Iconic Area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios Demolished as Star Wars Land Gains Pace

While we can’t wait to see the future of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, even the most ardent defender of this park must concede that over the past few months this park has essentially turned into a giant construction zone with a few attractions in between. Our last look at construction at this park was in May, and while we visited several times over the summer, not a lot of work was going on during this time. However, it looks like this trend has finally been reversed, as visible work is happening yet again at Hollywood Studios.

Among the most notable developments this month, a new dining room appears at PizzaRizzo, plus we take a look at some of the possible reasons why progress at Toy Story Land seems to have ground to a halt. However, our first construction update from Disney’s Hollywood Studios is from the future home of a galaxy far, far away…

1. The Streets of America facades are finally begin to come down in preperation for Star Wars Land groundbreaking

Though it has been several months since Disney walled off the back half of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Streets of America still remained largely intact during the summer. However, it looks like the time has finally come for this iconic area of the park to fade into history, as Disney has finally started demolition on this area. You can see above where the facades used to be in front of the Muppet Courtyard, and demolition is also visible adjacent to the Writer’s Stop. Interestingly, Disney has moved several character meet and greets to the latter area, so if you don’t find yourself roaming around the construction walls normally (like we do!) you’ll still probably get a good glimpse of the demolition right before you meet Goofy (who is currently meeting guests in front of the construction walls).

Hopefully, with demolition on this area of the park finally happening (and the former Lights Motors Action venue also being demolished out of view), an actual groundbreaking for Star Wars Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can happen in the near future. Though it has been a little frustrating seeing Disneyland move full speed ahead with its version of Star Wars Land, it looks like Disney’s Hollywood Studios is finally getting to a point where it can start catching up with its west coast sister park.

2. Has the Toy Story Land project been put on pause?

While demolition looks like it is ramping up in the area earmarked for Star Wars Land, the corner of the park that will eventually become Toy Story Land looks almost exactly the same as it did several months ago, which is a little disappointing. Even though we know that the former Backlot Tour attraction has been completely demolished behind the facades, no visible construction work is happening on this area which would presumably set the likely opening date for this land back to 2018, at the earliest.

So what’s the holdup with this project? While we don’t know anything for sure, rumors persist that Disney is considering making substantial changes to the plans for Toy Story Land before construction actually gets underway. According to inside sources, the main issue halting progress revolves around the Slinky Dog Coaster attraction, which may be getting either downsized (again) or scrapped altogether and replaced with a cheaper alternative due to budget constraints.

While nothing has been confirmed yet regarding the evolution of this project, no matter what ends up happening with this new land, we hope Disney figures it out soon so work on Toy Story Land can finally begin in earnest. Disney’s Hollywood Studios desperately needs new attractions, and the sooner this new area can open, the faster the park will be able to get back on track.

3. PizzeRisso is starting to take shape in the Muppet Courtyard

 

Undeniably, the project that has seen the most changes since our last update has been PizzeRizzo, the upcoming quick service eatery that is replacing the former Pizza Planet. Guests who walk by this construction area can now see both a new sign as well as exterior changes to the existing building.

Though the construction wall has been extended out a little farther into the Muppet Courtyard over the past few weeks, work is clearly still visible on a new building extension that will add a second-story covered outdoor patio to this dining venue for additional seating. While we still don’t have a projected opening date for this upcoming dining location, considering the fast pace with which work is being completed on this project, it seems extremely likely that PizzeRizzo will be serving its first guests before the end of the year.

Interestingly, it looks like the outdoor restrooms that are attached to this dining location may also be getting a bit of a makeover, as new signage has been spotted over the construction wall in recent days. And of course in typical Muppets fashion, there’s a pun involved, as you can see below:

We have no idea if the interior of these restrooms will change at all, but even if the inside of the bathroom stays the same, it’s nice to see Disney adding small little touches like these around the Muppet Courtyard, to help bring to life the land itaccidentally created earlier this year. 

The amount of projects currently in the works at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is certainly unprecedented for Walt Disney World, and with so much going on, it can be a little hard to keep track of which walls go with which upcoming attractions. However, the good news is that it looks like Disney is moving quickly to get these projects up and running, and we should see more progress in the next few months, potentially including the long-awaited official groundbreaking on both Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land. We’ll see you again next month with all the latest from the ever-evolving and changing Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Don Korta

Tina & Don Korta are the Owners of "Destinations with Character Travel Services, LLC., An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner” and “An Universal Orlando Authorized Retailer”, along with many other travel industry awards and certifications.
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