This summer there has been a lot of announcements about things closing (and opening) at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Maelstrom / Frozen announcement probably got the most press (and biggest opinions). American Idol Experience closing didn’t get too much buzz and I am actually still confused if Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular is actually closing or not [readers?]. Another ride on the chopping block, and in fact, set to close it’s doors forever tomorrow (Saturday, Sep 27th) is the Studio Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios.

The Ride

I’m sure that pretty much no one on Earth listed this as their favorite ride which is why there hasn’t been a lot of uproar about this. From what I’ve heard, the ride was a remnant of when the park was actually a working studio, and since that time, the ride has been severely pruned down. That being said, I did have the pleasure of riding it in 2013 during a visit with my girlfriend. Sure, it’s not the best ride in the park, but it is a nice long stroll in a trolley which is especially nice if your feet happen to be hurting already (which in our case, was true, and I was bummed that we had to stand for the first 20 minutes of the tour but that’s OK).

The ride itself is kind of like the People Mover of Hollywood Studios. You get a standing look at how some cool movie effects are accomplished. Entertaining, but nothing mind blowing.

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After the standing part, you board the trolley and you’re taken on a 15-20 minute’ish stroll through the back area of the park which includes housing sets, a costume department, and lots of props like vehicles and planes used in movies. I think one of the cooler props, actually, was Walt’s plane that used to take him from Anaheim to Orlando and back.

Walt's plane
Walt’s plane

Eventually you get to enjoy some action when your trolley is caught smack dab in some kind of oil country tanker crash / earthquake / fire / flash flood. It’s elaborate and fun to watch, for sure.

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The Bad News

The obvious bad news is that an attraction is closing in Hollywood Studios, and that this attraction likely had some kind of fan base and people will miss it. Even I will miss it, though mostly for nostalgic reasons, having ridden it for the first time with my Mom, Dad and sister when I was a wee youngin in 1990. On top of that, this park doesn’t have a whole lot to spare. Though the remaining attractions it does have are cool (Aerosmith Rockin’ Roller coast, Hollywood’s Tower of Terror) it is still basically a half day park. Which isn’t a bad thing in and of itself, except there is so much more that could be done here! But herein lies the good news…

Our final ride on the tram in 2013.
Our final ride on the tram in 2013.

The Good News

By closing this attraction, Disney, I think, is admitting that “yes, we know, Hollywood Studios has a lot of room and not nearly enough attractions, so we’re going to close this one that takes up a ton of space, and stick in far more bang for your buck”. Maybe I’m being hopelessly optimistic, but that’s what I hope and believe is happening here. What’s going to be in it’s place? That I don’t know, though it sounds like Star Wars Land could be a contender? Bottom line, for me at least, is that Disney seems to be feeling a little heat from their neighbor in Orlando, Universal Studios, and they’re making some changes that may upset some people, but with the intention of being able to grow short, mid and long term. Here’s to hoping that Disney does something cool with the space.

Are you going to miss the Studio Backlot Tour? If so, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments, too! And, if you’re craving more Disney insight be sure to check out these other fun articles:

Thanks for reading!!
— Disney Dork Tom (follow me on Twitter and Facebook, too, for non-stop daily Disney action!)

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