RUMOR: “Black Box” Interchangeable Dark Ride in Development for Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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We are in an age of abundant projection-heavy, screen-based attractions at the Disney Parks and there’s no sign of turning back anytime soon with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure coming soon to Walt Disney World. Well, beyond these announced attractions, Disney has plans to build a ride in what they call a “black box” that would rely heavily on screen and projection technology, allowing the theme of the entire ride to be changed in just weeks, if not days.

Much like the other attractions listed above, the ride would be trackless, featuring free-roaming vehicles that could easily be reprogrammed. With screens and projectors making up most of the attraction, scenes could be altered (possibly overnight) from one version to the next. The idea here is that a ride could be changed from one intellectual property to a more current “IP” in little-to-no time.

The “black box” term comes from the appearance of the attraction when everything is turned off. It is essentially a giant warehouse with projection and screen surfaces, a blank canvas. There will be little to no physical props in the attraction so they can change them over faster and at any time.

It is unclear where in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this will be going, but it should be the next phase in the park’s ongoing overhaul following the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge this Summer. An opening timeframe has also not been indicated by sources.

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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Phillip Ratter
Guest
Phillip Ratter

I wouldn’t be surprised if it they were thinking about doing something like this in the Star Wars Launch Bay. The area has a high turnover of Disney Junior Meet and Greets, changing as the shows change. A generic Disney Junior ride, where characters can be swapped quickly as shows rise and fall in popularity makes sense. Once Galaxy’s Edge opens, I would expect Launch Bay to shut down. A ride in that location makes sense, as it is a pretty big piece of land.

James C
Guest
James C

I can already see ticketed-events to ride Mr Toad, Horizons or Journey into Imagination using this.

Hilly
Guest
Hilly

I definitely like the idea of adding new attractions, but there is still nothing that beats actual animatronics and real sets and set pieces. I know that the screen and projection technology is a great effect, but it appears kind of lazy.

Amy
Guest
Amy

I agree, the only thing that seems kinda cool is the idea of being able to change screens often…then I wonder “how great will it really be?” Hmmmm

Leveticus
Guest
Leveticus

I completely agree. It’s why we choose Disney over universal. Universal is nothing but 2 rollercoasters and 3D/4D “rides.”

The amount of detail, care, and thought that go into the theme and immersion of Disney’s rides cannot be beat by anyone else. The “TV” rides, as my kids call them, are just lazy.

Edward
Guest
Edward

I completely agree. I don’t care if they have one or two rides like this, but I would hate if this became the future. Projection/screen based rides always seem lesser than actual animatronics and sets — it’s one of the major reasons I’m not a big fan of most of the rides at Universal Studios. They often feel like I could get almost the same experience just by watching a video.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

That concept could work for a new style of Great Movie Ride. With the possibilities opened up with trackless ride vehicles and depending on how the screens are set up it could be very entertaining.

Jesse Sass
Guest
Jesse Sass

Part of the fun of Disney is the theming. How can you turn over the immersive experience to match?

Nitelyte
Guest
Nitelyte

That’s not why it’s called a black box.

some_anonymouse
Guest
some_anonymouse

Hasn’t this already been proven by Universal’s Simpsons ride since it used to be back to the future? Ok adding a trackless vehicle maybe “new”, but that’s similar to the Transformers ride. So basically, Disney is making a cheaper, a more “seamless to change” pipeline and enter a trackless vehicle (with motion base?) in a toy story mania type attraction. Just an evolution to focus the attraction on the franchise rather than the ride system. Universal may beat them to the punch if they quickly transform the Transformers ride to another franchise–it’s a similar, more primitive system to what is… Read more »

Sean Williams
Guest
Sean Williams

I am like Walt, progress is good. Good to see they are putting continued effort into HS, it needed it. I like a good mix of real vs tech.

Leo B.
Guest
Leo B.

My bet would be on this replacing Star Tours at some point down the road. I think it is inevitable that Star Tours will go away once Galaxy’s Edge is opened. No way they leave this ride separated from the land. Not saying they would add it to the land, just that it goes away as the Smugglers Run ride is too similar to Star Tours. This will allow them the opportunity to rebrand that area of the park from Grand Avenue all the way around past Indy, including Echo Lake and the old American Idol stage area. Then the… Read more »

Jack Bennett
Guest
Jack Bennett

I predicted this. Long Long ago in my doc of ideas, except replacing Disney’s animation, or the magic eye theater.

luvtoo sailtoo
Guest
luvtoo sailtoo

Star Trek Holodeck