Disney’s Hollywood Studios Update

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Update

So many things are happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it’s a good time for an update. Disneyland has given the name “Project Stardust” to efforts to improve efficiency and movement within the park as Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge heads towards its opening date. A similar title could easily be assigned to the Studios as well. There is lots happening.

Let’s start in the parking lot. Take a look at the photo below. Guests boarding trams will actually walk a few feet further to access that option. It’s being moved further away from the entrance.

New tram pick up and drop off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Meanwhile, in the location where the old parking lot trams boarded, a new security entrance is being readied. Notice that barrier pylons in the foreground are much further out. This will render a much larger space to guests queueing to enter the park. Trust me, it will be needed.

New security and plaza area. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Just this week, Mickey was replaced on top of Crossroads of the World at the entrance to the park. Here’s a little something you may not know. The right ear of Mickey (the one closest to us in the picture) is actually made entirely of copper. That’s because, as the highest point on this end of the park, his ear actually serves as a lightning rod.

Crossroad of the World at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

You can find banners throughout the park acknowledging the upcoming 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For more information about the activities planned for this event, visit our page here.

30 Years of Movie Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

If you are not aware, Keystone Clothiers is currently closed. It’s being not only re-modeled, but renamed. With Galaxy’s Edge coming in, this will be the gift shop to go to for Star Wars souvenirs.

Keystone Clothiers closed on Hollywood Boulevard. by J. Jeff Kober.

And what about the apparel found at Keystone Clothiers? It’s going to this shop:

Legends of Hollywood also being refurbished. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

And the merchandise that was in Legends of Hollywood is soon headed to this shop next door, which is no longer attached to Planet Hollywood, but will probably have an open doorway into the Legends of Hollywood shop.

Even more retail remodeling.Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Have you seen Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy at the Sunset Showcase next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster? It, too, is part of creating additional offerings when guests pour into Disney’s Hollywood Studios to visit Galaxy’s Edge.

Sunset Showcase building. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The show is a little ho hum, there isn’t much of a plot line other than the theme of working as a team. Still kids seemed to love it and were very enthusiastic. If there is a reason for adults to like it, it’s because of Lightning McQueen. You can dismiss it as a car turned animatronic, but in truth it’s an animatronic turned into a vehicle. The wheels turn, but they are simply props. The vehicle is actually off the ground suspended like a KUKA robot. Additionally, it uses advanced projection mapping to create facial expressions. It’s really quite sophisticated. You can study it in the following video.

Outside the attraction Cruz Ramirez is available for character photo opportunities.

Cruz Ramirez was making appearances earlier when Cars 3 first came out. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

So is this car below. It was part of DJ’s Dance ‘n’ Drive at Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. I believe, rather than making a duplicate, they have brought that same car here. I haven’t seen it do anything other than serve as a photo op. In Disney California Adventure it drove out into the street and was accompanied by several dancers.

Maybe he doesn’t dance in the rain. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Let’s visit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Most people don’t know that when you ride this attraction there is some contractual fine print that keeps this parking structure from being held liable. It’s stated below the parking booth.

I really thought this was the worse theming until I spent six months working in Downtown Los Angeles. I’ve now come to realize that it’s the most authentic. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s the fine print if you would like to read it. Enjoy and Rock On!

I guess the garage’s name is Lock ‘n’ Roll. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Outside the exit, we find Stitch has taken on the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle.

Every day is Stitch Day at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The retail outlet at Carthay Circle Theater offers this T-shirt. Do you agree?

Doesn’t say FastPass+ or MaxPass. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

They also have these new socks–based on old Disney maps. I love it!

Is anyone in my family paying attention? Father’s day is coming up! Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

I find this sign on Sunset Boulevard humorous for two reasons. First, Paradise Pier is now Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure. Second, the sign is placed on top of the Beverly Sunset Store, which now sells Pixar merchandise. That decision was made in a budget cut when Toy Story Land was being created. They cut out the retail section intended toward the front of the land and moved Pixar merchandise retail to hear instead. That removed the fudge and candy apples that were once sold here. It’s my understanding that sales have been down 20% since they took that merchandise out. And putting a few of those items at Starbucks across the street has not made up for it.

Old Paradise Pier sign on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Here’s a little tip for you. Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away is in front of the Chinese Theater and showcases heroes and villains from Star Wars. On rainy days, the show doesn’t run. But if you come and visit Star Wars Launch Bay, you’ll find that many of the characters are inside mingling among the guests. So head underneath some rain cover and check it out!

Shadow Trooper on patrol at Star Wars Launch Bay. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Down the street at Walt Disney Presents, there is a limited time preview of Aladdin taking place inside the theater. It’s about a 10 minute preview, and is quite enjoyable. Aladdin hits theaters on May 24th. The dress below showcases one of Jasmine’s dresses.

Jasmine’s gown on display at Walt Disney Presents. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Across the park, Tatooine Traders has been enlarged, again, in preparation for the crowds that will appear when Galaxy’s Edge opens up.

Tatooine Traders enlarged. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Note that there is Galaxy’s Edge clothing and other merchandise available to Disney Annual Passholders. You may want to check it out before there is a line to do so.

Galaxy’s Edge merchandise at Tatooine Traders. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

As the sun sets, we check out Toy Story Land, which is so beautiful in the evening. This new area really works at night. Note that the standby time on Alien Swirling Saucers was only 5 minutes. Keep an eye on times when you are in the park. You never know when an attraction may be easy to get on.

Entrance to Alien Swirling Saucers. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Speaking of things that are beautiful at night, I love going on Alien Swirling Saucers after the sun goes down. Here’s a video giving you a glimpse:

The ride also has a great sound track. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

That about does it for today. Did you know there are only two books that have been dedicated to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park? One is a small imagineering guide. The other is my volume that not only looks at unique stories behind Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but offers ideas for your organization. Whether you’re trying to deliver a great customer experience, or simply want to be inspired as a leader, check out Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz.

J. Jeff Kober

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