New Land Confirmed! Disney World To Make Massive “Frozen” Expansion

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Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at night

Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

In a strategic move, Walt Disney World Resort has unveiled plans for a monumental expansion inspired by the potential success of future cinematic hits, using the blockbuster film franchise Frozen as a prime example.

A bustling main street filled with visitors leading up to a fairy tale castle under a blue sky, capturing the magic of a famous theme park.
Credit: Ben, Flickr

Fast Company recently delved into the inner workings of Walt Disney World, uncovering the intricate processes and grand visions that drive the magic behind the scenes. While Imagineering is often associated with groundbreaking technologies like audio-animatronics and imaginative concepts, there’s a subtler artistry at play— one that manifests in the tiniest details, enriching the immersive experience for park-goers.

At the heart of this creative endeavor lies the Blaine Gibson Sculpting Studio, a sanctum where dreams are molded into tangible forms. As visitors step inside, they are greeted by a warning sign adorned with Mickey Mouse, signaling the sacredness of the space. Within, a myriad of sculptures adorn the walls, depicting beloved characters and iconic figures from Disney lore, Fast Company reported.

Elsa from Frozen during For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration in Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

But beyond the confines of the studio, Disney is embarking on a monumental journey of expansion. Led by Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, the company is poised to invest a staggering $60 billion in redefining the landscape of its theme parks. This ambitious endeavor, fueled by a vision to unearth untold stories and captivate audiences anew, was spurred by a pivotal meeting with former CEO Bob Iger:

“About a year ago,” D’Amaro said, “I found myself in Bob’s office, and we were talking about the last 100 years and everything that had happened in our products around the world. And we talked about the number of stories we hadn’t been able to tell yet and the number of acres we have available that we can exercise and the number of fans out there who would want to participate in that. Bob looked at me and said, ‘Go.’”

Disney World plans expansion, but saving money for “next Frozen

With Iger’s green light, Disney embarked on a strategic endeavor to expand its theme park offerings, keeping an eye on the horizon for potential blockbuster hits that could inspire immersive attractions and experiences. While the specific details of this expansion remain shrouded in secrecy, the use of Frozen (2013) as a hypothetical example underscores Disney’s commitment to flexibility and innovation.

By allocating resources with the foresight to capitalize on future cinematic successes, Disney aims to ensure that its theme parks remain at the forefront of entertainment for years to come.

Shocked Elsa in 'Frozen'
Credit: Disney

As former CEO Bob Iger explained, the decision to reserve a portion of the earmarked funds for potential future attractions reflects Disney’s commitment to adaptability and foresight.

“We have a fairly good idea of what’s being built near term, but we’re purposefully not allocated all [of the earmarked money] because, who knows? In five years, we could end up with a giant hit movie—think Frozen—that we may want to mine as an attraction or a hotel or a restaurant in our parks,” Iger revealed.

Though there have been inklings of expansions, including the likes of Encanto (2021), Moana (2016), Coco (2017), and Indiana Jones, Bob Iger’s quote shows that Disney isn’t going to go “all in” with just its intellectual properties that are currently available.

The $60 billion is going to be sprinkled over the next decade, and Disney isn’t going to tether itself to an IP that might come back to hurt them in the long run. His example of Frozen and how it quickly became a viral and household-recognized franchise is the perfect example of why Disney will hold back some of its funds instead of investing all the money at one time.

Guests ride into Elsa's palace in concept art for 'Frozen Ever After,' made before the Walt Disney World ride opened.
Credit: Disney

As far as Frozen inside of Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll want to head to EPCOT.

Nestled within the Norway Pavilion, guests are transported into the wintery realm made famous by the beloved animated film in Frozen Ever After. Here, the immersive journey begins with a boat ride through the enchanting landscapes of Arendelle, where iconic scenes and beloved characters spring to life in dazzling detail.

From cascading waterfalls to shimmering ice palaces, every corner of this Frozen-inspired attraction captures the whimsy and wonder of the beloved tale, inviting visitors to embark on an unforgettable voyage through the heart of the story.

Frozen Ever After animatronics
Credit: Inside the Magic

Beyond the attractions, EPCOT offers a plethora of Frozen-themed experiences, from meet-and-greets with Anna and Elsa to interactive storytelling sessions that bring the magic of Arendelle to life.

In addition, you can head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration,” which has multiple showtimes each day at the Disney World park. The Disney park attraction is located in Echo Lake and lasts about an hour.

What do you think of these expansion plans for Walt Disney World Resort? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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