New Permits Indicate Major Construction May Be Approved at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Significant changes may be finally coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. New permits have been filed for a large trailer compound for Walt Disney Imagineering just north of Maharajah Jungle Trek and Kali River Rapids.

The permits, which were discovered by Behind the Thrills, call for multiple trailers and more than 300 parking spaces. The permits also call for improved access to Dinoland USA, which is likely the site of a significant project.

Is Disney finally acting on the blue sky ideas presented at D23?

Concept art for potential Encanto and Indiana Jones area in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The concept art Disney briefly presented (shown above) depicted the ‘Tropical Americas’ taking over Dinoland USA. The old Primeval Whirl, which is currently an empty space, would become something based on Encanto. The current Dinosaur attraction would be rethemed to Indiana Jones. Restaurantosaurus, one of our favorite quick-service restaurants, would also be rethemed.

One might say it’s the ‘Countdown to Extinction’ for Dinoland USA. Its days have felt numbered for quite some time. But, that doesn’t make the extinction event any easier. We’ve grown to love Dinoland USA. We think it makes perfect sense for Disney’s Animal Kingdom to be home to dinosaurs. And, yes, we might love Restaurantosaurus and its perfect theming more than most. (We raved about its family-style dining when it was briefly rolled out.)

Restaurantosaurus at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Our love for Dinoland USA aside, the area is overdue for a change. The roadside carnival theming is a miss for many guests. Dinosaur is widely considered to be not as good as Indiana Jones Adventure, a ride with a nearly-identical layout in Disneyland, despite the outstanding Dr. Seeker. There’s a lot of space for new ideas.

The Tropical Americas concept could be a great fit for Disney’s Animal Kingdom if that’s the direction Disney picks. However, we’d be pretty disappointed if Disney just uses it as an opportunity to inject familiar franchises into the park. Ideally, Disney would include animals that originate from the region in any of their new plans.

We also hope any new plans add more capacity to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Walt Disney World has been allergic to new capacity as Disney favors ride retheming in favor of new construction, and it’s time for that to change.

Finally, we hope Disney remembers the original vision of Disney’s Animal Kingdom as said by former Disney CEO Michael D. Eisner:

“Welcome to a kingdom of animals… real, ancient, and imagined: a kingdom ruled by lions, dinosaurs, and dragons; a kingdom of balance, harmony, and survival; a kingdom we enter to share in the wonder, gaze at the beauty, thrill at the drama, and learn.”

Disney hasn’t formally announced any set plans for Disney’s Animal Kingdom at this time. We predicted this year’s D23 presentation would pack some punches in an effort to combat Universal’s upcoming Epic Universe. Will these new permits force Disney to come forward with their plans earlier?

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David is a Disney travel expert who created Notes from Neverland in 2018 after visiting Disney theme parks countless times. Previously, David spent way too much time writing about sports, and was featured in Sports Illustrated, MSN, Yahoo!, and in many other publications. Learn more or contact us.

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