Dinoland set for a Disney Imagineering re-make to “Moana” and “Zootopia”

by Susan and Simon Veness

The Dinoland area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is set for a complete overhaul after the D23 Expo revealed it has come under the focus of Disney Imagineering.

dinoland reimagining concept art

The big Disney fan exposition featured a presentation called “A Boundless Future: Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products” in Anaheim today (September 11, 2022), and among the many revelations of new attractions, opening dates, and other forthcoming events, the Animal Kingdom park was singled out for special attention.

Of particular interest to Disney’s creative team is the current void in the park caused by the closure in 2020 of the Primeval Whirl ride in Dinoland, and its demolition a year later.

dinoland primeval whirl by veness travel media
Primeval Whirl
Photo by Veness Travel Media

Now, it seems, the Imagineers have planned a complete re-make of the area, themed to the two 2016 Disney animated movies “Moana” and “Zootopia.”

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, explained, “At one point in my career, I was lucky enough to be leading Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. During that time, I was involved with the planning for Pandora: The World of Avatar, which was an awesome project and so transformative for the Animal Kingdom.

“But I was always thinking about the possibilities for transformation in another area of the park, and that’s Dinoland. We see tremendous opportunity here, a chance to tell new stories that fit right in with what Animal Kingdom is all about.”

D’Amaro was then joined on stage by two major players in the design and creation of many Walt Disney World attractions, Creative Portfolio Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering Chris Beatty and Jennifer Lee, chief creative officer at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Lee confirmed, “Chris and I, along with all the Imagineers and the studio film-makers, have been working together and looking at how we can bring the films from this last decade into the parks in natural ways.”

Beatty then took over and insisted, “Let’s go back to Dinoland for a minute. That’s a great example of where we opened our conversation with an important reminder about the ethos of Animal Kingdom. It has to start there.

dinoland chris beatty
Imagineer Chris Beatty with Dinoland reimagining concept art

“Since its beginning, the park has really focused on stories that have this connection to animals and the intrinsic values of nature, and most of all by the power of transformative adventures. Avatar is the perfect example of how a narrative embodies these core values to create an experience that could only live at Animal Kingdom.”

The two creative thinkers then outlined possible concepts for a Dinoland remake, unveiling an artist’s rendering of visuals to illustrate the theming and the look of the “Blue Sky thinking” areas, citing the movies “Zootopia” and “Moana” as stories that ideally fit the Animal Kingdom ethos.

The concept art is especially revealing. In the image shared during D23 Expo, it looks like the current area of Chester and Hester’s Dinorama (where Primeval Whirl used to be) would become a Moana-styled section, including the re-theming of the existing TriceraTop Spin ride.

dinoland t-rex by veness travel media
Photo by Veness Travel Media

The other major Dinoland attraction, the Dinosaur ride, would undergo its own transformation to the city of Zootopia, meaning a second, separate area within the one former land.

The rendering provides no clue as to what would happen to the rest of Dinoland, including The Boneyard playground and Restaurantosaurus restaurant, and there was absolutely no timeframe given for any of this transformation to happen, or even if Disney has actually given it the green light.

But there are currently no new attractions listed for Walt Disney World beyond the completion of the Epcot transformation and Tron Power/Run coaster at Magic Kingdom, both scheduled for 2023, and so this proposed makeover could easily be on the slate for 2024 or 2025.

It would also make sense for Disney to have some major new attractions planned to counter all the extensive development of Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe theme park, which is due to open in 2025.

Dinosaur - Full POV at Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Brooks Richardson September 13, 2022 - 3:58 pm

I really really f…….. hate that they would get rid of the dinosaur ride its the only reason I like coming to disney world because of that ride If that goes I would loath Disney forever and never come back to disney world ever again!!!!!!!!!!!

Brooks Richardson September 13, 2022 - 3:59 pm

I really love dinosaur


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