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Ideal Build-Out: Disney Hollywoodland Park

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You want a fix for Disney's Hollywood Studios? We've re-built the park from scratch. Today we’re kicking off a new series of idealized park “build-outs,” redesigning parks we know and love to make them feel more complete, well-rounded, and alive. Theme Park Tourist writer Brian Krosnick has teamed up with the incredible S.W. Wilson – who designs attractions and entire parks at his blog, Ideal Build-Out.

Looking forward, we’ll feature a few of Brian and S.W.’s completed parks, but we’ve decided to start right out the gate with Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If you're on a desktop PC, what you’ll need to do is to open S.W. Wilson's large map of this newly reborn park in a separate window by clicking here. Explore it on your own, and then follow along as we walk through! Note that the map is ©2014 – S.W. Wilson with all rights reserved. 

Let’s see how Brian and S.W. tackle this 90’s studio park and give it a new lease on life. Here's a hint: it starts with a name change.

Disney Hollywoodland Park

© S.W. Wilson. Click for source.

To all who explore these worlds of adventure: welcome. Disney Hollywoodland Park celebrates the intrigue, romance, imagination, and optimism dreamed up by daring minds such as Walt Disney and those like him who forever changed – and were forever changed by – the magic of cinema. This unique world is a Hollywood that never was, and always will be; and is dedicated to the dreamers that it continues to inspire. May these lands born of imagination be a source of wonder for all.

This is Disney Hollywoodland Park – a reverent celebration of Hollywood – not as a place on a map, but as a state of mind. The notion of Hollywood is alive with sights, sounds, glamour, fame, adventure, and mystery. For that reason, Disney Hollywoodland Park is not a movie studio. You won’t see or hear the term “movie magic,” and you’d be hard-pressed to find studio-rig lighting.

Hollywood is a place of enduring hope where stories come to life and viewers escape into impossible worlds of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy. That describes Disney Hollywoodland Park pretty well, too.

Passing under the soaring, teal Pan-Pacific Gates (modeled after the iconic entrance to Los Angeles’ loved-and-lost Pan-Pacific Auditorium), guests enter not into a film set or a studio backlot, but into Hollywood in the 1930s. “Extree! Extree! Read all about it! Spirit of optimism sweeps California! Mr. Disney to premier world’s first full-length animated film!” shout the Red Car News Boys from their mobile Pacific Electric Trolley stage in Pan-Pacific Plaza. Yep, this is a very different park.

Hollywood Blvd.

© Disney

Are you ready? Step down the authentic Hollywood Blvd. and take in the atmosphere. Sunset-hued storefronts conceal abundant shopping opportunities like Keystone Clothiers, The Darkroom, Oswald’s Filling Station, and the lavish and majestic Lillian’s department store where crystal chandeliers and ornate rotundas set a very specific scene of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

At the far end of the street stands the opulent Chinese Theatre, the park’s icon. Inside is The Great Movie Ride, a 25-minute guided dark ride through the history of cinema that serves as the park’s mission statement, cataloguing and bringing to life some of the greatest stories ever told.

Click for source.

Behind the façade of the Hollywood Pantages Theater is the impressive Cinemagic, a mixed live-action / film presentation that chronicles the evolution of film from black-and-white silent features of Georges Méliès to today’s most well-loved. This innovative presentation literally surrounds guests in the sights and sounds of film with unique 360-degree screens and effects where you least expect.

The Easten Gardens are nestled alongside the Chinese Theatre at the base of the Hollywoodland Hills. Click for source.

Once you’ve taken in the entertainment of Hollywood, relax in the Eastern Gardens, a tranquil and gorgeous garden nestled alongside the Chinese Theatre and into the Hollywoodland Hills, which serve as the street’s backdrop. Under the hill’s uneven letters reading HOLLYWOODLAND are the garden’s walking paths, bridges, streams, pagodas, and waterfalls that serve as a break from the hustle and bustle of Tinseltown.

If you haven't done so, open the large map of Disney Hollywoodland Park in a separate window by clicking here, then follow along as we walk through! The map is ©2014 – S.W. Wilson with all rights reserved. 

Sunset Blvd.

© Disney

Turn the corner and gaze down Sunset Blvd., presided over by the looming Hollywood Tower Hotel. Shuttered in 1939 after a freak accident, the hotel has mysteriously re-opened. But this former shining beacon has seen better days, as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror sends guests on an unusual journey past the hotel’s thirteenth floor and into another dimension…

The Hyperion Theatre exterior proposed for Disney California Adventure would be built at Hollywoodland Park. © Disney

Sunset Blvd. celebrates the 1930s and 1940s of Hollywood as it matured and expanded to new heights of popularity. The Theatre of the Stars (which formerly hosted Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage) has been converted into a beautiful, fully enclosed Broadway-style theatre, with an added lobby expanding the theatre’s footprint up to Sunset Blvd. as the new Hyperion Theatre. Modeled after the concept art proposed for Disney California Adventure’s Hyperion, the brick-faced clock tower exterior of this theatre betrays its regal grand interior. The Hyperion is equipped to present hour-long, Broadway-style tellings of Disney’s finest, like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, or Frozen.

Across the way stands the elegant broadcasting tower of Mercury Radio Studio. Step inside the 1938 studio to tour the recording booths. You just may happen upon Orson Welles, who’s reading a news bulletin being beamed to American households everywhere about an alien invasion currently underway. Is it real? Could there truly be lights in the sky over Los Angeles? Proceed through the studio and witness for yourself aboard Invasion!, a launched roller coaster into the dizzying recesses of radio and wonder.

A new on-ride photo for Invasion!

To a riveting musical score interspersed by Welles’s narration of an intergalactic attack, you’ll blast into the light and through the stars aboard the ride formerly known as Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. This sensational attraction will leave you wondering if we’re alone in the universe.

The Carthay Circle Theatre (right) is now the entrance to Snow White's Adventures. © Disney

Just down Sunset Blvd. stands the impressive and iconic white tower of the Carthay Circle Theatre, where Walt risked it all the premier the world’s first full-length animated feature film. Step inside and be whisked away into that tale aboard Snow White’s Adventure, a classic dark ride based on its Fantasyland forerunner that brings the film to life for a new generation.

If you’re a fan of the Disney classic Fantasmic!, prepare to be floored. The refurbished Sunset Amphitheater has been re-built with an incredible, daunting twisted mountain at its center and n elaborate recreation of Captain Hook's ship, the Jolly Roger, replacing the Sternwheeler in the enhanced and updated show. Count on new special effects, new characters, and a surprising new finale.

Laguna Fortuna

Absorbing the land east along the former Echo Lake, Laguna Fortuna is a new land built exclusively for Disney Hollywoodland Park. In the 1920s and 30s, you couldn’t dial a radio or visit a cinema without seeing the flawless face of Miss Lana Olivier. From her start in the industry (practically at birth) to her retirement at the ripe old age of 29, Ms. Olivier never yearned for the spotlight. Even after her characters gained her international fame, Lana preferred to leave it behind.

In 1937, she and her blue macaw Alain retreated to an elegant cinematic mansion in Bolivia to spend the rest of their days in solitude.

It didn’t last long. It’s 1942, and just five years into retirement, Lana is swinging wide the gates and allowing any who make the pilgrimage to her home deep in the misty rainforest to take a tour of her sprawling property and the priceless movie props she’s collected there. It begins in the Garden of Wonders, filled with massive and oversized relics and film props too large to fit into her home. And keep an eye out… Though they may seem suspiciously odd, viewing these massive props through magic lenses and from the right camera angles reveals incredible illusions…

Click for source.

Lana’s home, the towering Villa Fortuna, is a sight to behold with its many turrets and steeples clearly influenced by Olivier’s roles in films ranging from 1929’s Bracelet of the Gods to 1932’s Eye of Anubis; 1935’s Private, I to 1936’s La Reine de Neiges. Inside, Lana invites you to tour through her film collection before boarding a most ingenious invention: floating, gliding Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriages on loan from a friend she knows well through an organization.

On board, guests are welcomed into the Prop Cataloguing Room where she’s just received her most highly-anticipated item yet: a silver cranked film projector said to bring any film to life as never before. When the musical Alain lands on the projector’s crank, it triggers an unforgettable adventure through her many genre-spanning pictures as her movie posters and props spring to life…

View ancient film props through magical lenses in the Garden of Wonders. Click for source.

Outside and nestled into the manor’s hill is the Enchanted Aviary where macaws, parrots, and other tropical birds are waiting to meet and interact with guests. You can also tour the Tramp Steamer that carried Olivier to the mystical land.

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There are 28 comments.

This is amazing! ! If Hollywood studios was really like this, it could compete with Magic Kingdom. ... especially for families with teenagers.

I would love to attend this park! My family can do the current park in half a day. I love the concept of flowing from one land to another. Hope Disney reads the article!

I could see huge dollar signs for Disney on this. My son loves the incredibles but you can never find much to do with them. He'd be in heaven if they had that ride.

I like it all. Just tell me where Rock and Roller coaster moved to. ADS has to have it somewhere.......

In this plan, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is re-themed as Invasion!, a launched coaster simulating an alien abduction. Same physical ride, just with a different theme around it. It fits Sunset Blvd's 1940s Hollywood setting quite a bit better than Aerosmith! ;)

Like the Imagination that this plan shows.. Theming sounds a bit weighted towards retro/classic Hollywood for me, but then its so long since I watched a B&W film .. I can't remember.. But definately would add atmosphere to the park which to me only comes to life atm just as I'm leaving, after Fantasmic, when all the shop fronts are lit, and it feels like a night out in Hollywood.

I would visit this park. Current Hollywood Studios...not so much.

Fantastic ideas. Keep them coming.

Fabulous! Great concept!

This is so great. Is there anyway to make the maps even larger. I went to the link, but still had problems. For instance, it is very hard to read the words on the island at the Toyville Tidal Park. I'd love to have this be REALLY big. I hate for there to be so much incredible detail that I can't see.
Any chance?
Thanks so much for this article and all that you do.

I love the ideas, this would improve a park that has become too much of a mish-mash of ideas that don't fit together.
I was reading an article elsewhere that wheras Universal is now building immersive environments (Harry Potter, Springfield) to replace their behind the scenes studios parks, Disney are still pushing ahead with the idea and this is why Disney Studios in Paris doesn't work and similarly why the studios park in WDW looks past its best. People go to a park to be immersed in something different, not to see how its done. The exception being Universal Hollywood where as it is a genuine working studio still the behind the scenes tram tour works as it is current fact.

SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY

The black and white area could be like the "Animator's Palate" restaurant on the Disney Wonder...the restaurant starts out in all black & white decor and gradually transforms into color by the end of the meal.

This area could be black and white by day & color by night.

This would be the best park.

I feel like I'm looking at Disneyland/California Adventure...nothing REALLY that unique...

An indoor launched Vekoma coaster called Invasion....it has been done before already a Kings Island. Cool idea, but already been done for years now.

Flight of Fear at Kings Island is not a Vekoma, it is a Premier launched coaster.

I must say I did enjoy this article and I enjoyed most of the concepts, even though some are taken from elsewhere.

Though i think it would be great to see Ratatouille in Orlando (though the story or ride needs to be different in someway, not a fan of making exactly the same ride in various locations) I think creating a theme of Paris inside Hollywood studios goes against the make believe / usa classic styling elsewhere in this proposal.

The only question really is, are Disney getting any ideas?

I don't see the need for two movie rides. There's the original one and then there's the Muppet movie ride.

I'd like Indiana Jones rollercoaster or dark ride and the Tron coaster.

I disagree with the Timeless River, seeing as most people weren't alive when that was relevant. I'd much rather have a Toy Story Playland with a few flat rides inc. a Zurg thrill flat ride.

I really like the 'Incredible' rides and think that would be fantastic. Or instead of a Incredibles-themed, Kuka-arm ride, it could be the Monster's Inc door-rollercoaster.

