not enough non-thrill rides (the number is currently at 5: Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Great Movie Ride, and the non-entity Toy Story Mania). Not enough water. Hell, not enough structural clarity. Only thing they really have enough of are fun themed restaurants, at which that park excels. (And I suspect we definitely can't expect anything more than a counter-service booth as far as any Indy area that may or may not exist goes, if the impending existence of a Jock-themed place at Disney Springs is any indication.)

So you raise an interesting question. If the Toy Story area goes in relatively intact, that's a bunch of rides that adults will have no interest in, and perhaps won't even be able to ride, depending. (The Green Army Man parachutes, for example, I think are on a pretty small scale.)

How about Star Wars? Well, Star Tours will remain, which is a thrill ride that's relatively open to most ages, and also covers a lot of the films' territory. I think I've heard it said that the Jedi Training Academy would end up in a more permanent location of its own. Beyond that, I couldn't begin to guess what a mid-range ride would look like for that property. I suppose it largely depends on what sort of environment they go with. This rumor says Dagobah, but Iger had previously said that the focus would be on the new films to come. (Another thing worth quibbling with in this rumor is that a swamp isn't the likeliest environment to explore on foot at a theme park, especially in an area that, assuming existing infrastructure is employed to whatever extent possible, would likely still be rather wide open after a retheme. You can do winding, wooded pathways, but not smack-dab in the middle of an area.)

As for Indy? Well, if they put in Indiana Jones Adventure, that's probably the full extent of it. That, a shop, and a counter service place, maybe with an attempt at a signature food item (which, no, won't end up being the Blood of Kali, though I could imagine an obliquely named drink called "You Chose Wisely). Maybe they'd put in some variant on the Temple of Peril/Raging Spirits, a relatively off-the-shelf coaster with elaborate temple theming around, but I wouldn't expect it. Indy would be a great opportunity to give that park more water than just Echo Lake and the Splash Fountain, but boat rides are expensive because there needs to be a lot for guests to see while moving slowly on them. Avatarland is getting one, but that's a much fuller land than I expect we'll ever see for Indiana Jones.

Pale Horse 07-08-2015 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
... maybe with an attempt at a signature food item (which, no, won't end up being the Blood of Kali, though I could imagine an obliquely named drink called "You Chose Wisely)...


Which undoubtedly will be the choice of a Coke™ product. :hat:

Attila the Professor 07-08-2015 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pale Horse
Which undoubtedly will be the choice of a Coke™ product. :hat:


I don't know, the industry standard these days has foam on top, since that's what Disney thinks is Butterbeer's appeal.

JasonMa 07-08-2015 02:01 PM

Ugh, Disney foam. Don't get me started. ;)

The other (other other?) problem with the Studios is that the park layout makes no sense. MK, EPCOT, and even AK to some extent (and more so when Avatar-land opens) are essentially circles, sometimes circles within circles. The Studios has kind of a circle but its got no logic layout, dead ends (Sunset Blvd), pinch points (Toy Story Mania, any time anything occurs outside Great Movie Ride), and generally is a pain in the ass to navigate.

At this point when we visit we go to Toy Story Mania if we get a Fastpass, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and maybe Rock N' roller Coaster, and leave. If its lunchtime we eat at the Commissary but generally we don't like to eat in the park due to the lack of choices. Its just better to spend our time elsewhere.

(Actually on this last trip two weeks ago I caught up to where the rest of my family is. Its more fun and less stressful to go to Universal than Disney generally at this point.)

JasonMa 07-08-2015 02:25 PM

Talking to my wife (the Disney expert) here's the newest updates on the rumors:

*The new numbers are 2.8 billion for DHS, including infrastructure like parking garages and redoing the entrance.

*Magic Kingdom and Epcot get about $300-$350 million a piece

*There is no indication, despite, what is in that article that there will be an Indy presence. The WDW Magic people, say that article is a combination of all the rumors and armchair imagineering threads that have happened

*The only thing we "know" is the budget and it is Pixar and Star Wars that's going in.

Attila the Professor 07-08-2015 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonMa
*The only thing we "know" is the budget and it is Pixar and Star Wars that's going in.


I'm still seeing considerable skepticism (and laughter) about the budget, but there is consensus around Star Wars and Pixar.

