Disney Moving Forward with Magic Kingdom Expansion

Disney Moving Forward with Magic Kingdom Expansion

Scott Gustin, Disney news guru, reports that Walt Disney World will soon file water permits for development work in Magic Kingdom. Permits will allow Disney to expand the park behind Frontierland’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. This will be Magic Kingdom’s largest expansion ever.

Map of Magic Kingdom showing future expansion area

Michael Hundgen, Vice President, Walt Disney World Portfolio at Walt Disney Imagineering, showed Gustin a permit the company will file with the South Florida Water Management District in the coming weeks. Hundgen told reporters that the Magic Kingdom expansion will be similar in size to Galaxy’s Edge in Hollywood Studios. That land occupies 14 acres. Imagineers are currently on research trips in preparation for the new area. He didn’t provide details about the land’s theme or when it’s expected to open.

Beyond Big Thunder Mountain concept art. Copyright Disney.
“Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” concept art. Copyright Disney.

Two years ago, Disney announced a blue sky concept called “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain.” That plan included themed areas for Coco, Encanto, and Disney villains. However, Disney is now bringing the Coco and Encanto IPs to Animal Kingdom, where they’ll replace DinoLand U.S.A. An Indiana Jones attraction is also part of those plans.

This news has me contemplating the future of Frontierland. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure hardly feels “frontier,” so making it the centerpiece of a New Orleans-centric area makes sense. Big Thunder could then mark the entrance of a reimagined Frontierland. Walt Disney himself helped develop Disneyland’s version. It’s OG Disney. But what if the blue sky villains concept is still an option? Will Magic Kingdom lose Frontierland altogether? One ride doesn’t make a land.

Let’s hope we hear more about the Magic Kingdom expansion project at the D23 Fan Event later this summer.