Disney Parks head teases new 'Frozen' land in California

September 19, 2023, 9:52 PM · In case you missed it, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro said on the record today that a new Frozen-themed land could be coming to the Disneyland Resort.

D'Amaro was speaking at an investors summit for Wall Street analysts that Disney hosted at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. I mentioned D'Amaro's comment at the end of my analysis of today's Disney investment news, Can Disney win over Wall Street with more theme park cash? But I wanted to repeat it for anyone who did not read to the end of that post.

"We have a wealth of untapped stories to bring to life across our business," D’Amaro said. "Frozen, one of the most successful and popular animated franchises of all time, could have a presence at the Disneyland Resort. Wakanda has yet to be brought to life. The world of Coco is just waiting to be explored. There’s a lot of storytelling opportunity."

Okay, so let's take another look at the latest concept art for the proposed expansion at Disneyland.

Concept image courtesy Disneyland

It's hard to see much identifiable IP in the most recent concept art that Disney has released to support its DisneylandForward proposal. It's just a lot of rock work and water elements. But Coco would work as a destination just steps away from Disney California Adventure, and Frozen would pair well with the lands in Disneyland. As for Wakanda, hey, it's hidden from the outside world, right? Put it anywhere and make up a story that gets us through the cloaking shield.

The question is.. which version of Frozen would Disneyland fans get? Do they get the EPCOT Frozen Ever After clone or the enhanced Anna and Elsa’s Frozen Journey ride from Tokyo DisneySea? Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs from Hong Kong's upcoming World of Frozen land probably would not be included, due to noise abatement concerns, but one would assume some version of a Frozen-themed restaurant would make the cut. How about a version of Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure on the Disney Wish? One can dream....

Of course, Anaheim city officials must approved Disneyland's proposed changes to its site plan for any of this to happen. For the latest on what's going on with that DisneylandForward proposal, please read Let's take a closer look at Disneyland's expansion plans.

To keep up to date with more theme park news, please sign up for Theme Park Insider's weekly newsletter.

And to help support Theme Park Insider while saving money on discounted theme park tickets, please follow the ticket icon links our Theme Park visitors guides.

Replies (10)

September 20, 2023 at 1:09 AM

We are definitely not getting the one from Tokyo DisneySea given that OLC has a strict, “No one else will get this attraction” clause in their contract.

September 20, 2023 at 9:46 AM

I really don't know what to think about this. I feel that executives do this all the time to pump up the crowd when there's really nothing concrete to support what they're saying. They talk in generalities while fans add their own specifics to the narrative to fulfill their dreams and desires.

What I worry about here is that if Disney were to add a Frozen Land to Disneyland, it would somehow integrate the Matterhorn into the layout (perhaps axing Nemo and Autopia - no loss with either of these, especially from an operational standpoint). The Matterhorn's shape and status within the park, and theme park industry as a whole, are iconic, but also lends itself as an economical and thematically appropriate piece that could be part of the application of the Frozen IP into Disneyland. I would hope that it wouldn't happen, but knowing how projects are being forced into greater efficiencies, Matterhorn poses an easy target to create efficiency in brining the IP into the park.

I also feel that if Disney wants to capitalize on the Frozen IP in California, they're running out of time to do it. The fairy tale of the Snow Queen is evergreen, but I get the sense that the stories of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf are quickly fading. Given the current climate of here today, gone tomorrow, Disney cannot afford to spend billions and a decade creating a land around an IP that will have been out of the public consciousness for 10 years or more. If Disney truly wants to get Frozen into California, they can't wait for DisneylandForward, they need to star working now by reworking areas of the existing parks.

September 20, 2023 at 11:28 AM

If Disneyland were to get a Frozen Land, I’d prefer they get the Tokyo Disney Sea version. I also hope Disneyland would replicate the lands that’s currently being built in Hong Kong.

Russell, “I also feel that if Disney wants to capitalize on the Frozen IP in California, they're running out of time to do it.” How is Disney running out of time? Frozen will be popular for years to come. The Little Mermaid movie came out in 1989, and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel's Undersea didn’t open until years later. Show White’s Enchanted Wish was just updated, and the movie came out in 1937. Mickey and Minnie finally got their own ride, and they’ve been around since the beginning.

September 20, 2023 at 11:49 AM

Lest we forget that Frozen 3 has also officially been announced as an upcoming feature, which will undoubtedly include more Disney+ shorts, side-quels and holiday jingles. And of course to quote the ever-prescient Yogurt: there’s the oversaturation of
“ Moychendizing Moychendizing Moychendizing!!!”

September 20, 2023 at 12:52 PM

I know I say this in every topic about Disney and Universal, but I really think the IP miniland thing is a trend thats going to run its course with due time and making these massive investments like Epic Universe and Disneyland Forward is really limiting them to a narrow set of ideas with gigantic swaths of real estate that they are going to have to leverage for decades. Like 20 years from now is anyone going to want to a new Frozen ride? Cars came out in 2006, Cars Land opened in 2012, the sequels pretty much bombed compared to what was expected, is anybody in 2023 clamoring for a new cars ride?

That's not to say Cars Land was not a good investment but IMO it makes no sense to put yourself in this pickle for your entire property. You can build anything you want in Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, Asia, World Showcase etc. What are you going to build in Cars Land now?

