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Does new Disney brochure foretell the removal of Hollywood Studios’ Sorcerer’s Hat?

by Matt Roseboom

Hollywood Studios map without sorcerer hat

By Matt Roseboom

A newly released version of a Walt Disney World brochure features a map of all of their theme parks. But there’s something missing from Disney’s Hollywood Studios map – something big. The giant Sorcerer’s Hat, which has served as the park’s icon since it was added in 2001, is missing.

4 parks disney mapThe brochure entitled “Disney 4 Parks of Fun”, is available at many hotels, rest stops and other brochure racks around Florida. It has been distributed for many years, but only this newest version shows the map without the hat. We reached out to Disney officials for a comment and were told, “We have nothing to announce at this time.”

Many Disney fans have only known the park with the Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, but many longtime fans haven’t been happy with its placement, and want the former view of the Chinese Theater facade (The Great Movie Ride) at the end of the street to return. Rumors say the Sorcerer’s Hat was added because when the real Chinese Theater in Hollywood changed hands, the new owners wanted a cut of any photos Disney sold to guests with the theater in the background.

Back in 2009 during a special celebration of Disney’s Hollywood Studios 20th anniversary, Imagineer Bob Weis commented on a photo of Graumann’s Chinese Theater, “And this is my favorite view of the Chinese Theater. You can’t get this view anymore. You may be aware of that. But I hope that we will get this view again sometime soon.” Loud applause and cheers then erupted from the Disney fan-filled audience.

magic kingdom hub on mapNot only is the hat missing in the brochure, but there are a couple of other interesting things that aren’t as noticeable. The map has the new Frozen Sing Along listed, but it also still lists the recently closed Studio Backlot Tour. It doesn’t list The recently closed America Idol Experience. The map of the Magic Kingdom shows the new expanded hub area in front of Cinderella Castle, which is still under construction. It’s also worth noting that the brochure features the old style maps, not the new ones now being used in the park guidemaps.

DSC01397 You may notice a faint version of the hat on the right side of the map. That’s bleeding through from a picture of Mickey wearing the hat on the other side of the page.

So what do you think? Was this only a printing or graphic designer error? Or will the hat soon be removed or relocated and Disney was future-proofing their brochure, as they did by adding the newly expanded Magic Kingdom hub? Or were these maps released too soon?

UPDATE – Oct. 24, 2014: Disney officials have confirmed the hat will be going away in early 2015. More details here.

Hat tip to Aaron Wallace @aaronspod on Twitter for first pointing out the map.

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43 comments

Debbie C October 13, 2014 - 12:03 pm

I would love to see the hat moved from its current location as the view when walking up Hollywood Blvd toward GMR used to be amazing. The hat would look great at the entrance of the park rather than ruining the 40’s vibe of the are.

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Karen October 15, 2014 - 3:42 pm

This is a good idea. Maybe at the turnoff to the park.

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Daniel October 13, 2014 - 12:18 pm

I like the Hat, it has become a great icon for the park and will be sad to see it go, if rumors are true.

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George Hart October 13, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Also, on the cover of the brochure the photograph they’ve chosen to represent Disney’s Hollywood Studios is not the Hat, it’s Tower of Terror (I’m intrigued as to why they chose this instead of the Earffel Tower, which is more recognisable and iconic- although I LOVE ToT- but that’s beside the point). Maybe this other design choice is also significant, and in my opinion it further makes the removal of the Hat from the map even more likely to be a real thing, as ToT can’t have got onto the cover by accident- it must have been a conscious decision. Therefore I’d say it’s unlikely to be an error 🙂

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Karen October 15, 2014 - 3:43 pm

I think the Earful Tower will be going with the closing of the backlot tour

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Brian October 19, 2014 - 9:21 pm

The tower of terror has been featured on the guide for many years now.

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David Sutton October 13, 2014 - 1:09 pm

I suppose another possibility is that they removed the Imagineer Mickey Hat so that the Chinese Theater is more visible on the map. If they left the hat in place I suppose that it might have covered up the Great Movie Ride on the map. This could have been an art/layout related decision. I certainly hope that the hat will be permanently removed from the park, but I guess we will all have to wait and see.

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Toby Branan October 13, 2014 - 1:40 pm

i think they left it off intentionally, but didn’t mean for it to be released yet. Why else would they say, “we have nothing to announce at this time.”? If it were left off in error, wouldn’t the response be, “an error was made and it will be corrected in future printings” or something to that affect?

I have a suspicion that the entire area is about to get leveled and Star Wars Land is coming. They are announcing it a piece at a time to keep the fury level low. The Chinese Theatre and Indiana Jones are next. They will level that whole area. My opinion.

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Tom October 13, 2014 - 5:06 pm

There were rumors when I left about Indy closing, but never the Great Movie Ride. The idea that seemed to be tossed around the most was Indy up to American Idol and back to Muppets being changed into a Star Wars theme while Backlot and Streets of America would be change to a Pixar theme.

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Tikimimi October 13, 2014 - 1:51 pm

One can only hope! Then of course we could also dream of a re-alliance with MGM, so it could go back to it’s “real name” too.

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Savannah October 13, 2014 - 2:01 pm

It wouldn’t be too bad if they just moved it somewhere else. Taking it out completely would be sad to see though.

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Adam October 13, 2014 - 2:23 pm

I used to work at the Great Movie Ride and I would LOVE to see the hat taken out! It blocked the view of our ride and people often missed it when making a giant loop around the park. They didn’t even think to look behind the hat. I believe only about 40% of guests rode Great Movie Ride each day. With the hat gone, I believe that number would go up quick a bit!

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Tom October 13, 2014 - 5:03 pm

I used to work for Disney on the College Program back in 2013. I worked at Hollywood Studios and near the end of the program there were a lot of whispers about the hat being removed in the near future.

That being said, nothing was ever confirmed, although there were conversations about it with managers. I grew up going down in the 90’s before the hat and the name change. I would love to see the hat at least moved from it’s location. But that is just me.

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Tardis October 13, 2014 - 5:25 pm

Another thing to keep in mind (regarding construction rumors) is that RunDisney has cancelled the Tower of Terror 10 Mile race that is held every October for 2015, leading many to believe something big will be happening at DHS starting next year.

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Matt Roseboom October 13, 2014 - 7:34 pm

Good point Tardis.

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Reese October 13, 2014 - 5:52 pm

I had no idea people felt so strongly against the hat. I suppose that they make a good point about it, it being used to block an opening day attraction. But think about it: The Sorcorer’s Hat is the park’s icon. When you think of WDW, you think about a castle, a golf ball-like spaceship (earth), a giant tree, and … a giant hat. Plus, think about how it’s worked so well during special events as a great staging area.

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Vance October 15, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Maybe for you.

Notice how you didn’t mention a giant tacky Mickey hand and wand when bringing up SSE? That’s because we all cheered when it was brought down and the same cheers will be heard when that eye sore of a hat comes down too.

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Toast October 13, 2014 - 6:01 pm

The issue I have with this map is that the design is the same as maps we had prior to the hat being constructed. (Google “2000 MGM Studios Map”). The design of the maps changed changed when they are having everything match the My Disney Experoence app… Where the art is much more pastel colored, and the pathways are much more accurate. This looks like it was a few maps photoshopped together, and since the street names are so horribly laid out this doesn’t look like it would be ever be allowed to be an official brochure from the company.

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Bobby Wertz October 13, 2014 - 7:14 pm

If there is enough room, why not put it where the Christmas tree is placed. It would be the first thing guest see when getting off the trams. Then they could place the tree where the hat currently sits. It would lend a nice seasonal touch without being overpowering and only block the view for a few short months.

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Matt Roseboom October 13, 2014 - 7:38 pm

We like that idea Bobby.

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Diane Burke October 15, 2014 - 4:35 pm

I’m liking that idea too. It would be like the best of both worlds.

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Matt Roseboom October 13, 2014 - 7:37 pm

We can verify that it is an official Disney brochure. It also includes maps from all of Disney World’s theme parks in the same style. Note the Magic Kingdom hub photo above.

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Dan October 13, 2014 - 9:37 pm

On different podcasts, Imagineers have talked about Star Wars taking over a majority of the park. There is talk of the Sorcerers Hat being replaced with life size AT-ATs, and Echo lake being filled in. The Indiana Jones show is also on the chopping block. The end result being an all immersive Star Wars experience, similar to what Universal did with Harry Potter. Bottom line, Disney wants to cash in on their new aquisition.

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Lauren October 14, 2014 - 5:21 pm

I’d be SUPER bummed if the majority of HS was taken over by Star Wars. AT-ATs in the center of the park? Really? :/ Maybe I’m in the minority here, but MGM/Hollywood Studios has always been about a tribute to ALL film, not just one successful series. I think Star Wars deserves a bigger place in the park, but I think converting most of the park into Star Wars Land would be a miss.

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LP October 14, 2014 - 10:55 pm

I totally agree, Lauren. Not a big Star Wars fan, so wouldn’t be happy to see it totally taking over the park. I like the hat, but wouldn’t mind it being moved.

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mike October 14, 2014 - 8:58 am

I think the hat should be put outside the entrance. How many of you feel that the name of the park should change also? I think with amount of the Hollywood attractions being removed that the park shouldn’t have the Hollywood name either. What are your thoughts

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LL October 14, 2014 - 12:39 pm

Whete is the Tree of Life?

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E October 17, 2014 - 5:00 pm

Animal Kingdom.

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laurie schmidt October 18, 2014 - 12:48 pm

animal kingdom

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Nick October 14, 2014 - 3:07 pm

I think that this has been indicated for quite some time. I just went in April 2014 and bought a shirt that has the Earful Tower as the symbolic representation for the Studios, while the other park logos are visible.

Moving the Hat to the front of the park would be wonderful, and I think that this move indicates that they’re keeping the Great Movie Ride (thank goodness, because its removal has been a fear that I’m sure has struck many before!)

HOWEVER the Studios’ biggest problem is that there is so much space from the old production facilities that is NOT BEING USED!!!! Go on to Google Maps, find where Toy Story Mania is at, and take a moment to realize how much space they could be utilizing, and hopefully will be in the near future!

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Dave October 14, 2014 - 5:06 pm

The Tree of Life is Animal Kingdom

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keith October 14, 2014 - 9:10 pm

It can go.. Parking lot area would be best.

Hollywood up front is amazing… The rest has always been a hodgepodge… E.g. Random Areosmith down old fashion street. Hat added to hodgepodge too.

Glad the backlot tour is gone, it was a slow painful Death!

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Chris October 14, 2014 - 10:29 pm

One of the reasons for the hat was to block the iconic view of the GMR because they lost their license agreement with Mann’s Chinese Theater. I have thought the view of the hat has always been jarring and ruins the theme of Hollywood Bvd. Unfortunately, even if the hat is moved/removed, we won’t get back the world’s kargest Hidden Mickey (hint: look at Echo Lake and the shape of the hub).

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TC October 17, 2014 - 9:14 am

I’d say this was the second largest hidden Mickey, behind the hidden Mickey tree grove a few miles northwest of the Magic Kingdom. But it was definitely one of the best. They painted over the left ear on top of one of the buildings years ago so it will never be the same even if the hat is removed.

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Brian B October 17, 2014 - 5:35 pm

That’s a popular but incorrect theory, Chris. For one, there wouldn’t be an agreement with the Chinese Theater owners, it would be with the architect. Second, architectural copyright didn’t exist when the original Chinese Theater was built.

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D. Zak October 15, 2014 - 3:50 pm

Yay….never liked it especially where it was placed…..move it!!

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Kelty October 16, 2014 - 4:24 pm

OK Hate to see the hat go. But, if it must, move it to the outside entrance.
On a more important note. Forget more Stars Wars stuff!

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Karen C October 16, 2014 - 9:44 pm

Ditch the hat. Never liked it. I am an MGM fan and want to see The Great Movie Ride’s awe-inspiring building. Go stand in the courtyard of it and just take a good long look at it. Can’t
wait to see it back they way it was. With all the FROZEN changes and closing down other
Classics, it will be nice to have an old memory come back to life.

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sfrykman October 17, 2014 - 2:08 pm

OH, NO! Just got back and while there but already through, we realized we never got our picture made in front of the hat. Every time I’ve gone with a group, we’ve done that. This time was special too, in that I took my granddaughter and grandson. We also didn’t get it made in front of Spaceship Earth. 🙁

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sfrykman October 17, 2014 - 2:11 pm

And for God’s sake, I pray they are not looking for someplace to put another Frozen. Enough already.

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Patricia October 18, 2014 - 3:37 am

Mickey’s Hat and Earful Tower going. we love both. More Mickey stuff being removed. How much longer before they do away with Mickey.

We are going in 2 weeks hope both are still there at least that long.

With so much of Mickey gradually being taken out this could be our last trip. This is what we go for to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto.

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Kelly October 20, 2014 - 12:03 pm

I’ve always thought the hat would look good in front of the entrance where the planter is now. Could be a nice rain refuge, too but yes, please, get it out of the park ASAP!!!

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Denise October 21, 2014 - 7:25 pm

I too, love the hat. It would be ok to move it though. When you walk down the Hollywood blvd and see the GMR façade it just gives me goosebumps. I also would like to trade Indiana Jones with California. its time for INdiana to get a new show. Been going there since 1982 and have seen many shows come and go. How many remember the Hunchback of Notre Dame show? Loved it. Sad to see Catastrophe Canyon go. Went on it every trip. Sometimes too much change is not good, which is what I think Disney is doing now. Too much at once. There is no reason to go for another two years until Disney Springs is done.
cant’ wait to see that.

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