What’s Going On at Hollywood Studios? What’s Next? Is the Backlot Area Closing Soon?

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I don’t recall a more uncertain point in the history of any Disney theme park as that which currently exists at Disney’s Hollywood Studios… or whatever the park will be called soon based on Bob Iger leaking that a name change is coming soon for the 26-year-old Studios park. While Disney California Adventure failed pretty much at the moment of conception in 2001, Hollywood Studios was an instant success for the company and attendance for the park has never been terribly low, despite the loss of the working studio and the perennial perception as a half-day park. Unlike the massive expansion of DCA which was laid out to the media months ahead of construction, we have many signs that something is beginning, but very little (if not almost nothing) has been said about what will be happening to Hollywood Studios.

The American Idol Experience, Backlot Studio Tour, Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, and the Sorcerer’s Hat all closed with no recognition by Disney other than some memos to cast members and not a single replacement has been named for any of these offerings. The only things certain at this point is the expansion of Toy Story Mania, which was strangely announced at random alongside a Soarin’ expansion a few days ago.


Amidst rumors of Echo Lake closing, there is now a strong buzz that the Premiere Theater (and perhaps even “Lights, Motors, Action!”) will be closing before the end of the Summer so heavy construction in Backlot section of the park can finally begin. All stage presentations at Star Wars Weekends 2015 are being held at the Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard and “For the First Time in Forever” A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration is slated to move to the Superstar Television Theater (former home of the American Idol Experience) very soon, so where does that leave the Premiere Theater? All signs point to demolition.

(UPDATE: Disney confirmed the move for the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show on March 18th.)

Again, no plans for the park have been announced and it is likely they won’t be until August and the D23 Expo. Rumors indicate a Star Wars Land and a Toy Story Land being added, but that still leaves a tremendous amount of park expansion real-estate unaccounted for.

As we’ve been saying for the past several months now, we’ll just have to wait to find out…

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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.
Contact Tom at [email protected]


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  • Yep, D23 Expo is when it will be announced is my guess. I’m expecting a very heavily Star Wars presence at the Expo, with SW7 trailer and sneak peak debut, Star Wars expansions announced, and more. I can’t wait!!

  • I’ve always enjoyed the park ever since I first went in 1990 when it was mgm
    But with only 5 rides and shows that gave realistically run too long, along with the lack of ‘street performers’, it really is a half day park now.
    Star Wars land, an improved toy story playland to what Paris has, other attractions (Pixar related?!) & some new shows are desperately needed. Park feels ruderless currently and will take some years to being back to the fore, given long Disney development times

  • The worst thing is it will take them 10 plus years to get it done! They should hire the construction crews from Universal.

    • Construction crews at Universal work seven days a week as it is affordable for Universal in their current tax bracket. Disney makes way too much money for it to make any fiscal sense to give overtime and such to construction crews. This is how it has been explained to me at least.

  • Guest experiences at Disney don’t matter anymore folks. I’m a huge fan, but it’s all about crowd control, efficiency, and not really much to make a memorable time for people. Unless large crowds and lines to buy trinkets in stores is memorable.

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