Disney (NYSE:DIS) had a busy weekend. Fans and stockholders tuned in to the D23 Expo, a three-day event full of discussions and presentations highlighting upcoming Disney products. Theme park fans waited for a Sunday presentation about Disneyland and Disney World.
Disneyland’s popularity wasn’t surprising. Disney World on the opposite coast has been in the limelight for the past year as it celebrates its 50th birthday. The firm turns 100 next October, followed by Disneyland’s 70th in 2025.
The world’s largest theme park operator won’t abandon its Florida property in 2025 because its sister is turning 70. Universal Orlando, its biggest competitor, will launch a new park that year. Epic Universe will compete for tourism dollars with franchise-themed areas. The House of Mouse didn’t identify its competition, but a strategy is taking form for how it will tackle Universal Orlando’s third dry theme park in three years.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) unveiled a Florida attractions schedule. Tron Lightcycle Run will debut in the Magic Kingdom next spring, capping the park’s 18-month 50th birthday celebration. Social media critics love to mock the roller coaster’s long development, but let’s give Disney credit.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) could’ve released Tron earlier. Technology isn’t new. The rollercoaster launched in 2016 at Shanghai Disneyland. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT in late 2021, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind in May, and Tron Lightcycle Run — should be stretched out to maximize the marketing appeal of each new attraction. Due to marketing, SeaWorld Entertainment waited nearly two years to debut two finished roller coasters. Epic Universe opened in 2023. Theme park operators are prepared for delays.
Next year, Disney World will have more than Tron. Epcot’s renovation should be complete by 2023, including the Moana-inspired Journey of Water route. 2023 will bring new evening performances, Disneyland’s Hatbox Ghost to The Haunted Mansion, a Figment meet-and-greet, and a new Walt Disney monument. Hatbox Ghost and Figment are cult favorites among amusement park fans.
By 2025, none of these things will be new. Disney (NYSE:DIS) understands. Prepared? Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, a Princess and the Frog-themed upgrade to Splash Mountain, will open in 2024. D23 Expo guests were given a sneak peek at the refurbished attraction earlier this summer.
Theme park panel conversation went to topics Disney (NYSE:DIS) Imagineers are exploring but haven’t made official. Disney World is considering replacing Dinoland with a Zootopia or Moana-themed land. Disney is reportedly exploring expanding beyond Big Thunder Mountain at Disney World. Disney concept illustration portrays Coco or Encanto locations. A villain-themed section, a perennial fan wishlist item for a fifth park, might also be in play.
The “blue sky” conceptions aren’t proven. No timetable, obviously. At least one of these prospective additions might happen in 2025, when Epic Universe debuts, or in 2026 when Comcast is susceptible. Theme park operators know that patience pays off.
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