6 Rumored Changes Coming to Disney World 2024-2025

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I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World for over 30 years, and there’s still always something new to see or experience. Sometimes it’s a new ride or show. Other times it’s a festival booth at EPCOT or a novel snack. Sometimes the fun is in the speculation and anticipation of what could be coming to the parks in the future. Disney often teases new attractions and restaurants coming to the parks.

Several rumored changes are coming to the Florida parks this year and next. These include a Play Pavilion and Figment changes at EPCOT, an Indiana Jones ride to replace Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom, the opening of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure and the start of a major park expansion at Magic Kingdom.   

Gold Dome Near Mission Space EPCOT
The former Wonders of Life gold geodesic dome is rumored to be slated for a Fortnight revamp (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

1. Play Pavillion revamp/Wonders of Life (EPCOT)

Ever spotted that gold geodesic dome in the World Discovery section of EPCOT? That’s the former Wonders of Life Pavilion sandwiched between Cosmic Rewind and Mission: Space. Back in 2019, Disney announced that the building would be transformed into an interactive play pavilion with character meet-and-greet opportunities. But the plan didn’t pan out since the pavilion remains closed. Likely the plans were put on hold during the pandemic. However, Disney announced a partnership with Epic Games in early 2024. As a result, there’s speculation that the pavilion may eventually host attractions related to Fortnight. My kids would be super excited to see that come to EPCOT. 

Dinosaur in the DinoLand USA area
DinoLand, USA in Animal Kingdom is overdue for an update (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

2. Indiana Jones/DinoLand, U.S.A. retheme (Animal Kingdom)

You may have heard that Disney plans to replace Animal Kingdom’s DinoLand, U.S.A. area with a new land. The proposed theme for this new land is “Tropical Americas” with attractions inspired by Encanto. The current Dinosaur attraction doesn’t fit with that theme, so it’s likely to be replaced with an Indiana Jones ride. At Disneyland, there is an Indiana Jones ride built on the same track as the Animal Kingdom attraction. Additionally, Tokyo DisneySea has an attraction called Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Crystal Skull which is set in Central America. Perhaps we’ll see that ride’s theme adapted to the existing track in Animal Kingdom. 

Tom Sawyer Frontierland Magic Kingdom
Beyond Big Thunder would likely be located behind Tom Sawyer Island (photo by Kirby Russell/HeyOrlando.com)

3. Beyond Big Thunder (Magic Kingdom)

The scale of this major park expansion means it could take up to 5 years to complete. However, once Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in 2024, we could see Disney get started on the project by 2025. The huge expansion is rumored to be similar in size to Fantasyland. That’s enough space for multiple-ride buildings, restaurants, shows, and stores. It will be located behind Big Thunder Mountain and Tom Sawyer Island, inside the boundary of the Walt Disney World Railroad tracks. Disney has also announced that the expansion will include three distinct areas: Encanto, Coco, and Villain’s Kingdom.  

an ai rendering of a dark castle
Part of the rumored Disney World expansion could include a Villain’s Kingdom (AI rending by HeyOrlando.com)

4. Villain’s Kingdom (Magic Kingdom)

For every Disney hero, there’s certainly a villain that we all love to hate, right? The Magic Kingdom parking lot is divided up by heroes and villains. In the park, you’ll see people with shirts featuring Jafar, Ursula, and Scar. One of the highlights of both Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios and the Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom is Maleficent the Dragon. Ever since Snow White’s Scary Adventure closed with the new Fantasyland expansion back in 2007, the Magic Kingdom has been lacking villain representation. Happily, the massive Beyond Big Thunder Expansion is rumored to include a Villain’s Kingdom area. We can’t wait to see what rides, attractions, and villains this new area will showcase. 

Tiana's Bayou Construction Area
There are rumors that Tiana will have her own palace and restaurant (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

5. Tiana’s Palace/Pecos Bill (Magic Kingdom)

When I visited Magic Kingdom last month, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure was looking closer and closer to completion. In fact, at night they were sending empty log flumes down the track. If you’ve seen “The Princess and the Frog,” you’ll know that a major plot point in the film is Tiana’s dream to open a restaurant. This information has fueled internet rumors that the nearby Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn will be closed and reimagined as Tiana’s Palace. Also, there’s already one in the New Orleans Square area at Disneyland Park in California. The rumors have also suggested that The Golden Oak Outpost could also be reimagined with Tiana in mind. Perhaps they could serve beignets like Disneyland’s Mint Julep Bar.

EPCOT's Journey Into Imagination
Rumors have been swirling regarding a Journey to Imagination revamp (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

6. Journey to Imagination revamp (EPCOT)

Few characters are more beloved by dedicated EPCOT fans than Figment. This mischievous purple and orange dragon has become the park’s unofficial mascot since 1983 when EPCOT opened. His ride in World Celebration has been through three major refurbishments. Now, rumor has it that he’s getting yet another update. Disney heavily teased changes coming for Figment last year at D23. They’ve also shared a video on social media of him visiting Disney Imagineering, strongly suggesting some big changes coming his way. 

As a Disney fan, it’s fun to speculate about new attractions and experiences coming to the parks. Disney announced $60 billion in parks and experiences investment over the next decade. The biggest project is the Beyond Big Thunder expansion (including Villain’s Kingdom). Other changes like restaurant or ride retheming would be smaller in scope, but still exciting. Surprisingly, I’m most hopeful that we will see the Play Pavilion project come to fruition. EPCOT is my favorite park, and I’d love to see a new interactive attraction for my kids to explore.

Which of these rumors are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirby Russell

Kirby Russell is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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