Disney+ is about to get a whole lot more magical. A whole franchise based on the beloved Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World is in the works for the streamer from For All Mankind and Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore, bringing characters from its theme parks and classic films to new life.
Disney superfan and For All Mankind creator Ron Moore is kicking off a Magic Kingdom TV universe for Disney+ with The Society of Explorers and Adventurers, a series set in a world where all the themed lands and characters of the Disney parks and classic films actually exist in another reality, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Moore will write and executive produce The Society of Explorers and Adventurers for Disney+ and 20th Television and, if it’s a success, will continue to build out the Magic Kingdom universe and oversee the entire franchise.
There aren’t details yet on the story of The Society of Explorers and Adventurers, but THR says the idea is “to explore characters — like sea boat captain from the Jungle Cruise or prospector from Big Thunder Mountain or the climbers of the Matterhorn, for example.” Those characters are pure speculation from THR, but they make sense. After all, the Society of the title has been referenced in numerous Easter eggs throughout Disney theme parks all over the world, where they’ve been known as S.E.A. In many ways, this is a dream come true for theme park fanatics, who have been tracking the hidden connections between park lands and rides for many years.
Disney is hoping this will be its next big franchise à la Marvel, and they’ve made a solid choice with Moore, as the writer-producer has done his share of franchise expansion with his work on various Star Trek shows in the ’90s before heading-up Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica. Moore seems invested in creating a Magic Kingdom universe that follows established mythology from within the parks, working closely with the Disney Imagineering team, per THR. A mini-writers room has also been put together, with a search underway for three senior-level writers.
Disney has been trying to get its hands on Moore for a while. The writer-producer had been in talks to develop a Star Wars live-action TV series with George Lucas for Disney-owned ABC nearly a decade ago, and finally signed an overall deal with 20th Television earlier this month, exiting his longtime home at Sony TV. Under his multiyear eight-figure agreement, Moore and his Tall Ship Productions banner will create and develop new projects across the Disney portfolio. His first project under this deal is the Disney+ series Swiss Family Robinson, which he’s working on alongside Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians). At some point, he may return to the idea of the Star Wars series he flirted with years ago, per THR.
But it seems like the Magic Kingdom universe will keep Moore occupied for at least a few years. Moore told The Hollywood Reporter podcast TV’s Top 5 that the project was important to him due to his childhood affection for the Disneyland park:
“I decided to go there mostly because my childhood was built around a lot of things that were Disney. I am a huge fan and aficionado of the Disneyland park in Anaheim to the point where I would go there by myself periodically and ride the rides. The opportunity for me to get to work on a lot of the classic IP that Disney has and things in their library that meant so much to me as a child growing up and that I have shared with my children ultimately was just something I couldn’t pass up.”
The concept of mashing different Disney characters together is nothing new for the company. The ABC fantasy series did the same with Disney fairy tale characters in Once Upon a Time, while the Square Enix video game franchise Kingdom Hearts is a hodgepodge of all Disney characters and worlds, from animated, to live-action, to classic Mickey Mouse shorts (what I’m saying is, where is our Kingdom Hearts Disney+ series, Disney?)
In addition to Disney’s Imagineering team, Moore’s longtime collaborators at Tall Ship Productions, Maril Davis and Ben McGinnis, are also attached to The Society of Explorers and Adventurers and the larger Magic Kingdom Universe.