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For months now, Disney has been talking about expanding Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Dinoland U.S.A.

In particular, the talks have been about demolishing Dinoland U.S.A., a usually empty part of Animal Kingdom currently (with the exception of the Dinosaur attraction), and turning it into the Tropical Americas. However, very little has been announced about WHEN this change is expected to take place. Looking back at Disney World’s past park expansions, here’s when we may expect to see it take place, from start to finish.

Disney World has had a few past expansions that help us figure out how long this massive transformation could take.


Animal Kingdom’s last major land addition came in the form of Pandora — The World of Avatar. To begin this journey, we have to flash ALL the way back to September 2011, when Disney announced in a press conference that a long-term creative partnership with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and Fox Filmed Entertainment had been made to bring Avatar to the Disney parks. Imagineers then broke ground for the new land in January 2014.


Imagineers were hard at work creating this land, of which nothing similar had ever been seen before, when in August 2015 at D23 Expo, Disney announced the official name of the land — Pandora — The World of Avatar. It was Bob Chapek, then Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman, who made the announcement, and Joe Rhode highlighted the partnership Disney had with James Cameron, Jon Landau and the rest of the Lightstorm team (the creators behind Avatar) to ensure the land was being brought to life properly.

Pandora — The World of Avatar

All was quiet again then until February 2017, when during a company Earnings Call it was announced the land would officially open on May 27th, 2017. Annual Passholders and other select guests and Cast Members got an early preview of the new land and attractions before the official opening.


So from conception to completion, Pandora took approximately 6 years to complete — that’s not bad for an ENTIRE new land!

Toy Story Land

Closest in size to the Animal Kingdom Tropical Americas expansion is the Toy Story Land expansion that came to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2018. This expansion was first announced for the park at the 2015 D23 Expo, stating that two new attractions would be added alongside expanding the already existing Toy Story Mania! At the time, no timeline was announced.

Toy Story Land

Construction began in April 2016 and just under two years later, the land’s opening date was announced in February 2018. The land officially opened in late June 2018 with two new attractions and a new quick service location.

Slinky Dog Dash

For this smaller expansion, conception to completion only took about 3 years, which is immensely impressive considering how large the land feels when you’re walking through it.

Galaxy’s Edge

Also in Hollywood Studios, one of the largest expansions the park has seen was Galaxy’s Edge, which was announced during, you guessed it, the 2015 D23 Expo in August. However, what was different about this announcement was that it was for BOTH Disney World and Disneyland!

Galaxy’s Edge

Construction began in both parks in April 2016, and the official name of the lands was announced just over a year later in July 2017. A few short months later, in November 2017, a major construction milestone was hit in Hollywood Studios as Cast Members signed a support beam that would top out the land.

Galaxy’s Edge

Then, in March 2019, it was announced that Galaxy’s Edge would open in May 2019 in Disneyland and in August 2019 in Hollywood Studios. However, the lands opened without Rise of the Resistance, which opened in December 2019 in Disney World and January 2020 in Disneyland, finishing out the lands.


This means that from conception to FULL completion, this expansion took about 4.5 years  for Disneyland and just over 4 years for Hollywood Studios.

Millennium Falcon at night

So what does this mean for the Tropical Americas? Well, we last heard that Imagineers are still gathering inspiration for the new land, we’re still in the concept phase. For these past expansions, we’ve seen this take anywhere from 1-3 years. It’s been about 7 months since it was officially announced that Tropical Americas was coming to Animal Kingdom, which means we could still have a few months or years to go until construction actually begins. And beyond that, we could have 1-2 years of construction, which would place this land opening somewhere between very late 2025-2026 (potentially even early 2027).


Now it’s important to note that the Tropical Americas land is going to be located on an existing part of the park, which is now Dinoland U.S.A. That could make the construction phase of this project shorter than the expansions mentioned above — since the infrastructure, like walking paths and backstage areas, electricity, water, sewer, etc. already exist in the area. Disney isn’t “starting from scratch” here. Looking for all the latest news we have on this exciting new expansion? Check out our posts below!

Be sure to stay tuned to DFB — we’ll keep you updated on all the latest Dinoland U.S.A. retheme news!

Learn ALL about Tropical Americas right here!

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The post When Will Disney’s Animal Kingdom Expansion Open? first appeared on the disney food blog.