Studio Backlot Tour To Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Studios Backlot Tour
Yesterday was my last time riding the Backlot Tour

Well, another Walt Disney World attraction will be officially closing at the end of this month. The Studio Backlot Tour will see its last day of operation on Saturday, September 27, marking the end of an era at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This closure is happening to make way for new experiences; a portion will be used to house the Wandering Oaken Trading Post on the Streets of America, moving the shop and play area closer to the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.”

Also, it appears that other developments are being considered for the area, which will be announced at a later date. Lots of rumors are currently swirling about what Disney could be considering.

The Studio Backlot Tour has been around since opening day of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and while it’s been cut down quite a lot over the years and is really a shell of its former self, it is still a little sad to see the tour close. Matter of fact, I actually rode it yesterday…little did I know that this news was brewing and that it would be my last time on it.

This is yet another attraction closure in a line of closures at Walt Disney World that will all be taking place at the end of this month.  Other attractions and shows ending include Mo’Rockin, The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, Off Kilter, The World Showcase Players, and Maelstrom. In addition, The American Idol Experience closed at the end of August.

Rikki Niblett

I am a co-host of the Be Our Guest Podcast and do lots of other fun Disney stuff all around the interwebs! You can follow me on Twitter or Instagram at @RikkiNibs or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rikkinibs

38 thoughts on “Studio Backlot Tour To Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • September 20, 2014 at 9:11 am
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    They should really drop the pretense that the park is a “studio” in any sense of the word.

  • September 20, 2014 at 9:15 am
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    Seriously bummed. I never had a chance to ride this or Maelstrom. 🙁 Another attraction affected by the Frozen takeover.

  • September 20, 2014 at 9:24 am
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    Well this makes the 3rd ride/attraction that is being closed since I started planning my trip in Dec. At this rate there isn’t going to be anything for us to do when we get there.

  • September 20, 2014 at 9:32 am
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    I really enjoyed this attraction during the park’s early years. As Rikki says, it really is a tiny shell of its former self. Well, change is inevitable. But closing attractions just to offer new charecter stops, shopping and food isn’t going to get me to hurry and make plans to return. Disney needs someone with Eisner’s early vision and creativity (before Wells died and Katzenberg was dismissed): another “Disney Decade” of revitalization to the parks, featuring serious investment in new attractions and experiences. As much as I like Iger, it pained me to read that his focus would strictly on “known properties.” Look at all the Imagineers created completely aside from Disney’s rich animation history.
    I don’t want the parks to become museums. But I certainly don’t want them to become a huge shopping mall/food court, either.

    • September 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm
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      I 100% agree. I hate that we haven’t gotten anything that hasn’t related to a franchise in almost 10 years. (Everest is the last new attraction to open not based on a franchise. It makes me sad.)

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:03 am
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    I think calling this a ‘ride’ is really pushing that term to its limit. An experience, maybe. But not a particularly good or interesting one. Mostly a way to eat up time at the studios. It will be nice to see the space used in a better way.

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:24 am
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    I was finally going to go on the Backlot ride on my upcoming trip. Of course I will be there the day after it closes. This is why I have never been on it before. It is always closed for some reason or other when I am there. Given most people’s comments, I guess I’m not missing much.

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:36 am
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    As a Grandparent of teenagers, and young adults, I have listened to our guys “wish” that there was more for them. I realize that there are more youngsters than teenagers, but the little guys don’t mind repetition. What is Disney planning to lure my guys back to the parks? Remember, they are the future parents, and we want them to bring their kids…..boring times do not help.

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:39 am
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    I will miss the Catastrophe Canyon section and the AFI exhibit was nice. But….. I won’t miss pretending to enjoy the special effects demo from the 60s in the age of CGI. Disney runs a real risk of over loading people on Frozen. Though they are not going as overboard as they are with Avatar.

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:45 am
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    Am willing the replacement to be Cars Land. If we can have Start Wars and Cars Land, HS becomes a truly brilliant park.

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:01 am
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    We have not gone on this in several years–it’s old-fashioned and boring. I am glad they are removing it.

    If the rumors about Star Wars Land and/or Pixar Place expanding are accurate, the changes will be worth it since this park now has nothing that appeals to kids.

    I am also glad that Disney is changing entertainment in Epcot. My kids are now teens, and the only one of those that they would tolerate were the World Showcase Players. They hated the music acts which I think were geared to middle aged parents rather than anyone under 45. Times change, and that’s a usually a good thing.

