10 Proposed Attractions From Disney’s Hollywood Studios That Never Happened
Disney’s Hollywood Studios — or Disney-MGM Studios as it was originally known — is Disney World’s salute to all things Hollywood. Like every Disney park, it has rides, restaurants and other fun attractions. And like other sections of the famed amusement park, there were plenty of attractions that were planned, but never built. Here are ten of the best idea for DHS that didn’t make it past the drawing board.
The Great Muppet Movie Ride
Do you love MuppetVision 3D but wish there was more Muppet-y goodness at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Then get ready to weep for what might have been. Disney was considering a whole Muppet Studios section for their Hollywood themed park.
One of the main draws would’ve been The Great Muppet Movie Ride, a parody of The Great Movie Ride. Guests would’ve been treated to classic movie scenes with Muppets in the starring roles, Muppets directing the action from the sidelines and Muppet stage hands causing their typical brand of chaos.
Disney’s already troubled plan to buy the Muppets in the late ’80s collapsed after the untimely death of Jim Henson. Though Disney now owns the Muppets, there are no known plans to revive the Muppet Studios idea.
Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor
Guests visiting the proposed Muppet Studios area would’ve dined at Gonzo’s Pandemonium Pizza Parlor, a restaurant owned and operated by the Muppet of indeterminate species and some of his pals.
Diners were to be treated to updates from the kitchen via overhead monitors and could watch the action through cutaway walls. The kitchen would experience regular catastrophes, including a crisis where Gonzo ended up searching for his beloved chicken Camilla in the air ducts, where the duo would’ve banged around and called to one another above diners’ heads.
The Muppets on Location
If you visited Disney World in the ’90s, you might’ve seen a Muppet stage show called The Muppets on Location. In the show, human-sized Muppets sang, danced and cracked jokes as they filmed a Miss Piggy movie entitled ‘The Days of Swine and Roses.’
However, the original concept was much more ambitious, featuring a two-story mobile stage and moving camera cranes that traveled through the park. Disney probably felt this was too complicated and too expensive, and scaled down the concept to a more traditional stationary show.
Mickey’s Movieland was one of several attempts to make a park area dedicated to classic Hollywood filmmaking. Guests would go inside a replica of the original Disney animation studio and play with interactive exhibits showcasing the animation process. Some of the ideas from Mickey’s Movieland were reused in the Magic of DIsney Animation attraction.
Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers
Based on the 1990 film about the comic strip crimefighter, Dick Tracy’s Crimestoppers would’ve taken guests on a fast-paced ride through a crime infested 1920s Chicago. The ride would’ve included an interactive aspect: each guest had a Tommy gun for fending off bad guys and shooting inanimate targets as their vehicles sped through the ride.
‘Dick Tracy’ was not the box office success Disney had hoped it would be and rights issues prevented a sequel from happening. Thus, fans had to settle for a less expensive and easily replaced stage show starring the square-jawed detective.
Star Tours Podracing
More than one person who saw the podracing scene in ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace’ thought it would make a perfect update for the aging Star Tours ride. The idea of swapping out the trip to Endor gone awry for a high-speed podrace was proposed, but not built.
Instead, we got an all new Star Tours with multiple possible destinations, including a trip to Tatooine for a little podracing. For once, the ride that was built has everything the one that wasn’t promised and more.
Disney wanted to build a major attraction that celebrated the horror movie genre, but couldn’t figure out a way to make it palatable for vacationing families. Mel Brooks’ ‘Young Frankenstein’ was suggested as an inspiration and Hotel Mel — a ride featuring classic monsters in humorous situations — was born.
One section of the ride took guests into the hotel men’s room, where Dracula struggled to shave in front of a mirror, the Invisible Man primped and Frankenstein mistakenly grabbed the Mummy’s bandages while reaching under the stall in search of toilet paper. (Sounds like something out of Mel’s comedy ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It.’)
Unfortunately, the Imagineers had trouble making the movie shoot concept for the ride work with the monster hotel idea. Issues such as whether the monsters should be actors or real monsters were never resolved and the ride was scrapped. The hotel theme was reused when Disney decided to base its big scare ride around ‘The Twilight Zone’ instead.
Thanks to the success of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,’ getting a Toontown section into Disney World was once a major priority for the Mouse House. The centerpiece ride would’ve been the Toontown Trolley, a motion simulation ride like Star Tours that would’ve taken guests on a hijinx-filled journey through Toontown.
Difficulties in getting approval from co-owner Spielberg for any new Roger Rabbit projects stymied development of rides featuring any of the ‘Who Framed?’ characters. Roger’s popularity waned and Disney decided that he didn’t need a major presence in the parks.
The Terminal Bar
Plans for an expanded Sunset Boulevard area included the Terminal Bar, a restaurant based on the bar from ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’ where Eddie briefly hides Roger. Given the damage Roger and Judge Doom do to the place in the movie, we suspect that the DHS version would’ve included at least a few mementos of their presence.
Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy
A second Roger Rabbit themed ride planned for a Toontown area, Baby Herman’s Runaway Baby Buggy was a dark ride based on the Roger Rabbit short ‘Tummy Trouble.’ Though it seems a little bizarre now, guests would’ve ridden in oversized baby carriages and followed Roger and Baby Herman through Toontown Hospital.
Although a Roger Rabbit themed ride never made it to Disney World, Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland each have a version of Roger Rabbit’s Car-Toon Spin.