The Backlot Tour: What Next?

Last week it was announced that guests would be saying goodbye forever to The Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, effective today.  It was a quick closure, and whether you were a fan or not it’s a little sad to see it go.  But it does leave room for the fascinating question: what next?

First the rumors started to fly on what the replacement would be: Frozen? No – that’s getting a more permanent home at Epcot.  Star Wars? No – that’s way across the park and there’s space enough there.  Pixar? Now we’re getting somewhere!

So long, Backlot Tour! Photo by Laurie Sapp.

So long, Backlot Tour! Photo by Laurie Sapp.

While Disney hasn’t made an official announcement on what will replace The Backlot Tour permanently, an expansion of Pixar Place makes the most sense – and is much needed with the depth of characters, settings, and narratives the film franchises offer! But will it be a recreation of Pixar mini-lands or maga-lands from other parks, or something altogether new?

I’ve spent my fair share of time in both California and Paris at the Disney parks there, and while there are some great elements, I hope WDW does something different!

What will replace Catastrophe Canyon? Photo by Laurie Sapp.

What will replace Catastrophe Canyon? Photo by Laurie Sapp.

At Disney’s California Adventure, there’s the popular Cars Land (which doesn’t make sense in Flordia, given the weather and the fact that the star attraction is essentially Test Track), a lackluster Monster’s Inc. dark ride, and a cute, immersive kids area called A Bug’s Land.

In Paris, they have an awesome but oh-so-slow loading Crush’s Coaster, a kids ride based around Cars, a mini Toy Story Playland full of re-skinned carnival rides, and a new Ratatouille mini land with shopping, food, and a state of the art dark ride to play to the popularity of the film in France.

I don’t want to see mini-lands.  I don’t want to see one mega-land.  I want to see a celebration of Pixar films that allows many stories to be told under the narrative umbrella of Pixar, and which is sustainable to evolve and grow over time with new films!

In my dream scenario, Pixar Place would stretch from Toy Story Midway Mania throughout the Backlot area and over to the edges of the Streets of America.  Monster’s Inc, Finding Nemo, Brave and The Incredibles have homes elsewhere on WDW property, but I’d like to see them and all the Pixar pals in an afternoon parade and various character meet and greets.

Remy at Chefs de France

Remy at Chefs de France – will he make a comeback at Pixar Place? Photo by Jeff Christiansen

For new attractions, I’d add a couple of kids rides at the old Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground site (it’s a nice nod to the past), add a Ratatouille themed restaurant, build a simulator attraction for Wall-E or Up, and then I’d re-imagine Lights Motors Action to a Cars themed stunt show.  Throw in some highly immersive gift shops, and that sounds like a perfect little corner to me.

It wouldn’t cost a billion dollars. It wouldn’t take 5 years.  It could be done quickly, quietly, and with the foresight to save space for new attractions.  I bet the upcoming Inside Out would be a great candidate for the trackless dark ride system they’re using in Paris and Tokyo.

What would you hope to see replace The Backlot Tour?  Tell me in the comments below!

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