May 10, 2011

Disney's Hollywood Studios Scrambled Mess

Although you might never know it from the jumbled mess the layout is, Disney-MGM Studios, now Disney's Hollywood Studios, had a fairly cohesive layout at opening. As this concept for the park suggests, great care was put into deciding its design. (As always, click to enlarge the art.)

Unfortunately, it was not designed well for expansion. From its penned in location to the hastily added expansion areas, the pretty little "Hollywood that never was but always will be" began to lose its focus even as it added some of its most popular attractions.

Michael Eisner knew hits when he saw them, and the concepts for both The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock N Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith, had smash written all over them. Sadly, what could have been a fully realized expansion with a few "C" ticket dark rides added, Sunset Blvd. instead became an excuse to house the two attractions and not much more. It's a terrifically themed street, but it is lacking in so many ways. Don't misunderstand. The street is way better than what was created for the Hollywood Pictures Backlot version at California Adventure- where the stunning main attraction has been reduced to the lowest possible acceptable creation.

Later additions to the park in Florida only added to the confusing layout. The whole other side of the park seems strangely unused aside from Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. What are the suits thinking?

Is there even a plan to add to the park and bring it to its fullest potential? Or is it Walt Disney World's dumping ground for any attraction that doesn't fit elsewhere? Could Marvel based attractions end up here? What's the plan?

My bet is on the Imagineers. These talented folks probably have wonderful concepts lined up- but the budgeteers probably have them frozen in the pipeline. And as long as that is the case, Harry Potter will continue to draw in guests who might otherwise visit Disney's third park.
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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