Disneyland Reveals Plans For Resort Expansion

On Thursday March 25th, Disney held a media briefing in which it revealed plans for expanding the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA over the next several years. Currently the resort is restricted by zoning rules as to what they can build and where. Jeanette Lomboy, VP of Disney Imagineering said, “Because of the current rigid district structure, we just need more flexibility,” Lomboy said. “We’re excited about the possibilities and ready to dream. Believe me, we have no shortage of ideas, content or stories to tell or build.”

Disneyland plans to ask the city of Anaheim to restructure their land so that they can add new features such as shopping areas, attractions and parking without any restrictions. Some of these plans may include the addition of interactive attractions and possibly lands that are currently being built in Tokyo like “Peter Pan”, “Frozen” and “Zootopia.” The presentation also included mention of other attractions like TRON Lightcycles which is currently open at Shanghai Disneyland and being built at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL.

While Disney would not be adding new land, they stated they are simply trying to utilize what they already have by filling in the gaps which equates to millions of square footage. These areas include the west side by Downtown Disney and the hotels, the east side off Katella and the Toy Story parking lot. With the ability to combine parking areas and a possible third gate into the parks, Disney would be able to increase its park capacities and in turn increase revenue for themselves and the city of Anaheim while giving guests more.

Artist rendering of theme park

Several years ago the resort tried to add a new hotel to Downtown Disney but had to back out after the city disagreed with the tax incentives Disney wanted. They also had to scrap a pedestrian bridge and parking structure on the east side of Katella after local businesses said that it would hurt their foot traffic.

Now, with the possibility of restructuring its land, Disney has said that they would like to continue to build a 4th hotel on property as well as expand Downtown Disney. Of course nothing is set in stone. “We’re not announcing anything specific today as part of DisneylandForward,” Lomboy said. “These kinds of projects should give you a flavor of the types of industry-defining integrated experiences and story-rich lands that we want to bring to Anaheim.”

A lot of what Disney plans to do rides on the city being willing to play ball with them.

“In the past year, we have seen what the Disneyland Resort means to Anaheim’s economy and the role it plays in helping us provide vital public services for our residents, neighborhoods and businesses,” Mayor Harry Sidhu said in a statement.

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

The Disneyland Resort is set to reopen April 30th to limited capacity including their theme parks and one resort hotel. The initial reopening will be for CA residents only until further notice. Currently they are running a limited-time event called A Touch of Disney which ends in mid-April.

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