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The Simpsons at Disney – Cowabunga, Dude?

Doh! Will we soon be seeing the Simpsons at Disney? It’s the million-dollar question we’ve all been asking ourselves since the Disney/Fox merger was completed. With The Simpsons popping up in a variety of recent Disney media releases, it’s only fueled the idea that we could see the Simpsons at the Disney parks in the future. Let’s jump on our skateboard and cruise through Springfield and see if we can piece anything together.

Disney usually adds newly acquired IPs to the parks like Star Wars - Could they do the same with The Simpsons at Disney
Star Wars Galaxy Edge

Historical Review

On March 20, 2019, Walt Disney and Fox finalized one of the largest deals in recent history, bringing together a plethora of notable Intellectual Properties (IP) under the Disney brand, like Avatar, Ice Age and of course The Simpsons. Whenever Disney has made an acquisition of this magnitude history tells us the company looks for ways to integrate the new IPs into the parks.

We are seeing the results of the LucasFilm purchase with the opening of Star Wars Galaxy Edge and the continued expansion of Pixar in the parks with Toy Story Land. Then, of course, there is Marvel and construction of the Guardians of the Galaxy coaster at Epcot.  And the examples grow from there.

Passholder Insights: In the spring of 2019 Disney opened its most recent Pixar addition with the Lightning McQueen Racing Academy at Hollywood Studios.

The Simpsons on Disney+ Announcement

Simpsons Involvement

On April 11, 2019, Disney announced the initial lineup of their new streaming service, Disney+. It became clear that the number one reason Disney acquired Fox was for content on the new streaming service. This was confirmed in a well-designed clip to announce the service; Disney created a Simpsons clip announcing they’re joining the Disney family. As part of Disney+ subscribers will have access to all episodes of The Simpsons. The addition of The Simpsons makes perfect sense as it expands the number of potential subscribers for Disney+.  

The use of The Simpsons in the media did not end with the Disney+ announcement. Another clip was released implying how The Simpsons will have a presence at the Disney D23 Expo at the end of August.  It’s assumed the inclusion of the Simpsons at D23 is to promote the Disney+ streaming service, but could Disney have a trick up their sleeve?

Simpson at Disney cannot happen in the US due to Simpson theme parks rights
Universal Studios Orlando – The Simpson Area

The Big Question

Everyone wants to know, will we see The Simpsons at Disney. By “at Disney” we’re of course referring to the parks. With Disney having parks all around the world, seeing The Simpsons in the parks is a real possibility. Maybe just not the parks you’re thinking about. In the United States, The Simpsons theme park rights are owned by Universal through 2048. The rights cover the whole US, not just the east coast like the Marvel rights Universal has with Islands of Adventure.

If Disney would like to bring the Simpsons to the parks they will have to look outside the US. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, there is a strong possibility we could see The Simpsons brought to Hong Kong Disneyland in a unique way.

Halloween at Hong Kong Disneyland is celebrated differently than the US. Instead of taking the route of a more fun Halloween, Hong Kong Disneyland goes all out for scary haunted houses. The rumor is Disney Imagineering is exploring the idea of creating a haunted house around the scary house from episode 45. With the Simpsons going to D23 this could be the trick Disney has up its sleeve. For now, we will have to wait to find out.

Our Thoughts

Could we see the Simpsons at US parks? At some point, maybe. However, it would be some time (at least until 2048). What we would like to see is for Disney to make a trade with Universal where Universal would receive the Simpsons and in return, Disney would get the Marvel theme park rights for Disney World. Fingers crossed they are already working on this behind the scenes. For now, if we want to see The Simpsons as part of the Disney parks we may have to go to Asia. Ready to buy your plane ticket?

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