Name change for Disney World's proposed fifth theme park?

August 21, 2008, 2:01 PM · Jim Hill has more details this week about the fifth theme park at Walt Disney World.

Hill reports that the name of the park, first reported as Disney's Night Kingdom, is up for question, with the current proposal being "Disney's Jungle Trek." The reason for the switch is a plan to extend the park's hours with an earlier opening, perhaps noon, making the "Night" part of the name, well, a bit inaccurate.

Why would Disney extend the hours? To make more money, of course! More hours = more people = more admission revenue.

The theme of the park, at this stage, is a "global village" with buildings and individual adventures themes to the four corners of the world. (Pet peeve rant here: A globe is a sphere, which has no corners. Isn't this an absurd phrase, then? Yet loads of people use it, even me. /rant) Of course, that theme might sound familiar to Disney fans, who might know such a park as "Epcot."

Ultimately, though, the park, regardless of what it is name, will be a premium experience, along the lines of SeaWorld's Discovery Cove, with an estimated $300 a person a day price tag and small-group, guided experiences throughout.

I've heard from multiple sources close to Disney that this project is a go at this point, but, obviously, substantial questions remain about branding, theme and park layout. What would you like to see?

Replies (21)

August 21, 2008 at 2:37 PM · really, I think it's too soon to create yet another theme park. They should really be focusing on the parks they already have (mainly HKDL and DCA and Walt Disney Studios Paris, the parks that are 'failing').
August 21, 2008 at 3:19 PM · hmm....Similar to Seaworld discovery cove. It may be soon to build a new one. Is it too soon to buy?

to add to your equation

more hours = more people = more admission = more in park spending.

This does sound a lot like Epcot to me, so unless it's in another location (cough...Tampa...cough), I'm not sure it makes sense

I don't really believe that will happen, but it's fun to start some crap.

August 21, 2008 at 4:03 PM · IMHO, there are just too many "dead areas" in the existing WDW parks right now for Disney to be thinking about adding a whole new gate. While I would love to see another Disney park at some point, I would rather see WDW beefed up as it is first.
August 21, 2008 at 4:37 PM · I'll play advocate for the other point of view for a moment: If another theme park can bring in additional visitors, especially more, wealthy visitors who would spend the rest of the trip in the other parks, that would provide Disney the additional revenue it would need to improve the other parks, in addition to building and developing this one.

If Disney simply spent that money on the existing parks, this argument would go, it would not attract the number nor demographics of new visitors that the fifth park would attract.

Personally, I'd love to see this park, if truly done well and priced fairly. (Meaning that I will pay a high price for an extraordinary experience, and not simply for the Disney "brand" on a slightly-above-average experience.)

August 21, 2008 at 4:52 PM · I'm all for change and new additions to Walt disney world but, to me it sounds horrible! I would much rather have them build an actual theme park. It sounds too much like Animal Kingdom meets Wolrd Showcase! I think its a completely wrong concept and the price is just outrageous. I would prefer a former concept that they had for the old Discovey Island, Myst island based around the video game Myst. sounded better even though i'm not a fan of the game. Actually i would love if they built a Mysterious Island themed to Jules Verne, but on a larger concept and scale than DisneySea. It could still be an interactive experience just incoorperating rides from Jules Verne and having a mystery based around the island. It would be a perfect opportunity to add some of WDW's defunct Submanrine voyage and to have Journey to the Center of the Earth and it could go great in the old Discovery Island.
August 21, 2008 at 5:23 PM · I have to agree with Robert on this. The American economy is a big question mark right now. Discovery Cove has been a huge success. Disney wants to tap in to that burdgeoning market. This is why Disney has started putting ads in strange places like GQ. The biggest group of tourists to Discovery Cove has been visiting Brits who are flush with the strong Euro and weak dollar. If Disney can get these groups, it will be beneficial for everyone. All Disney needs is 10% of annual visitors to WDW to visit this niche park to pull a profit. Any more than that and they will be rolling in new capital. This can then be used to rebuild Fantasyland, make the Beastly Kingdom, add a country to Epcot and constuct the full Pixar Place in the Studios. The bigger the success; the more everyone gets. Then we can all get that full-fledged fifth gate. This is a great business move by Disney that will secure the stabilty of WDW for years to come.
August 21, 2008 at 6:11 PM · What happens if this doesn't do well just because of the price? I know alot of people are probably distracted and upset even by the amount for this park. It could be a way to get money, but it could also flop. i would poll many guests to see what theire response is to this new spin on the venture and go from there. It could make or cost them millions. Time will tell....
August 21, 2008 at 6:10 PM · Having only read second hand descriptions of the concept I will reserve judgement on the quality of its content.

