While news of a prospective theme park pops up often, none have intrigued us quite as much as the American Heartland Theme Park and Resort.

A team of ex-Disney Imagineers has joined the Mansion Entertainment Group in creating a brand new theme park on Route 66 in Vinita, Oklahoma. The resort will feature America’s largest RV park, a thrilling new theme park, a 300-room hotel, and an indoor water park.

The park’s founder is Gene Bicknell, the man who made his millions by franchising Pizza Hut.

He said about the park, “American Heartland Theme Park and Resort is a more than $2 billion entertainment destination development in northeast Oklahoma, just west of Grand Lake on Route 66. The development will be built in phases starting with a large-scale RV park with cabins, a film and television studio and a world-class theme park and resort.”

There are plenty of reasons to be excited. At 125 acres, the American Heartland Theme Park will be larger than Magic Kingdom, which comes in at around 107 acres. The RV park will open in 2025, with the theme park following in 2026.

The American Heartland Theme Park

The entrance to the park

Though in its early stages, progress seems to be moving steadily. Construction started in October 2023 and a very early fly-through of the park has been released:

Liberty Village will be the gateway to the American Heartland, much like Main Street, U.S.A. in Disney World. This land will be filled with shopping and dining and will be home to the Liberty Bell and the main town square.

Over in Great Plains, Native American traditions and stories will be combined with barnyard adventures. This land will likely include an enchanting Charlotte’s Web ride that the entire family can enjoy.

american heartlands theme park
Take a look at some of the shops and restaurants planned for Bayou Bay.

Featuring a swamp thrill ride, a voodoo house, and a pirate stunt show, Bayou Bay will immerse you in the swamplands surrounding the Mississippi River. Rustic Southern food and Zydeco music will also be heavy features of this land.

Big Timber Falls will feature a huge log flume ride. This land might be the most American, featuring soaring peaks and ancient legends.

Early art for the Stony Point Harbor area shows a haunted lighthouse and possibly a nighttime projection show. This land will be modeled around a timeless coastal town, similar to Cape Cod.

american heartland theme park
Tesla Tower stands tall with one of the park's thrilling roller coasters behind it.

With Tesla Tower as its centerpoint, Electropolis will celebrate innovation and the power of American genius. This is where the majority of the park’s thrill rides will be, including a high-speed coaster that will wind through the area.

As well as these lands, the Mansion Entertainment Group has announced that the theme park will feature a 4-star hotel with boardwalk and dining options, plus an indoor waterpark.

Three Ponies RV Park and Campground

three ponies park and campground
Aerial view of the RV park

Ahead of the American Heartland Theme Park opening in 2026, the resort will also open the Three Ponies RV Park and Campground

This 320-acre campground will feature 300 cabins and 750 RV spaces, making it the largest in the Central United States. There will be three types of cabins to choose from, sleeping up to five people. Each cabin will be fitted with a modern kitchen, a queen-size bed, and bunk beds.

The campsite will also boast several facilities so those who visit the theme park will be able to stay comfortably for a few days. The general store will contain food and camping essentials, while the Frontier Hall Dinner Show will offer family-style meals and The Clubhouse will be a more laidback cafe/bar.

Plus, in an Instagram post, the team announced that PepsiCo would be the exclusive soft drink partner for both the RV park and American Heartlands Theme Park. They also stated that they will announce more exciting partners in the upcoming months.

Does Disney Own the American Heartland Park?

american heartland theme park
Gene Bicknell (third from left) with members of the American Heartland team.

No, Disney does not own the park. However, some big names within the theme park world are behind the American Heartland Theme Park – including a handful of ex-Disney Imagineers – so it looks like the park is in good hands. 

The team announced to be working on the American Heartland Theme Park so far include:

  • Steve Hedrick, WDE Disney Executive – 22 yrs (TP Industry 40 yrs)
  • John Sorenson, WDI Land Planner – 30 yrs
  • Tom Turley, DLI Ops Planning & Development – 45 yrs
  • Don Hilsen, WDI Ride Engineer - 30 yrs
  • John Polk, WDI Special Effects – 20 yrs
  • Tim Kirk, WDI Concept Artist – 35 yrs
  • Annette Crump, WDI Planner/Scheduler – 11 yrs
  • Andy Burden, WDE/DLI Technical Design – 12 yrs
  • Rick Allen, WDW Operations – 43 yrs
  • Craig Hodges, WDW Operations - 42 yrs
  • Dave Vermeulen, Disneyland International – 40 yrs
  • Ted Carlsson, Disneyland/WDI VP of Technical Design - 35 yrs
  • Scott Sinclair, Disneyland & WDI Theme Park Designer - 20 yrs
  • Ronnie Rodriquez, Disney Creative Entertainment - 35 yrs
  • Reggie Jarrett, Disney Entertainment – 35 yrs

The American Heartland Theme Park and Resort is attempting to become a big hitter within the U.S. theme park scene. However, it’s important to note that they currently have little existing IP attached to the park, which will provide a big challenge when it comes to attracting prospective theme park-goers (especially because it will be opening within months of Epic Universe.)

New updates regarding rides and an opening timeline are expected over the next few months.