All the Details On Disney World’s New Expansion Plan

in Walt Disney World

Disney World Expansion

Walt Disney World Resort is home to many iconic attractions that draw millions of Guests from around the world to the Parks.

Disney World and Disneyland are constantly looking to improve Guest experience and one of the ways this is done is through expansion.

minnie's wonderful christmastime fireworks
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney has presented some ideas on what fans might expect in the future at Walt Disney World Resort, but much of it still remains up in the air.

As we look at the expansion plans for Disney World looking towards the future, let’s first take a look at the most recent additions to the Parks and then we’ll take a look at what fans can look forward to moving forward.

New attractions you can already experience at Walt Disney World

If you’ve been to Disney in the past few years, you’ve probably already noticed some of the newest attractions to grace the presence of Disney fans.

Here’s a look at some of the newest attractions:

kylo ren ship aerial at star wars: galaxy's edge at disney world
Credit: Disney

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

The land is home to two attractions, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Galaxy’s Edge gives Disney Park Guests an opportunity to “live your Star Wars adventure in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” In addition to the two world-class attractions, you can buy exclusive merchandise, meet special characters from the saga, and build your own droid and lightsaber.

Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway
Credit: ITM

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

The darling duo (Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse) are taking a leisurely drive to a picnic in their sporty roadster—with Engineer Goofy’s train following merrily along. Plot twist—you get to go, too! Climb aboard a runaway railway and embark on a whirlwind ride through a world where the rules of physics don’t apply. Prepare for unexpected twists, slapstick gags and mind-boggling transformations at every turn, as Mickey and Minnie try to save the day.

There’s no telling where this train is heading! This is an adventure for Mickey and Minnie fans of all ages.

remy's ratatouille adventure
Credit: Disney

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (EPCOT)

In this 4D ride experience, join Chef Remy on a daring culinary caper that will captivate all your senses as you zip, dash and scurry through the bustling kitchen, dining room and walls of Gusteau’s famous Paris restaurant. C’est magnifique!

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind (EPCOT)

This family-thrill attraction features the first ever reverse-launch on a Disney coaster and is one of the largest fully-enclosed coasters in the world! A new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering—this coaster rotates 360 degrees so you can focus on the action!

In addition to some of these new rides, there’s much more on the horizon for the Disney Parks.

Cinderella Castle Partners statue at Walt Disney World
Credit: Disney

What’s next for Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

The biggest new attraction coming to Magic Kingdom is none other than TRON: Lightcycle/Run. The roller coaster attraction in Tomorrowland has been under construction for several years now.

Disney’s official description for the attraction reads:

Lean forward into the ultimate race of survival! Leave the real world behind and join Team Blue in an epic quest across the Grid—the dark, computerized world with no horizons from TRON. Here, there’s no limit to the excitement.

Climb aboard your very own Lightcycle and take off on a high-speed adventure, racing against the Grid’s most menacing Programs. Surge past your fierce opponents as you attempt to cross through 8 Energy Gates and secure your team’s victory—so you can survive to race another day.

Scheduled to open in Spring 2023, TRON Lightcycle / Run will be one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world.

From the Big Screen to the Theme Park
In 1982, Disney made filmmaking history with TRON, the first production of its kind to mix live action with computer-generated visuals and backlit animation. This iconic film went on to inspire video games, comic books, an animated series and the 2010 sequel TRON: Legacy—as well as this new Disney theme park attraction.
tron lighting magic kingdom
Credit: Screenshot via Scott Gustin/Twitter

The new attraction is set to open in the spring of 2023, but an exact date hasn’t been announced as of yet.

But, that’s not all that’s expected to happen at Magic Kingdom soon.

Disney announced that Splash Mountain will be closing permanently on January 23, 2022 to make way for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure. This new attraction will open in 2024, meaning that Magic Kingdom will welcome new attractions to its Park in back-to-back years.

These aren’t the only plans for expansion, though.

Disney has been talking about “what’s beyond Big Thunder Mountain” and a massive land expansion is set to hit the theme park at some point in the future. There has been talk over what it will entail– as Encanto, Coco, and Disney villains have all been teased by Disney– but it’s clear that Disney plans to do something in the future with the land beyond Frontierland.

beacon of magic epcot
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

What’s next for EPCOT at Walt Disney World Resort

Magic Kingdom isn’t the only Disney Park with plans for the future.

