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Where Does Disney’s Hollywood Studios Go From Here?

A lot has changed in the past five years for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Once a maligned “half-day” park, Disney took it upon itself to invest heavily in the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, building Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is opening in just a few more days. In addition, Disney recently  opened the new Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy show, and will be debuting Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in just a few months

However, even though all of these changes are ostensibly very positive, has Disney done all they need to to keep this park going strong into the future, especially when faced with increasing competition from next door neighbor Universal Orlando? Criticisms have already been levied against Disney for going cheap with Toy Story Land, and many have wondered if Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will bring in large crowds, as the response to this land at Disneyland has been tepid at best. But is there really anything Disney can do to further improve this park, beyond opening these new additions? We think so…

Revamp the Animation Courtyard

Image: Disney

Ever since the Studios concept was abandoned, The Animation Courtyard has been woefully underused, with this area currently home to a Disney Junior show, an almost three-decade old Little Mermaid show, and the Star Wars: Launch Bay, which doesn’t really make sense here anymore now that Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is almost here. 

Though Disney could do what they did with the Streets of America and just flatten this area to make a whole new land, this is an iconic part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it would be nice to see the land keep its theme, with some of the attraction buildings re-purposed for something interesting and new. 

Focus on Food

Image: Disney

Though you might not initially associate theme parks with amazing food, Disney has come into its own in recent years for having some amazing dining options, especially at Epcot and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. However, though Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to the acclaimed Brown Derby restaurant, outside of this one signature dining location, there really isn’t much for those who enjoy interesting food to check out here.

To say the opening of PizzeRizzo was a disappointment is definitely an understatement, and while we could be pleasantly surprised, so far our hopes aren’t exactly high for the Rodeo Roundup BBQ restaurant set to open sometime in the future inside Toy Story Land. Even the choices at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are hit or miss.

Though things look a little bleak right now, there could be real vaue in overhauling the dining choices at this park, and if Disney is looking to continue to improve Disney’s Hollywood Studios in a meaningful way that will get more guests to spend time here, investing in improving the dining choices at this park would be a great idea. 

Invest in improving (or replacing) current shows

Though we absolutely love live entertainment at Disney parks, the lineup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios feels, to put it bluntly, very dated. Both Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage are almost 30 years old, and this park’s version of Fantasmic! hasn’t been updated in any meaningful way (besides projection changes) in over two decades.

Even recent shows like the Frozen Sing-A-Long are starting to feel a little rusty, especially next to other shows at Disney parks, like Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire at the Magic Kingdom and even Disneyland’s Fantasmic, which got an amazing update two years ago.  By revamping, or replacing, some of these shows, Disney’s Hollywood Studios could breathe new life into some of the older areas of this park, and get guests excited to experience this whole park again, instead of stopping by just to check out one area or two.

Frozen Sing-along

Though Disney’s Hollywood Studios has made a lot of progress in the past few years with the additions of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, as well as the new Cars show and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, this park doesn’t quite feel like it has been fully reinvented just yet, and is falling short of its potential. However, hopefully Disney has some plans in store for this park beyond its most recent attraction openings, and will continue to redevelop this park in the future.