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:27 am
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    I agree with Tamera 100% I was really happy to hear about this closure. Sure, it means nothing will be over there during my next trip, but the trip after that–maybe there will be something good! The Backlot tour was embarrassingly bad last time I was on it. Like–Stitch’s Great Escape bad. It actually made me feel worse about my experience because it was a reminder how much that park has been neglected.

    I also agree about the shows. I’m 35 and I don’t like classic rock, and that’s all I ever heard from the acts there. My kids certainly didn’t like it either. I would go so far as to say that Off Kilter ruined the atmosphere for me. I hope whoever replaces them is either a) timeless because the music is more linked to the pavilion, or b) more current. Yes, I’d rather hear Demi Levato music than classic rock. So would most people younger than me. I think option a would be best though (think Taiko drums–they fit Japan well and are timeless).

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:39 am
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    Well, time to redo my personalized touring plan for my trip in October. Again.

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:47 am
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    Cars Land! PLEASE LET IT BE CARS LAND!!!

  • September 20, 2014 at 11:56 am
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    I really would like to see Hollywood Studios move more towards a Florida version of California Adventure. If they could bring Carsland there on top of Star Wars Land, it would be a very good refresh.

    I did like going on the Backlot Tour as a child, though.

  • September 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm
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    I used to think Animal Kingdom was the park I could most easily skip without feeling as if I’d missed much, but on our last trip I realized that dubious honor actually belongs to Hollywood Studios. The only attraction in the whole park that I can do over and over without getting bored is Toy Story Mania – and I can only do that ride a couple of times per visit, if that, unless I’m willing to wait an hour or more in line (I’m not). I can’t do the thrill rides, and all of the rest – the Great Movie Ride, Muppets 3D, the stunt and musical shows – are nice to see every now and then but not something I need to experience every single visit. The Backlot Tour also fit into that category. So if they can put something really interesting into that space (with at least some non-thrill attractions that won’t make me hurl), IMO it would be a vast improvement and might make me want to visit DHS more often. (But if all they’re going to replace it with is roller coasters and virtual reality attractions, thanks but no thanks.)

  • September 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm
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    This thing is so old and tiresome, have not been on it for at least 5 years! I do no think Cars Land will be coming to FL, but a Pixar Place to include some Frozen along with some other characters of Pixar like the Incredibles who appeal to male and female would be nice. I do agree that there are way too many shopping and eating places in the parks these days and a true attraction here would be welcome

  • September 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm
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    I don’t have a huge problem with them closing this attraction, what I take issue with is the sudden announcement. It’s not like they just decided this week to close it for good, so why only announce it at the last minute? It seems that so many things are closing with almost no notice, and some things are closing earlier than announced at first. This on top of Maelstrom, and Wreck It Ralph/Vanellope rumoured to be gone before my trip in less than two weeks… I know things need to be updated, just give people time to plan. The planning is a challenge enough without having to constantly adjust plans to try and catch something about to close or find out you’ll be missing it altogether.

    • September 20, 2014 at 7:30 pm
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      I really respect your point, Gillian. While I understand some things can’t be helped, I do think that a tad more notice could be offered guests… Especially since we really have to plan months ahead if we’re to make the best use of our time.
      In this age of social media there will always be a slim sliver of people trying to muster support to sign a petition to keep this or that once Disney announces a closure, but that’s hopefully not their reasoning behind recent abrupt closures.
      I am glad to see this go–it stopped being a worthwhile attraction years ago. But I know every part of WDW is a special place for some, and it would be nice to give folks ample opportunity to adjust plans. (We made a special trip just to be some of the last guests through Cranium Command.)

  • September 20, 2014 at 9:20 pm
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    Am pretty bummed, planning our first ever trip to Disney World in a few months and feels like a lot of the things (rides, experiences, bands, etc) we were super keen on are being closed 🙁
    I get that Frozen’s popular but this is the second thing its taken over in as many weeks

    • September 21, 2014 at 8:24 am
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      Do not worry. The only things that are closing are the outdated rides and entertainment. There is so much to do you will not miss them. You will still have a magical trip

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm
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    Funny that WDW’s management expects guests to plan their trips six months out, but can close a major attraction with only a week’s notice.

