Disney's Hollywood Studios Parks & Resorts Walt Disney World Resort

PHOTOS, VIDEO: Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

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We once again take to the skies to give you the best view possible of the ongoing expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Things are actually starting to get exciting over on the Toy Story Land area as structures are beginning to rise, meanwhile, Star Wars Land remains mostly a dirt pile. (Click images for larger res if you are into that kind of thing)

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

This side of the park is a disaster currently, and guests can really see this if they come in through the World Drive entrance to the park. A new car entrance and a parking lot expansion rounds out the construction you can see beyond the current borders of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

Here you can see guest vehicles entering what’s left of that entrance, while just behind the fence, land clearing continues.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

Here we see the one set of facades remaining from the Streets of America.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

The billboard is the only sign of what was the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground area.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

Some temporary trees were rolled into the PIXAR Place area as otherwise the view beyond the walls would be nothing but blue skies.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

This road going through the middle of the site likely separates the Star Wars and Toy Story Lands.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

I’m kind of amazed at the one tree and small piece of concrete still standing from the Premiere Theater area…

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

They are beginning to carve out space for the attractions.

Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands
Aerial View of Construction at Hollywood Studios, Latest Progress on Toy Story & Star Wars Lands

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Disney recently released the above concept art for the Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios, which matches the shape of the site above pretty well if you turn it around (as our photos are looking from what will be the backside).

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We now focus our view over towards the Toy Story Land area.

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That square is the extent of Toy Story Land, minus the eventual new entrance that will cross into the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction just across that road.

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You can already make out the main thoroughfare of Toy Story Land, although it is just a dirt path winding down the center of the above photo.

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This big concrete box is most definitely part of the Slinky Dog Dash attraction, as it can bee seen behind the buildings of the load station in the concept art for Toy Story Land (included below). The attraction features a launch of a moderate speed and this box will likely hold the mechanics that can make that launch happen. The foundations for the Alien Swirling Saucers ride system are in place below that site. It seems this land is racing ahead, possibly not as far off as we once imagined.

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It’s nice to finally start to see things that are recognizable after so many months of prep work. You can almost envision what this area will look like now if you compare it to the concept art.

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We also have a video flyover of the site to share with you:

Of course, we will continue to keep you in the loop as work progresses on all facets of the massive expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Stay tuned for more!

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.

25 Comments

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  • I sure hope it’s not a downgrade from the stuff they took out, doesn’t look like any new expansion, just refresh. And I know Star Wars ANYTHING will look cool to walk around and hugely popular, characters and such. The refresh will be new, and Stunt Show and Catastrophe Canyon were a little dated and the theming it was a “studio” is gone now, but they were all about entertainment. New areas are not. Like with Avatar, by the time it’s gets close to really open, it sounds like the rides/attractions are going small, and the shopping and quick serve themed restaurants are going big. Dunno. Skeptical it will be a cool looking mall area with a small ride in each one with 1/10th in it the imagineers wanted, and when look at aerial shots, not any new land really used. Will be crowded. Hopefully I’m wrong. I’d like to be!

    • There is a lot more space being used. Much of what is going to be ‘on-stage’ in the new lands was backstage buildings that guests never saw – or just display areas from the (ever-shrinking) Backlot Tour ride. All of the old costume buildings, set buildings, etc. that were on the tour have been removed to make room for the new lands.

      Also, the guest entrance to the park is being relocated and Star Wars land will spread out more into the area of the current entrance. SWL is further out so that work has not yet happened. There is that one remaining backstage building on the edge of the new SWL which I wonder about – will it remain or will it be removed at some point?

      • The building near World Drive were Catastrophe Canyon used to be is staying for now, there were even recent permits for some refurb work in that building. They have also built an entirely new backstage building near it. The land in that corner is not going to be park of either SWL or TSL. The entrance road is eventually going to be relocated, but SWL is not going to go outside the current boundaries of the park into that area. The land that is currently being cleared on the other side of the entrance road is going to be for more parking.

    • Toy Story Land is going almost entirely within area that were back stage so it is an expansion of the current guest area, although I am not to excited about the two rides it will have. Star Wars Land on the other had will have to very large rides which sound like they will be very impressive. You are correct that the new lands are not going outside the current park boundaries, but they are turning back stage space into guest space and will be making better use of the space then the attractions that were there.

  • All Pixar from the Magic Kingdom should make its way over to the Studios. Space Ranger Spin should definitely be over here. Somehow fit Monsters Inc Laugh Floor in Pixar Place.

    Star Wars Land seems really large, in fact too large. Also, I have been wondering about this for both coasts: Are they moving Launch Bay and Star Tours? Seems silly to have both in Tomorrowland on the other side of the park in Disneyland and not connected in Florida.

    • I agree. All the Pixar movie things that aren’t princesses could go to the Studios and be in/near all the new Toy Story stuff. And I wish Disneyland could have just re-themed their Tomorrowland with Star Wars (keeping Star Tours in place where it is) and maybe move Autopia over to the newer area, which might be closer to ToonTown (another “kiddie” ride area). Except Star Wars is supposed to be a “long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and not in the future/tomorrowland. I don’t know. It’ll all work out and be great in the end but it’s all over the place as it stands.

  • I’m assuming that Star Tours will somehow be connected to the rest of SWL, from land reclaimed from the entrance plaza road. Just like how Midway Mania will enter from the opposite side of the current entrance, the Star Tours entrance could also be reworked in the same fashion. Of course that would mean the initial entry queue and exit along with the shop would have to be relocated to the opposite ends, but it seems like the only way to keep Muppets free of being surrounded by SWL.

    • I have not heard of any plans to connect it. It is very possible that once SWL opens, Star Tours will get re-themed to some other movie. I think if they had wanted it to be part of SWL they would have sacrificed the Muppets area and configured things to make it work. As for launch bay, I wouldn’t be surprised if that went away entirely once SWL opens. It’s sort of a Star Wars content place holder until the full land it open.

  • Stop me if I’m wrong, but the remaining SoA facades are they attached to remaining buildings? The one looks like it is attached to Sci Fi dine in Theater. Also I wonder if they plan to add facades to the outside and surrounding Muppet Theater to create a small muppet area? Great update thank you for the photos.

  • Just curious but could you give project timelines from the time a project was green lit to completion of New Fantasyland and Pandora? I know Pandora is estimated for summer 2017. Those are the latest ones I can recall but if you know of other big projects that would be helpful to see as well. It would help paint a picture of what to expect from this latest endeavor. Thanks.

    • Knowing when something was green lit is a little tricky since that is an internal Disney thing so any dates we get are just going to be second hand information. As for public announcements, the partnership with James Cameron to develop Avatarland in AK was announced on 9/20/2011 which was very early in the development process, first concept art didn’t surface until 10/12/2013 and construction began in January 2014. The Fantasyland expansion was announced 9/12/2009 and construction started in February 2010. Actual construction time for FL is a little tricky. Storybook Circus, the BatB and Little Mermaid areas were all complete by December 2012. At some point after the announcement of the project the plans changed and the two other M&Gs at the center of the land were swapped out for the Mine Ride which started construction in September of 2011 and finished April 2014. If the Mine Ride had been part of the original plan I think the whole thing would have been done well before April 2014.