September 20, 2023 at 1:01 PM

@timbo23 - There's a big difference between building an attraction and an entire land around a single IP. Most Disney IPs can absolutely support a single attraction, but when it comes to an entire land, that IP has to have wide and long-lasting appeal. I think Frozen does have wide appeal, but it's unclear whether that will be long-lasting, which is why I think Disney needs to strike while the iron is still hot, because Frozen is getting any more popular.

September 20, 2023 at 6:07 PM

So piecing this together with other news and rumors that have been swirling, I don't think Frozen is necessarily being saved for Disneyland Forward. Instead, I think it and Avatar could be major projects Disney has earmarked for the 75th anniversary in 2030.

What I envision is this: Autopia and Nemo would both be retired, which would free up approximately seven acres of ground space. Additionally, the monorail would be re-routed, removing the figure eight loop over the area and moving the station to the upper level of the Launch Bay building. The southern half of this plot (basically the current lagoon and Autopia loading area) would be turned into Pandora. In Florida, Pandora takes up approximately eight acres, but this would be downsized to four in California by omitting Na'vi River Journey and shrinking the walking area of the land. The other half of the plot would be turned into Arendelle, which appears to occupy only around three acres in Hong Kong if the space taken up by Wandering Oaken's Sliding Sleighs is excluded. Yes, this would probably result in Matterhorn Bobsleds being redone as the North Mountain (which would ironically be south of the area), but if it came with a much needed major overhaul of the attraction I'd consider that an acceptable trade.

The net result? Two new themed areas with two signature attractions and two popular IPs added to the park lineup at the cost of eliminating a couple outdated attractions and potentially rebranding a classic. I'd consider that a win, and a pretty solid allotment of the lion's share of Disneyland's portion of the $60 billion. Of course, I could be totally off base and the reality could be very different, but I'd say what I suggest above is definitely in the realm of plausible.

As for the Disneyland Forward concept art, what I most see when I look at it is Moana, Encanto, Zootopia, and Fantasy Springs, but that's a mental exercise for another time. *exits armchair*

September 20, 2023 at 5:00 PM

Very much agree with Russell and the Man (sounds like a 70s cop show)--building entire lands on the basis of a single property is a fool's game. How do you grow and change the land? And what about when the property goes out of fashion? They talk about installing Wakanda, but it's not likely another Black Panther movie gets made, and even if it did, Marvel's popularity is waning fast. I'm amazed at Universal building a How to Train Your Dragon Land--anytime now, that land will go the way of Shrek.

Look at poor Galaxy's Edge. One would have assumed that a land based on the wide universe of Star Wars would be evergreen. But the way Star Wars IP has dropped like a stone, GE is quickly becoming the world's most expensive headstone, a monument to what once was. The new characters they introduce are known to only a tiny percentage of the people in the park.

Think of allll of the rides that have come and gone at Disney, many for good reason. Now imagine if those were lands.

September 20, 2023 at 6:25 PM

Some good points have been made on both sides...however, I do think "mini lands" can have lasting appeal far beyond the IP, IF the land is well done & ultimately, the attractions deliver.

There are planned projects in the world of Frozen...so people will obviously still be familiar with the brand. But one of Disney's strong points, has been the ability to maintain the relevance of many of their properties.

Now, this is also a generational thing (It is why young kids will still dress up as Cinderella, Snow White, etc.) Those princess still remain relevant because it is passed down. The same thing will most likely happen to Anna, Elsa, & Olaf. The generation that made that film a cultural phenomenon can pass it on to their kids.

We've also seen lands based on IP's that aren't at their peak still remain popular.

The Harry Potter IP isn't at the height that it was, yet Hogwarts still work gets the crowds...Marvel SuperHero Island remains a draw because of the Spider-Man & Hulk attractions...despite whatever ups & downs Marvel went (and is going) through.

This bodes well for Wakanda because whether there's more movies or not, the character & world has a relevance now that extends beyond the screen (and much like Marvel at IOA, the attraction will be the draw)

I agree that it could be risky and a single IP may not always be the best jumping off point for a themed land...however if the land is done well and contains stellar attractions...that provides the biggest incentive.

The lands aren't just getting fans of the IP...as I've mentioned before, general families / tourist to a theme park will visit as much of the park as possible. I know people who haven't seen or read a single HP book / movie & Hogwarts is the first place they go.

Deadline today reported on the 2023 Inside Fandom Survey form the UK & US & the typical IPs were listed...Star Wars was #1, Marvel Brand #2. Disney, Pokemon, Star Trek, DC, Potter, Barbie, etc. all made the cut.

September 20, 2023 at 6:58 PM

I agree with Jay R. “Now, this is also a generational thing (It is why young kids will still dress up as Cinderella, Snow White, etc.) Those princess still remain relevant because it is passed down. The same thing will most likely happen to Anna, Elsa, & Olaf. The generation that made that film a cultural phenomenon can pass it on to their kids.”

This is what I was trying to convey with Frozen. Jay R hit it right on the spot. Yes, is it better if Disney capitalizes on Frozen now…of course. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the moment. Snow White and Cinderella are still relevant and popular today, because it’s passed down from generation. The same thing will most likely happen with Frozen. There is also a Frozen 3 coming out in a couple of years.

Toy Story came out in 1995, and Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios didn’t open until 2018. Toy Story is still very popular, with a 5th movie coming out in 2025. Toy Story was passed down from generation to generation, and remains popular. That’s what I think will happen with Frozen. People who grew up with Frozen will pass their Elsa and Anna dolls to their own children. That’s typically what happens.

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

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive