As we’ve reported, the Walt Disney Company has dug itself into a hole with its woke offerings, declining theme-park experience, and altogether avoidable feud with the state of Florida and Governor Ron DeSantis.
Read: Disney Collapses Under Its Own Woke Weight and Iger Is Looking to Sell
The company’s stock has dropped almost 20 percent in the last six months, and in May, its market value plummeted by a cool $16 billion. But theme parks are the second most profitable part of their income—trailing only media and entertainment—so they should be fine, right?
But now they may have a rival on their hands. Something new is in the works:
A new, $2 billion theme park and resort is being planned for northeast Oklahoma,which is expected to be comparable in size with Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Theme Park.
Dubbed the American Heartland Theme Park and Resort,the 1,000-acre development just west of Grand Lake on Route 66 will include a 125-acre theme park that the company says will offer a unique experience that rivals the world’s top resort destinations.
VIDEO: A 1,000 acre resort and theme park is coming to northeast Oklahoma. American Heartland will feature rides, live shows and an RV park. Goal is to create a park where a family doesn’t have to “spend their life savings to come spend a week with us.” https://t.co/Nlf7oaFuU1 pic.twitter.com/Wi2XpJ6cAG
— Marcus Leshock (@marcusleshock) July 19, 2023
It’s always surprised me that Disney didn’t build a third U.S. park despite the successes of the California-based and Orlando operations. The idea had been considered many times—at one point, they were looking at a Virginia location—but it never happened. Somehow there’s a Disneyland in Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, yet there’s not one in middle America. A serious misjudgment, in my view.
But now they may be too late to the party:
“We are thrilled to make Oklahoma the home of American Heartland Theme Park and Resort,” American Heartland CEO Larry Wilhite said in a press release on Wednesday. “At the crossroads of the heartland, Oklahoma is an attractive location for a family entertainment destination. The state’s business-friendly approach and innovative partnership efforts have helped make this possible. We look forward to bringing unforgettable generational experiences to Oklahoma.”
The family-friendly theme park will include six American lands that provide guests with a walk through American history—something Disney used to excel at.
More than 20 former Disney Parks builders and Walt Disney Imagineers will join the effort to create the attraction, which according to their website, is expected to fully open in the fall of 2026 (although portions will open sooner).
I used to love Disney World (even though it debuted first, SoCal’s Disneyland is a distant second, in my opinion). I was lucky enough to visit Orlando as a child, and it was magical, and for two of my kids’ milestone graduations, we went with another family and had amazing experiences.
But the Disney magic has worn off on me, as sky-high prices and woke ideology keep me away. I’m not the only one, as attendance is way down.
The mouse is too expensive.https://t.co/wNAsLTTlXZ
— drlearnalot, RL voodoo doll (@DrLearnALot) July 12, 2023
The American Heartland Park has a steep hill to climb in attempting to reach the heights of the House of Mouse, but it has a chance to draw Americans who want to celebrate our history with their families without breaking the bank, which this effort promises to focus on. If Disney had kept their eye on the ball, maybe they’d be in a position to be expanding instead of conducting mass layoffs and selling assets.
My kids have reached the age that—if and when they want to visit a theme park—they’d rather go with their friends than their parents. But if someday I’m blessed with a slew of grandchildren, hopefully this venture will work out and we’ll be taking them to the American Heartland Park.
Mouse House Loses the Magic, Disney CEO Bob Iger Slashes 7,000 Jobs in Bid to Cut Costs by $5.5 Billion
Disney Can’t Stop: Series Features a Robot Getting Tampon Advice From a Trans Man
Tragic Kingdom: House of Mouse Loses Its Magic as Customers Complain of Sky-High Prices, Dirty Facilities