I personally would prefer the Monsters,Inc Coaster Myself and make the area Monsterville

Neat concepts here. Not sure all of them would work, but the imagination behind them is wonderful. The biggest/saddest problem with this concept is that Disney would NEVER spend the money on their parks like you've so lovingly proposed. In fact, they'd take this concept (if it were real) and they'd "value engineer" it down to the point that less than HALF of the things proposed would be built. I mean, come on: these are the people that were rumored to be proposing Radiator Springs Racers for DHS...WITHOUT THE ROCKWORK!!! Insanity, I tell you.

DHS definitely needs an overhaul like this to make it a full-day park. Hopefully Disney does something to address it. The park also needs a monorail extension to get it connected to the rest of the monorail system. Add in Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and a few more of the resort hotels too...and heck, maybe even the water parks!

Looking forward to the next concept proposal!

Some good ideas here however My favorite restaurant(and a few others as well) at the studios is 50's Prime time café and tearing it down is a bad idea. I like all the lands but I would move Star wars as part of an extension of Tomorrow and put Laguna Fortuna in its place usein about a third of the Park space there to create a more 50's area with a ride or attraction talking about 50's monster movies or Godzilla specifically

I would really love to eventually see a possible Indiana Jones coaster here to replace the Indiana Jones show because I think that would really make Disney Hollywood Studios a lot more awesome. Also by the way I love a lot of these ideas they have for Disney Hollywood Studios accept for re theming Rockin Rollercoaster I don't like that idea I think its great just the way it is.

What kind of seasonal events would you have at Disney Hollywoodland park? (please so scary Halloween event)

*say

What kind of seasonal events would you have at Disney Hollywoodland park? (please so scary Halloween event)

Realistically, there are some concepts i definitely think could become a reality.

1. Hollywood Land definitely works way better as a name.

2. Love how you organized Star Wars land and even the rides you put in it, however, I think a roller coaster (e-Ticket Ride) would also work well here.

3. Ratatouille could definitely really work well in the land.

4. Wow, you figured out how to involve the Incredibles into a Park with it's on themed land also very doable.

5. The general additions to the park's theme especially the hills and the Hollywoodland sign. Brilliant.

On the other hand it does not make any sense for disney to build a brand new Muppet's ride when the last muppet movie did so poorly in theaters (this saddens me greatly because I love the Muppets.)

Additionally, I am not a fan of Timeless River. I do not think it will work very well. Practically speaking a land completely made of black and white seems unpractical. Also, I really do not know how interesting the land would actually be. Too gimmicky.

First off, thanks for taking the time to do a little blue-sky development on a much needed Disney park. I'm sure if anyone is reading this then they consider themselves theme-park aficionados, like myself. I've worked for the Mouse at WDW and I have a great respect for the company and their ideas. I am disheartened that it appears there is more attention into developing the Shanghai park and possible Brazil park than further WDW development. I understand the global economy and making as much money as possible from a new market, but you always gotta take care of your own home. That said, I do feel that there are some brilliant ideas that would reinvigorate this park much like Disney actually did with California Adventure. They basically admitted it was built on the cheap and needed improvement, and that improvement came. Next on the list; Hollywoodland.

Love the name. Great job on that. The themed lands are for the most part ideal. I do agree with the comment above about making the black & white land similar to the outstanding theme of Animators Palette on the Disney Dream cruise ship. That area does fit in the overall theme of the park and it is bold to do black & white and that is why I support it.

Not feeling "Invasion!" Honestly, not feeling the coaster as it stands now either...just been a long time looking at Steven Tyler...and that's not good for anyone. Other ideas could be a helicopter ride over Hollywoodland that gets outta control, or maybe theme it to an existing IP like Frozen. I dunno.

Keep it coming guys!

I really like this concept. I would LOVE to see the Snow White ride return. It was my son's favorite. The villains days at the parks are wildly popular so I don't understand why there isn't more villains themed concepts. They used to have that villains shop but then it was watered down. You've got a lot more attractions in this concept of the park which could bring more traffic for sure. I always thought there was a lot of wasted space in the backlot area.

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