In part one of our look at the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios we examined what changes have already been announced by Disney and those that are rumored to be in the offing. In short, depending on how much money Disney is willing to invest and how fast, Central Florida’s original studios park could be in for a massive makeover.
Before we go any further, I want to repeat, that I don’t have any particular insider knowledge of plans or upcoming announcements. What follows is my learned hypothesis based on available evidence and informed guesses (aka rumors) from sources I trust. Some of this is more speculation than solid info and I’ll try and indicate that when and where I can.
Let’s start with one piece of information that would be a natural result of the changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios losing its ‘studios’ theme. The name will have to change. I think there’s one clear favorite for a new name – Disney’s Hollywood Adventure. It captures the shift in theme from making movies, to being a part of them. Instead of learning how the movies are made, we get to celebrate them and all the magic they inspire. This will let the park keep its two main Hollywood themed thoroughfares, expand Pixar Place (which physically is in Emeryville, not Hollywood, but emotionally it’s the same place) and perhaps add on one or two others. You might see some other Hollywood icons come to the park. El Capitan theater, which Disney owns, and the Carthay Theater, which has ties to Disney history and Disney has used as California Adventure’s main icon seem like two likely candidates. But don’t expect them to get too carried away.
Of course, a new name like “Mickey’s Adventure Park” could come out of left field too. That would indicate the park is in for a major re-imagineering. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities, but not the strongest candidate at the moment either.
When people ask me about what’s going to happen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I have a certain spiel I provide to give some context to the question. This will help set up some of the financial and timeline issues. The budgets that control those are almost always in flux until they’re not, and the attraction opens. Sometimes, Imagineers get creative with budgets and good things can happen too.
This all starts with some things Disney CEO Bob Iger had been saying to The Walt Disney Company’s investors, that after dropping a lot of money on DCA, New Fantasyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland, the capital expenditures (read: theme park expansion) would be vastly reduced for a few years with only Disney’s Animal Kingdom (for both Avatar and the Nighttime show additions) and Shanghai Disneyland getting the funds. If you look at Disney’s stock price right now you’ll see that investors are very happy with the company and expect its value to continue to rise. In their minds, Iger has been a great steward of their money. So they’re probably pretty psyched he’s planning on sticking around for another year or so.Read More »Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A Timeline for the Future (part II)