A New Area(?) Coming To Hollywood Studios

This week will be a little light on content as I’m out-of-town and won’t have much time to write.  We’ll be back to a more normal schedule next week!

D23 ended less than 2 weeks ago but Disney is already making more news.  Word came today that a new, or perhaps reused is a better word, section is coming to Hollywood Studios.  This area will be called Grand Ave, inspired the present day street in L.A. with the same name.  Grand Ave will take up what is left of the former Streets of America, lying next to Muppet Courtyard.  This area will most likely be the last spot you go through before entering Star Wars Land.

Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. holds special meaning to Disney because of the Walt Disney Concert Hall put there.  While the street is not known for repurposed buildings, many other older buildings in L.A. (and nearly every other big city) are being repurposed and that’s where the theme of this area kicks in.

PizzaRizzo street

Grand Ave will take these older looking facades and repurpose them, creating a new pub called the Baseline Tap House.  This space was previously occupied by Writer’s Shop in Hollywood Studios.  Baseline Tap House will feature Californian beers and wines, as well as some small bites.

The back story behind Baseline Tap House (which seems unnecessary) is that this place is repurposing an old family owned print shop that had ties to Disney Studios in Burbank.  It is unclear if there will be anything else in this area or if there will just be remnants of the old Streets of America.

My reaction to the news:

I nearly didn’t write this post because I don’t have much of a reaction.  I’m not as nostalgic for Streets of America as many other Disney fans but I don’t think this addition harms anything.  The tap house will be a little different from what Disney has in most of their parks and I’m hopeful that the drink selection will be adventurous.

PizzeRizzo facade

What I do find most interesting about this addition of Grand Ave is what it says about the entire theming of the park.  Hollywood Studios never fully committed to have that 30’s Hollywood style but it was nearly there.  Sunset Boulevard and Streets of America certainly invoked a feeling of stepping back in time.  Now, they are keeping some of that Streets of America facade but trying to move the feeling into the 21st century.

Once again, I don’t have much reaction to that thought.  My hot takes aren’t coming out so hot today.  Updating themes to present day is an interesting idea and one that isn’t done all that often.  You can point to World Showcase Pavilions as an idealization of present day countries.  Grand Ave won’t be on that scale though.  Same goes for Asia and Africa in Animal Kingdom.  The castle parks don’t have any lands that are set in present day.  Lastly, California Adventure has a few areas set in present day, Paradise Pier and Grizzly Peak Airfield, but neither of those areas are city based.  All this to say, I’m curious what Disney ends up doing to make Grand Ave feel current.

Muppet Vision 3D sign

I’m also curious how well it will flow from Muppet Courtyard into Grand Ave into Star Wars.  I think the first two will be fine, as Muppet Courtyard has more generic architecture that can match most eras if framed right.  Grand Ave flowing into Star Wars will be more interesting but I think there will be a gap in between them.

All in all, this news is fine.  I’m glad Disney is doing something with this area and I get why there isn’t much to it.  The park is heavy on projects right now and they don’t want to add anything substantial to an already overloaded budget.  With that said, I’m slightly concerned about how many rides this park will have when Hollywood Studios reopens once all these projects are finished.  Muppets Courtyard or Grand Ave would be nice spots to add a small, little ride and the park could sure benefit from spreading more people out.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now.  But, the new land seems to fit in fine with the park and will be a nice little area to walk through.

What are your thoughts on Grand Ave coming to Hollywood Studios?  Let us know in the comments!  Thank you for reading Wandering in Disney, if you enjoy our posts please subscribe to the blog and follow our social media pages.  You can find both of those on the right side of this page. 

– Andrew

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