Having said this I am inclined to back up a bit and make three broader points:

1. As a Central Florida resident who recognizes the importance of tourism to the local economy I am ABSOLUTELY THRILLED that Disney is even considering a fifth gate. The construction and operation of another theme park translates into jobs and gives visitors another reason to travel to (or return to) Central Florida.

2. Having worked on projects for both Universal Creative and Walt Disney Imagineering I know the people working in this industry that design and build these attractions are brilliant and talented people. I have absolute confidence that what they produce will be remarkable.

3. Think 2021. That year will mark the fiftieth anniversary of Walt Disney World. Thirteen years may seem like a long time, but certainly the company is gonna add something to WDW before its golden anniversary.

August 21, 2008 at 6:12 PM · Hopefully a real 5th gate opening for its 50th!
August 21, 2008 at 8:29 PM · I will reserve my opinion until I hear more details about this park. However, as mention a few times before, this may be a move to attract a new demographic of visitors. If they were to visit this park because of the experience it will provide, they are more likely to even take a few days to visit the other parks and thus more profit.

On the concern of not attracting visitors, I think we could use Discovery Cove as an example. For most of the year, a visit to DC is $289 per person with the all-inclusive package and yet during the summer months, you have to book at least a month in advance to guarantee availability on the day you want (sometimes less than a month if you do the non-dolphin swim package).

My point is I don't think there is a problem attracting guests because even though some won't pay for it, there always is others who will.

August 21, 2008 at 8:45 PM · Perhaps to get the Adventuer's Club from the soon to be gone or changed Pleasure Island.

My question is what are they going to give for $300. I hightly doubt it would be a discovery cove knock off. Disney doesn't seem too big on the animals anymore (Animal Kingdom gives them enough pains...remember when it opened?)

Heck, I would be dumb enough to bite and go to this mystery park. I prefered a music park.

August 21, 2008 at 10:37 PM · Here's a potentially controverisal nitpick:

What "defines" a "park" in WDW?
Something like Discovery Cove.. is "sort of" a theme the traditional sense..So is Disney World going to really now bill themselves as "5 parks, 1 world"--or are we assuming this is a "5th gate"> >? Is it not--just another additional thing-- like The Wide World Of Sports or Disney Quest? Surely, it's high/separate pricing will not include it on any parkhopper passes.
I used to always wonder why DisneyQuest wasn't considered a 5th park [I'm a fan--and think it's underrated..and should stick around and be better-marketed]-- It is, after all, billed a 5 story, virtual REALITY theme park-- It has A GATE.. works w/ some parkhoppers....has attractions..has all of the qualities of a PARK... Why has Disney never referred to it as a 5th park ?
Even the water parks are hardly counted/included in the "family"-- To me, Walt Disney World is 7 parks [the 4 "main" parks, 2 water parks, and Disney Quest]-- plus a multi-neighborhood nighttime and/other entertainment district featuring the soon-to-go nightclubs--and, of course, Cirque Du Soleil-- plus The SpeedWay, The Wide World Of Sports, 2 nicely themed mini golf courses [Blizzard Beach's maybe the world's coolest, IMO !], and approx. 2 dozen hotel complexes featuring theming, slides, mini-waterparks, and sometimes dinnershows, campfires, petting zoos, beachside movies at dusk, etc; --Much of this is hardly advertised/touted--and many casual visitors, at best, are only aware of the 4 parks..
Somehow, a Discovery Cove-type -- "reservations" only attraction SEEMS like it would fall more under the Speedway/Wide World of Sports/Disney Quest umbrella--and not be counted as a 5th gate.. In MY opinion, it SHOULD, however, be counted as a gate..but, at the very least, so should Disney Quest

--Andrew Greenstein

August 21, 2008 at 11:52 PM · Honestly, I never expected Disney to even consider another park, let alone one at Disney World. It's nice, really, 'cause I live only two hours from the parks (so that makes it realistic for me to go there), but even so.. I have to wonder along with some of the other members if it's not too early.

