A new theme park is coming to Oklahoma, and it's making some hardcore Disney fans feel a little nostalgic. The newly-announced American Heartland Theme Park and Resort is a new tourist destination that is being designed from the ground up to celebrate America, with half a dozen themed lands that include the Great Plains, Bayou Bay, Big Timber Falls, Stony Point Harbor, Liberty Village and Electropolis.
In addition to the theme park (which will be about the size of the Magic Kingdom,) The American Heartland Theme Park and Resort will include an indoor water park, on-property hotels, and an RV park. The whole project has a massive budget of $2 billion, and is poised to attract around 5 million guests per year.
Disney fans are having flashbacks to a long-canceled project
If this concept sounds somewhat familiar, don't worry, you're not imagining things. Disney's America theme park project, which was originally set to be built in Northern Virginia, was also intended to celebrate the different regions and history of America. The canceled project was announced in 1993, and would have also had areas themed to different parts of America, including an area focused on Native Americans as well as a midwestern area focused on the family farm. However, there were concerns about budget as well as Disney potentially depicting problematic portions of history like the Civil War.
Mansion Entertainment, which is based in Branson, and is spearheading The American Heartland Theme Park doesn't mention Disney's long-canceled project by name, but it seems that they are aware of the similarity to Disney's canceled America project. In fact, the company specifically mentions in its press release that the project’s design team is made up of over 20 former Disney Parks builders and Walt Disney Imagineers.
The park will feature all kinds of attractions, including log flume rides, a haunted lighthouse, and a roller coaster
Guests will enter the park through a dedicated entrance area called Liberty Village, which looks a lot like a mash-up between Main Street USA and Liberty Square, according to concept art.
As far as attractions are concerned, there will be a little bit of something for everyone, from a First American Stories Theater and Jackalope Coaster in the Great Plains land to a pirate-themed stunt show in the park's Bayou Bay area. There's even a haunted "lighthouse" (as opposed to a mansion) attraction in the works for the park's Stony Point Harbor area. The park has a very small IP tie-in with a barnyard adventure attraction being designed that is based on the classic Charlotte’s Web children's book.
The new resort is set to be built in phases with the RV park expected to be complete in spring 2025 followed by the theme park in 2026. No date on when construction is set to begin has been announced yet, but as the project continues to come together, we should learn more about when guests will be able to check out this new destination!