2015 has been a tough year for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The year began with the destruction and removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat icon, and ended with the cancellation of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights annual event, which had been dazzling guests for 20 years.
However, fans of this park have tried to take all these closings and cancellations in stride in the hope that that a brand new day for Disney's Hollywood Studios is just around the corner. While several of the "big" projects will still be underway by this time next year, there will be a whole lot that will be different at this park as well by the time 2016 draws to a close. Here's all the important things we expect to happen next year:
1. Pizza Planet gets refurbished (and possibly creates Muppets Land?)
Late last week it was confirmed that quick service eatery Pizza Planet is set to close on January 11, 2016 and will remain shuttered for a majority of the year. While that might not be especially noteworthy by itself (after all, a Toy Story-inspired Pizza Planet won’t make sense in this space once Toy Story Land opens), reports have surfaced that this eatery will reopen again much later in 2016, possibly with a new theme that could hearken back to the days of Disney-MGM Studios.
While just a rumor at this stage, many have hypothesized that because of Pizza Planet’s proximity to MuppetVision 4-D, a Muppets-themed makeover could be in the works. This change would effectively create a mini Muppets-themed land in this spot. This certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing, and would recall the original plans for Disney-MGM Studios, which included quite the extensive Muppets-themed area, complete with a Swedish Chef Cooking School Restaurant where Pizza Planet currently sits, and Gonzo's Pizza Parlor where Mama Melrose's currently sits. The concept art below represents what was originally planned for this area, and what could potentially be again if rumors prove true:
If plans are being made to revert this area back to its originally-intended theme, it would definitely be a great way to get a new land into Disney’s Hollywood Studios before the end of the year, and could placate fans who are restless waiting for Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. And speaking of these massive projects…
2. Ground is breaking on Star Wars Land very soon
Though Disney has yet to offer a timetable in regards to when Star Wars Land might be completed, we have confirmation that ground will be broken on what will be Star Wars Land sometime early next year, possibly in January or February. Interestingly, We still don’t know exactly where Star Wars Land will go, but current rumors suggest either the Echo Lake area or perhaps somewhere just outside the boundaries of the park, potentially using up part of the current parking lot.
Though we know that Star Wars Land will be breaking ground next year, we have no idea what the timetables are looking like for the less-ambitious Toy Story Land. Some reports suggest that work has already been started on this new area, while others imply that construction won’t begin until next year.Unfortunately, because much of the work on this land is going on behind closed doors (and large walls) we'll have to wait for an official announcement for this one.