Magic Kingdom Expansion: Coco, Encanto & Villains Lands Revealed
At the D23 Expo, Disney revealed that a new land (or areas?) is under development for beyond Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. The expansion would feature Coco, Encanto, and Villains (you read that correctly). This post will share all of the details, concept art, and everything we know about the possible expansion, plus a bit of commentary.
This Magic Kingdom expansion news was announced during the “A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences and Products” presentation at D23 Expo 2022. Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro offered a sneak peek at concept art for the future in addition and teased what was to come in a few years.
This was one of many announcements at the 2022 D23 Expo. Others include the opening season for TRON Lightcycle Run, return of a Figment meet & greet, new nighttime spectaculars for EPCOT & Magic Kingdom for Disney100. And that’s just what has been announced so far for Walt Disney World. We’ll have a recap of every announcement very soon.
This announcement was made following the news a potential Moana and Zootopia area in Animal Kingdom. The reveal was made by Imagineer Chris Beatty and Jennifer Lee, the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. They didn’t provide any additional details, but were careful to use language crouching the announcement, indicating that this is an “early concept exploration” and one of the “potential expansion opportunities.”
Here’s the concept art the duo shared while on stage:
This concept art is definitely more impressionistic than what was shared for the Moana area at Animal Kingdom, but it’s still more detailed than some concept art revealed in recent years.
With that said, only the Coco and Encanto areas are well-defined. The Disney Villains expansion appears off in the distance–no concept art specific to that was shared.
When Josh D’Amaro kicked off this portion of the presentation, he prefaced it with a warning that it would make some people at the company very uncomfortable, but would be exciting to fans.
The Magic Kingdom portion of the presentation was presented with a what if we did this kind of vibe…but they also suggested that these plans are actively being worked on and pursued.
Plans are in early development, but the ideas being explored guests would offer guests the opportunity to enter the Casa Madrigal and ride on the back of Dante or Pepita, Alebrijes of the Rivera family from Coco.
Honestly, I’m not even sure how to categorize this news. It’s short of a fully-fledged announcement, but more than us being flies on the wall for an Imagineering brainstorming session or blue sky pitch. There are concrete details and concept art, but no promises about what the final version of this expansion will actually entail.
One question for me is where this Magic Kingdom expansion will be built (if it’s built). Walt Disney World has been quietly relocating roads behind the park in a way that could accommodate this, quite literally, behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Another possibility is that at least part of this replaces Tom Sawyer Island. About 7-8 years ago, a big-budget expansion for the area alongside Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was rumored. It’s possible that this location is still the plan, but D’Amaro wanted to share good news, and cutting into the Rivers of America and Tom Sawyer Island wouldn’t be as well received by Walt Disney World fans.
Before we get too excited with the daydreaming, it’s worth noting that this might not even happen. Disney has a poor track record when it comes to vague D23 Expo announcements. In the past, many plans presented without the colossal caveats of these Magic Kingdom expansion plans have not come to fruition.
Just off the top of my head, the Main Street Theater, Cherry Tree Lane, original Future World plans, second Future World plans, first Avengers E-Ticket, and more all have not been built. (And I know I’m forgetting a ton of abandoned projects–I saw a list pre-Expo and there was way more than this on it!)
As such, I do not fault any for viewing this with a lot of doubt and pessimism. Beyond all of the asterisks, current management has not exactly done right by Walt Disney World fans in the last few years. It’s been a rough era, and this flurry of news feels very much at odds with what we’ve lived through recently.
Maybe it’s the inveterate optimist in me, but I am still cautiously optimistic about this even knowing how common it is for D23 Expo announcements–even more concrete ones than this–not happening. Even having been burned in the past by Chapek and co., I remain hopeful–perhaps foolishly so–that Magic Kingdom will receive another large scale expansion.
