A 5th Walt Disney World theme park has been a dream for many since Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998. We are currently living through the longest drought without a new theme park at Walt Disney World in the resort’s history: 16.5 years. As Walt Disney World reached its 40th anniversary in 2011, a new ten year plan for the growth of the resort was laid out, culminating in the 50th anniversary in 2021, which is sure to be viewed as the pinnacle theme park celebration in the company’s history. Sure, Disneyland is the original and Walt’s baby, but Walt Disney World was his last dream and has always been favored by management in the company for being the resort destination with the highest profits. This reasoning made it easy to believe rumors that a 5th theme park was one of the end goals of the ten year plan management devised for Orlando.
So, just a few days ago we told you about the groundbreaking finally taking place at Flamingo Crossings and why that seems to be important and indicative of larger plans for Walt Disney World in the next 8-10 years. Well, it seems it might be a good sign that a 5th park is coming, especially with some recent land purchases made by Disney in the surrounding area (hat tip to Screamscape to putting together some pieces of the story).
Disney owns 3000 total acres of land that are put aside for Flamingo Crossings project, located just outside of the colorful character borders of the Walt Disney World Resort on Western Way. 300 acres of this land seem to be getting some special attentions, a plot just behind the largest development pads for Flamingo Crossings. This plot may be home to Walt Disney World’s 5th theme park.
Why does this plot make sense? A lot of the reasons are those we presented for Flamingo Crossings: 429 is empty and the other side of WDW property is overburdened. Also, building the 5th park here would entice more companies to get involved in Flamingo Crossings. Disney has had trouble selling the plots until recently, but maybe the recent hotel development deal with Marriott was struck because they know something we don’t. One would assume Marriott was privy to this information before finally agreeing to build two hotels that will be the first tenants for the project. If Disney is telling possible investors that there will be a 5th park that their business can be steps away from, they are probably going to be much more likely to open up shop between Western Way and 429.
A lot of this is speculation at this point, but any big projects getting underway currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be completed by 2017-18 and we know that all of the additions to Disney Springs, Epcot (Frozen attraction), and Animal Kingdom will be opening between 2016 and 2017, so the Disney World construction calendar is pretty wide open for the 3 years leading up to the 50th anniversary.
Does all of this mean a 5th gate? Will the park be located in Flamingo Crossings? Will the borders of the Walt Disney World Resort expand west? There are certainly a lot of questions to answer… and we’re not even getting into what the 5th park would be yet…