Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Walt Disney World
---- THE LATEST BUZZ ----
(9/9/2023) New Star Tours Experiences Coming in Spring 2024 to Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris
(6/20/2023) Walt Disney World To Launch New Extra-Ticket After-Hours Holiday Event (MORE...)
(6/10/2023) Muppets Mayhem Co-Creator Confirms Pitch To Retheme Rock 'n Roller Coaster (MORE...)
(5/29/2023) Rock 'n Roller Coaster Reopens (MORE...)
Ride Rehabs - These dates are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as refurbishments are subject to change.
Nothing is planned at this time...
General Park News - (6/20/2023) Walt Disney World has announced yet another extra-ticket after-hours event for one of their theme parks. This one will take place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park during the holiday season and be called, of all things, “Disney Jollywood Nights”. According to the final details it will take place on select nights between Nov. 11 and Dec. 20, 2023 as a sort of counter-programming for the resorts already popular “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” extra-ticket event in the Magic Kingdom. Jollywood Nights will feature the return of the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam! nighttime spectacular, a special live holiday special show featuring Kermit and Miss Piggy, jazz and latin music, a Nightmare Before Christmas sing-along show and much more.
Of course the limited number of tickets should make for great access to the park’s most popular rides like Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. The downside is that tickets are expected to cost between $159 and $179 per person when they go on sale starting on July 6th.
(4/30/2023) The Edna Mode Experience will reopen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 14th as part of a re-imagined update to the Pixar Place area. This will be a character meet & greet experience with the Edna Mode character from the Incredibles films that will also feature appearances by Mr. Incredible, Elastiagirl, Frozone… and for some strange reason… Sully from Monsters Inc. (????) The original Edna Mode Experience opened at the park in 2019 and closed when everything else did at the start of the pandemic, but never reopened.
Speaking of new characters coming to the Studios park… it was also confirmed that a new Ariel face character, based on the new live-action “The Little Mermaid” film, will begin making appearances in the park this Summer inside the Walt Disney Presents attraction building that will also be used to show off costumes and props as a promotion for the film as well.
For those wondering, the old Voyage of the Little Mermaid show/attraction closed in March 2020 as part of the resort wide pandemic closure, but failed to reopen when the rest of the park returned. The attraction sign was removed from the building later that year. To my knowledge the building has not reopened for any purpose since, and was rumored to be closed indefinitely due to a mold infestation.
(1/29/2023) For hungry Disney World guests wanting some BBQ, then starting on March 23rd you’ll be in luck. The new Roundup Rodeo BBQ restaurant inside the Toy Story land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open as the first Toy Story themed table service restaurant.
(6/27/22) Consider me slightly surprised, but Disney World has announced that the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction area will reopen to guests on July 17, 2022, bringing back the return of Star Wars character meet and greets along with other fun Star Wars themed displays. Star Wars Launch Bay was originally built as a sort of preview Star Wars experience of sorts to be offered to guests while the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land was under construction, with the intention of closing the Launch Bay down once Galaxy’s Edge opened. Instead Launch Bay closed with the rest of Walt Disney World in March of 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic, but when the theme park itself reopened in 2021, the Star Wars Launch Bay remained closed.
2022 - New Fantastmic! - (11/6/22) Fantasmic! is now back at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with several updates scenes added into the show. This includes a new Intro scene and a new “Hero Scene” featuring live action scenes with Pocahontas, Aladdin, Elsa, Mulan and Moana, and added animated footage of some newer films on the water screens. You can catch video clips of them both posted below by Attractions Magazine.
(10/14/22) Fantastic news this week as Disney’s Hollywood Studios has confirmed that “Fantasmic!” performances will begin once again at the theme park this November. A specific date has not been mentioned yet, nor have any details come out just yet about what changes we can expect from this latest version of the show, so stay tuned!
(9/3/22) Theme Park Tourist reports that cast rehearsals have begun at “Fantastmic!” in Disney’s Hollywood Studios park. For much of the year so far work has been taking place to get the show venue ready once again, and cast rehearsals should be just about the last step to go through before being able to open the show once again. They speculate that we may get some extra news about the reopening of Fantasmic! At the D23 event taking place Sept. 9-11th in Anaheim.
(5/7/22) According to a Disney press release, they have confirmed that “Fantasmic!” will return “later in 2022”, featuring a new show sequence featuring “Mulan, Elsa, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Moana - in heroic moments, as well as new technical enhancements.”
Unfortunately “later is 2022” is fairly vague at this point, so we could still be looking at later in the Summer, the Fall or even the start of the Winter holiday season. But as aerial photos of the drained show-theater posted not long ago indicate, the crews are still working on the technical and mechanical features of the venue currently, so any technical rehearsals of the tech, or on-stage performer rehearsals will have to wait until the venue is fixed and ready to go first.
