Disney Park Plans Bigger Expansion, Major Demolition Possible

in Tokyo Disneyland

Cinderella Castle at nighttime in Tokyo Disneyland

Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

One Disney Resort has confirmed plans for further expansion – but there’s a catch.

As Walt Disney said upon the opening of Disneyland Resort, no Disney Park will ever be complete “as there is imagination left in the world.” The Walt Disney Company has stayed true to its word ever since, regularly introducing new lands, attractions, and even parks.

The sun sets over the Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios' Galaxy's Edge
Credit: Disney

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What started with just Disneyland Park in 1955 has evolved to six Disney Resorts across the globe. While Disneyland was joined by its neighboring California Adventure in 2001, Disney has also opened parks in Florida (Walt Disney World Resort), Japan (Tokyo Disney Resort), Paris (Disneyland Paris), Hong Kong (Hong Kong Disneyland), and China (Shanghai Disneyland).

Classic attractions have also been joined by rides and shows inspired by newer Disney IP. Decade-old staples such as Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spaceship Earth, and “it’s a small world” remain, but they now sit alongside the likes of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Frozen Ever After.

Anna, Elsa, and Olaf animatronics singing at the end of Frozen Ever After.
Credit: Disney

Expansions like these are some of the most exciting events at any Disney Park – especially when it means there’s a whole new land to explore. However, not every park is as blessed as Walt Disney World when it comes to space.

Disneyland Resort is famously restricted with land. Surrounded by the city of Anaheim, past expansions have required building on old parking lots or demolishing existing areas (RIP Big Thunder Ranch).

Tokyo Disney Resort's Cinderella Castle amidst a blue sky during the hot, summer months
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

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It turns out the same is true of Tokyo Disney Resort. A recent report from Nikkei Asia quotes the CEO of the Oriental Land Company (the company that owns and operates Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea) as saying that “there are still various possibilities when it comes to expansion” at the resort.

The issue? There’s no more space. With the addition of Fantasy Springs – a new land encompassing areas inspired by Frozen (2013), Tangled (2010), and Peter Pan (1953) – to Tokyo DisneySea, Tokyo Disney has officially run out of room to add new lands to its two parks.

Rapunzel's Forest concept art from Tokyo DisneySea's Fantasy Springs expansion
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

In the past, Tokyo Disney has created space by converting its parking lots into multilevel garages. It may find equally innovative ways to free up land in the future. Or, it may do the unthinkable (by Disney fan standards, at least) and start replacing old attractions with new ones.

That’s been a relatively unknown concept at Tokyo Disney Resort since its opening. From 1983 to 2023, only three rides have permanently closed at the resort: the Skyway, Grand Circuit Raceway, and StormRider. But with few options for expansion – and what sounds likely plenty of ambition to do so – this may end up being the only option.

Guests ride on logs through water on Splash Mountain
Credit: Tokyo Disney Resort

One attraction heavily rumored for closure at Tokyo Disneyland is Splash Mountain. As of May this year, this is the last remaining version of the Song of the South (1946)-inspired ride in the world. With its Disneyland and Magic Kingdom counterparts currently being renovated into Tiana’s Bayou Adventure – inspired by The Princess and the Frog (2009) – only time will tell whether Tokyo Disneyland will eventually follow suit and replace the controversial attraction.

How do you feel about demolishing old or outdated Disney attractions to make way for new experiences? Let us know in the comments!

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