Disney’s Latest Announcement Dooms Entire Disney World Theme Park

in Walt Disney World

Mickey Mouse inside of Hollywood Studios at Disney World for an After Hours event.

Image Credit: Inside The Magic

Yesterday was packed with theme park announcements from Disney – and one of them may have just doomed the entirety of Hollywood Studios.

Of all the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort, few have had as troubled a history as Disney’s Hollywood Studios. What was originally named Disney-MGM Studios opened as a way to take guests behind the scenes of Disney’s moviemaking magic but has since devolved into a park with an extremely confused identity.

Mickey Mouse at Red Carpet Dreams at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Credit: Disney

The first iteration of Disney-MGM Studios featured the now-demolished Studio Backlot Tour, as well as an operating animation studio and attractions designed to celebrate other elements of backstage magic, such as The Great Movie Ride and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

Over the years, however, the park has shifted away from its focus on moviemaking. Renamed Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2008, the park has increasingly become a place where parkgoers enter the worlds of their favorite movies – such as the Star Wars and Toy Story franchises – instead of learning how they’re made.

Rey projection in Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
Credit: Steven Miller via Flickr

Related: Ex-Disney Imagineer Shares Hopeful Update on Canceled ‘Star Wars’ Ride

The same is true of its sister park across the pond. Walt Disney Studios Park, the runt of the Disney theme park litter, has suffered an identity crisis even deeper than Hollywood Studios – attempting to carry a moviemaking theme without ever really committing to it truly.

Now, after years of small additions in the same vein as Hollywood Studios (by which we mean immersing guests in the movies, not moviemaking), Disney has finally confirmed what we all knew to be true. Walt Disney Studios Park is ditching its Hollywood film industry identity and will instead be known as Disney Adventure World.

Walt Disney Studios Park entrance
Credit: Perry Tak via Flickr

“Embracing a transformation that involves the overhaul of more than 90% of Walt Disney Studios Park since its debut in 2002, we’re unveiling a fresh creative vision that has completely redefined our second gate,” said Natacha Rafalski, President of Disneyland Paris. “It’s set to offer unique adventures in immersive worlds, serving as a perfect complement to Disneyland Park.”

The name change hasn’t gone down overly well with Disney fans, many of whom have dubbed “Adventure World” generic and decidedly un-Disney. To put it simply, it feels like a name and a theme broad enough to allow Disney to squeeze in whatever IP works for the company at that moment – without having to creatively consider or work around a bigger theme. However, the reality is that it’s unlikely to stop there.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney World
Credit: Chad Sparkes via Flickr

Related: Confirmed – Disney World Park Losing Another Attraction

Disney has quietly threatened to give Hollywood Studios a name change for years. In March 2015, Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted at another possible name change for the park during an annual shareholders meeting. Two years later, select parkgoers were privy to a survey quizzing their interest in new names such as “Disney’s Kaleidoscope Park,” “Disney’s Storyverse Park,” “Disney’s Hyperia Park,” “Disney’s Beyond Park,” and “Disney’s Cinemagic Park.”

Considering their parallel evolutions on both sides of the Atlantic, it’s not a huge reach to assume that changes hitting Walt Disney Studios Park have at least been considered for Hollywood Studios, too. If Disney is committing to changing one park’s name, we wouldn’t be shocked if another announcement hits for Walt Disney World Resort in coming years – and with it, the death of what remains of Hollywood Studios’ original identity.

Would you support a name change for Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments!

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