Work to Begin on the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain Expansion!

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Big Thunder Mountain Expansion

Hey there, Disney vacationers ! If you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground for the latest and greatest in theme park expansions, then buckle up. I’m about to dive deep into the initial stages of what’s shaping up to be the largest expansion at the Magic Kingdom to date: the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion. Thanks to a report from Scott Gustin, we’ve got the inside scoop on Disney World’s plans that are currently making waves in the realm of theme park developments.

The Permit Prelude

Disney World is on the brink of taking a significant step forward with its Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion. The word on Main Street is that Disney will soon file permits with the South Florida Water Management District for initial land preparation work. This isn’t just any expansion; it’s set to be the largest expansion Magic Kingdom has ever seen. These permits are the golden ticket, confirming that the land we’ve been buzzing about is indeed suitable for this monumental project.

The initial permits will lay the ground work for land grading, and water management. It is swap land after all. This is an pivotal piece in making the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion a reality.

A Look Back at the Land

Let’s rewind for a moment and revisit what we previously discussed about the land in question. Remember the term “Marginally Unsuitable”? This classification was a game-changer, highlighting areas that were once a no-go for development due to natural constraints, like wetlands within the 100-year flood elevation. Fast forward to now, and these “Marginally Unsuitable” zones are getting the green light for development, thanks to the District’s Long Term Permits.

This reclassification has opened up a whopping 1,731 acres of previously untapped potential around the Disney World property. Specifically, the land north of Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, which includes the area adjacent to Big Thunder Mountain, has transitioned from “Unsuitable” to “Marginally Unsuitable.” This shift is not just a change in terminology; it’s a beacon of possibility for projects that were once deemed impossible.

The Dream of Beyond Big Thunder Mountain

The Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion is not just any project; it’s a vision that was teased by Disney Parks’ D23 panel Chairman Josh D’Amaro in late 2022. Imagine a land that brings together the enchanting worlds of Disney animation IPs, including “Coco,” “Encanto,” and a realm dedicated to Disney villains. This ambitious project now seems more feasible than ever, with the updated land designation providing the space needed for such a magical transformation.

Big Thunder Mountain Expansion

What’s Next? Moana, Perhaps?

With the original concept art hinting at an Encanto land, and considering the advancement of the Tropical Americas project at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s likely that Encanto will find its home there. This pivot leads me to speculate about the potential for a Moana-themed area within the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion at the Magic Kingdom. Especially, since a Moana themed-landed was part of the initial concept art for the Tropical Americas project. And, now, given the additional space now deemed “Marginally Unsuitable” but developable, the dream of bringing Moana’s world to life is more tangible than ever.

The Magic of Development

It’s worth noting that this wouldn’t be the first time Disney has ventured into developing land classified as “Marginally Unsuitable.” The TRON Lightcycle / Run attraction is a prime example of Disney’s commitment to transforming challenging areas into magical experiences. This precedent sets a hopeful stage for the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion.

Final Thoughts

As we stand on the brink of this exciting new chapter for the Magic Kingdom, the Beyond Big Thunder Mountain expansion represents not just a physical expansion of the park, but an expansion of imagination, creativity, and the magical experiences Disney is known for. With the initial permitting process underway, we’re one step closer to seeing this dream become a reality. So, keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, because the magic of Disney World is about to get even bigger and better. Stay tuned for more updates as this enchanting expansion unfolds!

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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!