Yesterday, Disney revealed some exciting plans for an expansion of the Disneyland Resort. The project, which is called DisneylandForward, includes theme park, retail, and parking expansions of the Anaheim resort.
DisneylandForward showcases the reimagining of what the resort will look like over the next couple of decades, as seen in the concept art below.
At this time, no specifics have been released by Disney, as they need to work with Anaheim in order to get the approval to move forward with the massive project, and that could take years. However, Walt Disney Imagineering’s Jeanette Lomboy said:
“What we do know today is that guests need and want more. In order to give guests what they want, we need more flexibility here in Anaheim. Guests are demanding immersive integrated experiences that are not singular in their uses. We no longer think of uses as separate. Retail, dining, entertainment, theme parks and hotels are all part of the same experiences in the same place. And we need the space in our lands to create story-rich environments.”
Additionally, Disney did hint at what that the future expansion could look like as they shared projects and concept art from Disney Parks around the globe, including the Tangled, Frozen and Peter Pan-themed lands coming to Tokyo Disneyland, the Zootopia-themed land, Disneytown retail district and the TRON roller coaster at Shanghai Disneyland, and Toy Story Land and Disney Springs shopping district at Walt Disney World Resort.
When reading these plans and looking at the map unveiled by Disney, we started thinking — what could be included in this massive expansion? One thought that came many fans’ minds — Wakanda, the Marvel land from Black Panther. Here is everything we can interpret so far about the early concept art and why it would make sense for Disneyland Resort to add a Wakanda expansion to Disney California Adventure.
At this time, it is important to note this is pure speculation and even if Wakanda is planned, it’s clear Disney is not ready to unveil it.
DisneylandForward Early Concept Art
First, let’s take a look at the concept art map unveiled by Disney yesterday. Everything that is in blue corresponds to a possible Disney California Adventure Park expansion, with everything in Orange corresponding to a possible Disneyland Park expansion. When we zoomed in on the concept art map, we noticed something in the middle of the map, right above Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.
We zoomed in a bit closer, and we, like many other fans, are beginning to speculate that the small piece of land surrounding by what looks like to be ponds of water could be early concept art for Wakanda!
In case you aren’t familiar, Wakanda — where the Marvel 2018 film Black Panther takes place — features a gigantic panther statue, which looks pretty similar to the gray part of the artwork (which we have circled) on the map below.
Again, at this time, it is important to note this is pure speculation and even if it is planned, it’s clear Disney is not ready to reveal that they want to bring Wakanda to Disney California Adventure. However, here’s why it would make sense if this is being dreamed up at Walt Disney Imagineering.
The Call For Black Panther to Be Represented at Disney Parks
If Wakanda is included in the massive expansion plans, it would make sense as Disney fans around the world have been calling for the Black Panther to be represented within the theme parks.
In fact, fans began petitioning for Disney to reconsider the new theming of Splash Mountain (which will soon be rethemed to The Princess and the Frog), and instead theme it to Black Panther, in honor of the late Chadwick Boseman, who passed away this year after battling cancer. Other fans have proposed that Disney should build a statue of Chadwick Boseman to the parks, specifically Disney California Adventure.
Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure
Chadwick Boseman’s Legacy
The Black Panther star passed in late August at the young age of 43 after a long battle with colon cancer, which he kept as a secret.
To honor the Marvel actor’s legacy, Downtown Disney in Disneyland Resort debuted a heartfelt and touching mural for Guests to celebrate his life as well. The mural, which was unveiled in fall 2020, was titled “King Chad” and was designed by former Disney Imagineer and current concept artist Nikkolas Smith. This is something that became extremely popular and fans who visited Downtown Disney made it a point to go and admire the mural, in honor of Boseman.
Though the mural is no longer on display, it was announced that it will be moving to a permanent location that has not yet been revealed.
Final Thoughts on Wakanda at Disney California Adventure
Even if Wakanda is planned for Disney California Adventure, it’s clear that Walt Disney Imagineering isn’t ready to unveil it. Disney hinted at some things that could be inspirations for the park expansions at Disneyland Resort, but those were all expansions and attractions that were officially announced to be coming to the international parks, with concept art that was already released for those parks, or things that are already open at Shanghai Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
So, if Disney does want to build Wakanda at Disney California Adventure, it makes sense for them to be a bit more “hush-hush” about it. Again, these are very early proposals and nothing is set in stone or moving forward quite yet, but if this does happen, it this would be the first land of its kind. It’s likely that the company will want to keep a Wakanda-themed land a secret until they know for a fact they will be bringing it to life.
Do you want to see Wakanda added to Disney California Adventure? Let us know in the comments below.