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Magic Kingdom Closes Down Iconic Ride, Plans Multiple New Attractions

guests at fantasyland at magic kingdom disney world at dusk
Credit: Becky Burkett

If you’ve ever been to Magic Kingdom Park, you know there’s so much to do it’s nearly impossible to do it all.

Magic Kingdom’s charming Main Street, U.S.A. is a picturesque boulevard lined with shops, restaurants, and vintage architecture reminiscent of a bygone era. It serves as the park’s entry point and captures the spirit of small-town America, setting the tone for the enchanting adventures that await within. As you explore the different themed lands within the park, from the futuristic Tomorrowland to the wild and adventurous Frontierland, you’ll find a diverse range of attractions that cater to a wide spectrum of interests.

One of the most iconic and captivating features of Magic Kingdom is its breathtaking fireworks display. “Happily Ever After” is a nightly spectacular that lights up the skies over Cinderella Castle, combining state-of-the-art projection technology with fireworks and an emotionally stirring soundtrack that celebrates the power of dreams and love. This mesmerizing show has a way of leaving a lasting impression and bringing a touch of magic to every visitor’s heart.

disney world cinderella castle fireworks

Credit: Brian McGowan on Unsplash

Perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Magic Kingdom is the enduring appeal it holds for both children and adults. While kids are delighted by the beloved Disney characters and whimsical rides, adults can revel in the nostalgia of their own childhoods and appreciate the artistry, attention to detail, and innovation that goes into creating this magical world.

Though Magic Kingdom remains the most iconic symbol of “The Most Magical Place on Earth” and the Disney park continues to serve as a place of nostalgia for Disney Adults across the world, that doesn’t mean that progress has stopped there or that changes don’t occur.

disney world magic kingdom cinderella castle during daytime with visitors standing in front of castle

Credit: Becky Burkett

As a matter of fact, there are several major plans in the works for the Disney theme park in the near future, including major attractions that will be built, as well as closures that will happen along the way. Today, let’s take a look at the major updates happening at Disney World’s largest and most iconic theme park.

What all is there to do at Magic Kingdom?

If you’re visiting Magic Kingdom for just one day, you should prepare ahead of time and understand that it’s not likely you’ll get to enjoy every single attraction inside the theme park. Magic Kingdom has the largest crowds of any Disney park, and lines can get long. Still, there are plenty of attractions to enjoy and they are available on Disney Genie+ or for purchase by Individual Lightning Lane, if you want to attempt to skip some of the biggest lines in the park.

In all, if you count entertainment offerings, attractions, and character experiences, there are 66 things to do at Magic Kingdom. While we won’t list every single character opportunity or entertainment offering, here are the biggest and most popular rides to enjoy in each of the lands at the Disney World theme park:

Adventureland:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  • Swiss Family Treehouse
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin

Frontierland:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Tom Sawyer Island
  • Walt Disney World Railroad (Frontierland Station)

Liberty Square:

haunted mansion disney theme park ride attraction the bride ghost

Credit: Disney

Fantasyland:

  • “it’s a small world”
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Under the Sea — Journey of The Little Mermaid
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Barnstormer
  • Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station
  • Storybook Circus (Area with attractions)
  • Meet Ariel at Her Grotto
  • Meet Disney princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic

Tomorrowland:

TRON Lightcycle Run at Night

Credit: Disney

Entertainment and Parades:

  • Happily Ever After (Nighttime Spectacular)
  • Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade
  • Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire

Please note that the availability of certain attractions may change, and new attractions may be added over time. It’s always a good idea to check the latest information and schedules when planning your visit to Magic Kingdom.

As you can see, there are already so many major attractions and iconic rides to enjoy while visiting Magic Kingdom, but that doesn’t mean that Disney is done with the theme park, or that all these attractions will remain around forever.

Magic Kingdom has major expansion plans in the works.

There are major plans in the works for Magic Kingdom Park in the future, despite already boasting so many rides and attractions throughout its parks. While we’ll talk about the most prominent development in a bit, we need first to mention the biggest and most popular plans for the future of the Disney Park.

Back at the D23 Expo in 2022, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro got on stage and teased a major expansion, titled “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain.” At the time of the presentation, D’Amaro teased three different lands that could come to the area behind Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom, including Coco, Encanto, and Disney Villains.

Fast-forward a little more than a year later, we have more information to pass along. At Destination D23 a little more than a month ago, Disney talked about major plans for the future of Dinoland, U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The area was teased to be rethemed with an Encanto land, meaning that we’ll likely get that intellectual property at Disney’s Animal Kingdom rather than Magic Kingdom. In addition to Encanto, Disney also teased that we could get an Indiana Jones attraction of some sort in the area, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.

animal kingdom theme park disney world theme park dinoland usa animals new attraction beastly kingdom

Credit: Disney, Lucasfilm, Canva

As for Magic Kingdom and the major expansion Beyond Big Thunder Mountain, D’Amaro and Disney CEO Bob Iger have reiterated that they’re still planning to move forward with the project. Disney has shared multiple times that the company plans to invest more than $17 billion in the Disney World parks over the next 10 years. This, of course, will include the Magic Kingdom expansion.

With Encanto essentially being planned for Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it has led many to wonder if it will be Coco or Disney Villains– or perhaps something else entirely– could come to Magic Kingdom. While some fans remain skeptics of the entire announcement– and that’s fair considering Disney has a track record of going back on teased plans that have been unveiled at D23 Expos– the plans seem to really be moving into motion.

Encanto Family

Credit: Disney

So, what do we think could be the most likely outcome for the expansion? Disney Villains.

This land would feature a foreboding and atmospheric design, with gothic architecture, shadowy alleyways, and an aura of mischief. Visitors would have the opportunity to interact with some of Disney’s most iconic villains, whether through character meet-and-greets or engaging in immersive shows and experiences. Attractions could include a Maleficent-themed roller coaster that takes riders on a high-speed journey through the Forbidden Mountain, or a dark-ride that takes into account many of the villains. Of course, these are just ideas and speculation, not confirmations from Disney.

While the villains’ land might be a little harder to pull off in terms of Disney’s commitment to providing a “family-friendly” atmosphere, there’s no reason that both couldn’t be accomplished. Disney Villains have an iconic place in some of Disney’s most popular films, and there is a loyal legion of fans who would absolutely go insane to see something like this built in Magic Kingdom.

Disney villains

Credit: Disney and Canva

We’re not saying that it will absolutely happen, but D’Amaro’s tease at least indicates that Disney is seriously considering it, and in a lot of ways, it would make a lot of sense and would, without a doubt, be a fun design for Walt Disney Imagineers to come up with.

As Magic Kingdom closes down an iconic attraction, another is set to take its place.

Splash Mountain was an iconic and exhilarating log flume ride located in Frontierland at Magic Kingdom, as well as in other Disney parks around the world. Themed around the controversial Disney film Song of the South, this attraction took riders on a whimsical journey through the adventures of Br’er Rabbit as he tries to outsmart Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.

Br'er Fox Br'er rabbit splash mountain disney parks ride attraction characters song of the south

Credit: Disney

Back in January, Disney closed down the longstanding attraction to make way for a new attraction: Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the most prominent and most pressing construction project happening at Magic Kingdom currently. The new attraction is set to open in “late 2024” and will feature an array of animatronics and a story based on the beloved Princess and the Frog (2009) movie.

princess tiana frog louis alligator jazz new orleans splash mountain bayou adventure

Credit: Disney

In Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, you’ll join Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis during Mardi Gras season as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind celebration for the people of New Orleans. This new scene is the thrilling moment you first drop into the bayou and encounter some friends both new and familiar. Fireflies will light up the night and invite you deeper into the bayou … almost like they’re waving you forward. What you can’t tell from this rendering – so you’ll just have to trust me on this one – is that beautiful zydeco music will fill the air. Zydeco is a special blend of rhythm and blues that was born in Louisiana, and when you hear it, you’ll feel like you’ve truly stepped into Tiana’s world.

Here you’ll find Louis, who explains where this amazing music is coming from. Tiana made some new friends out here – a band full of adorable critters, including an otter, a rabbit, a racoon, a beaver, a turtle and others.

In its release last year on the attraction, Disney shared that the attraction will be “a love letter to New Orleans.”

“In many ways, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is a love letter to New Orleans,” Charita Carter, executive producer of relevancy activations at Walt Disney Imagineering, said. “Like the musical city that inspired this attraction, Tiana’s second act is about a community working in harmony to achieve something extraordinary. She reminds us of an immutable truth we can all relate to: ‘if you do your best each and every day, good things are sure to come your way.’ And that’s a melody we can all sing along to!” 

The new attraction is well under construction now and there are rumors that Disney might be changing more than just the ride to fit Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. There are rumors that Disney could be changing Frontierland– at least a portion of it– to become New Orleans Square.

The area around Tiana’s Bayou Adventure would become the new land, while Frontierland would still remain with other attractions like Big Thunder Mountain. Of course, this is all speculation and hasn’t been confirmed by Disney.

What other attractions could be on their way out at Magic Kingdom?

The decision to remove or replace attractions at a theme park like Magic Kingdom is influenced by a combination of factors, including changing guest preferences, technological advancements, storytelling updates, and the desire to keep the park fresh and relevant. While it’s challenging to predict with certainty, a few potential candidates for replacement or updates in the future could include:

  1. Tomorrowland Speedway: The attraction uses gasoline-powered vehicles and may be considered for an update to more environmentally friendly, electric vehicles or a new, more futuristic experience.
  2. Carousel of Progress: While beloved by some for its historical significance, this attraction might be considered for modernization to keep it engaging for new generations of visitors.
  3. Enchanted Tales with Belle: Although a charming attraction, Disney is always looking for ways to incorporate the latest technology and storytelling techniques. It’s possible that Belle’s interactive experience could receive an upgrade or a new addition to the park.
  4. Tom Sawyer Island: As Disney makes plans for the “Beyond Big Thunder” expansion, it may include getting rid of Tom Sawyer Island completely, though this hasn’t been confirmed.
  5. Swiss Family Treehouse: The treehouse is a fun avenue to get away from the crowds, but it involves a lot of walking and with Bob Iger wanting to include more IPs, it very well could be changed to a more Disney-themed area. Though this isn’t pressing and likely won’t happen for years, we could certainly see the treehouse and some of its components being rethemed to potentially draw a bigger audience than what the current experience is doing in Adventureland.

Please keep in mind that this are all speculation and that none of these closures have been confirmed or announced by Disney.

It’s important to note that Disney typically carefully considers changes and updates to its attractions to ensure that the magic and nostalgia of the park are preserved while also meeting the evolving preferences of park guests. Any changes are often met with extensive planning and fan engagement to maintain the park’s status as a place of enchantment and wonder.

What do you want to see next at Magic Kingdom?

About Brittni Ward

Brittni is a Disney and Universal fan; one of her favorite things at both parks is collecting popcorn buckets. While at Disney World Resort, Brittni meets the princesses and rides Kilimanjaro Safaris. At Universal, Brittni enjoys the Minions and watching Animal Actors on Location! When not at Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, Brittni spends time with her family and pets.