Rumors and Commentary

What Comes Next For Hollywood Studios?

Hollywood Studios has gone through wholesale changes over the last decade. Very little of the park looks the same as it did in 2011, with only a handful of attraction holdovers. Many lands since then have been changed out to get rid of the working studio theme while adding Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Now for the first time since the early 2010’s the park doesn’t have any major projects on the docket, yet it’s clear that DHS needs more. In this post, we’ll discuss five additions that Hollywood Studios could, and maybe should, make going forward.

Before diving into how to make the park better, I should state that the park is much improved from where it was even a couple of years ago. There’s an excellent assortment of attractions in the park now, even if the list is a little top heavy. I’ve been complimenting the upgraded dining scene over the last month or so, as well. With very little entertainment throughout Walt Disney World due to the pandemic, Hollywood Studios shows pretty well as an attraction and dining spot. We used to wonder if DHS was even worth a day of a Disney World trip and now it clearly is.

ToT red flowers DHS

The problem is if you view Hollywood Studios as a finished product. DHS lacks a congruent theme and has cohesive issues throughout, making some of the transitions between lands stark and contrasting. There’s still not enough to do for guests of all ages and leaving the park as is now would be a huge mistake, leading to another full blown redo in another decade. There are many places that the park could go from here, most of them I would applaud. I’m going to list a few options that would be my personal preference below. Some are big ideas and detailed while others are more general or small. Let’s get to it!

Swap out the Entertainment

I’ve been harping on this topic for the entirety of this blog’s existence I think. When running at full speed and not in the middle of a pandemic, Hollywood Studios has a bunch of shows. The problem is that those shows are all long in the tooth. The current iteration of Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is 20 years old. With prime real estate, an up to date show seems like an easy fix. Likewise, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular opened in 1989 and while its had a few refreshes, the show is aged. This plays in such a big theater that replacing or updating Indy would add a freshness to the park. Street entertainment even before the pandemic had taken a hit and I’d like to see more done there.

Indy getting punch Dhs stunt show

There’s also the Fantasmic! theater that I’d like to see be utilized more. Having a show there during the day would help spread people out since that place is so large. As much as I love Fantasmic! the Hollywood Studios’ version is easily the inferior version. Adding in an original nighttime show would be a boon to the park and give DHS more of a vision going forward. Swapping out the entertainment throughout the park for fresh acts would help the shows match the fresh feel of the attraction lineup.

Add More Dark Rides

This one is simple – Hollywood Studios needs more family attractions. As far as actual rides go, there’s only two without a height limit. That’s just not enough. Furthermore, Hollywood Studios only has one dark ride in Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. With the park focused on so many IP’s, adding in a few dark rides makes a lot of sense. I’m guessing this wouldn’t be everyone’s preference but the oft-rumored Muppets dark ride (The Great Muppet Movie Ride) would be my top choice and would add cohesiveness to that area. More realistically, a dark ride based on one of the more recent Disney or Pixar animated movies makes a lot of sense. Despite a small footprint, there are still plenty of empty buildings to use. I know it’s not that simple but adding in a few family dark rides would be a logical next step for Hollywood Studios.

Octopus trumpet MMRW MMRR DHS

Make the Park More Comfortable

The least flashy and easiest of these ideas is perhaps the most important. Hollywood Studios needs to be more comfortable, that means adding more shade and more greenery. Galaxy’s Edge has an adequate amount of shade and some nice plant life, outside of that the park is severely lacking. More trees in front of the Chinese Theater and down Sunset Boulevard would be an easy place to start. Any shade at all in Toy Story Land would be a welcome addition. The park too often feels like a group of streets connected to each other and adding in more color and inviting places to relax would go a long ways!

Cherry blossoms DHS

Expand the Indiana Jones Area

This may seem counterintuitive since I just said Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular should be replaced but… If it’s not then adding in an E-ticket Indy ride makes a ton of sense. A redux of the Disneyland version is always an option but I’d rather see something original and something that involves water. The park is one of the few without a boat ride of some kind and it could use it. Two birds with one stone here!

Improve Guest Flow by Augmenting the Park’s Shape

One of Hollywood Studios biggest flaws is that it’s just hard to walk around in. The shape of the park doesn’t make much sense and nothing flows very well. Sunset Boulevard being a dead end can create unneeded crowding and a frustrating experience. Expanding behind Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and attaching it to another portion of the park would ease the guest flow and make Hollywood Studios more congruent. Obviously, you can’t just completely rebuild a park but adjusting to make the park’s less than ideal shape easier to navigate would help Hollywood Studios in the long run.

Chinese theater road night DHS

Hollywood Studios has transformed in the last few years to a far better park! Here’s hoping that the momentum will continue and other additions will be made along the way.

What do you think should be done next at Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments below! Planning at trip to Disney World? Check out our Disney World Trip Planning Guide. If you enjoy what you’re reading here on Wandering in Disney, please subscribe to the blog on the right side of this page. That’s where you can find links to our social media accounts, as well. Thank you for reading!

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