  • September 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm
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    I mean, any (fun) attraction closure is going to be a bummer. But, I am thinking that Disney has been sufficiently motivated by the pressure Universal is starting to apply. Maybe that will inspire Disney to really shake things up and drive for innovation again.

    And, funny enough, I remember riding this with my girlfriend during our last visit and saying to her “man, this ride takes up so much space, they could build a new land here”… and maybe that’s exactly what they’ll end up doing. fingers crossed! 🙂

    • September 21, 2014 at 7:31 am
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      Couldn’t agree more. Innovation!! I applaud it!

    • September 21, 2014 at 10:54 am
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      Completely agree. They could do a lot of great stuff with an area that size.

  • September 21, 2014 at 6:03 am
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    Change I don’t mind, I just wish they wouldn’t be so crass milking every dollar out of Frozen. Whats next?

  • September 21, 2014 at 7:28 am
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    You know, every piece of Disney has a special place in my heart, movies, animation, parks.. But I think in the spirit of exploration, why not look forward to a change?? While we always love to go on backlot tour, there are many times that we completely omit it from our visit. Hollywood Studios actually happens to be one of our favorites – from Thrill rides to shows that appeal to every age, it always manages to keep our entire travel party happy. I feel for those of you who feel upset that you are only now learning about the closure as you plan your upcoming vacation.. But I don’t think the loss of BLT will spoil your day at HS at all. As far as what is to come – cars land, frozen fun, Star Wars – like I said – we enjoy it all! Can’t wait to have something new to look forward to!

  • September 21, 2014 at 10:22 am
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    I am looking forward to seeing what they do with this space (this one doesn’t bother me like Maelstrom). This is making it easier to plan for DHS in January. We’ll probably just do one morning and early afternoon there.

  • September 21, 2014 at 10:53 am
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    I have to say, I’m excited by this news. The Studio Backlot Tour takes up a ton of space for a ride that isn’t particularly popular or, for that matter, all that interesting. I’m really excited to see how they’ll use that area to (hopefully) bring Hollywood Studios up to the level of the other three main Disney World parks. The Backlot Tour has been dramatically reduced over the years. I won’t miss the current (and final) version of this ride at all.

  • September 21, 2014 at 11:18 am
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    If this is the first step in DHS becoming a park with a cohesive theme, it’s a positive development.
    My family visited DHS last fall, and we all agreed that the park was a thematic mess. There are a lot of good attractions, but no reason for them being located near each other.

  • September 21, 2014 at 11:54 am
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    Someday, when Disney wants more free space at MK, they will shorten the Jungle Cruise path, and remove the Skipper tour guide – replaced with a canned GPS triggered auto-spiel that rarely works properly (so that “every guest gets to have the same experience”). You will eventually beg for the attraction closing. No? We said it could never happen at BLT either. This very unique attraction could have been changed for the better over the years, instead of dumped in the garbage.

  • September 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm
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    I am hoping for Carsland. That said I think Disney needs to careful with the over saturation of Frozen. It is not already not as popular as it was. I was surprised the other day when I told my sixth graders to “let it go” and asked if we need a song… The whole class moaned and yelled how “sick of that” they are. I think Elsa put a sliver of ice in Iger’s heart and soon the whole of Disneyworld will be covered in ice.

    • September 21, 2014 at 3:30 pm
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      It is not as popular… Sorry…wish I could edit.

  • September 22, 2014 at 12:34 am
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    “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
    —Walt Disney

    “In this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels, even to pause in retrospect. Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” —Walt Disney

    “I can never stand still. I must explore and experiment. I am never satisfied with my work. I resent the limitations of my own imagination.” —Walt Disney

    Disney World, like Disneyland, Needs to move forward. I LOVED the back lot tour because it gave a simple glimpse into the world of the costuming department. However, in the past few years I’ve seen more and more of the tour get taken up by other things and slowly but surely I’ve watched it become less and less personal, people being replaced by automated messages and the like. It was time for it to go to make room for new, and more interesting things. I can only hope that the things that replace it are indeed more interesting, and not just ANOTHER food stop and gift store. We have enough of those already, SPECIALLY in Hollywood Studios.

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  • September 22, 2014 at 7:11 pm
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    Well, one less attraction with the “studio”/movies theme. Hollywood Studios is now the park with the less solid theme of the four, they should rebrand it and stop selling it as a “studio”, it would be more honest.
    I did not particularly liked the attraction, but I do like the “behind the movie magic” theme of the park, that it is slowly going away.

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