EPCOT just introduced two new attractions in Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, but that’s not all.

The Disney Park is currently constructing the World Celebration Neighborhood, and with this we’ll see Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. The exact opening date for this attraction and area in EPCOT hasn’t been announced yet, but it is likely to come next year at some point.

There have been rumors that EPCOT might make an expansion to its World Showcase with another country, but that hasn’t been confirmed and looks as if it won’t be on the docket for the near future.

Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom
Credit: Disney

What’s next for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort

Outside of Magic Kingdom’s massive expansion rumors, Disney’s Animal Kingdom might have the biggest plans in the works of any Disney Park.

Disney added Pandora: The World of Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom back in 2017, but that’s not the only expansion expected in the future.

DinoLand, U.S.A. has closed and there are many rumors on what might be taking over the area. DinoLand U.S.A. was home to the thrilling dark-ride attraction, DINOSAUR, as well as TriceraTop Spin, and the carnival-style area, Fossil Fun Games. In June 2020, the DinoLand U.S.A. coaster, Primeval Whirl permanently closed at the Orlando Disney theme park and since then demolition has moved slowly at the Disney Resort.

At D23 this past September, Disney shared that there were two major ideas on the table for the area’s replacement. One was Coco and the other was Zootopia.

A Zootopia-themed area seems to be the stronger of the two ideas right now, but nothing has been confirmed. If this area were to turn into a Zootopia area, this would likely mean the end of the attraction DINOSAUR. As of right now, however, Disney has not confirmed what is next.

Sunset Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios Theme Park
Credit: Disney

What’s next for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s Hollywood Studios received the biggest of any of its expansions when it opened Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The Disney Park also, in the last decade, added Toy Story Land— which features Slinky Dog Dash– and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

While not all fans are pleased with the changes, these have added new attractions to the Park. There hasn’t been any talk right now of new expansions on the horizon for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it seems that Disney is looking more toward its other Parks for now.

Concept Art of Villain Land Looming Over Coco and Encanto at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Beyond Big Thunder Mountain D23 2022
Credit: Disney

How soon could a new expansion happen at Walt Disney World Resort?

With none of these expansions being confirmed, it would stand to reason that we could still be a year or more out from the project being officially announced. From there, even when construction begins, you’re talking about years down the road.

Universal Orlando has been working at hyper-speed to open the Epic Universe in 2025, and this expansion might be Disney’s response to that. As a matter of fact, most believe that Disney will respond to Epic Universe with some kind of expansion as competition heats up in Orlando.

With TRON Lightcycle/Run opening in 2023 and Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opening in 2024, Disney may be looking to begin construction on a Magic Kingdom land expansion at some point towards the end of next year (or the beginning of 2024) with the sights on opening in late 2025 or 2026.

As far as the Animal Kingdom expansion is concerned, we may be looking at a similar timeframe.

It’s important to note, however, that all of this is just speculation and no one will know how long an expansion will take to be constructed, even after it is officially announced.

Disney Merchandise in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

When could Disney World build a new theme park altogether?

Of course, the biggest expansion idea from fans is a whole different theme park in and of itself. Disney Park fans have begged for a fifth gate to be built at Walt Disney World Resort for quite some time, but those wishes have not come to fruition as of yet.

Many fans believe that adding a fifth gate could help Disney better control crowds, but as of right now, there are no plans in the works for a fifth theme park to be constructed. At least, not for now.

This doesn’t mean that they might not reconsider this in the future, but we’d expect a Magic Kingdom expansion and an expansion at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be completed before Disney ever announces that it is building a fifth theme park at Walt Disney World Resort.

It’s not to say that it couldn’t happen in the future, but this is something that likely wouldn’t happen for many years down the road, we’re talking a decade or more.

What are your expectations for Walt Disney World Resort as the company looks towards expansion? Let us know in the comments!

Visit the official Disney World website to plan your next magical vacation. Walt Disney World Resort is home to four magical theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as two water parks in Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, and the retail and recreation area, Disney Springs. A valid ticket and a Park Pass Reservation is needed to enter each Disney Park, and Park Hopper hours begin at 2 p.m. daily!

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