Beyond Big Thunder concept

Ahead of August's D23 Expo event, Disney has re-confirmed that development is continuing to develop what will be the largest expansion ever of the Magic Kingdom. This project is currently only known as “Beyond Big Thunder.”

When it was initially announced back in 2022, Disney said that they were exploring concepts for this expansion that could possibly include new areas based on Coco, Encanto, or even Disney's iconic lineup of Villains. And while we still don't know what concept Disney is ultimately going to go with, work is happening behind the scenes right now to get this area ready for whatever comes next.

Permits are being filed right now and construction will gear up soon

Image: Disney

According to Walt Disney World executive Michael Hundgen, the current plan is to create a land of 12-14 acres using an expansion pad, which would create a new land roughly the size of Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, and officially make this project the largest expansion in the Magic Kingdom's history (New Fantasyland was only 11 acres, by comparison). And to further reiterate that Disney means business, permits for this new project have been drawn up, and are ready to be filed with the local government so that construction work can begin as quickly as possible on this project.

No theme has been announced, but rumors abound

Image: Disney

There have been no official announcements about a theme just yet, but rumors are swirling online. Because an Encanto area has been all but officially confirmed for Disney's Animal Kingdom, most believe that the idea to bring this property to the Magic Kingdom won't be moving forward. However, in its place a new rumor has popped up on social media that implies that the Magic Kingdom could be getting a clone of Cars Land from Disney California Adventure. Other rumors point to Disney returning to the idea of a Villains land, especially as it could give Disney something similar to the Universal Monsters Dark Universe land at nearby Epic Universe, which is opening next year.

Will any attractions have to shut down?

Image: Disney

Because of where it is located, Big Thunder Mountain is probably safe from needing to shut down while construction behind. However, depending on the shape and size of the construction, The Walt Disney World Railroad track will likely need to shut down again during construction, and the Rivers of America attractions may have to shutter as well. Though preliminary work may not require immediate cessation of operations for these attractions, we'd guess that a 2025 closure is likely as construction ramps up behind Thunder Mountain.

There are plenty of questions remaining about Disney's ambitious expansion plans at the Magic Kingdom, and while it may feel like a long time to wait, we look forward to Disney releasing their plans in full for this new area during their Parks and Experiences panel, which is happening on Saturday, August 10. Until then, we can just speculate about what Disney's ultimate plans are for this area, and dream about what could come next for this ambitious expansion. 


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