With the announcement of the American Idol Experience closing in 2015 and the now rumoured closure of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, fans of the parks are beginning to get a little excited. Why you ask? Well, since the acquisition of LucasFilm, Disney have said that they plan to make more films and begin to expand their presence in the theme parks. For a little while there has been talk of an expansion of Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland to include more Star Wars and in the past year we have seen more regular appearances by Star Wars characters in the Disneyland Park. But, what about Walt Disney World?
It is now seeming more likely that a new Star Wars land is going to be added to Disney Hollywood Studios. Now, remember, this is all speculation at the moment but why do we think this is a big possibility? Let’s take a trip up the I4 to Universal Studios. In a matter of weeks, Universal will open The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. There is no doubt that this is going to bring the huge queues we saw when the Hogsmeade area opened in June 2010.
Star Wars was once the world’s most profitable franchise but with the birth of Harry Potter, that fell to number two. Disney bought the rights to Avatar, which, although profitable isn’t as big as Star Wars. The studios already hold a highly popular annual event for the franchise so surely it is only a matter of time before they take it further? Avatar fits perfectly into the mythical theme of the Animal Kingdom that never came to fruition when the park opened so when a big area in Hollywood Studios needs redevelopment then surely this is a no brainer. Let me show you what I mean.
There is a large area of the park close to Star Tours that can be re-themed and turned in to a new Star Wars land. Below I’ve highlighted in red the amount of space that can be taken and themed to the area.
We can start on the far left with the hardly used ABC Sound Studio. This is currently only used for a holiday version of the Comedy Warehouse. As much as I love the show, it doesn’t warrant such a large space for a rare occasion. They could always move this the the premier theatre instead. Next is the huge space that is the audition area and auditorium for the American Idol Experience with the huge area to the right taken up by the Indiana Jones arena. This are all conveniently located next to the Star Tour attraction with only the Backlot Express in between. Imagine if this eatery was re themed to something like the Cantina from Star Wars: A New Hope. Taking this in to account along with Star Tours, the space looks more like this
For those of you that are eagle eyed, you will have noticed that the area that could be used for the new land is also on a park boundary. So, taking that into consideration, is there a chance that the park could not only be re themed but also expanded? If we take a look at google maps we get a sense of the space that is around the park
To the right are a number of outbuildings that Disney class as backstage. It is unsure as to what these are and it could be that they were used as part of the park’s working studio status and are not vital to the parks operations. If this is the class and can be relocated there is no reason that this space can’t be used. Equally, the Hollywood Studios parking lot is vast and it could easily be reduced by several rows. If my memory serves me correctly, at present, it is very, very rare that the Studios parking lot fills to capacity. Taking both those things into account it could also expand the park (as seen in orange below)
That would be a pretty and and very impressive space for the number 2 movie franchise in the world. As I’ve said, this is speculation and until Disney announce they are officially building the new area nothing is certain but it does seem strange to close an attraction and string rumours suggest there is another closing to without there being a reason for it.
What are your thoughts? Would you be excited to see a Star Wars land come to the park or is this idea worse than the announcement of Avatarland?