Josh D’Amaro could’ve come out and highlighted returning entertainment and other little stuff. He could’ve talked up the return of Fantasmic (which is very much still happening in the next 6-8 weeks), recapped what has already happened this summer, or spent more time fixating on the specifics of projects that are in progress.
Instead, his presentation swung for the fences with regard to Walt Disney World. This splashy D23 Expo suggests to me that, at the very least, the company has plans to expand Magic Kingdom. Whether it actually ends up being Coco, Encanto, and/or Disney Villains is immaterial.
The desire to build out the park exists at a high level of the company, meaning there’s the appetite to invest more money into Walt Disney World. This being presented on stage at the D23 Expo means this is not just some blue sky idea floating around Imagineering.
As someone who figured the best case scenario for Walt Disney World “expansion” news at the D23 Expo was a replacement for Primeval Whirl, this caught me by surprise. It may not be a direct and immediate response to Epic Universe, but it’s something substantial.
As I’ve said before, I don’t think leadership at Disney believes they need an “answer” to Epic Universe. Their public position when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened was that “a rising tide lifts all boats” — that a stronger Universal was beneficial to Disney because it attracted more people to Central Florida.
That’s inarguably true to some extent, but it’s also spin. Over a decade later, the theme park landscape has also evolved in Orlando. Universal has built a half-dozen hotels in the intervening years at a range of price points, and there’s also the difference that 3 theme parks plus a water park makes. For many visitors, Universal will be a destination unto itself, rather than a diversion from Disney.
Personally, I wonder to what extent Disney leadership is actually worried about Epic Universe. The company as a whole, and Walt Disney World in particular, has lost so much institutional knowledge in the last few years. So many leaders at Disney only know an era of success, and have a “no one can touch us” attitude as a result.
Watch any interview with Bob Chapek or Josh D’Amaro and you can see this confidence (to use a charitable term). If this is the tone being set at the top, do you really think this is a company that fears Universal?
To be abundantly clear, I think this confidence is misplaced. To be sure, Disney has enjoyed a decade-plus of unparalleled success, and its theme park business is at a different stage than is Universal’s. However, as a hotel business that also operates theme parks, Walt Disney World cannot afford to lose overnight guests to Universal.
Those are its most lucrative visitors, and if Universal is able to siphon some away–even just 10%–that’s a huge blow to Disney. With Universal offering more affordable accommodations and on-site perks for a brand new park, it’ll be a totally different dynamic from when the Wizarding World first debuted over a decade ago.
Regardless, none of this could conceivably be ready by the time Epic Universe opens. More than anything else, that’s why this is not an “answer” to Epic Universe. None of the major expansions announced at the 2022 D23 Expo will open before 2026. Probably more like 2027.
In my view, the company is likely preparing to invest in Walt Disney World not due to a perceived threat from Universal’s Epic Universe, but due to the resiliency of its Florida theme parks. Walt Disney World continues to outperform, and investors have begun to take notice of its success. This coupled with Wall Street souring on streaming (at least a bit) means Disney may finally start to bet bigger on its theme park business. (All lessons learned back during the Great Recession…demonstrating both that history repeats itself and that Disney has lost institutional knowledge.)
That’s why I think there’s something of substance to these Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom expansion plans. Even if they don’t incorporate Disney Villains, Coco, Encanto, etc. into the actual lands, there are likely plans for major development on the horizon. From my perspective, this is less about the details and much more about the big picture. The Walt Disney Company once again appears to be bullish on the theme parks business…and that’s a good thing for fans!
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What do you think of the possibility that Coco, Moana, and Disney Villains areas or attractions come to Magic Kingdom? Think these lands will actually be built, or is this yet another instance of Disney throwing as much at the wall and seeing what sticks? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!
Ok, I’ll make a contrary opinion here. Keep DinoLand. Seriously, what kid doesn’t like dinosaurs. It’s all my kids talked about growing up and they had encyclopedic knowledge about many of the different species. Rather than just copy a movie, use some imagination and make DinoLand something great. That’s why they have imagineers, right?
Exactly what I was thinking. Though the rides in that area leave something to be desired, I personally like the vibe at Restaurantasaurus and the retro gift shop. I’ve never had occasion to dig for bones in the play structure, but my kids at a younger age would have *loved it.*
i personally ma not a fan of the “hey, what if we did this idea” presentation. i want to see something firmed up and presented with a timeline. that gets me excited. an idea floating around like this doesn’t do much for me at all. as far as the actual content… what a mishmash of concepts. as someone else said, you can’t just stick two things like coco and encanto together because they both show latino culture- it’s two different cultures, period. and villains… that has the potential to be really good if done right, or really bad if done poorly.
I hate to be a doomsayer but the monetary tidal wave following Covid hasn’t quite come crashing down on the world yet but believe me in the coming years it will. In Australia we have seen massive interest rate hikes which unfortunately will lead to many people having to default on loans that they overcommitted themselves to when rates were so low. Wages are not continuing to keep up with inflation which in our country is going up and up due to the massive cost of energy and flow on increases in the cost of everyday goods and services. I am afraid Disney is going to take a big hit in their back pockets in the next five years or so as the everyday visitor will have to start to cut costs dramatically just to survive and put food on the table and a roof over their heads, and that will mean holidays, particularly expensive holidays will have to go. I feel we are headed for another 80’s crash very soon and then we shall see where Disney sits.
For those clamoring for a Coco based attraction in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, this would be a great idea except for the fact that the Mexico pavilion has no room or need for a high demand attraction. The Mexico pavilion is currently one of the most popular and crowded areas in Epcot, and the Mexican boat ride can only accommodate a few hundred guests per hour.
I agree on this. The regime here is doing exactly the opposite of what would make sense economically in that respect. Inflation is over 10% and the cost of real goods is far above that, with many groceries doubled in the last two years.
The Coco and Encanto mash-up is really bad. Disney could be accused of being culturally insensitive. Coco is Mexico. Encanto is Columbia. You can’t just mash them together because they are both “Latino culture.”
Coco could fit beyond Thunder Mountain as Mexico is beyond the frontier of Texas and Arizona. It thematically works. Encanto does not work in Frontierland. Columbia is South America. I’m better with the villain area especially if there is a way to link pathways to the Haunted Mansion. That way, there is some continuity with ghosts, spirits, and villains.
Personally, I will be more interested if Coco, Encanto OR Villains Lands gets chosen in the longer run. (Agreed that Animal Kingdom is the first park for an addition, and I’m sure there’s Imagineers working on Hollywood Studios and its three or four Star Wars attraction locations.) Multiple mini-lands do not work, especially when placed together; I loved the theme of DCA’s Condor Flats but it was a ride, a gift shop and a bathroom shoved next to several other mini-lands. Coco and Encanto sequels are both on the books, and Dark Fantasyland sounds straightforward, so by the time Animal Kingdom is taken care of I (let alone Disney) will have a clearer idea of what interests the general public.
