New entertainment is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019! Early in the year, a new Incredibles dance party plus a variety of Pixar meet & greets will be added to the park, along with Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, which will debut in Spring 2019.
This follows rumors we reported on last week that Walt Disney World will be cutting entertainment at end of September, just in time for the new fiscal year. This includes some of the Citizens of Hollywood at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, among other things, and could extend further as Disney attempts to trim budgets during the ongoing construction of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Per the Disney Parks Blog announcement, the new offerings at DHS are among several new pieces of entertainment that will debut on January 18, 2019. While this leaves a gap of a few months between the end of old entertainment and debut of new, it’s still reassuring that there is replacement entertainment, and not just budget cuts.
Let’s start with Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy, which was actually announced a couple months ago. We didn’t report on it at the time, but this will be a new show using at least some of the existing infrastructure at Sunset Showcase (back by Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster).
To kick off the show, Lightning McQueen demonstrates his skills via a racing simulator and wraparound screen. Things don’t go according to plan, and McQueen has to think fast to get back on course. Tow Mater, Cruz Ramirez, and friends also make appearances as Lightning McQueen gears up for the challenge.
I don’t really have any strong thoughts on Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. I suspect it’ll be something that we do exactly once, just to see and confirm what it’s all about. That’s not so much a knock on the show as an understanding of its target demographic (which we are not).
While this particular show doesn’t appeal to me, I do think it’s very wise that Walt Disney World is ramping up other offerings around Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The park will need every inch of available space fully utilized to help absorb the crowds that will arrive with the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (and, to a lesser degree, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway).
I would not be surprised in the least if average per day attendance numbers double when Galaxy’s Edge opens, and those new guests aren’t going to just do that land’s 2 new attractions and leave. It’ll need other things for people to do, especially as wait times for those 2 rides will likely be so high that some guests drawn to the park will end up doing other attractions instead.
Filling vacant sound stages, refreshing tired entertainment, using dead-ends for dance parties, etc., are all good moves to help with crowds. Presumably, a lot of this stuff will be temporary in nature, and the quality of such offerings obviously remains to be seen.
Next up, characters from the Incredibles are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as the former Pixar Place will transform into a Municiberg city block. At the end of this city block, a dance party will be held in honor of Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone to celebrate their Super deeds.
In addition to the dance party, an Edna Mode meet & greet will debut in a special location on Pixar Place showcasing some of her best designs. Also on Pixar Place, there will be clues as to the whereabouts of Jack-Jack. (Nearby, Mike and Sulley from Pixar’s Monsters, Inc will meet inside Walt Disney Presents.)
It’ll be interesting to see what is changed in Pixar Place to make it a usable guest space. Will the Pixar marquee (pictured above) be reinstalled after being removed over the summer? Will the old Toy Story Mania entrance be repurposed? Will this all be temporary, or will it receive a healthy budget and a permanent sense of place? Personally, I think that Pixar Place can live on, even with Toy Story Land behind it.
As for the substance of the announced entertainment, we’re not sure what the Jack-Jack thing will be (perhaps a scavenger hunt?), but the rest of this sounds like a good way to put the former Pixar Place area to use after the relocation of the Toy Story Mania entrance. This space had an inviting design, a meet & greet space, and its dead-end is the perfect spot for a dance party.
While my perspective on dance parties at Walt Disney World has been a bit curmudgeonly in the past, their popularity is undeniable among families. As such, I think they do have a place in the parks–they just need to be well-executed and not thematically intrusive.
The last couple of years have demonstrated that Disney is getting better at creating a higher-caliber of dance party (Donald’s Dino Bash and Incredibles Super Party Time are good examples), which is a definite plus. Isolating this dance party away from other attractions and highly-themed areas is another step in the right direction, from my perspective.
Overall, the upcoming changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be…interesting? Personally, I’d rather see the ‘old Hollywood’ side of the park receive more thematically-appropriate enhancements, but I’m guessing that Disney expects people to race past Hollywood & Sunset Boulevards on their way to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Adding entertainment to vacant or underutilized locations definitely makes more sense from a capacity perspective…so how about some new Muppets-themed offerings in that courtyard? Perhaps in the upper levels of Grand Ave buildings a la the Muppets Present: Great Moments in American History.
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What do you think of the new entertainment coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019? Do you agree or disagree with our take on these changes/additions? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!