Impending deal between Disney and Florida could pave way for a 5th gate

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Image courtesy Rob Schwarz Jr.
Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Image courtesy Rob Schwarz Jr. /

Over the next ten to twenty years, huge changes will be coming to Disney World in Orlando. From a mystery land at Magic Kingdom that will be built behind Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to the ENCANTO themed village in Animal Kingdom the Disney we know today may not look the same in another decade. And that is a good thing.

A new deal with Florida that is expected to go through approval could now pave the way for something fans have been wanting for decades: a new theme park or, as they call it, a 5th gate.

Speculation has been around for years about a 5th park but Disney has skirted the questions at every opportunity. Even in his most recent media session, Bob Iger opted for silence over confirmation. That could be simply because nothing has been approved by the current planning commission that was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis.

If the news is accurate and the planning commission moves forward to approve Disney to move forward, that 5th gate may become a reality. The approval is expected to come as early as Wednesday. Disney is planning $17 billion in funding for park upkeep, new lands, potential housing, and that continued rumor of a 5th gate.

Disney may need to seriously think about adding another park. Universal has added Epic Universe set to open in the next year. It will be their 3rd theme park gate in Orlando. Universal is Disney's chief competition for Orlando visitors. Adding a 5th park to the Disney portfolio would keep Disney ahead of their competition.

There is room for a new park, but the question is, what might that park look like? Until it gets approval, we can't really speculate, but adding a 5th park will surely drive ticket prices higher for both daily guests and annual pass holders. It could, however, reduce some of the park capacities when it initially opens and that would be met with a lot of applause from guests.