With New Magic Kingdom Land Usable, Is ‘Beyond Big Thunder Mountain’ a Go?

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new Magic Kingdom land

Hey, Disney fans! Are like me and fascinated by the ever-evolving landscape of theme parks, the latest update on the new Magic Kingdom land usability is bound to catch your attention. The Reedy Creek Improvement District’s 2023 long-term land use plan, recently made public, reveals some intriguing changes from its 2020 predecessor, signaling exciting developments could be on the horizon for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

At the heart of these updates is the introduction of a new land usage designation termed “Marginally Unsuitable.” This classification sheds light on areas previously deemed challenging for development due to natural constraints, such as wetlands within the 100-year flood elevation. However, the twist in the tale is that development in these “Marginally Unsuitable” zones is now permitted, albeit within the confines of the District’s Long Term Permits. This reclassification affects a substantial 1,731 acres, or 13.0 percent of the undeveloped land area, opening up new possibilities for theme park expansions and enhancements around the Disney World property.

new Magic Kingdom land

A closer look at the updated plan reveals a significant shift for the land north of Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. This area has transitioned from “Unsuitable” in the 2020 plan to “Marginally Unsuitable” in the 2023 update. This change is not just a matter of semantics; it represents a potential green light for development projects that were previously off the table. Similarly, the land adjacent to Big Thunder Mountain has also seen a reclassification from “Suitable” to “Marginally Unsuitable,” hinting at a more nuanced approach to future development projects in these areas.

new Magic Kingdom land

This strategic land usability could play a pivotal role in bringing to life the “Beyond Big Thunder Mountain” Blue Sky concept, as unveiled by Disney Parks’ D23 panel Chairman Josh D’Amaro in late 2022. The concept envisions a new land that would incorporate Disney animation IPs, including the worlds of “Coco,” “Encanto,” and a realm dedicated to Disney villains. The updated land designation suggests that while there’s ample space for this ambitious project, it will require considerable effort to render the land suitable for such a magical transformation. However, this wouldn’t be the first time around the Magic Kingdom that Disney made the effort to use an area deemed “Marginally Unsuitable”. As TRON Lightcycle / Run is built on one of these areas.

The prospect of an Encanto-themed land at Magic Kingdom raises intriguing questions, especially in light of recent developments at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At the Destination D Event in September 2023, new concept art revealed a reimagining of Dinoland USA, including an Encanto-inspired area, suggesting a broader South America theme within the park. This shift has led me to speculate about the potential for a Moana-themed area at Magic Kingdom, a concept previously considered by Walt Disney Imagineering for Adventureland. With the additional space now deemed “Marginally Unsuitable” but developable, the dream of a Moana-inspired attraction or even a larger themed area could be closer to reality than ever before.

As we look forward to the future of Magic Kingdom, the new land deemed usable outlined in the Reedy Creek Improvement District’s 2023 plan opens up a world of possibilities. Whether it’s the enchanting rhythms of Encanto or the adventurous spirit of Moana, the magic of Disney continues to evolve, promising new experiences and unforgettable memories for guests from around the globe.

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Meet the Author: Nate Bishop

I’m a die-hard Disney fan with 38 years of visits under my belt, having stepped into Disney World 120+ times. Proud to be a Disney Annual Passholder, a Vacation Club member since ’92, a Castaway Club Member, and a runDisney enthusiast. Oh, and I’ve graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge. Need Disney insights or planning tips? I’m your guy!


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