Massive Expansion Proposed for Disneyland

Disneyland just dropped some bombshell news and detailed plans for their West Coast theme parks.

Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is proposing a large expansion that could add new theme parks, hotels, dining and parking within the city’s 1,100-acre resort district. The project, called DisneylandForward would upgrade and renovate its Anaheim resort with new attractions, shops and restaurants within its existing 490-acre footprint. They are looking to add additional attractions, shops and eateries into underdeveloped existing areas of the resort, specifically around two Disney hotels west of the theme parks and in the site of a parking lot east of the resort.

“The possibilities are endless,” Jeanette Lomboy Disney portfolio executive at Walt Disney Imagineering said. “We’re excited about the possibilities and ready to dream.”

This would be the largest expansion since the 1990’s for Disneyland. That was when the company was approved to build their second theme park, Disney California Adventure as well as new shopping and hotels.

Disney has not yet disclosed how much the proposed project but did specify that they would not be seeking public funds for the project.

This proposal is still in very early stages. Next on the checklist would be a draft Environmental Impact Report and public hearings.

Disney stated that they would not be “seeking additional square footage or hotel rooms beyond what is currently approved and allowed,” instead just looking to work “with the city and community to update our existing approvals to allow for integrated development to be located and built throughout Disney properties.”

Disney officials said it is too early in the process to disclose construction cost but vowed to bring detailed construction plans for approval to the Anaheim City Council by 2023.

“Guests need and want more, ” said Jeanette Lomboy, Disney portfolio executive at Walt Disney Imagineering. “In order to give guests what they want, we need more flexibility in Anaheim.”

The challenge facing Disney is the media giant must first persuade the city of Anaheim to redraft a specific plan approved by the city in the 1990s that defined the areas of the resort that are set aside for attractions, for hotels and for parking. The Disney Forward plans would call on the city to overhaul that plan dramatically, allowing theme park elements to be added in the area set aside for hotels, and shops and restaurants in the area allocated for parking, among other changes.

The city of Anaheim is anticipating a $108-million deficit for the fiscal year ending in June. Some city services, such as tree trimming, have been cut to save the city money.

Disneyland which opened in 1955 and generates about $8.5 billion in economic impact annually while supporting more than 78,000 jobs in Southern California, according to a study by Cal State Fullerton.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu has been briefed on the plan, according to a city spokesman, who said the mayor is supportive of Disney’s efforts and looks forward to seeing the detailed project make its way through the city’s approval process.

“I welcome fresh thinking about how the Disneyland Resort evolves and how we best maximize this resource for our city,” Sidhu said in a statement.

The renderings offered by Disney show new themed attractions added around the Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel on the east side of the resort. On the west side of the park, the Toy Story Parking lot, which holds more than 5,000 spaces, would be developed with hotels, restaurants and shops, according to the images released by Disney.

Disney officials said the future plans would include the addition a new parking structure with a pedestrian bridge, crossing S. Harbor Boulevard to connect with the theme parks.

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