This weekend at Destination D23 in Walt Disney World, Josh D’Amaro announced that changes are coming to Animal Kingdom. Zootopia will now have a place in the park along with plans to eventually add Indiana Jones and Encanto. In this post, we’ll cover the news and a little bit of our own commentary!
Via the Disney Parks Blog:
A new show based on “Zootopia” is being created for the Tree of Life theater at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! The current concept for the new “Zootopia” experience has guests visiting the different biomes you only glimpse in the film, traveling along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde and other characters.
Imagineers are currently finalizing the concept and more details will be coming in the future.
Walt Disney Imagineering is planning to reimagine Dinoland U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom into a new land – inspired by a region sometimes referred to as “tropical Americas.”
As part of their research, Imagineers are looking at some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet in the regions just north and south of the equator here in the Western Hemisphere – the northern part of South America, stretching up into Central America.
This exciting location has been the inspiration for many magical stories over the years!
We’ll start with the Zootopia news because I don’t have much to add. Personally, I don’t enjoy It’s Tough To Be A Bug and find it to be the most frightening attraction at Walt Disney World. Giving the attraction that crown on the east coast (Goofy’s Sky School on the west coast) may have you judging me but years of research have me reaching this very scientific conclusion. When I get past my fear (I can’t) then I see the value in the 3D short film under the Tree of Life. It’s weird, entertaining and fits really well thematically.
I think it’s likely that the new Zootopia only checks the entertaining box out of those three but will still be an overall plus for the park. I’m not sure that it sitting under the Tree of Life really fits in with the park, outside of celebrating the different biomes. Time will tell on that. There’s next to no chance the new movie is as weird as the one it’s replacing. Children (or adults, if you’re like me) likely won’t be screaming in horror. But having an updated attraction that looks really good will make a park, that desperately needs more things to do, better. It seems like this is a ways out so I’ll have more thoughts when more details are released.
As for the ‘Topical Americas’ idea, I’m all for it. I’m relieved that this is the idea going forward rather than Zootopia Land, as I don’t think that movie, despite it having animals in it, really fits into the ethos of Animal Kingdom. Indiana Jones and Encanto, although to a lesser extent, fit in better to me. But throwing the IP’s associated aside, a Tropical Americas area is a natural extension of the parks other lands. I have hoped for a South America for years and this fits into that idea, while leaving a little extra room. Seeing a land with a broad theme brings my heart joy after the last decade of IP-specific lands.
Replacing Dinoland is an even bigger bonus for me. At this point, any new land would be an improvement whether I agreed with the theme or not. I like the ride, Dinosaur, but there is just nothing else going on with the land anymore. And Dinosaur does not look as good as it should. Replacing it with Indiana Jones Adventure is an easy win, given the current state of the ride.
Obviously, there’s more thoughtful analysis than reducing this to “Animal Kingdom doesn’t have enough to do, adding more is good” but it’s also not wrong. The biggest mark against the park is that there are simply not enough rides to go on. Adding an area with a few new attractions, while making it beautiful will prove to be an upgrade over Dinoland, which had a clever backstory that never quite fit the rest of the park’s aesthetic.
As for the concept art, I find it very pretty and lush. The Indiana Jones area looks similar to Lost River Delta in Tokyo DisneySea while the Encanto house has similar architectural style. None of this is official yet but I am hopeful this is the case. Add a well themed animal trail to this area and we might have the next great Disney Parks land. Until shovel hits the dirt, I’ll remain cautiously optimistic about this project!
What do you think of the Animal Kingdom news? Let us know, along with any questions you might have, in the comments below! If you are planning a trip to Disney World, then check out our guide. Looking for Walt Disney World tickets? Check out this site. If you enjoy what you are reading here on Wandering in Disney please share this post with your friends, as well as like our social media pages. You can also subscribe to the blog via WordPress or email. You can do all of that on the right side of this page. Thank you for reading, we really appreciate it!