I believe the need to change Splash Mountain and add Encanto (sp) is a desire to hit a demographic that perhaps Disney is not hitting or to avoid not being inclusive. However note the exclusion of Mulan as perhaps this demo is not is need of special attention. The new Splash fits at Disneyland – right in NO square it is a perfect fit – at MK it just does not fit – perhaps Briar rabbit did not fit either but it is still a bit frontierish – along with Country Bears BTMRR and Tom Sayer island and the shooting range!. I am also concerned with the use of the hottest IP – do you think they would build people mover, COP, Pirates, or tiki birds today? They did a great job with Star Wars land and Pandora – but these were “copies” of other peoples stories. OH and bring back the Muppets to Hall of Presidents (outside not inside) that was genius – an example of the small “attractions” that make the parks great – I am aware Muppets are IP
What about DVC built above Grand Floridian with it’s own gate into northwest MK? And the Haunted Mansion Hotel north of that ride that is a Halcyon-like 2 day experience? Blue Sky ;^)
Pretty disappointed about this news. There is just no real substance here and even most of the fluff isn’t exciting. I wish they would give the ride in the Mexico pavilion a huge overhaul and put Coco in there. Coco is a great movie, fits well there, and would be an exciting, refreshing, and honestly much needed update to world showcase. Also, that seems like something they actually would do and could do quickly. In my opinion Encanto, though visually stunning, was sadly lacking in both storyline and character development. Other than offering one amazing song, I don’t think that film has a lot of staying power so I can’t say I’m excited about having a land themed around it. But seeing as how I doubt any of this will come to fruition anyways… I’m still sad Mary Poppins has been completely shelved. I was really hoping to hear that they were going forward with a dark ride for her in the UK pavilion but alas! To me, the most exciting thing they pitched was a Moana area in AK. I would love to see a major Moana attraction at Animal Kingdom. The journey of water they are putting in at Epcot is not a great fit there and Moana deserves a bigger, grander, and more substantial attraction. Overall, I just can’t get excited because nothing seems developed enough to be a serious idea.
I also think Encanto should fit at EPCOT if they plan to build a new Colombia pavilion close to the Germany pavilion. Why would they think of placing an Encanto area at Magic Kingdom? World Showcase needs a new country. And a Coco attraction in the Mexico pavilion replacing the Gran Fiesta Tour sounds like a refreshing idea. Someone at Disney hates EPCOT.
Thats actually a great idea, I am definitely a coco fan and this would be a good fit.
Why the emphasis on creating “sub”-parks for each new movie? I can understand doing it for a multiple movie franchise, such as Toy Story or Star Wars but doing it for what is possibly a one- off movie (e.g. Coco, Moana) makes no sense, especially when those movies eventually get relegated to the archives as new movies are produced. Why not keep those attractions as virtual reality “rides”, such as Ratatouille. For instance, a Coco VR ride replacing the Three Caballeros in the EPCOT Mexican pavilion may be a smarter idea. Also, a VR ride would be easier to change if another Coco movie was produced. Another idea may be to build a Moana attraction on the shuttered old Discovery Island site, especially because of its proximity to the Polynesian resort. It could be dual purpose, utilizing Moana characters to entertain while emphasizing respect and care for the natural environment.
However, what irks me the most is the almost total abandonment of Disney’s most beloved and enduring characters, Mickey Mouse and friends! Where is the park or sub-park dedicated to them? They are the heart and soul of what Disney was and is and the favorite of children and most adults. Instead of a park dedicated to them, they have been relegated to character breakfasts, t-shirts and ice cream bars. Why not celebrate them? Why not give children (and adults alike) a park to revel in what made Disney so endearing. Imagine a Steamboat Willy or a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ride. They could even have a museum dedicated to the memory of Walt, his vision and how these characters evolved over the years. Instead, Chapek and management are overly focused on the new, the here and now. When the Mouse is forgotten, the rats will take over and decline will be inevitable.
Hopefully, there is someone in Disney that still respects and embraces Walt’s vision of creating a place where parents can affordably bring their children to have a good time. If not, Universal may eventually become the predominate destination for theme park goers in Florida.
If these actually come to fruition, and that’s a big if, I would love to see a Villains themed land in MK. There are so many dastardly possibilities. I love Encanto and Coco but they don’t fit there in my opinion. I enjoy this blog! Have gotten a lot of great planning tips.
Just a bunch of fluff to overshadow the lackluster WDW announcements. My annual passes renew in October. As a family, we’ve decided to skip out on renewal because the parks are not the same. We figured it will take at least 5 more years to hopefully recover in all aspects. They mentioned a Figment meet and greet, cool. How about you fix the damn ride that’s been degraded for at least 6 months? They aren’t maintaining what they have. Six Flags style
It kinda felt like all that “blue sky” talk was so that we wouldn’t notice that, otherwise, the biggest Disney World news was two fireworks shows, one animatronic, one meet & greet, and an opening timeline for TRON that isn’t soon enough. Cool concept art, though. I hope they get to build something like it…
This is an unusual circumstance where I think some analysis could have been added. First, it is possible that the demographics of people who visit WDW are not the same as the demographics of people who actually live in the US, and some of these changes may be being suggested to address that. That rational, if even possibly true, bodes well for some of these proposed projects to materialize, because they addresses a core Disney value: inclusiveness.
I love Disney! It’s such a wonderful and special place! I just wish it was more affordable for all people. Maybe these suggested changes will encourage visits from people who otherwise wouldn’t have even considered it.
And last, but certainly not least, in the area of support for the Encanto attraction, there is a gentleman of no small account by the name of Lin-Manuel Miranda, a rare man who genuinely deserves the title “genius,” and who has done amazing work on multiple Disney movies, and with whom, I’ll bet, Disney would like to collaborate again. Of the Encanto attraction Mr. Miranda has been very clear: “I talked to [CEO Bob Chapek] and said, “ I know there’s a world in which this casita lives in a theme park and we get to actually walk through it in real life.” Miranda wants the Encanto house. He’s been very clear.
And because it is possible that WDW would like for this particular gentleman to be happy, so that he will continue to produce more spectacular music for, and content with, Disney, I’m laying odds that the Encanto project does in fact happen, and that Mr. Miranda may even go so far as to tie the loaning of additional of his musical gifts to Disney to this very Encanto attraction.
While I agree that Lin-Manuel Miranda wants an Encanto attraction in a Disney park, Mr. Miranda does not run the parks. At the end of the day, it all comes down to economics. At one time, tourists from Brazil were the largest group that visited WDW from outside the U.S. Thanks to Brazil’s departure tax, that is no longer true. Although many would not like to admit it, Mexico and the Central and South American countries do not have the demographics or political climate on their own to justify a costly park expansion. The bulk of the tourists who visit from outside the U.S. now come primarily from Canada and Europe. To show inclusiveness, Disney could merely add a meet and greet or characters to parades and shows. These attractions are less costly and can be changed in a whim. Any addition in WDW would take at least 5-10 years to build. While Encanto and Coco may be popular today, I personally don’t find these films memorable and would be very surprised if they have the staying power to justify a costly expansion. A villains land would make sense. Almost all Disney movies have a villain, and millions of Disney fans have been clamoring for more villains-themed attractions, shows, activities, etc., for years.
I like that idea, but it fits better in Fantasyland, doesn’t it? Or at AK. They already added the more spiritual connection side of things with Pandora, etc.
Not a lot of “Ummph” to these D23 Announcements, most dealing with Disney+ shows and DVC/Resort updates. No real expansion news for US Disney parks thru 2024 aside from redesigns of existing areas. Seems their focus is on international Disney Parks which opens the door for Universal Orlando to continue to catch up. Meanwhile Disney is pricing out their most loyal guests in an effort to squeeze every last penny out of those finally making their Disney trip post-pandemic. I know Disney will simply have to start offering deals and those people who said they would never go back will start booking Disney vacations again. If I know this you Disney knows this, but as long as the finance people are reporting record profits with these limited staff and services they will ride this gravy train to the end!! So many people complain about paying too much yet they don’t cancel their trip. We saw it was too expensive and canceled!! Actions speak louder than words!! You can complain all you want, but if you’re still willing to pay Disney the current inflated rates with limited services, they really don’t care!! You do you, but if you complain about pricing after shelling out Your money at these increased rates with limited services then you are part of the problem because it tells Disney they can get away with it!!
TDO is clueless.
