Disney CEO Bob Iger teased that a new Frozen 4 movie may be in the works. He shared this while attending the World of Frozen grand opening event at Hong Kong Disneyland, which is the first of a few Arendelle areas coming to the international parks. This post covers all of that, as well as the possibility of more Frozen at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” co-anchor Michael Strahan on November 16 during the World of Frozen gala event at HKDL, Bob Iger said, “I’ll give you a little surprise there, Michael. Frozen 3 is in the works and there might be a Frozen 4 in the works too.”
“I don’t have much to say about those films right now,” Iger continued. “But Jennifer Lee, who created the original Frozen and Frozen 2 is hard at work with her team at Disney Animation on not one, but actually two stories.” So unlike the video of Figment walking into Imagineering, this isn’t really a tease that’s open to interpretation. Two more Frozen sequels are coming. It’s a matter of when, not if. (Honestly, that probably could’ve been said even before today, but now we have confirmation.)
Both Frozen films crossed $1 billion at the global box office when they were released in 2013 and 2019, respectively. They were the #1 and #2 all-time top grossing animated movies until this year, when the Super Mario Bros. Movie claimed the #2 spot from the original Frozen.
The only other Disney or Pixar film franchises that come close to Frozen‘s numbers is Toy Story, which already has 4 movies and is working on a fifth. Zootopia could enter that conversation once its sequel is released, and there are a few other older Pixar films that probably qualify once adjusted for inflation, including merchandise sales, or Disney+ minutes streamed.
In any case, Frozen reigns supreme, and Iger confirmed as much while discussing World of Frozen with Good Morning America.
“For years at our Disney parks, we’ve been creating these large, immersive worlds. Essentially, they’re the physical embodiment of some of the greatest stories that we’ve told whether it’s Cars Land or Star Wars or Pandora,” Iger said.
He continued by calling Frozen “our most valuable franchise” and “very successful films.” Adding that Arendelle is ripe for theme park lands, as the place that Frozen takes place in is “just fantastic.” World of Frozen “enables people to get immersed in the story of ‘Frozen’ and interact with all the great characters for films,” Iger said of the new land at Hong Kong Disneyland.
“The best thing here is you visit and you actually can meet Olaf and Anna and Elsa and all the gang from ‘Frozen.’ Of course, there are attractions but there’s also great restaurants,” he said. “I think the thing that is great about it is you actually feel like you’re in the place that the movie took place in and it just gives you this powerful sense of story that I think people have grown to love over the last decade.”
This interview occurred during the gala event, “A Spectacular Celebration of World of Frozen,” where special guests were immersed in the kingdom of Arendelle. Attendees included the aforementioned Iger as well as Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro, a variety of other Disney Parks international executives, Hong Kong Disneyland leadership, and Jennifer Lee, CCO of Walt Disney Animation Studios and the Oscar-winning writer/director of both Frozen films.
D’Amaro shared his enthusiasm for the new land, saying, “Our Imagineers worked with the team at Disney Animation to ensure every detail is just right. World of Frozen transports you to another world, where you can have fun with your loved ones and make some incredible memories together.”
Jennifer Lee was delighted to witness World of Frozen come to life firsthand. “We could not have dreamt that one day, we would have the opportunity to walk through and truly experience the kingdom of Arendelle as we all are today. I stand here – representing all of our artists who have worked together to create the ‘Frozen’ films – inspired and amazed.”
The celebration unfolded along the Bay of Arendelle in World of Frozen. The Royal Choir of Arendelle took the stage to perform a beautiful medley of “Frozen” songs, as Elsa cast her Ice Magic, summoning the appearance of Olaf and creating an enchanting atmosphere. Queen Anna proclaimed that the gates of Arendelle are opening, and all guests enjoyed a beautiful evening beneath the stars.
A spectacular lighting show created a climactic, celebratory moment as a fleet of drones ascended into the sky, forming iconic imagery inspired by the beloved “Frozen” movies. These formations mirrored the intricate patterns of Elsa’s Ice Magic, painting the sky with awe-inspiring displays, leaving an indelible imprint of wonder for all in attendance.
World of Frozen officially opens on November 20, 2023 at Hong Kong Disneyland. See our Guide to World of Frozen for everything you need to know about the rides, restaurants, retail, food, etc. in this new Arendelle area.
While World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland is the first fully-fledged land themed to the Kingdom of Arendelle, it’s hardly the first Frozen anything in the parks. That began almost a decade ago with “Frozen Fun” events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, followed by the Frozen Ever After ride reimagining of Maelstrom in the Norway pavilion at EPCOT. That attraction remains incredibly popular to this day, and served as the foundation of sorts for the first World of Frozen land.
To that point, the World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland is the first of these Arendelle areas, but not the last. There’s also a similar Kingdom of Arendelle currently under construction at the Walt Disney Studios Park in France. That’s now likely to miss its prior Paris 2024 Summer Olympics opening target, and instead debut in 2025.
