Upcoming Theme Park Throws Shade at Disney and Universal

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Mickey Mouse and the Minions scared at Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort as a theme park throws shade at them

Credit: Inside the Magic

“You don’t even need Disney or Universal,” is the bold statement an upcoming theme park developer released, throwing shade at the theme park and entertainment giants.

It seems like each day, more competitors rise against Disney and Universal, with a popular Florida theme park gaining on Universal with an all-new bone-chilling Halloween experience and Mattel joining the race with a brand-new theme park currently in development.

While a County Judge in Texas recently stated that the State’s gates were wide open to welcome Mickey Mouse, it would appear that not every Texan would be happy to welcome the most magical place on earth, as a theme park developer recently threw shade at the leading companies in the theme park industry, The Walt Disney Company, and NBCUniversal.

Mickey Mouse character meet and greet at Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

Related: New Legislation Could Move Disney World to North Carolina

Earlier this year, NBCUniversal announced plans to open a new theme park in Frisco, Texas. And while the company faced backlash from locals after this project was announced, Universal continues to work closely with the community to keep plans moving. However, it would appear that Universal’s charm, like Disney’s, could not enchant a determined group of Texans willing to go big to bring home an all-new theme park experience.

Concept art for an all-new Universal theme park planned to open in Frisco, Texas
Credit: Universal Parks & Resorts

“You don’t even need Disney or Universal. Texas itself is its own brand,” is the bold statement Lizzy McGee shared in an interview with Texas Monthly. McGee — a sixth-generation Texan who spent her early career as a strategist for Disney, doing market analyses for its theme parks, cruises, and hotels — is working along with Nick Blackburn, James Underwood, and Gaby Joseph to bring a Lone Star–centric amusement park to Houston, aiming to compete with Walt Disney’s original theme park, Disneyland, and bring Texans “a quality, affordable, family-friendly park.”

TexasLand is currently in its earliest development stages, as the ambitious project recently passed its $71,212 funding goal, raising a total of $81,732 on Kickstarter thanks to over 250 backers. However, once the project is completed, the developers hope to have a theme park based on the ideals that inspired Disneyland when the Park opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955.

Walt and Mickey at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

The upcoming theme park’s concept reads: “My vision for TexasLand is inspired by Walt Disney’s original hopes for his theme park. On opening day in 1955, the rides at Disneyland were not filled with popular movie characters, but with stock stories from the public imagination: pirates, haunted mansions, and railroads.”

Some initial attractions planned for TexasLand include Apollo 11 Mission Control, Towns of Texas Pavilion, Bowie’s Lost Silver Mine, and Haunted Hill.

However, McGee said, “This is much more story-driven, and you don’t even necessarily need rides,” and considers the Park’s central attraction to be similar to New Orleans Square in Disneyland or EPCOT at Disney World, allowing Guests to feel like they’re traveling long distances within a few feet.

Concept theme park map for TexasLand USA
Credit: TexasLand USA, LLC

McGee added that she hopes TexasLand can be to Texans what Disneyland is to Californians and commented that she draws inspiration from Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. “What they’ve done so successfully is lean into their Appalachian identity, and they celebrate their region,” she said, adding that she doesn’t see a reason why Texas shouldn’t have that too. “Texas has got to have more state pride than Tennessee.”

Concept art for Big Bear Mountain roller coaster at Dollywood theme park
Credit: Dollywood

While the developers are convinced that Texas needs TexasLand, McGee and her partners are aware that, though their Kickstarter campaign exceeded expectations, it’s possible that an upcoming study to be commissioned by the team could result in a recommendation against building a theme park. Should that be the case, the group states they would pivot and explore other options outside theme parks.

“While we’re confident that our professional experiences and personal relationships (+ this Kickstarter signifying market demand) will enable us to find interested investors / developers, breaking ground on the park hinges on significant upfront capital investment,” stated the team on their campaign information.

Inside the Magic will keep an eye on this developing project to bring you the latest updates.

Are you excited about this new theme park possibly coming to Texas? Should Disney and Universal expand with more theme parks and experiences nationwide? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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