There’s an expression in the architectural world, “Form Follows Function.” That principle suggests that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose.
Well, in Disney architectural circles there is a different phrase. Robert A.M. Stern, who played a major role in the development of Disney icons such as Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club, Disney’s Boardwalk, and Disney’s Casting Center, once modified the familiar phrase by saying “Form Follows Parking”.
No truer words could be stated than at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where my sources state that major changes are indeed planned in the parking lot as part of their overall expansion of the park. Included in those plans are these three changes:
1. Closure of World Drive Entrance. This is the most valuable real estate Disney’s Hollywood Studios is needing in order to expand the park. The entrance was considered important when people initially came to the Studios via World Drive off of 192 back in 1989. For that reason there are several toll booths there for parking. But there is little traffic here compared to the number of cars entering off of Buena Vista Drive. And the demand for that space which butts up against current sections of Lights! Motors! Action!, the whole New York Streets of America, and the Star Tours section is huge for the studio’s future growth. Hence, somewhere in the not-too-distant future, this entrance will close.
2. Closure of Buena Vista Drive to Disney Buses Only. This is the most popular entrance–so popular it is the one that is usually swamped with traffic. Unfortunately the original design of this entrance only had one toll booth operating off of both sides. Soon, guests will no longer be coming through here with their own cars. The only thing that will come through will be Disney buses dropping off guests. This is helpful in controlling the traffic problems at the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Epcot Resorts Boulevard. It’s one of the most congested corners of Walt Disney World. That will soon end.
3. Brand New Disney Hollywood Studio Entrance Off Of Victory Way. You’re not familiar with Victory Way? That’s the street that goes from Buena Vista Drive down to Osceola Parkway and ESPN Sports Complex. That’s the same street you go down to turn onto Disney’s Pop Century and the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Soon, this will be the main entrance for guests coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. My guess is that signage on 1-4 will be modified to recommend guests come via Osceola Parkway.
Relative to the latter, I’ve seen major electrical, sewer, and other infrastructure-style services going on in this area. And when you look at the map, you see a pathway carved between Victory Way and the Studios lot, though I can’t say for certain that is where the road will go exactly. It is my guess, however, that they want to be able to spread the gates of the park itself and its backstage areas all the way out to the canal (that light green curve) that you see running south of the World Drive entrance.
It looks like they are studying how this park could be expanded upon for many years to come. My guess is that some intermediate attractions will come up quickly within the current boundaries of the park, while the parking lot is completely revised. Then they will begin on the bigger pieces of those additions that have already been rumored, like Cars Land and Star Wars Land. That plan of action is very similar to what seems to be happening at Disney Springs. Parking and revision of current facilities–like those on Pleasure Island–seem to be going into construction mode first, with the newer facilities being added later.
Of course, we still need a major, formal announcement sometime, somewhere. Meanwhile, what do you think of the changes ahead for Disney’s Hollywood Studios?