There’s also the “Frozen Kingdom” coming to Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea, which should be significant different from the lands in Hong Kong or Paris. That eighth port is themed not just to Frozen, but also Tangled and Peter Pan, and is the biggest budget theme park expansion ever. Still, only one-third of it (perhaps a bit less since Peter Pan’s Never Land is the biggest area) is Frozen-themed. For full details and commentary, see Everything You Need to Know About Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea.
Just as Bob Iger teased the fourth Frozen film, this article teased potential additions to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Although it got buried by other news at the time, Iger and D’Amaro themselves have actually already hinted that such additions might be on the horizon.
During a presentation at that summit, D’Amaro said, “We have a wealth of untapped stories to bring to life across our business. Frozen, one of the most successful and popular animated franchises of all time, could have a presence at the Disneyland Resort. Wakanda has yet to be brought to life. The world of Coco is just waiting to be explored. There’s a lot of storytelling opportunity.”
Notice how both D’Amaro and Iger commented on the popularity of Frozen and how it’s their most popular film franchise (technically, D’Amaro hedged with “one of”)? This is not the first or even second time they’ve mentioned this. And why wouldn’t they? Not only has Frozen done stellar numbers at the box office, but it moves merchandise like crazy. It’s a princess powerhouse that is insanely popular with families.
It’s of little surprise that Disney is currently building three Frozen areas in the international parks with two more movies on the way. What’s more surprising is that they haven’t broken ground on new Frozen rides or lands in the United States already…
For years, there have been rumors of Fantasyland expansion at Disneyland. Most versions of this involve replacing Fantasyland Theatre and taking up some of the space between Toontown and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge or some portion of the lagoons and Autopia area on the opposite side. This has been on our list of predicted D23 Expo announcements for the last few years, but has yet to happen.
Around 5 years ago, there was a credible rumor that revolved around Arendelle. We’ve suspected for a while that Disney has been waiting for World of Frozen to open at Hong Kong Disneyland, and see guest reception to that. That land has been getting a ton of marketing in the United States by Disney, which is really odd for an addition at HKDL. It makes sense that there’s an ulterior motive for that–to see how Americans respond to it.
If it’s well-received at Hong Kong Disneyland, moving forward on World of Frozen at Disneyland makes sense. Fantasyland is chaotic and congested, and opening up more walkways would ease the strain of crowds and help with capacity. Toontown has reopened and is more popular than ever, and also helps with the drawing power for this area of the park.
Finally, World of Frozen would be cost-effective since they just built it in HKDL and have another version under construction in France. The biggest difficulty would be limited available space, as those empty areas of Disneyland are pretty cramped. But Imagineering has done some of its best work when backed into a corner and having to work within constraints, and I’m confident they could figure something out–it wouldn’t be the first time that show buildings are separated from lands by long queues!
The other big challenge is DisneylandForward. Not because World of Frozen will go there–for like the dozenth time, DisneylandForward is not a substantive plan, it’s more like a zoning proposal–but because it’s looking more and more like Disney is refraining from making announcements until DisneylandForward is approved.
As for Walt Disney World, it seems highly unlikely that World of Frozen will come to the Florida parks. After all, Frozen Ever After is the marquee attraction of the expansion, and that already exists at EPCOT. Honestly, if you asked me two months ago what other Frozen additions Walt Disney World was likely to get, my answer probably would’ve been “nothing.”
However, this announcement of Frozen 4 coupled with struggles of other franchises and what’s still succeeding really does make me wonder. I still don’t think World of Frozen is on the table, but standalone attractions or other concepts could be. There’s some space backstage near the Norway pavilion at EPCOT that possibly could be put to use, as well as plenty of dead zones at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
I think even that’s not likely. What is entirely possible is Frozen being incorporated into entertainment or even seasonal events. Walt Disney World hosted the “Frozen Fun” event discussed above, and something similar to coincide with the next movies would be a savvy move to draw guests. Likewise, new montage stage shows and nighttime spectaculars are all but certain to feature Frozen. It’s really more a question of which songs and from which films.
Nevertheless, I would expect Walt Disney World to start steering away from Star Wars and Marvel, with the possible exception of a thrill ride rethemed to Wakanda and retooling of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Other than that, I think we’ve entered the era of stuff based on classic and new-classic Walt Disney Animation Studios films, along with a dash of (underutilized) Pixar movies.
When it comes to potential options here, there are a lot of popular options that have even less of a park presence than Frozen, including but not limited to Zootopia, Coco, Moana, Inside Out, Encanto, and pretty much everything from the Disney Renaissance in the 1990s. There are actually many popular movies that have no meaningful presence in attractions at Walt Disney World, so not as much “need” to double or triple dip on Frozen!
What are your thoughts on World of Frozen being added to Disneyland or other Arendelle additions to Walt Disney World? Think the Walt Disney Company will follow through on its purported plans to “turbocharge” investment and double CapEx to $60 billion on Park & Resorts in the next decade? Which IPs would you like to see better represented at WDW and DLR? Anything you’re hoping does not end up coming to fruition? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!