Magic Kingdom Turns Villainous, Developments From Disney Arise

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villains after hours park magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

Much has been said this week about Disney’s “Beyond Big Thunder” expansion for the Magic Kingdom. As the Walt Disney Company readies the area and files permits for the 14 acres of land, rumors are circulating as to what direction it might take this new expansion.

Entrance sign of Magic Kingdom
Credit: Theme Park Tourist, Flickr

Both Bob Iger and Josh D’Amaro have been vaguely hinting at their plans for the new development, and although titles like Coco and Encanto were alluded to at D23, both fans and Disney have other plans regarding what’s going on backstage. Signs have been pointing to something far more sinister.

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Fans have desired an attraction focused on Disney’s villains for years, and rumors about a new villainess park or area have been circulating since last year. Nothing has been set in stone at this point, but given what we know now, along with what Disney has done regarding this idea, chances are high that this is the direction they’ve chosen.

Villains Take the Magic Kingdom: What We Know

Disney villains
Credit: Disney

For the record, Disney has made no official statement leaning one way or the other on the subject of a villain park or expansion. However, actions speak louder than words. While there has been no official announcement, Disney has been subtly gearing us up for some new villain experience since last year.

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It’s no secret that Disney’s villains are some of the most iconic and recognizable antagonists in fiction. From Snow White’s Evil Queen and Maleficent to Jafar, Gaston, and King Magnifico, the villains have played a major role in both Disney’s movies and the theme parks. So why wouldn’t the company want to capitalize on them?

Yes, Disney has utilized them for Halloween celebrations and after-hours events, but very few villainess characters have had a permanent presence at any of the parks. An expansion would allow them to truly thrive, and Disney has already been paving the way.

Imagineers Want In

The Magic Kingdom in red light
Credit: u/deldredge2008

Perhaps the most significant signal that a villain park could happen was last year’s D23 expo. During a panel, Disney Imagineer Chris Beatty shared that other creators were interested in making this happen. He told EW,

“We’re dreaming every day about what could be next at Walt Disney World. We just wanted to give you a peek at some of the amazing things that could be coming. It’s changing every day. It’s exciting. I think Josh was really trying to get across that spirit of creativity, of what could be next, of innovation, of the possibility of what could be is still alive and well at Disney and Imagineering…”

But he also added,

“[The villains concept] got pretty good applause…We took note of how loud the applause was when we announced that.”

As Inside the Magic previously reported, interest in the project is good, but it’s not a confirmation. Several Disney creatives are likely rooting for a villain expansion, but that doesn’t mean it’s promised. However, playtesting villain experiences might be.

Disneyland Assisted in Experimenting

Oogie Boogie in front of the main entrance to Disneyland Resort in California
Credit: Design by Inside The Magic

A common criticism amongst Disney Park fans is that Disneyland gets all the best and brightest while Disney World gets by on the table scraps. That can easily be seen in how much the villains have done at California Park; just look at last year’s Oogie Boogie Bash.

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Not only did Disney introduce new villain Character Meet and Greets, but they incorporated intense and frightening experiences like Judge Doom demonstrating his vat of Dip. Additionally, the environment created for Villain’s Grove at the Redwood Creek Trail at California Adventure demonstrated that Disney is more than capable of creating an immersive experience surrounding its rogues gallery.

Attempts Were Made

Dragon under the castle at Disneyland Paris
Credit: Disney

While perhaps not the strongest evidence, this isn’t the first time Disney has expressed interest in creating darker and even villainous experiences at their parks. Armchair Disney historians (like yours truly) might be familiar with Animal Kingdom’s forgotten Beastly Kingdom, which would have featured a ruined castle guarded by an evil dragon. However, another forgotten project might come to pass now that Disney has the appropriate rights.

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Before it was Stitch’s Great Escape or even the infamous ExtraTERRORestrial, Disney had plans for an Alien-inspired attraction dubbed NOSTROMO. While the R-rated horror attraction never saw the neon light of Tomorrowland, a more villainous environment might push Disney to revisit this concept—minus some Xenomorph gore, of course.

Something Wicked This Way Comes…

Hocus Pocus show at Magic Kingdom
Credit: D23

Again, while Disney has made no official announcement regarding a villainous expansion at the Magic Kingdom, it’s easy to understand why it’s the most realistic prediction. With interest from both fans and Imagineers, more than enough Character Meet and Greets, and groundwork for attractions, all they’re really missing is the word from upstairs.

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At this point in the game, however, Beyond Big Thunder is anyone’s guess. That said, fingers are definitely crossed for something that clearly and cleverly displays the dark side of Disney.

Would you go to a Disney Villain park? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!




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