When I was down at Walt Disney World last week, I had a chance to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios with my friend Michael, his wife Michelle, and daughter Jessie. During our romp thru the park, I talked to them how I would love to see DHS revamped and expanded, based off the franchises that they have acquired over the years, and rumors I have heard that will possibly happen. We need more major rides. We need more coasters, more rides for the adults and for families. We need something that can rival Universal Studios. They told me I should put my thoughts to paper, which is what you see before you.
Now, when my brain gets going, I tend to overdue it, and this is no exception. After all was said and done, I had way too much to talk about for one week. So, today I present Part I, which will focus on the layout of DHS as it is today.
Honestly, though as crowded as this gets, I would not change much. However, is one thing I would change:
Beauty and the Beast on Stage (Theater of the Stars)
With the opening of New Fantasyland, I think that Beauty and the Beast is now substantially represented. I would rather see the Theater of the Stars house the Hunchback of Notre Dame… A Musical Adventure that ran at DHS in the back of the park in the Premiere Theater.
Echo Lake Area
Let’s face it, the famous Mickey head that can be seen from the sky is long gone, it’s ear leaving with the opening of Sunset Boulevard, and the hat covering a good chunk of the nose area. There is no hope in saving it. Aside from that, American Idol: the Experience seems to be popular enough to keep around, for now. The restaurants around Echo Lake are quirky and fun. However, two glaring things need to be addressed:
The Sorcerer Mickey Hat
It’s hideous where it is. Plain and simple. It should not block the view of the replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. But where to move it? Hmmm… isn’t there a nightly show at DHS that features Sorcerer Mickey? Why not move it to the entrance to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, home to Fantasmic? I think it would look great there.
The Great Movie Ride
I am not against the ride, per say. However, it needs an update. SO many movies have joined the lexicon of American Classics since the ride opened up. I could easily see Alien revamped to Star Wars, for example. Also, Tarzan could become a spot for Captain Jack. I could easily see a Pixar related section put in there, as there is nothing to honor the age of computer animation. The movie at the end needs to be entirely redone, instead of updated from time to time.
You want to keep your Playhouse Disney thing? Fine. The Magic of Disney Animation, though not really fun for all, is nice for people who have not seen it, and I will say the character Meet N’ Greets are fun. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a crowd-pleaser. However, One Man’s Dream can literally be put anywhere, and the Legend of Jack Sparrow is not worth the wait, from what I hear. So, what would I like instead of those last two attractions? A ride… a roller coaster, in fact. And what animated movie is perfect for a coaster? Wreck-It Ralph, of course.
NEW RIDE: Sugar Rush Racers
An interactive arcade gaming queue which leads into Game Central and then into the land of Sugar Rush. You board your Sugar Rush Racers to try and beat Vanellope in the Championship Race. The race starts and pretty soon you crash off the course, back thru Game Central, and in to Hero’s Duty. With the help of Ralph, you escape the bug aliens and make it safely back to Game Central.
This would be an indoor coaster, and I would like to see a sight and sound implement used, perhaps a screen in front of each “driver”, and speakers behind the heads. You could incorporate the backward elements of Expedition Everest and the upside down elements of Rock n’ Roller Coaster, all with some awesome animation and theme.
By far the most popular area of DHS at the moment, it needs to be expanded. Get rid of the Backlot Tour and use the area taken up by the beginning segments, along with the empty space next to the popular Toy Story Midway Mania and create another coaster.
NEW RIDE: Monsters Inc.: Rescue Boo!
This inverted roller coaster is totally based off the scene where Mike and Sulley are trying to get Boo back to her door and is being chased by Randall. You are riding along with the guys on the door track (hence being inverted) and, along the way, you enter different doors, meaning different locals. This happens for a while until you enter one last door, which takes you outside for a thrilling ride in the open air of DHS. I’m thinking like Alpengeist in Busch Gardens Virginia, or Montu in Busch Gardens Tampa… only with better theme.
OK, so we got another major ride. What else?
REFURB: Studio Catering Company becomes Pizza Planet
With the area becoming Pixar-centric, why not take Studio Catering Company and turn it into the actual Pizza Planet from the movie? Home run, in my opinion.
REFURB: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Changes Theme to A Bug’s Life
It honestly would be a pretty easy change over. Remove some of the HISTK stuff, add in A Bug’s Life characters, maybe some Circus stuff, and you got a newly themed play area that kids these days would actually know something about. I am sure some of the props from the Pixar parade could be incorporated pretty easily.
Talk is that this entire land, which has been great for Disney’s California Adventure, is making its’ way to the area I have highlighted. I, for one, cannot be happier. It would be a perfect spot for an area that I feel is beyond underused and in need of a change.
Muppets Take Manhattan
With the removal of Pizza Planet and a retooling of the rest of the areas, this gives us a perfect area to work in the Muppets franchise. After all, they took over NYC in one of their movies. Why not see what they can do in Streets of America, which becomes Streets of Manhattan. Of course, Muppet Vision 3D will stay, as it is the last thing Jim Henson did before he passed. Also to stay would be the Osborne Holiday Lights, as the streets of Manhattan will stay basically the same.
REFURB: Pizza Planet becomes Pete’s Luncheonette
With Pizza Planet moving to its new digs, why not make the quick service restaurant near Muppet Vision 3D the diner where Kermit worked at in the movie? Maybe have some animatronic rats. :)
NEW ATTRACTION: Aladdin- A Musical Spectacular
Did you know that there is a theater behind the San Francisco street backdrop? It’s the Premiere Theater, and it’s been basically vacant over the recent years, aside from special events. What if it was brought back and filled with a Broadway style spectacular, to match the Manhattan theme? Disney’s California Adventure has just the answer… Aladdin!
NEW ATTRACTION: Kermit Talk Back
A Meet N’ Greet of sorts, this would entail turning the area where the CARS and Phineas & Ferb Meet N’ Greets are now into an indoor interactive area where kids can have a talk back with the actual Kermit. This would entail having puppeteers and Kermit voice actors on staff to manipulate Kermit, but I could see this being very popular. And hey, I do a pretty decent Kermit and am an amateur puppeteer… OK, so this is also a ploy to get me a job at Disney. Nothing wrong with that!
NEW AREA: Streets of Manhattan/ Taste of New York
You know, those buildings don’t have to be facades. Why not make them actual buildings if possible, and fill them with stores and eateries that show off the cultural diversity of New York City? A NYC souvenir shop, an Italian gelato shop, a New York Pizza by-the-slice stand, a Brooklyn bagel shop, a Yankees/ Mets Team store… I could see bringing a bit of New York to Orlando being a fun thing for tourists. I would love to see a hot dog cart serving authentic New York Cart Pretzels and “Dirty Water” Dogs, as well as a Nuts 4 Nuts cart. And heck, you could have a Starbucks there too, being that they are everywhere in NYC now. All of this done, of course, with a Muppet twist.
Well folks, that’s it for Part I. What’s that, you say? You didn’t talk about Star Tours or the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular? Well, I have some big plans for those properties, as well as a few other ones Disney owns, in Part II. Check back here next week and, as always, thanks for reading!