Broken record question: Anyone wonder if this is a Disney answer to Potterland?

Yeah, I'm sure it's been asked a billion times, but you can't help but wonder, especially considering all of the past speculation.

August 22, 2008 at 2:37 AM · Speaking as someone who has spent more than a decade working in commercial construction right now is the ABSOLUTE BEST time for Disney to consider building a fifth theme park.

Available contracts are getting few and far between. Outside of Orlando, the Florida economy and commercial and residential construction as almost stopped completely.

As a result construction giants actually "buy" work. Meaning they will agree to do a $15 million contract for $14 million in order to maintain cash flow. This sort of thing is ABSOLUTELY happening in the theme park industry right now.

Contractors are VERY HUNGRY. Disney would be wise to lock up their contracts as quickly as possible -- even if it means waiting three or four years before commencing the work. I am currently working as a project manager on a MAJOR new Orlando resort. It is not scheduled to open until 2010 but some of the blueprints and documents are dated 2001.

Perhaps this will also give some perspective to those jumping the gun and passing judgement on the earliest concept work associated with the fifth gate.

August 22, 2008 at 7:54 AM · I expect that, to help satiate the exorbitant cost of admission, Disney will give something to visitors of the new park on top of a great experience. Visitors to Discovery Cove get a week of free admission to Sea World. Now, Disney probably will not give visitors free admission to the other parks since they will likely have tickets already. However, I could easily see Disney giving 2 or 3 free days of Disney Dining to ease the sticker shock.
August 22, 2008 at 8:40 AM · I think there is to much being focused on the price. The type of people who are being targeted here aren't worried about a $300 price tag. Only thing that worries me is that it will get bad press by a majority of park visitors, since a majority of them won't be able to afford it. People tend to feel entitled to things and creating a "luxury" park could alienate some visitors. I'm all four paying whatever the price as long as the experience is worth it, after all with money, you can't take it with you when your gone.
August 22, 2008 at 1:53 PM · Night Kingdom sounds way better than a Jungle Kingdom. The Night Kingdom intrigues me more than a Jungle Kingdom, which reminds me of the Animal Kingdom.
August 22, 2008 at 3:15 PM · Raul is clearly on to something. The high ticket price could be incorporated into a complete package including nights at a Disney hotel.
August 22, 2008 at 3:25 PM · I agree with a number of people who have said, "don't knock the park when we know so little about it".
The way Jim Hill pitches this park, it sounds REALLY lame. But I have heard descriptions that make this sound REALLY good. This park is probably greater than the sum of it's parts. In that separately the parts (feeding hippos, ziplines, etc) are not that impressive, but the WHOLE experience will be engaging.
And since this is a HIGH end park, WDI will have the money (hopefully) to make it FANTASTIC (think Tokyo DisneySea).
August 26, 2008 at 2:43 PM · You're dreaming when you draw a connection to DisneySea and you're going to be very disappointed.

Fifth theme park? This project isn't a theme park. This is more like a stand-alone attraction on the Walt Disney World property. This project is like Fantasia Mini-Golf.

To call this a fifth gate is far reaching. Also, since when did Disney officially announce the original name? If we don't know the official name then how can you say that there has been a name change? Discovery Cove at SeaWorld really doesn't qualify as a "theme park".

I'd like to point out the fact that Jim Hill isn't employed by the Walt Disney Company. He is a blogger who uses unnamed, questionable sources to write articles. That's fine, but this is all classified as a "rumor" at best until the company makes an official annoucement.

August 26, 2008 at 2:47 PM · I for one think that at least name wise, "Night Kingdom" or something related to night in the title sounds more interesting than "Jungle Trek". That name makes me think of Animal Kingdom, and from what is being said about the "theme" of the park, it might as well just be named Epcot II.

I prefer the thought of having a more adult-based theme park, which, to my understanding, was the original plan for the new park to be. With the loss of Pleasure Island, Disney risks to lose some of it's older-audience to Universal's CityWalk. I for one enjoy walking around Downtown Disney/P.I., and even if I'm not attending one of the clubs, just the atmosphere of walking by and listening in made it worth the while.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive