The Walt Disney World Resort is filled with some of the most beloved attractions and experiences that have been charming Guests for decades, but it is also in a constant state of change and evolution. New attractions and reimaginings are constantly happening to keep the Disney Parks and Disney Resorts feeling fresh and exciting for each new generation.
With each new addition comes a hefty price tag that covers design, materials, construction, labor, and much more that happens behind the scenes before a single Guests ever steps inside. While every experience obviously was costly to create, some have been incredibly expensive, even going so far as to set Guinness World Records. Here are the most expensive attractions ever built at the Walt Disney World Resort throughout the years.
Space Mountain – $18 Million
To help put things in perspective, let’s start by looking at Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland, which was constructed in 1975 and was one of the largest additions to the Disney Park since its opening. The massive structure and two separate tracks inside were innovative at the time and cost eighteen million in construction and design, which doesn’t seem like that much, but when counting for inflation, equates to just under one hundred million today.
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Mission: SPACE – $100 Million
Fast-forwarding to 1999, the beloved Horizons attraction in what is now EPCOT’s World Discovery officially closed, paving the way for a new experience that would be out of this world. Mission: SPACE took several years to design and construct, with innovative technology allowing Guests to feel the same G-forces that astronauts feel upon blasting into orbit. Mission: SPACE was one of the most expensive attraction additions to the Walt Disney World Resort and cost an estimated one hundred million dollars. More money was again invested in the attraction in 2017 with the addition of the Green Team’s new mission which was a gentle orbit around the Earth as opposed to the Orange Team’s intense adventure to Mars.
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Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – $100 Million
One of the most thrilling attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort can be found in the heart of the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain opened in 2006 and brings Guests deep into the Himalayan Mountains on a shortcut to base camp where they experience high speeds, steep drops, and a close encounter with the Yeti. The structure of Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is absolutely massive and a huge amount of time and money also went into the development of the advanced Yeti animatronic who unfortunately no longer is in working order (looking at you, Disco Yeti!). The attraction cost a whopping one hundred million to create, earning it a Guinness World Record for the most expensive roller coaster in the world until it was dethroned in 2019.
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The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – $140 Million
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is home to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which can be found looming at the end of Sunset Boulevard, beckoning Guests in with the sounds of screams and eerie theming. The attraction opened in 1994 and not only created a unique and completely immersive story with special effects, but also an entirely new type of ride technology that physically pulls the elevators down faster than gravity. Between the design, construction, theming, and more, the total cost of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror came in at one hundred and forty million dollars.
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Test Track Presented by Chevrolet – $300 Million
Test Track Presented by Chevrolet in EPCOT’s World Discovery is the fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort and offers Guests the chance to design unique SIM cars which go through several thrilling and high-speed scenarios before being rated. Replacing the World of Motion which closed in early 1996, the original Test Track Presented by General Motors took a different approach with theming and placed Guests in the shoes of test dummies to see how cars pass rigorous safety protocols. With a new ride system, advanced technology, and many construction and software hiccups that delayed the opening by nearly two years until 1999, the original version of the attraction cost a staggering three hundred million dollars.
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Pandora – The World of Avatar – $500 Million
Not all attractions are simply rides, but rather immersive experiences that offer Guests the opportunity to enjoy several different things without leaving that environment. Pandora – The World of Avatar is the perfect example of how the entire area brings the Valley of Mo’ara to life with mind-boggling floating mountains, otherworldly vegetation and creatures, and bioluminescence at night in addition to attractions including Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, dining locations like Pongu Pongu and Satu’li Canteen, and shopping options like Windtraders. Development for Pandora – The World of Avatar began in 2011 in partnership with James Cameron and the area officially opened in 2017 after a cost of five hundred million dollars for design, construction, and theming.
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Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – $1 Billion
No project in the history of the Walt Disney World Resort has come anywhere near close to that of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (an identical version also exists in Disneyland). The immersive area brings Guests into the fictional universe from the beloved films and offers the chance to wander through the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu where they can grab a drink at Oga’s Cantina, dine at locations like Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, design their own droids and lightsabers, and experience Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. With truly incredible theming that makes Guests feel as though they have left Disney’s Hollywood Studios far behind, the entire project cost an unimaginable one billion dollars to execute for its opening in 2019.
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