Disney’s Australia Theme Park Previewed, Has Potential for Other Countries

in Disney Parks

Mickey Mouse holding an Australian flag in front of a fairytale castle at Disneyland.

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

A former Imagineer has shared concept art for a Disney theme park in Australia – and pondered its potential for other countries, too.

With six resorts around the world, you could hardly complain that Disney hasn’t gone international. As of 2024, the original Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is joined by parks in Orlando (Walt Disney World Resort), Paris (Disneyland Paris), Hong Kong (Hong Kong Disneyland), Shanghai (Shanghai Disneyland), and Tokyo (Tokyo Disney Resort).

Mickey at Disney World in front of Cinderella Castle
Credit: Disney

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The latest theme park only opened in 2016 (shoutout to Shanghai), but Disney fans are always pondering where and when Disney will open its next location. With Disney investing an estimated $60 billion into its theme parks over the next decade, this debate has heated up even more in recent months.

While Disney is yet to so much as hint at a brand-new resort, it has teased the possibility of a fifth gate at Walt Disney World – which has prime real estate for expansion – and a third at Disneyland Resort, which has spent the past year wooing the City of Anaheim to greenlight its DisneylandForward plans. Disney is also legally stipulated to build a third theme park at Disneyland Paris at some point before 2036.

A majestic display of fireworks illuminate the night sky over a bustling Star Wars-themed park, with the iconic Millennium Falcon in the foreground and towering rock formations glowing ethereally in the backdrop.

However, that doesn’t mean it won’t add a new location to its lineup in the future. Disney’s biggest theme park rival, Universal, has announced multiple new additions to its roster in the coming years, including Universal Great Britain, Universal Horror Unleashed (a year-round Halloween experience in Vegas), and Universal Kids Resort (a smaller, more localized park aimed at the youth demographic in Frisco, Texas).

Disney has toyed with building something similar to the latter in the late 2000s. As former Imagineer Jim Shull recently discussed on X (formerly known as Twitter), it once drew up blue-sky concept art for Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour in Australia – a project that never quite came to fruition due to exorbitant costs and a mixed response from the New South Wales Government.

Colorful artistic rendition of a bustling riverside scene at night, featuring people dining outdoors, boats on the water, and buildings with vibrant lights.
Credit: Disney

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Had it been built, Disney Wharf would have been a “bustling boardwalk along its 97 acres is filled with outdoor cafes, waterfront restaurants, neighborhood parks, trendy boutiques, marina, hotels, and a luxury spa.” More ‘Disney’ attractions at the Australia site would’ve included a version of Mickey’s PhilharMagic, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, some version of Peter Pan’s Flight or Dumbo the Flying Elephant, a Finding Nemo (2001) area, Goofy’s Candy Company, a Wonderful World of Color Restaurant and a handful of Disney gift shops.

While these plans are, at this point, dead and buried, Shull toyed with the idea that Disney may reconsider building something in this vein now that Universal is taking a stab at the local market – and that the concept may even be replicated in other “low income” markets that don’t typically make the international voyage to a Disney resort, too.

“WDI explored building a small theme park & retail dining development in Sydney Harbor Australia,” Shull wrote. “Never built this is an example of what could be built in smaller income markets such as India. A valid concept that other leisure companies are pursuing.”

Of course, this is all just theoretical for now – and seeing as how Shull hasn’t actually worked for Walt Disney Imagineering since December 2020, he doesn’t play any role in making these concepts a reality. However, there’s no denying that if Universal Kids Resort and Universal Horror Unleashed do prove successful – and if Universal continues to push this business model further – Disney may want to reconsider delving back into the experiences it once deemed fruitless.

Do you think Disney should consider building more ‘mini’ theme parks like Disney Wharf around the globe? Let us know in the comments!

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