Disney just released some major announcements regarding the future of Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World! We are reporting live from the Destination D23 event in Orlando, Florida and bringing some exciting announcements and updates about the Disney Parks straight from the biggest Disney event of the year as part of the “A Celebration of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” presentation.
At last year’s D23 Expo, Disney previously teased some ideas for replacing Dinoland at Animal Kingdom with a Zootopia or Moana-themed land, sharing concept artwork of what this could look like. Disney had already removed Primeval Whirl from Dinoland in 2021, and many guests have been feeling this area of the park is due for a change.
Today at the presentation Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Josh D’Amaro and Walt Disney Imagineering Chief Creative Officer Bruce Vaughan shared an update that shifted the plans for Animal Kingdom from Moana and Zootopia to two other fan-favorite films.
Disney has teased that Encanto and Indiana Jones will be coming to Disney World and new details on the reimagining of Dinoland that all “builds on what makes Animal Kingdom so special.” Keep reading for Disney’s latest Animal Kingdom announcements shared from Destination D23!
Disney World Dinoland Retheme
Disney will be reimagining Dinoland, focusing on the region known as the “tropical Americas.” This fits perfectly into Animal Kingdom, as the tropical Americas contain some of the most biodiverse areas in the world where “people travel for adventure, exploration, [and] discovery.” The land will not be themed to a specific intellectual property and will instead be a generally themed land that is in keeping with the rest of Animal Kingdom.
Disney is imagining a “land filled with authentic experiences from this part of the world.” Disney shares that the Tropical Americas has been the inspiration for “so many magical stories over the years,” and it will continue to be that for Animal Kingdom.
Adding in a new themed “land” rather than just one intellectual property is a great choice for Animal Kingdom. In general this is a nice direction that I hope the Disney Parks continue to go in rather than stretching Disney’s top properties across a whole land. Having a general land allows for flexibility and surprises. Though not exactly the same, this ladders into our biggest complaint with Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney used this as a segue to share that Encanto and Indiana Jones additions will be coming to Animal Kingdom, as the band played “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and the Indiana Jones theme. Though they did allude to the lands coming, they never explicitly said “this is happening.” We hope that Disney clears up this ambiguity soon and that the addition moves ahead with speed.
Previously fans saw Josh D’Amaro tease Zootopia and Moana at the D23 Expo last August. Since that time, there has been a company leadership change and there have been public discussions about the changes to the land. Either one of these could have impacted the change in this decision. Over the past week, some discussed whether the new Shanghai Zootopia would replace the Dinosaur attraction. In a bit of a head fake, Disney actually released information about the new Zootopia land leading up to this presentation which only stoked the fire.
Today Disney announced that Zootopia will replace “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” as the show within the the Tree of Life.
What New Films Are Coming to Animal Kingdom?
We are moving forward with the assumption that Indiana Jones and Encanto are happening as teased today. At this point, this is an assumption, but one that is highly likely to move forward.
Now, we can assume that Dinosaur could become a version of the extremely popular Indiana Jones Adventure attraction currently available at Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea. The Dinosaur attraction actually already uses the same ride vehicle technology and follows the same track as those other attractions.
It will be interesting to see if they do end up using this ride system for Indiana Jones or surprise us by building something new for Indiana Jones and using the Dinosaur attraction for Encanto. I am personally very excited to have an Indiana Jones attraction at Walt Disney World.
In addition to the Indiana Jones attraction, we are also getting an Encanto addition to this new land. We will have to wait and see what additional information we receive. What we can see in the concept artwork is that the Encanto Casita is present and just off of the main square of the new land.
In terms of whether Indiana Jones Adventure or the Encanto attraction opens first, we can assume that it’s whichever attraction is built on top of the existing Dinosaur attraction. We will have to wait and see if they decide to open that attraction before the rest of the land is complete.
Encanto and Indiana Jones are two great additions to Animal Kingdom that will be great additions to a new land at Animal Kingdom. Particularly Indiana Jones really leans into Disney’s vision as a place people to go to discover and explore. We are excited to learn about new details as Disney shares them.
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