Three Things at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Desperately in Need of an Update

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a lot in common with that “cool uncle” at the family reunion in that they recently turned 31 and both are trying to keep up to date with the biggest trends.

Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

While the park has received plenty of big, largely-adored additions in recent years, like the Star Wars superfan’s dreamland of Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in the Chinese Theater, there are still a few areas of the park we think could use some attention.

Here are three things at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that are desperately in need of an update!

The Shows

When Hollywood Studios first opened, the park was dedicated to showing how movies jump from the production lot to the silver screen. As the park aged up, many of the shows used at the time impressive effects to tell the stories of beloved characters and settings we all knew and loved from the big screen.

Beauty and the Beast — Live on Stage

But a lot has changed since 1989, and while shows like Voyage of the Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage may be based on classic Disney movies and offer some nostalgic fun, they’re definitely starting to show their age. The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is another show that could use some updates, especially now that Disney owns the rights to the intrepid archaeologist. We love the concept of sharing what goes into heroic stunts, but we wouldn’t mind seeing some new ones added.

A scene from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Note that in the beginning, the German plane had Nazi swastikas on its wings. [The Walt Disney Company]
Hot take incoming: Fantasmic! needs an update. Now before you head down to the comments, let us explain. The current version of the nighttime spectacular has been running since 1998 and could benefit from adding some newer movies or effects. We think this could be done in subtle ways that maintain the grandeur and excitement of the current show.

Fantasmic

Case in point, the Maleficent dragon. With all the space they can utilize at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater, it would be nice to see a fully-articulated dragon like the one they got for Disneyland’s update in in the park and not just a dragon head and wings attached to a crane.

Animation Courtyard

Now we come to an area of the park that we’re pretty sure Disney just doesn’t know what to do with anymore. In the parks early years, this used to serve as the entryway to the main attraction, the Studio Backlot Tour, that would give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the real production facilities of the park.

It’s like walking through the entryway at a movie studio!

Now when we say “in need of changes” we’re not necessarily talking about Walt Disney Presents (a great historical walk-through) or the Disney Junior Dance Party! (because it is fun for the kids). No, we’re talking about that other attraction located just beyond the gateway, Star Wars Launch Bay.

Why?

Star Wars Launch Bay is more of a one-stop shop for merch, character meet-and-greets, and storage for props than it is really an attraction. Now with Galaxy’s Edge taking up such a big footprint and immersing us fully into the Star Wars universe, it doesn’t seem necessary to have this attraction open any longer. Since we can get our Star Wars fix elsewhere in the Park, we’d love to see new ideas brought into this underutilized space.

Echo Lake

Echo Lake is an area in an identity crisis. Inspired by the similarly-named neighborhood in Los Angeles, this section of the park moves from the golden age of Hollywood to an area designed after Indiana Jones to the forest moon of Endor by Star Tours.

Echo Lake

There’s too many clashing IPs at play here in a park that gradually seems to be making the move toward entire themed lands. However, there have been rumors that this area of the park could see an entire redesign based off of the Indiana Jones franchise, which perhaps would be an immersive approach.

Could the Indiana Jones Adventure make it’s way to Disney World? ©Disney

It would make sense to capitalize on the upcoming fifth installment in the series by giving Indy his own little area (Disney loves it some synergy). If Disney does decide to do anything with the Echo Lake area, we just hope that the one-third of the park-wide Hidden Mickey survives the refurbishment (and can we keep Gertie? Please?).

What new experiences would you like to see come to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Replies to “Three Things at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Desperately in Need of an Update”

  1. Echo Lake is where you can get some crowd relief and grab a cocktail at 50s PTC. Sure it could be updated but it’s still original and that makes it worth keeping. Plenty of room to expand past Starwars land

  2. Time for Indiana Jones to go. It is so lame. If we go there, it’s just to rest for a bit. Definitely not Fast Pass worthy.

  3. I agree with all these suggestions to improve Hollywood Studios!
    1-Aside from Disney Junior Dance Party, practically all the shows at the park are almost (if not already) 30 years old. They are all ready for an upgrade to some new IPs, perhaps making it more cohesive with the theme for each land.
    2-Animation Courtyard needs a a complete tear down and rebuild that would connect on the back end near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. My suggestion would be Halloweentown from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
    3-Echo Lake could definitely benefit from an Indiana Jones retheme. There’s room to expand that area into the parking lot behind the Stunt Spectacular and add an attraction or two.

  4. Indiana Jones has gone stale. Ten years ago. Frozen show is adorable and funny, however, it could use new Frozen 2 material added. Beauty and Beast show can stay, add Little Mermaid show and perhaps Aladdin musicals. Vary throughout the day. Fix Disney Junior show. It’s just not that great. Loud and obnoxious. Shows in the past were captivating for little ones. Remember the big book? And Minnie’s birthday party? Consult parents on these attractions. Children identify with what they see on Disney Junior. Keep it fresh, updated. I’m sure Disney has plans for the old areas of Hollywood Studios. They just haven’t concentrated on that yet. Epcot is getting changes now. I still feel moving Dumbo ruined the magic of that ride. I like having two, and kids love the indoor playground, too bad they moved it. I miss the train. Tron is slow in coming.I miss Mickey and Minnie’s house. The backlot tour was interesting, especially the fire and water part. Muppets deserve a Muppet Babies attraction. Aladdin needs an attraction like Minnie and Mickeys wild ride.