Disney has finally acknowledged the question of whether or not Walt Disney World will be building a fifth gate.
Since its inception, Disney has been the leader in theme parks and entertainment. With Disneyland being built in 1955, and multiple other parks following suit, the name Disney is now synonymous with expertise in all things attractions and theming. Walt Disney World is by far the largest Disney park, with four theme parks, two water parks, over 25 resorts, Disney Springs, and more. It is the whopping size of San Francisco and the reason that millions visit Orlando each year. Cinderella Castle is even the most photographed landmark in the world.
With Disney World being the mega vacation destination that it is, many look towards the resort as the one that should be innovating when it comes to expansion. At the moment, EPCOT has been undergoing some refurbishments and changes to World Celebration, World Discovery, and World Nature, which was previously Future World, adding in Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana. At Magic Kingdom, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is the main attraction that guests are looking forward too, but there are no massive expansions that have been planned or confirmed.
We have heard of Disney having ideas for an expansion in Magic Kingdom called Beyond Big Thunder, which was initially shared during the 2022 D23 event, and doubled down on in a Disney Parks Blog release focused on the Country Bear Jamboree retheme. Disney shared concept art for many ideas, including a Dark Kingdom (villain’s land), but those are all “blue sky” at the moment.
Disney’s last park was Disney’s Animal Kingdom which was built in 1998. Since then, no new parks have been built by Disney, however, its competitor, Universal Orlando Resort would build Islands of Adventure in 1999 and soon, will open Epic Universe, their third gate, in 2025.
With so much expansion from Universal, eyes have been on Disney to see how they will retaliate. When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was developed, we got Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. So, what’s next?
The Walt Disney Company’s First Quarter 2024 Financial Results Conference Call was held today, and during the question and answer portion of the call, Disney CEO Bob Iger was faced with the question of a fifth gate.
Disney has pledged to spend $60 billion on the parks side, with 70% of the expansion additions coming in the next 10 years. Disney stated that the expansions will be “all over” including the high seas, meaning Disney Cruise Line. The expansion will begin in 2025, with new offerings being released each year.
Iger did not want to put a timeline on these new expansions and changes to the parks, but he did not deny the possibility of a fifth gate announcement. While we would likely be aware of a new gate years in advance, as Universal confirmed Epic Universe in 2019 for a 2025 reveal, it appears that Bob is not willing to shut down the idea of expanding Walt Disney World past Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
This August, Disney will host D23 once again, which is where many fans will be anticipating major announcements in regards to Walt Disney World, and the other theme parks.
We do know that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be expanding its attraction IP with DinoLand U.S.A turning into either an Encanto or Indiana Jones-themed land, and It’s Tough to be a Bug becoming a Zootopia attraction.
Do you think that Disney will build a fifth gate in the next 10 years?
This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic.