Skift Take

Disney has released a new lineup of experiences at its flagship resort that could give anxious visitors, and rival competitors, a taste of its priorities as it plans to double its parks investment over the next decade.

Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is introducing a range of attractions and experiences for visitors in 2024 as part of its plan to double its investment in its theme parks to $60 billion over the next decade.

“It’s probably the largest expansion ever at Magic Kingdom,” Michael Hundgen, Walt Disney World site portfolio executive, said this week.

Disney has been facing pressure from some fans who feel the 10-year framework is vague and unwieldy, especially compared to NBCUniversal’s plan to open its third park in 2025. 

The most recent release of new experiences and activities, which features quite a lot of robots, could give anxious visitors an idea of what’s to come. Other theme park and attractions operators will be looking for clues and signals in what the travel experiences giant does next.

Droids on parade

The company launched intergalactic tours based on the “Star Wars” saga, and starting on Friday, BD-X “droids” will make appearances at the Disneyland resort in California through at least early June.

The child-sized, semi-autonomous droids, which are partly controlled by remote controls, have an uncanny human-like quality. They stumble when pushed and express emotion with their antennas, according to video demonstrations. They seem like they are communicating with humans, a leap forward from humans in costumes.

Expanding Disney’s parks 

Beginning in late summer, the Magic Kingdom in the flagship Disney World Florida resort will feature a Bayou Adventure inspired by the movie, Princess and the Frog. The journey includes life-like automatons who can talk, wave and sing – something not yet seen in Florida.

This comes after Disney has already expanded EPCOT with a new water-based exploration trail based on the film “Moana” and new adventures from “Encanto.”

Media outlets who attended Disney’s tour of new projects this week also reported that there could be a new area based on the “Avatar” movies at Disneyland, but that is still just in the sketching stages and, if finalized, would require zoning approval by the city of Anaheim.

Warrior Games

Sports fans will get to see the Department of Defense Warrior Games, a sporting event to honor U.S. veterans, return to the Disney World ESPN complex this summer. The games are open to public participation.

A New Place to Stay

Finally, Disney announced additional rustic cabins for those looking for a place to stay called Fort Wilderness Resorts, starting July 1.


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Tags: disney, disney parks, theme parks, tourism, Travel Experiences

Photo credit: Disney World to launch interactive Star Wars tours from April 5, featuring so-called BD-X droids. Source: Walt Disney Imagineering.

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