Entire Disney World Park Condemned, Permanent Shutdown Feared

in Walt Disney World

Entrance sign of Walt Disney World, featuring large bold letters and images of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, under a sunny sky with fluffy clouds, viewed from a road lined with palm trees near Typhoon

Credit: Jeremy Y., Flickr

Could the “temporary” closure of one Disney World park end up being permanent? Some fans seem to think so.

In the 50+ years of Walt Disney World Resort, only one park has ever closed down for good. While Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom are all going strong, River Country – the resort’s first-ever water park – permanently closed in November 2001.

Statue of walt disney holding hands with mickey mouse in front of cinderella castle at disney world, with a clear blue sky background.
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney World Update – Park Still Being Replaced, Disney Makes Quiet Confirmation

The thing is, nobody knew this closure was permanent when it happened. It took just over three years for The Walt Disney Company to confirm that River Country would never reopen its gates to guests, with Disney World noting during that time that  “River Country could be reopened if there’s enough guest demand.”

Fast forward 23 years, and some Disney fans are concerned that the resort will soon repeat history.

What’s Going on With Disney’s Water Parks?

First things first: don’t worry, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom aren’t going anywhere any time soon (contrary to that rumor that pops up every few years in regards to the latter).

Pluto, Goofy, Minnie, and Mickey by the water at Blizzard Beach
Credit: Disney

No, the park that has some fans concerned is Disney’s Blizzard Beach.

The newest of Disney’s water parks, this first opened in 1995. The concept behind the park was that a freak snowstorm hit Florida in 1977, leading to the construction of the state’s first ski resort. However, being the Sunshine State, the snow soon melted, which led to the creation of “the most slushy, slippery, exhilarating water park anywhere.”

For over two decades, Blizzard Beach was open year-round (with the exception of a few months’ worth of maintenance, usually in the fall or winter). That left guests with the choice between either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon come summer.

A man goes down the slide at Blizzard Beach
Credit: Disney

But that all changed during the pandemic.

Since 2021, when Disney first reopened its water parks post-COVID, the resort has operated on an on-off system. Blizzard Beach closes for an extensive refurbishment over the summer, while Typhoon Lagoon is open to guests. The two then switch places in the autumn, leaving Blizzard Beach as the sole option when visiting Disney World in the colder months.

At first, it was assumed that Disney would switch to all-year operations for both parks when attendance and capacity increased. However, this is yet to happen – and seems increasingly unlikely as the years go by – leaving some guests to wonder if Disney will close one water park for good.

Will Disney Close Blizzard Beach For Good?

A recent Reddit thread titled “Fate of Blizzard Beach” posed the question of whether Disney will, at some point, close one of its water parks.

A family wearing hats, walking away from the camera at Blizzard Beach Water Park in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Disney

“Does anyone else think there’s a chance Disney will just axe the idea of having two water parks and only operate the one sometime soon?” asked the thread’s creator. “Like surely it’s more money/ effort than it’s worth to keep opening and closing one and the other when they could just operate one with a month or so’s closure for an annual refurb mid-winter.”

To be specific, fans are concerned that Blizzard Beach will be the park to close. Not only is it the smaller of the two parks, but historically, it’s also been the least-visited – despite boasting solid attractions such as Summit Plummet, Cross Country Creek, and Downhill Double Dipper.

Typhoon Lagoon typically also comes out on top when fans debate the superior water park (primarily due to its wave pool, which is the biggest in North America).

Olaf and Snowgies at Blizzard Beach
Credit: Disney

As the same user pointed out, Blizzard Beach is also “the park [Disney] open in the coolest/least busy water park season so seems like this would be the case” (plus, “I don’t think anybody would really miss it vs if they shut Typhoon.”)

That, perhaps, is one of the most convincing reasons why Disney would decide to axe Blizzard Beach over Typhoon Lagoon. The water park spent a huge chunk of its last season closed to guests due to poor and cold weather in Central Florida. Should that pattern continue, Disney’s motivation to keep splashing money on an annual refurbishment will likely dwindle.

As another Reddit user put it: “I’ve always preferred Typhoon to BB and I think Disney are the same – Typhoon gets more investment and care IMO. I think they may wait for Epic to open to see how much that increases tourism, and if there is need they can operate them both at the same time – if not, I would have thought if either was to close permanently, it’d be BB.”

Ultimately, cutting costs is – and has always been – a huge priority for Disney. While it’s in the business of making magic, it’s never shied away from finding the most inexpensive way to do so. If that means operating just the one water park really, really well for the majority of the year, we wouldn’t be totally shocked if Blizzard Beach became a casualty of budgeting.

A road leading to the entrance of Walt Disney World is shown, with a large, colorful archway overhead. The arch features the Walt Disney World logo, the phrase "The Most Magical Place on Earth," and images of Mickey Mouse on the left and Minnie Mouse on the right. Tiana's Bayou Adventure awaits inside.
Credit: Becky Burkett

Disney has recently made extra efforts to drive more business to its water parks. In February, it announced that Disney resort guests in 2025 would gain complimentary water park admission to whatever park was open during their visit. Historically, Disney doesn’t offer mega discounts if the situation isn’t already pretty dire.

(For proof, just see how many discounts it offered on Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser before it closed).

“If you’d asked me a few months ago, I would’ve said no way to Disney closing either water park,” reasoned another Reddit user, “but the fact it introduced that free water park entry offer a few months ago has me worried.”

blizzard beach
Credit: Disney

They added: “Blizzard Beach spent SO MUCH of its winter season closed this time round, to the point that it surely couldn’t have been worth the money doing a months-long refurbishment???” A summer-only (or a spring, summer, and autumn [because, you know], it’s Florida) seasonal water park makes way more sense from an operational perspective.”

There’s an extreme minority that also feel like Disney should do away with its water parks completely. “They should just get rid of both parks, they’re wildly outdated and getting to them while using Disney transport is a pain,” said one Reddit user. “Yeah, there’s some nice attractions but I just never got the whole allure to the water parks nowadays.”

What Else Could Replace Blizzard Beach?

In the long run, however, there’s no saying what will become of Blizzard Beach – what we do know is that this closure likely won’t happen in 2024.

A major permit was filed earlier this year for “general construction” at Blizzard Beach, with the listed contractor, Scenario Cockram USA, Inc., renowned for creating award-winning themed environments and show sets – suggesting there’s some kind of overhaul going on behind the scenes during its downtime (which is Disney is hardly going to make redundant by swiftly closing the park for good).

Elsa in front of Blizzard Beach
Credit: Inside the Magic

A hot rumor is that Blizzard Beach could be cleared to make way for Disney World’s long-rumored fifth gate. This is possible – but not overly likely. Blizzard Beach sits on a parcel of land measuring 66 acres. For context, that’s just under half the size of Hollywood Studios or Disney Springs. Disney World also boasts plenty of vacant land ripe for a fifth theme park.

Another idea often tossed around by fans online is Blizzard Beach receiving an IP overlay. To be specific, Frozen (2013) overlay. Disney’s already given a small section of the park a makeover in the past, with Tike’s Peak now ridden with Elsa’s “snowgies,” so this isn’t a massive stretch, although it would be the first time Disney’s created an entire park based on one IP.

For now, Disney has made no comment on Blizzard Beach’s future, so this is all conjecture. However, it does seem inevitable that some kind of change will hit the park at some point. It’s simply a matter of what (and when).

What changes would you like to see at Blizzard Beach? Let us know in the comments!

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