When the Imagineers presented Disney Studio 1, they commented that it presents "a Hollywood that only truly exists in our dreams." The same could have been said for Hollywood Boulevard until recently -- a project we've watched grow for several months, but never seen a true vision of their plans for. It all had to exist only in our minds, until this exciting new concept art came along...,
Sure, there was that original concept art revealed at the 1st April 2007 press presentation and posted exclusively online by our partner WDSfans.com, but, as we knew at the time, this was just one vision out of two for the Hollywood placemaking project — and it wasn’t chosen.
Whilst the original concept featured a large ‘Bank of Hollywood’, a reproduction of the Wiltern Theatre and a road leading directly to the front gate of The Hollywood Tower Hotel, it was already confirmed that La Terrasse would remain, Gone Hollywood would be on the place of the Wiltern and several more “pueblo deco”-style buildings would surround the Tower itself.
And now, at long last, we can see the true Imagineers’ vision of what awaits…
The concept art was revealed just days after our ‘Take a tour of Hollywood Boulevard’ article was compiled, sent to Grandmath, admin of the Disney Central Plaza forum, but apparently available to see backstage for Cast Members for around one month already!
The concept art both confirms many of the expectations of the boulevard, built up through rumours over past months, and reveals new secrets of the under-construction project. The immediate impression when compared to the original concept is that the chosen plan features a larger spread and variety of buildings, a horizon/backdrop which is much more dimensional and layered and, most noticably, a greater amount of detail concerning the street-level “accessories” of the development. Certainly an impressive vision, the concept as seen here does not even appear to be the complete panorama, however, missing the far-left “Sweet Success” building and the far-right “Gone Hollywood” storefront.
Beginning on the far right, the Argyle Building (No.1) appears almost identical to its Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) original, though no sign of the “Ben Hair” barbershop gag in its window. Next, the long, three-story La Brea Carpets façade (No.2) has clearly had some alterations, the two arched patio doors on its right replaced with a closed square window and the two doors on its left now without doors, appearing to lead straight into La Terrasse behind. DCA’s tigerprint awnings above the doors have thankfully been replaced with ornate windows, similar to those on the park entrance gate. The signage (No.4) on the building appears identical to DCA, but we’re promised at least one of the two will now read “La Terrasse”.
The park’s Tips Board (No.3) makes a move to Hollywood as expected, positioned underneath a new pueblo deco canopy which bears more than a slight resemblance to that at Disney-MGM Studios. Towards the Hollywood Hills, we can now see that the expected First National Bank and Broadway Building aren’t the only sets to sit either side of the Hollywood Hills. A forced perspective of the Disney-owned El Capitan is featured (No.5) along with at least two other locations on the opposite side (No.7). The Broadway Building even features a new neon billboard atop its roof.
A major change when compared to the previous concept comes with the Hollywood Hills (No.6). Obviously wiser from their experience with Hollywood Pictures Backlot at DCA, the backdrop features no sky whatsoever — only the hills themselves are featured, similar in style to the recent (and successful) Toon Town Hills backdrop at Toon Studio. The tunnel is also featured, and the hills themselves appear to be split into two separate layers.
Those street-level details also improve greatly upon the past concept, from towering palm trees (No.8) lining the street to lamposts (No.10) matching those around Tower of Terror and, most surprising, a complete replacement for the old silver “lighting rig” parade poles (No.11). The first of the controversial towers to be replaced, they now look scheduled to become more ornate green pylons carring more refined speakers and lighting similar to Central Plaza in Disneyland Park.
Finally, continuing the park’s run of bad luck when it comes to fountains, the raised corner of the street now seems to be for a simple planter (No.9), rather than a much-needed splash of water. However, one final pleasing detail which can’t go overlooked is… Curbs! Sidewalks! At least the La Terrasse area now appears to be raised above ground level, practically a first in the entire park and an important step in continuing to remove the “built in a field of flat asphalt” feel the 2002 park occasionally had.
The Hollywood that only existed in our thoughts is now finally there, for all to see.