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The Future of Disneyland: DisneylandForward

After years of planning and negotiations, the Anaheim City Council has unanimously approved Disney’s ambitious $1.9 billion expansion plan, dubbed DisneylandForward. This historic decision paves the way for a transformative reimagining of the Disneyland Resort, promising to elevate the guest experience to unprecedented heights while bolstering the local economy. With a commitment to invest at least $1.9 billion over the next decade, Disney is poised to bring its world-renowned storytelling and immersive experiences to new realms, captivating visitors from around the globe.


A Vision for Growth and Revitalization

DisneylandForward is a comprehensive blueprint that will guide the development and growth of the Disneyland Resort over the next four decades. At its core, the plan seeks to maximize the potential of Disney’s existing properties by introducing a more flexible zoning approach, allowing for a seamless integration of theme park attractions, hotels, shopping, dining, and entertainment experiences.

Ken Potrock, President of the Disneyland Resort, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “For nearly seven decades, Disneyland Resort has made a unique, irreplaceable impact on hundreds of millions of guests from around the world. How exciting to know our best days are still ahead – I can’t wait to show you what’s to come.”


Reimagining the Resort Landscape

One of the most significant aspects of DisneylandForward is the rezoning of specific areas within the resort. The west side of Disneyland Drive, currently occupied by parking lots and hotels, will be transformed into a vibrant district featuring theme park attractions alongside hotels. Similarly, the southeast area, currently home to the Toy Story Parking Area, will be reimagined as a hub for theme park attractions, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

This strategic rezoning will enable Disney to bring beloved franchises and innovative experiences to life, drawing inspiration from the company’s successful endeavors at other global destinations. Guests can anticipate the potential arrival of lands and attractions inspired by franchises such as Frozen, Coco, Black Panther, Tangled, Peter Pan, Zootopia, Toy Story, and Tron, among others.


Expanding Horizons: New Lands and Attractions

While specific details about the forthcoming lands and attractions remain under wraps, Disney CEO Bob Iger has hinted at the possibility of introducing an Avatar-themed area at Disneyland, similar to the highly acclaimed Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. “We have one Avatar-based land, Pandora, in Florida. We’re going to put a second one in California,” Iger shared during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in March.

Additionally, the DisneylandForward website tantalizes visitors with glimpses of potential inspirations, showcasing exciting lands and attractions from other Disney parks around the world. These include the World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland, featuring a thrilling boat adventure and a castle-themed restaurant; Rapunzel’s tower and the Neverland area from Tokyo DisneySea; and the immersive Zootopia land at Shanghai Disneyland, complete with innovative attractions and entertainment offerings.


Enhancing Transportation and Infrastructure

To support the anticipated influx of visitors and the expansion of the resort, DisneylandForward also addresses transportation and infrastructure needs. Disney plans to invest significantly in parking, transit, and pedestrian safety measures, aiming to improve mobility throughout the Anaheim Resort area. One notable aspect of the plan is the creation of a new parking destination on the east side of the resort, potentially featuring one to three pedestrian bridges with upgraded entrance accessibility for hotels and businesses along Harbor Boulevard. Additionally, Disney will collaborate with local businesses and the city to encourage the use of public transit and ride-sharing services for cast members and guests.


Economic Benefits for Anaheim

Beyond the exciting prospects for guests, DisneylandForward promises to deliver substantial economic benefits to the city of Anaheim and its residents. According to an independent analysis conducted by Cal State Fullerton’s College of Business and Economics, every $1 billion invested by Disney in the Disneyland Resort is projected to generate approximately $15 million in annual revenue for the city.

These funds will be instrumental in supporting essential community services, including additional fire and police personnel, park maintenance, and infrastructure improvements. Furthermore, Disney has committed to a unique benefits package for Anaheim, allocating $30 million for affordable housing, $8 million for city parks, $85 million for traffic improvements and pedestrian safety, and continued investment in workforce development programs.


Community Impact and Sustainability

While the economic advantages are undeniable, Disney has also prioritized minimizing the environmental impact of the expansion. The DisneylandForward project underwent a comprehensive environmental review process, addressing concerns related to air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, noise pollution, and transportation. To mitigate these potential issues, the plan incorporates measures to reduce air emissions and waste, minimize water and energy usage, and implement robust transportation demand management strategies. Disney’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the resort, as the company continues to explore innovative opportunities in clean transportation, such as electrifying its vehicle fleet and promoting the use of renewable energy sources.

Railroad Garden

A Legacy of Innovation and Storytelling

As the Disneyland Resort prepares to embark on this transformative journey, the spirit of Walt Disney’s original vision remains at the forefront. Potrock eloquently captured this sentiment, stating, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” With DisneylandForward, Disney aims to honor this legacy by pushing the boundaries of storytelling and immersive experiences, creating unforgettable memories for generations to come. As the resort evolves and expands, it will undoubtedly cement its position as a premier global destination, captivating visitors with its unparalleled blend of magic, innovation, and timeless Disney magic.

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Final Thoughts

The approval of DisneylandForward marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Disneyland Resort and the city of Anaheim. With a commitment to invest billions of dollars and a vision for unprecedented growth and innovation, Disney is poised to redefine the theme park experience. From the potential introduction of beloved franchises like Avatar and Frozen to the seamless integration of hotels, shopping, dining, and entertainment, the possibilities are truly boundless. As the resort expands its horizons, it will continue to be a driving force for economic growth, job creation, and community development in Anaheim.

Moreover, Disney’s dedication to sustainability and minimizing environmental impact ensures that this expansion will be a responsible and forward-thinking endeavor, setting a precedent for future developments in the industry. As the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of Disney’s grand plans, one thing is certain: the magic of Disneyland is about to reach new heights, captivating visitors from near and far with experiences that will forever etch themselves into the annals of theme park history.