However, voices I trust, including one of the Parkscope guys, who pay attention to permits, budgets, and the link, think the 3 billion is possibly credible along the lines of what your wife hears, if the DHS amount is just a smaller portion of a larger 3 billion, incorporating projects at Magic Kingdom and Epcot and some infrastructure work, DHS parking included. Animal Kingdom's budget, when it was built, for comparison's sake, adjusted for inflation, cost about 1.45 billion, and that's from scratch, plumbing, electrical, and all. The California Adventure revamp was about $1 billion.

Edited to add: Jim Hill, who sometimes gets it right, says the Board of Directors is willing to offer up half a billion for a Star Wars land; Imagineering's proposals have been disappointments. His sources also suggest, perhaps unsurprisingly, that they have no idea what their Star Wars plan is.

I think the question that we might further discuss is whether or not we think it's likely that they'll abandon having any Indiana Jones presence in the park. Is Jock's bar a consolation prize?

indytim 07-16-2015 11:45 AM

Here's a look at the Shanghai Disney Resort that has just been unveiled. 'Adventure Isle' looks an ideal setting for something Indy yet they've gone with not one but two Pirates of the Caribbean attractions. I assume their longterm plan will be that if the park is a success they will either expand or build a separate 'studios park' as in Florida where Indy, Star Wars and Pixar will be showcased.


Attila the Professor 07-16-2015 01:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by indytim
Here's a look at the Shanghai Disney Resort that has just been unveiled. 'Adventure Isle' looks an ideal setting for something Indy yet they've gone with not one but two Pirates of the Caribbean attractions.


Not quite. Pirates has its own land, Treasure Cove. And piracy is a much broader concept than a universe forced to center itself on one single character.

Besides, does China even have a sufficient number of Indy fans for that to be a reasonable choice? China doesn't even show up on this list of foreign grosses for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Perhaps Moedred or somebody can help answer this question.)

Star Wars and Marvel are getting what appear to be rather token representation, at least to begin with, mostly some meet-and-greets and displays. Those properties differ from Indy in at least 3 respects: they are both A) currently popular, B) currently producing new product and C) not tied up with 19th or early 20th century imperialism. Even the first two are enough to say that Indy doesn't get in, while those two do.

As far as this thread goes, there's a solid chance that there's an agreement or policy that nothing newly designed for Shanghai Disneyland is going to make the trip stateside, despite those parks not being seen as competitors. The Tron coaster would probably be the first thing to make the leap; that's the one to watch.

JasonMa 07-16-2015 04:26 PM

You're probably right on the agreement, but it probably has something like "for the first 5 years", not a permanent restriction.

Attila the Professor 07-16-2015 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JasonMa
You're probably right on the agreement, but it probably has something like "for the first 5 years", not a permanent restriction.


Probably. But the fact remains that they don't seem to be developing anything related to Indy, or even to Star Wars. This is the Star Wars art that showed up today:



That's not a ride. That's a museum with autographs.

JasonMa 07-17-2015 09:11 AM

Ugh that's....not good.

indytim 07-22-2015 07:08 AM

The Guardian (UK newspaper) have just published an interesting piece on the battle between Universal and Disney to be the USA's best theme park ...

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015...os-theme-parks

Le Saboteur 07-26-2015 03:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
I think the question that we might further discuss is whether or not we think it's likely that they'll abandon having any Indiana Jones presence in the park. Is Jock's bar a consolation prize?


I'll lay money on it never being referred to as "Jock's Bar" outside of putative promotional materials and ephemera within. It'll almost constantly be referred to as the "Hangar Bar" in day to day interactions. Though, there will be an outside chance of it being colloquially referred to as "Jock's".

Point of order: Shanghai Disneyland is being reported to cost around $5.5-billion all inclusive. No way the board allocates $3-billion for a single "land".

And, at the risk of being cryptic, this isn't the first time Imagineering has tried to work Dr. Jones into a dining establishment at one of the parks.

Moedred 09-28-2015 02:27 PM

A conflicting speculation from Slash Film:
http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-land-questions/2
Quote:

Does this mean that Muppet-Vision 3D and the Indiana Jones stunt show are going to be demolished? Probably.

Pale Horse 09-28-2015 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Le Saboteur
I'll lay money on it never being referred to as "Jock's Bar" outside of putative promotional materials and ephemera within...


There's a "strapped" pun in there somewhere, but I ain't going to go hunting around for it.


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