The Disney’s Star Wars Weekends page on Facebook posted this question about the possibility of getting a CarsLand at Disney’s Hollywood Studios like the one that just opened at Disney California Adventure.
First – I thought that was an official Disney page on Facebook, but it’s obviously not if they’re posting rumors. And then after I saw that, I saw a bunch of errors/typos in previous posts, which sealed that.
Part of me thinks that the CarsLand conjecture makes sense. After opening the Pixar area of the park with Toy Story Midway Mania, character meet and greets, etc., it’s an obvious extension of the back of the park. (I miss the Luxo, Jr. audioanimatronic, by the way). There’s still additional soundstage space there, and the backlot tour is a shadow of it’s former self since Residential Street was removed. I’ve heard rumors of a Monster’s Inc coaster themed after the door factory, and that might make sense with the Monster University film coming out soon. I’m also heard that Crush’s Coaster could make an appearance (or a version of it themed to Ratatouille). This would take over most of the Backlot Tour space, too.
If only one ride was put in there, the Catastrophe Canyon space would then still have room, and Lights Motors Action would not be touched. This space could then fit CarsLand, if they wanted to do that, too. This greatly enlarged Pixar Place would then fill at least a third of the park. I don’t know that that’s the best thing to be done, though.
Disney maintains a positive relationship with George Lucas, still featuring Indiana Jones in many parks, and enhancing the relationship with the Star Wars franchise year after year with Star Wars Weekends, specialty merchandise, and participation in the Star Wars Celebration conventions.
So, I think rather than investing in CarsLand, even though it’s extremely successful at Disney California Adventure, Disney should continue to enhance the relationship with Lucasfilm.
Here’s what I would do:
Update the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Raiders of the Ark was a great film, but there have been no real updates since 1989 when it debuted. It has a fair-sized footprint at the park, and if the Cast Services Building were to move, and some space in the Television parking lot used, it could be much bigger. If we took over some of Television lot, where would Cast parking move? There is plenty of greenspace around the Studios, between the park and Victory Way. Could it be developed? Maybe, but maybe not if there are wetlands/conservation space. But if that could be developed, why not extend the park there, with a bridge over the main entrance to the Studios… And while I’m not a proponent of this, the Magic Kingdom currently buses Cast Members into the park, so the Studios could, too…
So what would I replace the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular with? It could be a ride like Indiana Jones at Disneyland, or a coaster like the one in Paris. But I think this is where I would use the newer technology from CarsLand (though similar to Disneyland’s Indiana Jones ride) and either create a new story line, or (my preference) make it a tour through iconic Indiana Jones scenes. The park is about making movies, still, right?
Define a new “land” as the Star Wars Galaxy
Disney’s Hollywood Studios has “lands” like the Magic Kingdom, but they are not as defined, probably on purpose because of the studio lot feel of the park. But an expanded Star Wars area of the park needs a name. And it needs to be bigger than Star Wars Land. Bigger than the World of Star Wars. Star Wars Galaxy seems to fit very, very well. A defined entrance should be built between Sounds Dangerous and the American Idol Experience.
Replace Sounds Dangerous with Jedi Training Academy
I saw this on Wikipedia:
It has been rumored that a more elaborate and extended version of the Jedi Training Academy show, which is currently located next to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, will replace Sounds Dangerous! due to its declining attendance. The rumored version of the Jedi Training Academy will presumably feature an audio-animatronicYodainteracting through a Dagobah-themed set.
That sounds good. Let’s see that!
Convert the Backlot Express and Sci-Fi Dine In to Star Wars restaurants
Every time I see the spherical Planet Hollywood building at Downtown Disney, I think about how awesome that would look as the Death Star. I think it would be fun to see what a restaurant would be if it were the cafeteria for the Empire, where the stormtroopers eat. Rooms would be themed to different scenes of Star Wars, like a shuttle bay, the prison level, and Darth Vader’s chambers. And of course, there would be a Death Starbucks.
To counter the Empire’s restaurant, the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater restaurant would become a restaurant on Hoth, like the rebel base in The Empire Strikes Back. This could extend into the ABC Commissary, as well, allowing for table service and quick service dining with the Hoth/Rebel base theme. In the table service restaurant, Guests could dine at tables beneath the Millennium Falcon, and maybe there would even be tables inside the Falcon.
Extend this new Star Wars Galaxy area of the park into Pizza Planet, the Muppets Plaza, and New York Street.
This is probably a little more difficult to go for, but I think it’s doable. The current Pizza Planet restaurant and arcade should be moved over to the Pixar area of the park, probably by enclosing the Studios Catering Company, and making this a Pixar character dining experience. The Honey I Shrunk the Audience Playset could also become a Toy Story themed area very easily.
The Pizza Planet building, which is adjacent to Star Tours and Tatooine Traders, could then extend the Star Wars theme around the corner to become the Mos Eisley Cantina with food, a bar, and entertainment by Figran D’an and the Modal Nodes and the Max Rebo Band (maybe an audio animatronic Max Rebo Band, in the style of Sonny Eclipse).
Unfortunately, I think the Muppets would need to move out. This makes me kind of sad – I love the Muppets. So maybe this should be a NEW Muppets movie, where the Muppets spoof Star Wars, which is not unheard of:
There’s still space here that wouldn’t easily translate to Star Wars, like Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. It’s a good restaurant, but in an awkward corner – it barely fits in the theme now. But perhaps Mama’s can become a nice restaurant from Naboo, or Dex’s Diner from Coruscant.
Near there is additional space which is currently character meet and greets for Phineas and Ferb, and Cars. This can continue as character meet and greet areas, but let’s have some Star Wars characters year round… it doesn’t need to be at the level of Star Wars Weekends, though. And the little-used Premiere Theater could be leveled, or make room for another attraction, or stay as it is, with a different facade.
New York Street is a large space with not much in it. I would convert the building facades into facades of Coruscant, including the Jedi temple, Dex’s Diner (if not at Mama Melrose’s). Alternately, it could be Naboo, or many other places from Star Wars.
I think doing these big things would still leave room for a CarsLand, or other Pixar additions where Lights Motors Action and Catastrophe Canyon are.
OR, Star Wars Galaxy could extend even farther…
Let’s take all that room and add a Star Wars rollercoaster. There’s been a lot of rumors about the potential coaster for Shanghai Disneyland that might be themed to Tron lightcycles that would feature the Vekoma Motobike ride system.
Imagine if that was the forest speeders from Return of the Jedi, racing through a forest, over and under fallen trees, with AT-STs blasting away, and Ewoks cheering.
Would we really need CarsLand then?