More than any other park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been in need of a facelift. After a disappointing attendance report in 2013, Disney seems to have put together a plan to make some big changes at the park, which we have speculated may culminate in a new name for the park.
So what changes are in store for the resort? Here are the four rumored and confirmed changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios by 2018 (note: until we have official confirmation from Disney on the rumors, there is of couse a lot of scope for change).
1. The Sorcerer’s Hat is being removed
Nearly two weeks ago, Disney confirmed the news that the de facto park icon for Disney’s Hollywood Studios was being removed. This news was met online with equal measures of horror and glee, as different generations of fans reacted to the news (it seems like depending on a guest’s age, the hat was either an eyesore or the defining feature of the park).
The hat will be sticking around for the Christmas season, and then, starting in January, it will be dismantled. Hat fans are hoping that the former icon will be moved somewhere else in the park, but we’ve heard nothing to imply that this may actually happen. New merchandise has been released in recent weeks that features the Earful Tower as the park icon, which suggests that once the Sorcerer’s Hat vanishes, it’ll be gone for good.
2. Echo Lake to become Star Wars Land
Star Wars Land has long been rumored to be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and its looking like Echo Lake will be ground zero for this new area. Though Disney has stopped short of confirming this location, the closing of the American Idol experience and rumored closing of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Show almost guarantee that this will be the location of Disney’s expanded Star Wars presence.
Though we don’t know exactly what this new Star Wars land will be, we’re expecting an announcement next year, with construction commencing later in 2015. The project is expected to be quite large in scope, so it will likely be several years before this new area is completed, with many projecting late 2018 as a potential completeion window for Star Wars Land (though even that may be ambitious, given that Pandora - The World of Avatar will only have been open for a year over at Disney's Animal Kingdom by that date).