Is it time to renovate the retro working studio theme at Disney World’s Hollywood Studios? With numerous expansions in store and floating around through rumors, one of the most profound discussion topic is the possibility of Cars Land being introduced to Disney’s Hollywood Studios within the next few years. While still just a rumor, there have been several reliable reports over the last few months that Team Disney Orlando (TDO) has been looking deeply into this project. Recently, Kathy Mangum, the show producer for Cars Land at Disneyland California Adventure (DCA) has been moved to Walt Disney World (WDW) for unknown reasons. Coincidence? I think not.
If the rumors stay true, their entailments could mean huge refurbishments to be implemented. It is proposed that Lights, Motors, Action (LMA) and presumably the Backlot Tour will be torn down and leveled out to make way for the newest addition to Hollywood Studios. Although this seems like somewhat of a big change considering Lights, Motors, Action is still one of the newer attractions at Hollywood Studios, these are only rumors and are still in the “Blue Sky” of development. Therefore, only exploration and ideas have been turned out and tossed around within the boardrooms. Both a budget and hard blueprints are still yet to be released, and there is no evidence to prove that they will ever be.
Even if the rumors are true, and let’s say for a moment that they are, would WDW be replicating the entire Cars Land or just Radiator Springs Racers (RSR)? The rumors have not detailed as to which of these is more likely, although DHS is apparently enough to tolerate the massive scale project of completing the entire cloning of Cars Land straight from California, with minor adjustments to the configuration of the present main street located directly in front of LMA and the Backlot Tour entrances.
Would Team Disney Orlando cut the rope a bit short and only include the main attraction or the entire experience? And even with the main attraction, would they also go as far as to include the man-made mountain range that captures the attention of thousands of guests a day in California? Many would find it ridiculous not to include the mountains that make the ride unique and exciting. Without them, the ride would be nothing more than a carnival ride with colored slot cars racing on a flat track. This would completely obliterate the point of adding this attraction as there would be little to no theming to Radiator Springs, which is littered with tall mountains in an old western landscape. As of right now it is hard to tell which route they will take, if one at all. Perhaps this entire scenario is only figurative, and the project will be tossed into the trash just like many others in the Disney Park’s 57 years of existence.
There is another major difference between California and Florida: weather. More often than not, Test Track is shut down and closed for hours at a time to avoid technical difficulties due to lightning. Although a mountain range could possibly withstand hurricanes using the same mechanics as Mount Everest, could an outdoor track be capable of withstanding the terrors of Florida thunderstorms? The only solution would be to completely enclose the ride in a large arena sort of deal, but yet again this would ruin the experience of being in an outdoor landscape in the middle of nowhere.
Another area that people have to take into consideration is the sponsorship of Lights, Motors, Action with Brawny. If the attraction is demolished entirely, would Disney have to make some sort of deal with Brawny or pay back the sponsorship money? This could be another reason for the idea not going into full blast anytime soon.
Let’s take a step back for a moment. Why would WDW even consider this expansion when money could be spent much more efficiently elsewhere in DCA? That’s the big questions isn’t it. In comparison to Universal Studios, WDW looks like a pebble in the ocean. Universal has recently opened a Harry Potter section that has attracted more guests than at first was estimated, resulting in Disney being thrown under the bus. Furthermore, Universal is planning to continue expanding their Harry Potter section to nearly double its size. Even with the Fantasyland expansion, Disney still can’t hold its own weight against its leading competitor. However, the light on the horizon for WDW could be Cars Land. Due to its immediate success in DCA, Cars Land could be the boost that Disney needs.
Not everyone feels this way, however. John Lasseter and other Disneyland Resort executives are against this replication in WDW because they feel as if Cars Land in California would then lose its appeal nationwide. Many people travel thousands of miles just to see Cars Land in DCA. If one was created in WDW, then many people would go to the one that is closest to them, which in most cases would be WDW. Even if it isn’t closer, many would still choose WDW over DCA primarily because WDW has many more attractions and parks while DCA only has one. Finally, DCA caught a break with the establishment of Cars Land and now it might be taken away just as quickly. Disney needs a way to overthrow Universal, but maybe Cars Land just isn’t it.
Written by Miranda Suhrbier, Teen Writer.