Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Disney Seeks Major Expansion of California Theme Park to Add More Immersive Attractions
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
March 12, 2024

Share

The expansion could see new attractions based on popular Disney stories like ‘Frozen’ and ‘Zootopia’.

The project has received support from local unions and trade organizations.

The expansion plan requires investment in street improvements, affordable housing and other city infrastructure.


Walking through the frosty, snow-covered hamlet of Arendelle from “Frozen,” or the bustling, critter-filled metropolis of “Zootopia” might be possible one day for visitors to Disney’s California theme parks.

That’s if Disney wins approval from local officials to expand its Anaheim resort over the next four decades.

The proposed expansion wouldn’t increase Disney’s 490-acre (488-hectare) footprint in Southern California or change what the company already has permission to build. But it could help the company develop new attractions. They could place rides and entertainment options on what is currently a sprawling, 50-acre (20-hectare) parking lot — and move parking for Disneyland to a multistory structure — all while keeping within the boundaries of a resort surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

“We know there are stories out there we haven’t told yet, like ‘Wakanda’ or ‘Coco’ or ‘Frozen’ or ‘Zootopia’,” said Rachel Alde, Disney’s senior vice president of global development and finance. “We know what kind of stories we would love to tell. We need to get the guidance on what we can build there so we can understand how.”

Approval Process

After a lengthy meeting late Monday, the city of Anaheim’s planning commission voted to recommend approval of the proposal for Disneyland, dubbed the “happiest place on Earth.” The project — which would require Disney to invest at least $1.9 billion in the theme park, lodging, entertainment and related uses over the next decade — still must be approved by the city council before taking effect. The council is expected to consider the project next month.

Disney’s goal is to create what it calls more immersive experiences for tourists, similar to the attraction Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened in California in 2019. The company said it doesn’t yet know which stories would be central to the new developments, but the idea is to create areas like “Zootopia” in Shanghai Disneyland, where animal characters walk through a vibrant cityscape that resembles the setting of the film.

Right now, there isn’t enough room in the original Disneyland in California to build something on a large scale without affecting existing attractions, which are relished by loyal, long-time visitors to the company’s oldest theme park, Alde said.

Community Support

During the hourslong planning commission meeting, staff for the city’s planning and building department recommended the application be approved.

The project “will allow us to continue Walt’s legacy of bringing Disney stories to life, right here in Anaheim,” Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, told the commission. Disneyland was founded in 1955 by Walt Disney.

Amid overwhelmingly positive public comment, neighbors and Anaheim residents praised Disney’s outreach to the community, including seeking feedback for noise and design. Other speakers in support included trade organizations, like the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Attractions and Parks Association, and local unions.

Disney’s Impact on Anaheim

It’s the first time Disney has sought a major change to its California theme parks since the 1990s, when the company obtained approvals to turn its first park into a resort hub. It later added a second park, Disney California Adventure Park, and a shopping and entertainment area called Downtown Disney.

Disneyland was the second-most visited theme park in the world in 2022 with 16.8 million people coming through the gates, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

Disney’s parks are a tourism magnet for Southern California and especially for Anaheim, which is Orange County’s most populous city and home to more than 345,000 people as well as a major league baseball team and national hockey league team. Hotel revenue typically makes up about half of Anaheim’s revenue, and is expected to climb to $236 million this year, according to city estimates.

“Visitors generate a tremendous amount of revenue for our city that allows us to invest in our neighborhoods,” said Erin Ryan, a spokesperson for the city of Anaheim. “Disney brings a lot of tourists here.”

Investment in Infrastructure

The plan also would require the company to invest tens of millions of dollars in street improvements, affordable housing and other infrastructure in the city. Disney has held workshops to address residents’ questions about the proposal, including concerns about the company’s plan to absorb a local road into the theme park.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

DON'T MISS

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

DON'T MISS

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

DON'T MISS

RIP, Roman Gabriel, 83: First Filipino-American QB in NFL Was 1969 MVP

DON'T MISS

Aid Approval Brings Ukraine Closer to Replenishing Troops Struggling to Hold Front Lines

DON'T MISS

Columbia Cancels In-Person Classes as Demonstrations Sprout on US Campuses to Protest Israel War

DON'T MISS

Giants Struggle Against Sub Starter, Fall to Diamondbacks

DON'T MISS

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

DON'T MISS

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

DON'T MISS

Ohtani Breaks Matsui’s HR Record as Dodgers Rip Mets to End Skid

UP NEXT

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

UP NEXT

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

UP NEXT

Aid Approval Brings Ukraine Closer to Replenishing Troops Struggling to Hold Front Lines

UP NEXT

Columbia Cancels In-Person Classes as Demonstrations Sprout on US Campuses to Protest Israel War

UP NEXT

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

UP NEXT

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

UP NEXT

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

UP NEXT

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

UP NEXT

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

UP NEXT

Kate Hudson Had a Lifetime to Make a Record. The Result is ‘Glorious,’ Out in May

RIP, Roman Gabriel, 83: First Filipino-American QB in NFL Was 1969 MVP

35 mins ago

Aid Approval Brings Ukraine Closer to Replenishing Troops Struggling to Hold Front Lines

35 mins ago

Columbia Cancels In-Person Classes as Demonstrations Sprout on US Campuses to Protest Israel War

50 mins ago

Giants Struggle Against Sub Starter, Fall to Diamondbacks

50 mins ago

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

60 mins ago

The US is Expected to Block Aid to an Israeli Military Unit. What is Leahy Law That It Would Cite?

1 hour ago

Ohtani Breaks Matsui’s HR Record as Dodgers Rip Mets to End Skid

2 hours ago

Surprising Ways and Places You Can Use SNAP EBT Food Benefits

1 day ago

Californians Worry About Crime, Setting up a Ballot Measure Showdown

1 day ago

The Pickle Flavor Frenzy and Its Rise in Food Trends

2 days ago

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho sheriff’s deputy died after being shot by a driver during a traffic stop, and a man believed to be the shootin...

3 mins ago

3 mins ago

Suspect in Killing of Idaho Sheriff’s Deputy Fatally Shot by Police, Authorities Say

14 mins ago

15 People Injured When Tram Collides With Guardrail at Universal Studios Theme Park

24 mins ago

Israel’s Military Intelligence Chief Resigns Over Failure to Prevent Hamas Attack on Oct. 7

35 mins ago

RIP, Roman Gabriel, 83: First Filipino-American QB in NFL Was 1969 MVP

35 mins ago

Aid Approval Brings Ukraine Closer to Replenishing Troops Struggling to Hold Front Lines

50 mins ago

Columbia Cancels In-Person Classes as Demonstrations Sprout on US Campuses to Protest Israel War

50 mins ago

Giants Struggle Against Sub Starter, Fall to Diamondbacks

60 mins ago

Trump Tried to ‘Corrupt’ the 2016 Election, Prosecutor Alleges as Hush Money Trial Gets Underway

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend