Disney World Could Move to Africa, Project in Development

in Disney Parks

Crowds on Main Street U.S.A. at Disney World with Cinderella Castle in the background

Credit: Forsaken Fotos, Flickr

Constituents are begging a Nigerian politician for updates after he made a campaign promise to bring the next Walt Disney World Resort to Africa. The 2023 proposal would bring new Disney parks to the hills of Enugu, a city of about 860,000 people.

2023 was a tumultuous year for Walt Disney World Resort. After former Disney CEO Bob Chapek started a battle against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the “Don’t Say Gay” law, the Republican figurehead dissolved the Central Florida Disney park’s municipal district. In place of the Reedy Creek Improvement District leadership, DeSantis nominated the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board to control the area.

The Walt Disney Company sued DeSantis for retaliating against its First Amendment right to free speech, but a judge dismissed the case in January. Disney CEO Bob Iger vowed to continue the battle, and some legal proceedings are ongoing–but DeSantis is overwhelmingly seen as having won victory over the Mouse.

Ron DeSantis sitting in front of a flag.
Credit: Ron DeSantis

As DeSantis board members enacted bans on COVID-19 safety precautions, took over Monorail inspections, and otherwise exercised power over Walt Disney World Resort, many Disney Parks fans worried that the company would flee Central Florida. Proposed destinations included Michigan, South Carolina, and Nevada.

Walt Disney Imagineering canceled its move to Lake Nona. Iger threatened to withdraw millions of dollars of future investments in Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and dozens of Disney Resort hotels. As the largest employer in Florida, Disney hoped to force DeSantis to stop the attacks.

In recent months, the DeSantis-Disney battle has simmered down. The conservative governor has enacted laws that impact thousands of Disney cast members, loosening protections for hourly employees and restricting the use of public spaces for unhoused individuals. (Hundreds of Disney cast members are homeless.) Unlike previous legal actions, these bills weren’t directed exclusively at Walt Disney World Resort.

A diverse group of Disney cast members, mostly young adults, are standing closely together, smiling, and looking ahead. They are all wearing teal uniforms with badges. Some are holding hands, creating a sense of unity and celebration. The background shows more people in similar attire.
Credit: Disney

Things have calmed down so much in Florida that Walt Disney World Resort started donating to Republican campaigns again this month. Chapek paused all contributions to politicians who supported the Parental Rights in Education Act in 2022.

Still, some Disney Parks fans want to see a Walt Disney World Resort outside of Florida. On Thursday, X (formerly Twitter) user @bigdonprince asked Nigerian lawyer and Governor of Enugu State Peter Mbah for updates on his 2023 campaign promise to bring a “Disney World” to the West African country:

H.E Sir, during one of your campaign promises, was to bring Disney world to Ndi Enugu, by using the hills we has as the site for such, to serve as not only as a revenue generator for ndi Enugu, but a modern tourist center for the world. Trust you will keep to your promise?

According to Nigerian news organization Freedom Square TV, Mbah promised an “Afro Disney Tourism Project” among other infrastructure developments during his 2022-2023 campaign.

“If you look at this locality, you will see that we have what it takes to attract 3 million tourists here every year,” Mbah said. “We have the topography. There is no place you have a topography as beautiful – the scenery is beautiful – something people will die to come and see.”

A panoramic view of a city surrounded by lush greenery and hills under a partly cloudy sky. The cityscape extends into the distance, blending with the natural landscape of rolling hills and dense vegetation.
The hills of Enugu, Nigeria. Credit: Martin Kudr

The lawyer said he aimed to build a project similar to Disneyland Paris Resort or Walt Disney World Resort that would attract three million visitors annually. He didn’t state whether he’d contacted The Walt Disney Company about the proposed Disney park project.

Mbah didn’t respond to the constituent’s request for an update on the “Afro Disney” theme park project. The Walt Disney Company hasn’t publicly announced anything about a new Disney Resort in Nigeria.

Would you visit a new Disney Resort in Africa? In the comments, share your thoughts about a new version of Walt Disney World Resort with Inside the Magic. 

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