(5/5/22) Laughing Place has posted a brief video interview with Matthew Hamel, the Director of “Fantastmic!” at Walt Disney World who gives a brief description of what we can expect from a new scene being added to the show.
(4/9/22) Screamscape sources have confirmed that the return of Fantasmic! is in the words for Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park. The problem time… no one seems to know exactly when the show may return. As technical crews have been preparing the venue’s systems for the return of the show, apparently more issues have arisen that have to be addressed first. So currently the show’s theater has been completely drained of water to allow for complete access to all the underwater systems for the various fountains, projection screen effects and the underwater track.
I believe the show lagoon was previously drained earlier this year and was reported to be refilled back in early March, only to now be drained all over again. So far any proposed opening date for Fantasmic! will have to wait until they finish all the technical work in the venue and get a grasp of how long it will take to re-program the equipment, and have the needed rehearsals for the performers and tech crews, so say nothing of working in any new rumored show segments. So stay tuned!
(4/4/22) According to a post from Orlando Theme Park Zone, Walt Disney World may be preparing to announce a return date for the Fantasmic! Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon. Also according to their sources the show is likely to feature some kind of new scene that is thought to replace the original show’s Pocohontas scene. More as we find out, though I imagine if Fantastmic! is getting close to a return, guests staying nearby should start to notice lights, sounds and pyro from rehearsals that would need to be held ahead of the opening.
(11/26/21) According to the rumor mill work to resort and prep Fantasmic for a re-launch at Walt Disney World is now under way. I don’t believe anything has been confirmed yet, but I’m told the water in the show arena has been drained and there seems to be a lot of behind the scenes activity taking place, as part of preparations to get the show ready to perform once again. Even better, there are rumors about some long-overdue improvements and changes expected to be made to the show when it does reopen. Hopefully we’ll find out more sooner than later.
It is worth mentioning that prior to COVID, in late 2019 the latest rumored suggested that WDW was preparing for a long refurbishment starting in 2022 and re-launch of a new version of the show anyway in 2023. Perhaps the early closure of the show in 2020 has only accelerated these plans to reopen in 2022, or at least make some of the planned changes.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to see the show become something more like what it was originally rumored to be, which was dubbed Fantastmic Hollywood, where the show would have focused more on some of Disney’s live action films and scenes instead of being entirely animated. If memory serves, one of the big action sequences proposed back in the day would have placed the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the water, making a slow pass through the stadium with crew members on the deck defending off an attack from the giant squid. In more recient years we’ve seen Disney’s studio efforts take to making live-action versions of their famous animated films, so the timing would be fitting to bring back the Fantastic Hollywood concept in my opinion.
(10/11/19) Consider this to be a long-out rumor, but the early word is that it may be time to revamp the Walt Disney World version of Fantasmic! In the not so distant future. I’m hearing the overall plan is to possibly hype it up as a 25th Anniversary upgrade for the show in much the same way that Disneyland upgraded their version for their shows’ own 25th anniversary in 2017, after opened in 1992.
If we use Disneyland as an example, this would mean that the Florida version of Fantastmic! would end up closing down for about a year to perform the upgrade, so in order to reopen in time for 2023, the existing show would likely close down sometime in 2022, just in time for whatever long-term 50th Anniversary plans for the WDW resort will be coming to a close.
Spring 2024 - Star Tours - New Adventures - (9/9/2023) We’ve been waiting on an update about the expanded experiences that were previously announced to be coming to the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. According to an update from DestinationD23, these new adventures will be coming in Spring 2024, and will include the addition of the Ahsoka character.
(4/12/2023) Disney has confirmed that new adventures will be coming to Star Tours in 2024 at Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. No solid details were given as to what locations will be added to the randomizing adventure machine, but ever since the second generation Star Tours attraction opened, new adventures in all new locations have been added on a regular basis. Past additions were timed to go along with adventures and locations from the new films as they were released, so if I had to guess I wouldn’t be surprised if we encounter some of the new people, places and ships from the various Disney+ series in one form or another. This could mean appearances by Mando and Grogu, Ahsoka Tano, Admiral Thrawn, Andor and more, so stay tuned!
