Imagineers Confirm Massive Disney World Park Expansion

in Walt Disney World

An aerial shot of Disney's Animal Kingdom Park with art representing the expansion proposal.

Collage by Inside the Magic

More than a year and a half after announcing a potential replacement for Dinoland, U.S.A., at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Imagineering confirmed that a new Tropical Americas expansion will replace the original theme park land.

Related: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Was Supposed to Have a Beastly Kingdom

Disney Parks & Experiences Chairman Josh D’Amaro first revealed concept art for a potential Encanto (2021) and Indiana Jones-inspired area at D23 Expo 2022. The executive heavily implied that since DINOSAUR shares the same track layout and operating system as Disneyland Park’s Indiana Jones Adventure, retheming the land’s main attraction would kickstart the Tropical Americas expansion.

Indiana Jones Adventure sign Disneyland
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

As nostalgic as it is, the prehistoric land’s days are numbered. Dinoland’s rollercoaster, Primevil Whirl, closed permanently in 2021. Crews dismantled the ride the following year, and its spot on the parking lot carnival has remained empty ever since. Only a few carnival games and Triceratops Spin remain.

Last month, Inside the Magic reported that Walt Disney World Resort filed permits for construction near Dinoland, U.S.A., at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. On Thursday, Walt Disney Imagineering confirmed that the formerly “blue sky” project was moving full steam ahead.

DinoLand U.S.A. front entrance sign inside of Disney's Animal Kingdom Park
Credit: Walt Disney World Resort

Related: Magic Kingdom Expansion Goes “Beyond Big Thunder”

In an Instagram video, Imagineers shared sneak peeks at 3D models of the Tropical Americas area and clips from their trip to the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. The places they visited resembled temples and historic sites featured in the Indiana Jones films.

“Travel with us to the Yucatán Peninsula, one of the many locales where we’ll draw inspiration for Tropical Americas, the exciting update coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!” Walt Disney Imagineering wrote.

Instead of calling the Tropical Americas land a proposed concept, the video confirmed that “planning and research” was “going into the changes coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.”

“We recently took a trip down to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to study culture, art, and the archeology of the Mayans,” said Neal Emery, Principal Landscape Designer at Walt Disney Imagineering. “Imagineers build 3D models to help visualize the stories that we’re trying to tell, to bring the fantastical and magical to life.”

Concept art for the all-new area coming to Animal Kingdom inspired by Encanto and Indiana Jones
Credit: Disney

Since Encanto is set in Colombia, fans should expect to see Imagineers traveling to South America in the months ahead. Walt Disney World Resort hasn’t shared any additional information or a timeline for constructing Tropical Americas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. DINOSAUR, Triceratops Spin, and other Dinoland, U.S.A. offerings aren’t scheduled to close permanently at this time.

The announcement comes just one day after Disney CEO Bob Iger said he had “nothing” to share about the $60 billion promised Disney Parks investments over the next decade. Within 24 hours, Walt Disney Imagineering confirmed the Tropical Americas land and shared a detailed look at the animatronics coming to Tiana’s Bayou Adventure in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Park at Disneyland Resort.

Fans can expect more insider information about developing Disney Park projects in upcoming “We Call It Imagineering” episodes on YouTube. Make sure to follow Inside the Magic for the latest updates about the forthcoming Disney’s Animal Kingdom expansion!

Are you excited about the proposed Tropical Americas expansion replacing Dinoland, U.S.A., at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Share your thoughts with Inside the Magic in the comments.

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