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Return of the cars

An interesting change is happening at Disney's Hollywood Studios lately and it isn't a new attraction or a change in pricing.  This change is far more subtle but it is something I have started to notice and it's piqued my interest because it is a change I did not expect to ever see.

The change I am referring to is the return of classic cars to the streets in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  If you look at photos from the Studios prior to 2000 or so, you will see a lot more cars on the streets.  Primarily these vehicles were found on Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard and the Streets of America (then called New York Street).  The vehicles added to the story Imagineers were telling you of being on the real streets that were being depicted.  After all, what city does not have cars?

Copyright Mercury Press. All rights reserved

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

As the Studios grew in popularity, crowding issues quickly arose and given that streets like Hollywood Boulevard were narrower than say Main Street USA, and the addition of parades to the park, the vehicles started to disappear.  It seemed like one by one these vehicles were removed until about last year or so when really the only two vehicles left in the Studios were the taxi cab on Sunset Boulevard near the Disney Vacation Club booth and the Cadillac across the street next to the Legends of Hollywood shop.

Crowding issues were even more of a problem for Studios management that in the last few years benches started being removed on Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards.  I first noticed them disappearing around Star Wars Weekends times, with the explanation from Cast Members that they needed to be removed to accomodate the crowds.  Well, most of the benches never returned and it looked like we were stuck with streets in the park that were going to be as empty as possible to allow for guests to move easily through them.

In the last few months, to my surprise, this all has started to revert a little bit at a time.  First we saw a classic Buick car return to in front of Oscar's Super Service shop and then was moved to Sunset Boulevard where it is today.  And just this week, a Cadillac has appeared in the Great Movie Ride courtyard.  

From a purist point of view, the return of the cars is a good change because it is a return to how the streets in the park used to be themed when the Studios first opened. Granted, we are still at a "deficit" of cars relative to what we once had and neither Hollywood Boulevard nor the Streets of America have seen their vehicles return, but it's a step in the right direction.

I hope this trend continues and we see other vehicles coming back to the Studios, like police cars or buses to the Streets of America.  I recognize that parades make vehicles returning to Hollywood Boulevard a basic impossibilty, but these subtle additions to the park's theme help convey the story being told and I feel adds to the immersiveness of the park experience.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by