As Universal Studios prepares to open a brand new park in Orlando, the pressure is on Disney Parks to play keep-up. As many have noted, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando’s biggest competitor, hasn’t opened a new park since 1998 when Animal Kingdom opened. Still, as the company is getting ready to boost investments for their domestic parks, some are contemplating the idea that a new theme park may be on the way, but where?
Before Walt Disney World
Magic Kingdom opened to Walt Disney World in 1971, following the massive success of its predecessor, Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Although Disney World would quickly see an expansion into what we know today, with the inclusion of water parks, resort hotels, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney’s original concept would remain limited in its expansion due to tight spaces in Anaheim.
As we all know, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Tokyo Disneyland would all follow the successful venture of Walt Disney World, which maximized everything that fans adored about Walt’s original park; Disneyland, the OG Disney Park would remain mostly the same minus the addition of California Adventure.
Josh D’ Amaro Clears Up Speculation of Expansion of Disney Parks in California
Despite what many of us have heard regarding the land availability surrounding Disneyland, handicapping any attempts at expanding the Disney Parks reach in California, Josh D’Armaro, the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, cleared up speculative reporting regarding the possibility of expansion of Disney’s original theme park.
During an employee town hall alongside Disney CEO Bob Iger, D’Amaro mentioned that Anaheim indeed has “enough room to build another Disneyland.”
The statement seemed to mostly fly under the radar, as many of our readers typically concern themselves with Walt Disney World Resort. However, as Iger let loose that The Walt Disney Company plans to “turbocharge” their domestic theme park investments over the course of ten years, many are starting to speculate about new developments and plans regarding Disney Parks.
Disney Parks Expansion Plans in Anaheim?
D’Amaro’s words were subtle yet resounded loudly among Disney fans, who feel that Disneyland, which Walt himself insisted would be a forever-changing endeavor, has not been a priority in terms of development for Disney Parks.
Despite the addition of Avengers Campus and other new attractions, which compliment originals like Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean nicely, there is a school of thought, that in terms of progress, Disneyland has seen very little.
Interestingly enough, many times, the culprit for denying Disneyland an opportunity for expansion has been the confines of land and availability. However, D’Amaro disagrees obviously, and feels that if Disney wanted to, they have the space to build a new Disney Park the size of Disneyland.
If Disney has a plan to construct a new park in Anaheim, it would be a testament to their continued dedication to creating immersive and unforgettable experiences. While Disneyland has been a beloved destination for families and Disney enthusiasts since its opening in 1955, this proposed endeavor would show that Iger, D’Amaro, and Disney are determined to raise the bar even higher.
Scope and Size
The mentioned opportunity for expansion would create high expectations. Especially as Universal, Disney’s main theme park competitor, has cashed in greatly after securing rights to build The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which continues to be a large draw for fandoms within their California and Florida theme parks.
A new park would have to mirror the grandeur and scale of the existing Disneyland Resort, promising a vast expanse of wonder and adventure. If realized, a new park would introduce an unprecedented level of entertainment offerings, aiming to cater to the diverse interests and preferences of guests of all ages.
As for size, we already have an answer for that. D’Amaro specifically stated that they could build a park the “size of Disneyland.” Disneyland Resort, which calls Southern California home and hosts popular attractions like Space Mountain, The Matterhorn Bobsleds, and Sleeping Beauty Castle, currently measures around 500 acres in size.
For those of you who’ve never had the opportunity to visit Disneyland, Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World measures around 100 acres for comparison purposes.
Potential Features and Attractions
As Disney is known for its innovation and creativity, fans eagerly anticipate a plethora of exciting features and attractions within a supposed influx equating to a $60 billion investment for Disney Parks. That money could be used to build new immersive lands inspired by beloved Disney movies, thrilling rides, breathtaking shows, and interactive experiences in every corner of a new park that all would expect to be teeming with magic and imagination.
Although Disneyland and Disney California Adventure park are currently home to many of the same attractions and shows you’ll find at Disney World, properties like Pandora at Animal Kingdom, a World Showcase, or even a new Disney Village dedicated to allowing hardcore fans to live out their days immersed in the magic, would all do very well over on the west coast.
Disney Parks Create Economic Impact and Job Creation
The construction of a new park on the scale of Disneyland would undoubtedly have a significant economic impact on the Anaheim area. It would not only bolster the local economy through increased tourism but also create numerous job opportunities for residents, enhancing the overall prosperity of the region.
As Disney is one of the largest employers in the state of Florida, it would also offer them the potential chance to claim a simliar title in the state of California as well. As Disneyland’s castle, compared to Cinderella Castle, isn’t the only thing waining in comparison to Walt Disney World, a new park would be most welcome by businesses, state officials, and guests.
D’Amaro’s hint at building a new park, adding to Disney Parks’ lucrative American-based theme parks, could be a serious consideration for The Walt Disney Company, which has experienced a dip in guest attendance throughout the last fiscal year. However, no proposed plan to build a new park in Anaheim has been mentioned, only that there is space to do so.
A new Disney Park would, however, demonstrate their unwavering commitment to enchant guests with unforgettable experiences. If realized, this ambitious project has the potential to elevate the already renowned Disneyland Resort to new heights. As Disney continues to captivate our hearts and imaginations, we eagerly await further details on this awe-inspiring venture, which promises to bring even more dreams to life in the magical world of Disney.
Why Not Just Do It?
With all of that being said, who actually knows what Disney plans to do. As rumors swirl regarding expansion of Magic Kingdom to include a villain’s themed land, park overhauls, and much more; the sad notion is that Disney needs a new park to stay competitive. As Universal Studios garners more and more praise from visitors, the pressue is on Disney to keep up in a world where they once reigned.
Epic Universe at Univeral will include popular attractions based on Super Mario Bros, How to Train Your Dragon (2010), and the beloved Harry Potter series. Their execution of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade Village, and especially Diagon Alley in their theme parks has far surpassed much of what Disney has done lately, minus Galaxy’s Edge and Rise of the Resistance.
With 2025 looming, and a rumored addition of the Ministry of Magic at Universal Studios Orlando, Disney’s current dip in attendance could easily take another hit over, as prices continue to rise, keeping many wannabe visitors sitting at home, or choosing other vacation destinations.
As well, the holiday offerings at Universal are garnering more attention these days. Halloween Horror Nights, which is available for half the cost of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, is increasingly growing in popularity as they incorporate popular fan-favorites themes like The Last of Us (2023) and Stranger Things (2022).
As Disney’s new content has failed theme at the box office, creating new attractions and shows in their parks becomes an even more formiddable task. A new park, whether it be at Walt Disney World or Disneyland would definitely pump fresh blood into Disney Parks.
Some views in this article are that of the author’s and do reflect the official position of The Walt Disney Company.