Disney Imagineer Confirms Villain Park in the Works

in Walt Disney World

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Credit: Disney

An entire Disney Park dedicated to the studio’s rogues gallery of animated antagonists has been the stuff of urban legend for years. However, one Disney Imagineer has confirmed Disney’s interest in the idea, but how close are we to actually getting a Villain Park?

Gaston, Jafar and the Queen of Hearts
All Images Credit: Disney

It’s no exaggeration to say that Disney has created some of the most incredible and unforgettable villains in all of fiction and pop culture. From the evil queen to Dr. Facilier, the studio has crafted decades worth of immortally evil characters. The idea for an entire area dedicated to their fan following honestly should have been done years ago.

Related: Marvel’s Newest Villain Arrives at Avengers Campus

The fanbase has practically been begging for a Disney Villain Park for years, and a famous urban legend about Disney’s canceled “Dark Kingdom” even evolved from the depths of the web. Some fans have even speculated their ideas as to how Disney could actually pull it off. Is it finally becoming a reality?

Why a Villains Park?

Oogie Boogie at Oogie Boogie Bash 2021
Credit: Inside the Magic

Disney’s villains aren’t just a collection of evil characters, they’re practically the companies most underrated and underutilized franchise at this point. They have their own merchandise line, T-shirts, TV specials, and they even have their own yearly celebration during Halloween events at the Disney parks. We’d even go as far as saying that Guests flock to their favorite villains almost more than they do their favorite princess or hero.

It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Disney is sitting on a gold mine has material for an entire new expansion. Some might not give it the full park treatment, but an expansion off of New Fantasyland could be just the ticket to bring the villains into the Park all year long.

Sinister State of Events

Gaston at Gastons Tavern
Credit: Disney

As of now, Disney’s villain action is limited at best and struggling at worst. Even their animated features have been lacking a traditional antagonist. With the part still recovering from the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney needs a massive change to suck crowds in further.

Related: Disney Gives Classic Villain an Interactive Makeover

Even just seeing the villains as Meet and Greet characters has become a huge rarity at Walt Disney World. While Disneyland is absolutely rolling in characters, some days it feels like the Floridian counterpart is only working with a mixed bag.

Did Disney Just Confirm a Villain-themed Park?

Villains Guests can Meet at Disney
Credit: ITM

It might be early in the game, but we have reason to believe that an expansion inspired by Disney’s villains is on its way to the Magic Kingdom. Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty just revealed to EW where the company stands on the matter, and signs could be pointing to yes.

The Imagineer told them,

“We’re dreaming every day about what could be next at Walt Disney World. We just wanted to give you a peek at some of the amazing things that could be coming. It’s changing every day. It’s exciting. I think Josh was really trying to get across that spirit of creativity, of what could be next, of innovation, of the possibility of what could be is still alive and well at Disney and Imagineering…”

But the big take away from the conversation was,

“[The villains concept] got pretty good applause…We took note of how loud the applause was when we announced that.””

At the very least, Disney has an interest. Interest is good, but can it really be considered 100% confirmation? That might still be up in the air, but Disney Park Guests could potentially see this concept come to life sooner rather than later.

Why This Could Work

Disney Villains After Hours
Credit: Disney

There aren’t many concepts that could win the favor of Guests, Cast Members, and casual fans alike, but the idea of a Disney Villain Park certainly has merit across the board. Where Guests could get a different flavor of Disney in their vacations, Cast Members who love the characters could provide a different performance for them. It’s not every day character actors get the opportunity to show a little bite in their work.

Related: What Happened to Disney’s Villains?

Not only could we soon see a Magic Kingdom expansion for the villains, but the concept could work as a park. Disney has grown since the days of the Evil Queen and Maleficent, and they are playing with more than a few different varieties of villains. Don’t forget, Pixar, Marvel, and the Star Wars universe also have their sinister selection of characters, why not give them a place to call home?

President Loki at avengers campus at disney California adventure
Credit: Disney

Imagine the amount of fan-frenzy that would ensue if there was a place where Disney Park Guests could mingle with Gaston, Ernesto De La Cruz, Kylo Ren, and Loki all in one afternoon. 2022’s Oogie Boogie Bash essentially laid the groundwork for the idea and proved that more villains at the Parks would be an absolute smash. So, why not welcome them in with open arms?

Planned Attractions

Micke Mouse in his Sorcerer's Apprentice outfit battling Maleficent as a dragon on Fantasmic
Credit: Disney

It goes without saying, but you can’t have a Disney Villain theme Park without some rides and attractions to back it up. Meet and Greets with Disney’s biggest baddies would be absolutely awesome, but the concept needs something to keep Guests coming back. As previously indicated, Disney Imagineering definitely has an interest.

Related: Fans Ask Disney to Make a Villains Version of Mickey’s PhilharMagic For Halloween

A Villain Park could be the perfect breeding grounds for some more intense attractions, and even a chance to bring scrapped plans like Disney’s Beastly Kingdom back from the dead. Of course, making this a balance of slightly sinister and family-friendly would be a huge task for anyone. Fortunately, Disney’s Imagineers aren’t the only ones with an interest in the subject.

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♬ A Night on Bald Mountain – Fritz Reiner

There are dozens and dozens of TikTok videos like the one above, and many of these are actually solid concepts Disney should consider. A walkthrough attraction of famous villains, new and original Park material, and a chance to try a different direction would all be a breath of fresh air for the Disney Parks. Fans are clearly vocal about the idea, but how would this play out with an actual audience of Park-goers?

Who Would This Be For?

Disney Guests taking a selfie in front of R2-D2 Fab 50 Golden Statue
Credit: Disney

A Disney Villain Park would definitely come with a bit of an edge for the studio, but it’s not like that would be a bad thing. We’re not wading in any Halloween Horror Nights waters here, but Disney has done something similar before. This concept, whether as a land expansion or an entire Park would need a darker side of Disney at work, and that’s okay.

Related: Fans Slam Latest Disney Movie, Calling It “Dark” and “Depressing”

Not every little girl is going to want to go to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, nor is every boy going to want to join the Jedi or fly a starship, and not all parents are going to want to be surrounded by Mickey and friends at all times. A Villain Park would be perfect for Disney fans looking for something other than the typical magical fare, and that’s why it would be a huge draw for both older audiences and parent’s traveling without small children.

A Disney Adult’s Dream Come True!

A woman smiles wearing Princess Leia buns, taking a selfie with a black iPhone.
Credit: Disney

In recent years, there has been an increase in adult Guests coming to the Disney Parks. While they are certainly one of the most vocal sects of the Disney fanbase, there isn’t really much in the theme parks themselves meant strictly for them. A Disney Villain Park would definitely even out the playing field.

Related: Disney Adults Aren’t the Problem, Disney Parents Are

It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say that a majority of villain fans are above preteen age, and those Guests aren’t exactly clamoring to ride Dumbo or go see Pluto. To coin a phrase from Jack Skellington, Disney may as well give them what they want.

Disney Adults would hit the ground running for a villain-based Disney Park that would allow them to experience Disney’s darker side, ride more intense attractions, and maybe even indulge in some stronger treats than Dole Whip and Mickey Bars. If Disney really wants to satisfy that need for more adult-oriented offerings in their Parks, they are sitting on a golden opportunity here.

The Root of All Evil

Scrooge McDuck Diving into his money bin.
Credit: Walt Disney Productions

It might surprise some fans to know that Maleficent’s magic spells wouldn’t be the only villainous force at work in this concept. The only way Disney would even consider bringing this into fruition is if it could pay itself off. Villains might do well when it comes to merchandise and movies, but would an entire expansion or a Park dedicated to them?

Related: Bob Iger Drops Big Statement Over Disney Park Expansion

The short answer is likely a cautious yes. The fans and regular Disney Park Guests have certainly been more than open to the idea, but the ball is in Disney’s court as to whether it will happen or not. That all being said, the fact that an actual Disney Imagineer confirmed interest could be interpreted as a good omen for fans.

Will Disney Actually Do a Villain Park?

Black and white photo shows two girls standing next to Mickey and Minnie in front of Disneyland Castle
Credit: Disney

As of now, the framework has definitely been laid for Disney to pursue this venture. The fans and Guests have spoken, there is clearly an audience for this, there practically has been since the ’80s and before. The question is, will Disney actually go through with it?

If Chris Beatty’s comments are any indication, some form of Disney Villain expansion is already in the works, but we will still have to wait a good while before proper progress can be gauged. Until then, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope that the Disney Villains will be doing their best to bring us their worst.

Are you ready for a Disney Villain Park? Tell us at Inside the Magic in the comments below!

 

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