(6/13/22) According to news released at the Star Wars Celebration event in California, Disney Imagineer Scott Trowbridge, who has overseen the creation of Galaxy’s Edge confirmed that more new sequences / scenes will continue to be added to Star Tours going forward. No further details were given as to what new locations might be added to the attraction, though the last few sequences added to the attraction involved locations from the final trilogy in the series. Since then, with the launch of Disney+, the Star Wars universe has been expanded again through shows like The Mandorlian, The Boot of Boba Fett and the new Obi-Wan Kenobi mini-series. With more Star Wars projects on deck like Andor, Ahsoka, The Acolyte and Skeleton Crew, it would seem to be a good bet that any of these could serve as the inspiration for new Star Tours segment locations.
Without a timeline as to when the next addition could appear, it’s hard to even guess what it could be, as Disney will likely tie the launch of the new segment(s) into whatever new programming is about to air on Disney+ at that time.
???? - Pixar Place Expansion - Rumor - (2/12/20) We’ve heard a small tidbit about the possible future of the Star Wars: Launch Bay along with that entire surrounding area of the park, including One Man’s Dream, the Voyage of the Little Mermaid show and possibly even the soundstage where the Disney Junior shows are performed. According to the rumor, the concept of “Pixar Place” would be extended down to the Launch Bay area, with all the available space to be transformed into possible new attractions themed to various Pixar movie characters. Something themed around the Monsters Inc. universe seems very likely, as the Monsters Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom is always rumored to be on the chopping block. There is always buzz about trying to make a mini version of Cars Land as well, but I’m not sure they are ready to invest in a full blown Radiator Springs Racers attraction just as they are turning their focus onto the Epcot update. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing something with The Incredibles or Wall-E added here as well.
Of course, there is also the matter of what they intend to do with Indiana Jones at the park. Keep it, renovate it into a new show, turn the area into a full attraction… or are they ready to let Indy leave the Studios and head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?
???? - Revised Rock ‘n Roller Coaster - (6/10/2023) Remember when I mentioned the growing online popularity of the idea of replacing Aerosmith with a “Muppets Mayhem” for the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster? According to a report at WDWMagic, in a since-deleted Tweet, Jeff Yorkes, co-creator of the Muppets Mayhem series on Disney+ confirmed that they did pitch this very concept to Disney management back when the show itself was pitched.
According to that article, the deleted tweet apparently said, “Not gonna lie-- this was absolutely part of our original pitch and is another piece of this dream. Fingers-crossed that it happens.”
While this doesn’t confirm that anything will happen to the actual attraction, the fact that the tweet was since deleted seems to clearly indicate that Mr. Yorkes was probably contacted and asked to delete the tweet ASAP, which you can take for what you will.
(5/29/2023) Disney fans were happy to see that the popular Rock ‘n Roller Coaster reopened this weekend after an extended maintenance closure shut the attraction down back in Februrary. While there was a lot of gossip about possibly removing the Aerosmith theming from the ride, especially given some issues that had come to light regarding Steven Tyler’s past, the attraction has reopened without any change to the ride’s theme or music. The extended closure was said to have been scheduled to replace and repair the roller coaster’s aging launch system which had been the cause of growing downtime issues with the ride over the past few years.
That said… and gossip aside, eventually we will see the Aerosmith theme dropped. The replacement opportunities are endless, as they could go with a more generic music theme featuring music from a number of different artists or even a total re-theme of the entire concept as was done when the Paris version was given a new storyline with Iron Man & Captain Marvel. Of course, one fun idea floating around the internet that many have taken a shine to would be to link the existing rock ‘n roll theme to the Muppets universe via the “The Muppets Mayhem” series on Disney+. (As Stephen Tyler says, “Wait a minute… I like that idea!)
(12/31/2022) Remember when I said that Disney would likely keep Aerosmith on board at Rock ‘n Roller Coaster until they got closer to the end of the contract term? Well, I also mentioned that if need be, Disney could always opt to end the deal early, especially if the right conditions arose.
Currently Rock ‘n Roller Coaster isn’t slated to close for rehab until Feb. 20 but regarding those special conditions, one appears to have just arisen. Over the past couple days it has been making headlines that Aerosmith front-man, Steven Tyler, has now been officially accused of sexual assault with a minor over a multi-year event that took place back in the 1970’s.
I’m not going to get into the details, as you can follow the link to Rolling Stone and read it for yourself, but this is coming to light due to a temporary piece of legislation in California that will end later today, that temporarily lifts the statute of limitations and allowing “survivors of childhood sexual abuse to come forward with their allegations.” The end result however could serve to activate a breach of contract / exit clause over the use of the Aerosmith brand, music and band members appearance within Disney’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster attraction. If Disney opts to shut down the attraction early, or modify the experience in any way, such as the removal of the pre-show footage featuring Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith, this could be an early indicator that bigger changes may be coming sooner than later.
