July 7, 2013 – Fascinating podcast discussion of three competing “Star Wars Land” visions for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Click here to listen.
SUMMARY: Len Testa and Jim Hill present three possible scenarios for Disney to create a substantial Star Wars-themed area in Orlando at Hollywood Studios.
– Drain and close Echo Lake and build Mos Eisley there along with the Mos Eisley Cantina
– Close the “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular” attraction and build Endor. Within Endor could be SPEEDER BIKES surrounded 180 degrees by a high-def CG projection (wind and forest pine scents included). Ride capacity of 50 people per screen x 2 screens at 3 minutes each = about 2,000 per hour).
– Also build a kid-friendly ride (TBD)
CHALLENGES: How do you smoothly transition from the Hollywood & Vine setting to Star Wars Land when they’re that close to each other? And if the small cantina bar is true to the film’s dimensions, how do you handle crowd capacity?
– Keep Echo Lake as is. Instead, demolish “Muppet Vision 3D” (near Tatooine Traders and Star Tours) and convert that area to Star Wars attractions.
CHALLENGES: This back-of-the-park approach does not help to increase park attendance. The Disney Board of Directors was disappointed by the smaller-than-expected increase in park attendance when it green-lit improvements to “Star Tours – The Advnetures Continue”, which re-opened in 2011. Increased advertising did not help either. Therefore, the Board may be more cautious in opening its wallet again.
This last option is my favorite, but seems somewhat iffy:
– Build “Star Wars Land” toward the west side (rear) of Hollywood Studios toward “Lights, Motor, Action!” (LMA)
CHALLENGES: (1) LMA is rumored to be closing with a CarsLand replacement coming; (2) Disney’s Board may not approve the location of Star Wars Land, hidden at the very back of the park; and (3) “Streets of America” has its loyal adherents, including after-hours private party attendees (several times a week) and the annual holiday “Osbourne Spectacle of Lights”.
Other Proposals: Move the Jedi Training Academy indoors to the ABC Sound Studio (formerly Sounds Dangerous studio). Leave the Backlot Express dining area as is. (Guests need dining options in a park with insufficient eateries.)
Disney is expected to make a formal announcement at the next D23 Expo this August at the Anaheim Convention Center. Click here to listen to the podcast.