Frontier land was (and still is) was favorite land since I was a little kid. Big thunder and Tom Sawyer island (plus haunted mansion) WAS Disney world to me. I was lost in my imagination in that land. Please please don’t ruin a great thing. Build in DAK please. That park desperately needs more to do. Gut Dino land and build beastly kingdom. Agree w much of what Paul S wrote.
I agree, Adventureland and Frontierland need to be preserved. If you never built a treehouse or a fort, then you never really were a real kid in the first place. I’m 50 and still planning to build a treehouse I can sleep and live in if I want to.
I disagree that Disney is not afraid of losing guests to Universal. I think they ARE afraid that there is real competition there. It seems like this new expansion is their way of saying “so what if Universal is opening Epic Land. We are planning a major expansion too!” Of course, they don’t mention how long it will take them to actually make this a reality. Just sort of a childish – we have something planned too & ours will be better than theirs! For this Disney fan, bring it on! I hope they go all out making this happen quickly & making it competitive. We benefit from this struggle so I hope they are successful.
Talk about throwing sh*t to the wall and seeing what sticks.
Totally agree that this is Disney’s attempt to say “we have this planned and will execute, unless a recession and/or demand is not there.”
I am hoping Universal brings on the pain so to speak where is pushes Disney in a corner and they have to go back to what they did best.
Well, as I’ve said before, Disney made an enormous mistake in stopping construction for the virus hysteria. They should’ve pressed harder and added long-term deferred maintenance on all the big stuff at that time too. Working all day in the parks without guests to worry about? Huge mistake. Yeah, sure, revenue, blah, blah, blah. They had plenty of cash reserves to do it.
I really dislike the idea of IP-themed lands at MK. The park has always been about making lands with an over-arching theme and then potentially putting in IPs that fit that theme. Putting Coco or Encanto into a land wouldn’t be bad (unless they replaced something better), but giving them their own lands just doesn’t feel right. Only the villains land seems in keeping with the spirit of the park.
However, there is a bigger issue here. Why expand Magic Kingdom? It’s already the park with the highest crowds and the most rides. Sure, more rides can absorb more crowds, but these big IPs will also draw more people on general. Magic Kingdom is the park that least needs a boost to crowds and ride numbers. Why is it seemingly getting every upcoming draw (Tron, Tiana’s, and now this) when the other parks are suffering from lack of attractions?
I came here to say exactly this! Villians land is the only one that would even kind of fit (and not gonna lie, I would love this). And honestly, was either Coco or Encanto big enough for each to deserve their own LAND??
No, neither is big enough for a land. Buuut, as DL already has NO Square, and everyone loves Creole and Cajun food and the bayous, a new themed land makes a LOT more sense than ruining a great ride and the theming of Frontierland with a chintzy overlay
Interesting point about the IP at MK
100% agree. Magic Kingdom lands should be about big themes. A Coco attraction between Caribbean Plaza and Splash Mountain could make thematic sense if it didn’t mess up with the parade route/backstage (and, frankly, create a bottleneck in that corner of the park). But I don’t think either film merits a “mini-land”. Perhaps they could anchor a country in World Showcase, or in the case of Encanto, a South America land in Animal Kingdom. They just don’t make as much sense at Magic Kingdom. The other problem with mini-lands based on one-film franchises is that they’re not as fertile for expansion as broader themes.
A villain “sub-land” expansion of Fantasyland, on the other hand, would at least make sense in the Magic Kingdom’s overarching theme and layout.
Tiana’s will not be a huge draw. It’s not something new. And the biggest joke is that they will be reusing many AA figures, which was one reason people tried to argue for the change as they were already recycled form America Sings. Soooooo…
I have to agree with most that this was all just a great example of fluff and buying time. They have no real plans and just needed to talk up something. I get it. Another theme park is a huge ask when they haven’t even been able to finish the Epcot renovation or Tron.
Personally, they need to really spend the next year finishing what they have started. Bite the bullet and get it done. This includes Famtasmic and everything else.