(12/29/2022) According to the official website, Disney has confirmed that the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster attraction will close down for a lengthy refurbishment starting Feb. 20, 2023 and wont resume operations until sometime in Summer 2023.
Again, nothing has been mentioned about replacing Aerosmith, or even the idea of updating the entire theme of the ride, but that hasn’t stopped the rabid fans from speculating what might be coming. Over the years, the idea of updating the theme or even just the music of the attraction every time it closes has become a regular event on the various Disney fan sites. As Screamscape has previously pointed out however, typically big theme park IP contracts come in renewable 10-year terms, if the original contract with Aerosmith was signed in 1998/1999 then they should be in the middle of their third term right now, which means Disney has most likely already paid to keep using Aerosmith footage and music through to at least 2028 or 2029.
There isn’t anything that says Disney can’t change it early, and it is always possible that the last renewal term may have been negotiated for a term shorter than 10-years, but typically those kinds of details are kept very hush-hush. For a similar reference however, Disney did have a separate deal with Aerosmith for the Paris version of Rock ‘n Roller Coaster which opened in 2002 and then shut down in late 2019 to transform it into the current Avengers Assemble: Flight Force attraction that opened in 2022. That said, I believe the original intent was to open the Avengers version in 2021, giving them about 18-20 months time from the closure to reopen it before COVID-19 caused it to be delayed for another year. So if Disney were planning on replacing Aerosmith, I can’t help but think they would ride out the current contract until at least 2027.
(9/8/21) Are the days of Aerosmith on Disney’s Rock ‘n Roller Coaster coming to a close? Perhaps, but only when Disney is ready to try something else. Another article posted elsewhere has been making some waves with a somewhat deceptive headline that seems to imply that the longevity of Aerosmith’s music on the coaster may be in Universal’s hands. The truth is in the article, but you have to read it very carefully, because when they say “Universal” they are not talking about Universal Orlando, Universal Studios, NBC/Universal or even parent company Comcast.
Instead they are talking about Universal Music Group, which a long time ago was part of the greater Universal empire when it was all owned by Vivendi, but has long since been spun off as a separate company with no ties at all to the current Universal Studios that is owned by Comcast. So don’t let the UMG’s logo fool you. As for the Aerosmith connection, the aging band signed a deal with UMG that will give them control of the band’s entire catalog starting in 2022.
Now, with that fact out of the way, don’t for a moment think that the Disney ride will have to remove the soundtrack next year. Long ago Disney signed their own contract with Aerosmith to use their name and music on the attraction. If this follows the typical theme park IP contract, the initial contract would have gone into effect either when the ride opened, or maybe the year before (so 1998-1999) and typically those kind of IP deals are signed in 10-year terms. Usually with terms for an automatic renewal built in for a second 10-year term, and then some verbiage in place to allow for further 10-year extensions to be added down the line at a higher price, unless one of the parties is very desperate to break the contract, or found to be in violation of the terms.
So in a worst case pay-out, Disney and Aerosmith have already begun their third term, which would have begun 2018/2019, and would see Disney able to keep using the theme, the band name, the existing soundtrack, and footage of the band in the preshow until at least 2028 or 2029 if need be. I have a feeling some modifications were made to the deal during the last renewal however, as it has been pointed out that Disney stopped selling merchandise with the Aerosmith name in the giftshop a few years ago, and the clone of the ride in Paris ceased operation in 2019 and is currently being renovated to have a Marvel / Iron Man theme for when it re-opens as part of that park’s Avengers Campus.
With the band having been started in the 1970’s and the various members either in the late 60’s to mid 70’s, it does seem like time is catching up with them all, and Disney could very well choose to transform the ride to either have a new musical focus on another band, or a variety of musical bands that could be played at random, or simply change the entire theme of the ride entirely into something new, as they are doing in Paris. But I wouldn’t count on seeing anything change until we get closer to the end of the current contract.
(4/24/19) Our friends at Attractions Magazine were lucky enough to take a little tour of Walt Disney Imagineering not long ago, and while they had to keep the cameras put away for much of the time, they did learn a few fun facts about new Disney projects in the works. One of which was a confirmation that they were working on some new theme ideas for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the company’s license contract with Aerosmith is expiring in the near future.
We already know that the counterpart at the Walt Disney Studios Paris park is being given some kind of new Marvel theme, rumored to be tied to Iron Man or the Avengers, but that also won’t happen in Florida. Nothing was said about when the Aerosmith deal would end, but I believe these kinds of deals are often in 10 or 20 year increments, and since the ride opened in 1999, this year would be the 20 year mark. Of course Disney also always opt to pay for a small term extension if all parties agree so don’t count Aerosmith out just yet.