We are counting down the days till Destination D23, and even though I will be overseas, I’ll be keeping a close eye on all the news as it comes about. One of the topics I am waiting not-so-patiently to hear about is any potential update on a Zootopia installment in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With all of the specific details that were released yesterday around Shanghai Disney’s new Zootopia-themed land, I’ve started to wonder if this is part of the lead-up to a bigger announcement.
So far, the updates shared have been for international parks like Shanghai and a closer look at Disneyland Hong Kong’s new Frozen area that will be opening later this year, and of course, the big reveal of the Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Treasure. (See all the details with Craig here.) Between the Disney Treasure and Shanghai Disney, there seems to be a heavy push toward an ‘animal adventure’ theme that I am starting to think might continue through to the Disney Parks in the United States.
One specific area of suspicion is the Dinoland USA section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where just last year at D23 in California, Disney teased the potential for a new area that might include scenes from Moana and Zootopia. However, while Zootopia’s animal characters do seem like a perfect fit for Animal Kingdom, not all fans want to see the film represented in the park.
In 2019, Joe Rhode responded to a tweet stating: “The animals are proxies for humans and human issues rather than animals in their own right facing animal-related issues. We try to enforce the ‘no pants’ rule. Classic characters excepted.” However, the argument was largely undermined by the recent addition of Pandora: The World of Avatar (2017), which embodied the same themes Rhode was trying to avoid.
Another argument against the addition is the removal of Dinoland USA, the proposed site that will be reimagined in due course. While Dinosaurs are an important part of our history and should have some representation in the park, I’m all for bidding farewell to the rundown likes of Dinoland; I’ve never felt a connection to this area of the park and its carnival-like feel.
Let me know what you think. Are you happy to see Dinoland USA go, and do you think it might be replaced with a Zooptopia theme? Stay with us through the week as we bring you all the updates in the lead-up to Destination D23!
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.