Saturday, October 22, 2011

Disney's Hollywood Studios 2025

For my first MGM/DHS drawing I re-imagined the concept from the beginning and kept a working, A-list Studio as central to the park's story.   This plan takes the actual Studios park as it exists, puts out the last embers of the dying “working studios” concept, adds a couple billion dollars of new attractions and placemaking, and lets the phoenix of a movie adventure park rise from the ashes.  

The new underlying theme is “entering filmic worlds”,  so rather than feeling like a collection of lightly themed soundstages in a studios setting, this park aims to create compelling, transportative worlds in distinct, strongly-themed lands (like a Magic Kingdom):

GOLDEN AGE HOLLYWOOD: This is an area that the Studios currently does successfully.  Of course, the first order of business is to remove The Hat (and drop it in the Mariana Trench) so that the Chinese Theater resumes its place as the visual landmark at the end of the boulevard (and symbolizes the park).  In order to bring the entire land into the 1930s/40s/50s fold, American Idol would be replaced with Cinemagic (in an Art Deco theater setting).

GANGSTERLAND: Continuing the 1930s/40s period, RocknRollercoaster would be rethemed to a gangster getaway.  I added a  shooter cops&robbers chase ride in the vein of the cancelled Dick Tracy attraction.  There is a speakeasy dining facility with in-character staff.

WALT DISNEY ANIMATION: One Man’s Dream had to go away in order to open up walking paths and make the park more navigable (and not a maze of narrow alleys and right angles), but I kept part of the building to become Animators Palette.  The Mermaid theater could become a rotating puppet/fx theater with the shows changing out annually (e.g., 2012 Princess Frog, 2013 Beauty Beast (removed from Sunset Blvd), 2014 Aladdin, etc.) .   I think old Animation Studio exhibits could serve as the queue for a family omnimover through scenes of the Disney classics (an animated Great Movie Ride).

LUCASLAND: This land is bifurcated (yup) into a southern Indiana Jones section and the northern Star Wars section.  The Monster Sound building is rethemed to an indoor Jedi Training Academy to incorporate more SFX.  I added Yoda’s Dagobah hut as a Living Character Initiative (LCI) walkthrough experience.   The exterior of the Star Tours building is made to like a space port as this is no longer a studios/soundstage experience – you are ostensibly in the world of Star Wars.  The exit shop goes back to being the Endor bunker, because the Mos Eisley environment moves towards the expanded area where there is a recreation of the Cantina (Studios Drive is moved a few hundred yards westward for this plan).  The major new ride is inspired by those online patent plans for an indoor dueling, shooter coaster – recreating an X-wing/Tie Fighter dogfight over the Death Star.  A ride like this requires an enormous show-building.  I added a Speeder dumbo for little kids since the park lacks these kinds of things and the other two Star Wars rides are fairly intense.
The Indy Stunt Show would be re-worked to no longer be an exhibition of how film stunts are done, but an actual real-time unfolding story (no “Cut! Check the Gate!”) with a new story.  In order to help meld  the Star Wars architecture with the Indy stuff, I chose the theme of Atlantis for the EMV attraction.  An Atlantean temple could be fairly alien-like and look comfortable next to the Star Wars universe. 

MUPPET STUDIOS: Muppets get the long-deserved comedic AA ride along with the Gonzo pizza place and a live Muppet concert in the old Backlot Theater.

MARVEL SUPERHERO CITY:  The skyscraper flats are moved to the top of the land to give a better, more dramatic entrance to the land.  From within the land the City Streets are not distinguishable as facades (again, the idea is that you are "in worlds of the movies", not "where the movies are made").   Motors Action is rethemed to Marvel Superheroes (Punisher too violent?) and given an indoor, city-like queue (so guests can’t see the backstage workings of the show, to the above point).   There are new major attractions themed to your pick of Marvel heroes… I imagined an X-men scoop style ride and a Pandora’s Box ride themed to the Fantastic Four.

PIXAR PLACE: A kuka Incredibles ride makes for a smooth transition from Superhero City.  Honey I Shrunk the Playset gets the obvious, easy re-theme to Bugs.  Monsters Inc coaster goes in.  Finally, I added Gusteau’s a French restaurant with a LCI Remy.

MIDDLE EARTH: There are four reasons why I chose this theme to take up most of the old backlot.  1. It’s one big film franchise (on the scale of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.) that has yet to receive theme park treatment.   2. Fantasy (Sword & Sorcery) is a fairly popular film genre that has no representation in the park.  3. The park is very urban; so for balance it needs a winding, rolling green area with vistas, water features and lots of rockwork and trees.  4. This land serves as an outer rim that connects Sunset Blvd to Pixar Place, helping make the park more navigable.

Entering from the Hub, guests experience The Shire, coming upon the village of Hobbiton, where they can dine at the Green Dragon Tavern or explore Bag End.  Making up for the lack of rides for children in the current DHS, this land features a spinner, a ferris wheel (like Old Mill in Paris) and a gentle outdoor boat ride through landscapes of Middle Earth (Storybookland Canal Boats meets Sinbad). 

The forest turns sinister as guests make their way through Mirkwood towards Dol Gulder and attempt to discover the secrets of the Necromancer in a thrilling ride.  Further on are some Rivendell-style buildings housing a dining venue and the boarding area for a flume adventure involving a huge, fire-breathing AA dragon.   The Lonely Mountain serves as both an impressive weenie in itself and a way to hide the gangster (formerly Aerosmith) rollercoaster building from view.


Thoughts/comments appreciated.


Mr. Zahta said...

Great work! I really love this one! I don't like the original "Studios" so much, but this one, for a movie-themed park, is perfect!

kermitdefrog said...

Although I would love to see DHS revert back to a real working studio, this, I believe, is one of, if not the, greatest park you have ever done.

PS, do you mind if I use some of your ideas in my re-imagined version of the park?

Anonymous said...

Why you incduing Roger Rabbit's Hollywood AKA Maroon Studios, SWW?
Maybe you could add Roger Rabbit themed land on Disney Studios Tokyo and Disney Studios Brazil.

Andrew said...

This is absolutely wonderful. I had a thought similar to Kermit in terms of a working studios land - known as YortLaw Studios that featured a studio tour and soundstage show. However this plan is simply astounding. I love the whole thing, but I hope the Marvel show features vehicles to differentiate from Indiana.

The only slight bug would be the use of too many exotic rides in Pixar Place. I know that I could only ride TTSM in this land which is ashame. Perhaps a nice dark ride for us motion sickness sufferers.

All in all this is - in my opinion - your best park redo. Thank you so much for sharing this buildout.

megatron_85 said...

as always, great plan

Douglas said...

i like this a lot. DHS was need to walk through but it just felt empty. here it has all these buildings but not a thing to do after you ride the 6 rides they have. really liked how you made the LMA theater more of a trip to go to instead of a are we there yet experiance. really going the long way around was a stupid move on there part. it'd be like shunting everyone through backstage.

comics101 said...

I agree with everyone else that your plans would turn DHS into a top-tier park. You definatly put a lot of thought into it and it shows. Great job!

That said, I'm one of the few folks left who believe DHS should keep the "working studio" theme, even if it is no longer a working studio. If you take away the studio theme, the park becomes another Disneyland-style park, but without the castle, although I suppose it caters to adults and teenagers more than MK does. Still, by creating the immersive lands without the studio feel, you go from having a movie theme, to a "yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy" theme. And there's nothing really wrong with that, I suppose it's just an observation. What are your thoughts?

Anywho, Keep up the great work!

comics101 said...

^^And when I talk about "working studio" theme, I don't mean WDSP lol. That park has no theme, and needs more help than DHS ever will. I mean more along the lines of Star Tours...from far away, the illusion of being real is there, and once you get close enough, that illusion turns into a behind the scenes look at movie props, etc, making guests the star on the actual set, which to me was part of the magic of MGM.

SWW said...

^Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comics, regarding the working studio concept, you're right in that "Studios" could almost be removed from the name, even though certain areas (Pixar Place, Muppet Studios & Walt Disney Animation) could retain the Studio aesthetic.

As you know, my other drawing of this park kept and expanded the working Studio, including Suburban Street. In a perfect world, I think having a working film/tv studios (with big budget productions) adds excitement & electricity and is key to the Studios park experience.

But I've drawn one DHS that way, so this version takes into account the realities that the Backlot has already been significantly compromised (Midway Mania, Lights Motors), and big budget Hollywood (live-action) films were/are never going to be shot there.

Anonymous said...

SWW, I have a question....
Well...Warner Bros. and Disney will making 1906 together. You could ask your friends could make
Disney-Warner Bros. Studios Backlot for Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland.
As for its logo: I like to see Mickey Mouse holding his action sign and Bugs Bunny eating his carrots in his tux suit for Disney-WB Studios Backlot logo?

Anonymous said...

WW, I have a question....
Well...Warner Bros. and Disney will making 1906 movie together. You could ask your friends could make
Disney-Warner Bros. Studios Backlot for Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland.
As for its logo: I like to see Mickey Mouse holding his action sign and Bugs Bunny eating his carrots in his tux suit for Disney-WB Studios Backlot logo?

kermitdefrog said...

You didn't have to remove One Man's Dream; it could've easily gone into the Soundstage Theatre.

comics101 said...

SWW, do you believe the filmic worlds concept makes a stronger theme park than the studio concept? Does it take away from DHS identity or solve DHS problems?

btw, I really like how you've drawn your dream DHS and a more realistic DHS. It's fun to compare the two...any plans for an Epcot 2025?

SWW said...

Kermit, a reduced version of One Man's Dream could go into that space.


I think they both would have their advantages/disadvantages: if significant ongoing production was taking place at the Studios concept... like seeing Scorsese direct DeNiro from the the old corridor part of the walking tour, or watching animators hand-draw cells for an upcoming animated feature, or being used as extras in the filming of a TV show on New York St... that would make the park unique among peers, and something the Movie Adventure concept doesn't have.

The drawback to the Studios concept is that going on a "working soundstage" of Star Tours, for example, is not as compelling as imagining you're actually on Endor.

I've also seen it argued - and I agree - that with the advent of DVD special features and certain cable channels, we know a lot more about how movies are made today then when MGM opened... so a lot of the backlot tour stuff is no longer that revelatory.

Anonymous said...

Hee Sam,

Love this park and the rest of your lay-outs. You have so much talent, and the details are just amazing.
I drew a map myself and I was wandering if you could transform it into a real park map like you do on this site?


SWW said...

^There's always the possibility. Email me (address in "About me" section) regarding requests (attaching the plan) and I'll let you know if I can do it.