They then need to address the following…
1. Get Dinoland updated or overhauled. The Animal Kingdom needs two or three new legit attractions. Just close it down and do what needs done. This should be open by 2026 at the latest.
2. Bring back some kind of night parade at the Magic Kingdom. They need something to eat up some capacity there. They are going to be swapping the capacity of Tron for Splash Mountain until that ride is revamped. That could take two years! The issue is Splash Mountain is popular. The new version isn’t going to add any capacity at all. When Malestrom was replaced, it was basically a walk-on ride that wasn’t popular. The revamp lead to 2 hour lines that ate up people. There isn’t going to be a long-term improvement there. Sorry, there just isn’t. Five years from now Tiana will be very lucky to have the lines Breir Rabbit does now. It will have long lines when it opens but that won’t last. If this ride ends up being a disappointment it will not hold up. Add the parade until some bigger expansion can happen. We are realistically looking at 10 years at least. Tron and a parade will help there once Splash reopens.
3. Get Blizzard Beach open next summer to help give guests somewhere to go. Typhoon Lagoon is packed and just not enjoyable without the second park.
4. Do something to replace The Little Mermaid ride in HWS and possibly the Muppets. I’d love to see the Muppets in that spot with a new attraction. Then do something with the giant waste of space that was the former Star Wars meeting area. Even making that a meet and greet with rare characters would be great because it would at least put people in a line and out of the pathways. It would also give more genie+ options. Then expand Galaxy’s Edge to add at least another headliner and tie it in with Star Tours. That would give HWS potentially 3 or 4 new attractions to generate interest.
5. Do something with the whole imagination area in Epcot once the work is done there. Figment is crazy popular and the right attraction in that area could finish off Epcot for the next 10 years, especially if a Spaceship Earth upgrade could happen also. Guardians and Remy have added capacity. A seriously improved Imagination area would keep Epcot fresh for awhile.
These ideas would be expensive but would add rides that put people somewhere other than on top of each other. It would also show the fans that Disney cares. These things could legitimately take the next 5 years to start and complete. All four parks would have seen investments and upgrades. All of this also assumes regular maintenance on existing rides that has been lacking lately too.
Forget any Magic Kingdom expansion until the 5th gate is done. The 5th park is the big elephant in the room that has to happen by the early 2030’s. There have just been too many hotels and not enough park capacity. The parks are packed. There may not really be more people there but it feels like it because the pathways are more crowded than ever. Quit daydreaming and acting like we are stupid, Disney, and start making things happen quicker than you have.
Honestly, I feel like D’Amaro tacked on that concept art to the presentation for a few possible reasons:
1. Mad at Chapek for stealing his thunder by announcing the third Avengers campus. Chapek probably did that to stop people from booing him
2. Showing that the Imagineers aren’t to blame for lack of reinvestment in the parks. They have plenty of ideas to reimagine neglected areas.
3. Put pressure on Chapek. Feeding the concepts to the public years ahead of time sets an expectation, and puts Chapek on the spot to provide the capital to make it happen. showing that again, the people in charges of the Parks division are chomping at the bit to improve the parks.
I even suspect that sharing this much info was a last-minute decision, based on Chris Beatty’s demeanor onstage. Either he’s an excellent actor, or he was legitimately freaking out about how much trouble he could possibly get in for revealing and explaining the details behind this concept art.
While I’m happy about the prospect of expansions, these don’t feel particularly well thought out. Encanto, Coco and…villains? It’s not terribly cohesive. It would make more sense to maybe have a cavern-themed expansion to Frontierland and have it be villain themed. A mystery-themed land.
Even the AK expansion gives me pause. Zootopia isn’t a great fit because it’s an urban environment. It would make way more sense to me to put Encanto there, and have the ability to make it more flora-themed.
I want to be excited about expansions, I really do. But they feel very haphazard and it’s hard for me to not feel skeptical.
The pie in rhe sky section was all scripted and none of it will ever happen.