DinoLand U.S.A. has been rumored to be on the chopping block at Walt Disney World, and Disney has even hinted that a replacement is a real possibility for this uniquely pre-historic-themed land. With no confirmation that DinoLand will be closed, however, one recent update has us wondering if this Animal Kingdom staple could have a longer lifespan than some originally thought.
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During the 2022 D23 Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products showcased “blue sky” ideas for potential replacements for DinoLand, U.S.A. largely focused on Zootopia (2016) and Moana (2016).
Both films have already made their debuts at Animal Kingdom, with Moana hosting her own character meet and greet on Discovery Island, and Zootopia featured in the Animation Experience at Conservation Station, but no plans have been greenlit (at least publicly) as of this writing to replace DinoLand with either concept.
On top of these ideas, DinoLand has already lost one of its attractions with the permanent closure of Primeval Whirl in Chester & Hester’s DinoRama. The spinning coaster closed with the rest of Walt Disney World in March 2020 but never reopened, and so far, no replacement has been announced for its former location.
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What’s Closed in DinoLand U.S.A.
As of this writing, Primeval Whirl and the Dino Diner (the snack kiosk formerly located next to Mammoth Marathon in DinoRama), and the Boneyard are closed, though the latter is only closed for a temporary refurbishment and is set to reopen. While not a major attraction, the last time we visited DinoLand at the beginning of May 2023, the photo booth was also out of order and one of the games (Mammoth Marathon, actually) was also closed.
The Future of DinoLand U.S.A.
The Boneyard might not be at the top of your must-do list if you do not often visit Walt Disney World with little ones, but it is an incredibly popular spot for the kiddos. According to Disney’s official website, the Boneyard is only closed for a regular refurbishment and the area is expected to open mid-June 2023.
Why is the refurbishment of what is essentially a heavily themed playground so noteworthy? It’s the only real attention DinoLand has gotten in a long time now, save for the pin truck experience that debuted last year. If Disney is going out of its way to refurbish the Boneyard, as in spruce it up but keep the theming, we have to wonder if DinoLand could be sticking around after all.
At the same time as the Boneyard is being refurbished, fans of DinoLand and particularly of the DINOSAUR attraction have been taking to social media to express their concern for a re-theme of the area. As for my thoughts, while we don’t know enough to confirm or deny DinoLand’s possible re-theme, I’m still holding out hope largely because I think the story of DinoLand (with its focus on extinction) is important for the Park’s overall conservation messaging.
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Even with the company’s current focus toward existing IPs, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is required to maintain high standards of both animal care and conservation education to keep its AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) accreditation.
Of course, Disney can always take an existing IP and add more of a conservation storyline to the narrative for a theme park land (that was the case with Pandora – The World of Avatar fitting into the Park, too), but DinoLand’s focus on extinction is such an easy connection with the rest of the Park’s messaging, and arguably a very necessary part of the conservation story, so changing this to either Zootopia or Moana seems risky.
With the Boneyard’s refurbishment set to wrap up next month, we will continue to monitor any updates on DinoLand U.S.A. and will report back with more information as we have it here on Disney Tips.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and may not reflect Disney Tips as a whole.