Massive Disneyland Expansion takes next steps

For years, the Disneyland resort in Anaheim has been battling multiple issues that prevented a major expansion – from local landowners who didn’t want to sell off their land to permit issues with the city council. But recently, the city of Anaheim has approved the lifting of zoning restrictions that had prevented Disney from using some of the land it already owned to expand the park.

Disneyland and the city of Anaheim have entered into a 40-year agreement that essentially forces Disney to expand the park. Sources close to the city and Mouse House say the company will set aside 2 billion of the 60 billion dollar budget it recently approved to improve the California resort. Disney did have to sweeten the pot to ensure the city would be willing to lift some of these zoning restrictions. As part of the agreement, the company will provide the city with 100 million dollars for improvements, plus another 30 million that will go to local parks.

Although the agreement spans 40 years, Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock mentioned that the company is ready to start expanding the resort immediately. The idea is to make the Disneyland Resort a multi-day destination, very much in the way the Orlando property operates. The biggest obstacle in Anaheim has always been the size of the parks themselves. It’s important to keep in mind that the Orlando resort is 50 times the size of the Anaheim property. Even with this new expansion, the parks won’t be close in size.

Disney CEO Bob Iger teased a new Avatar-themed land for the California resort earlier this year. There are also talks about attractions themed to Zootopia and Frozen, amongst others. These plans, however, don’t seem to be set in stone just yet. In one of his most recent media appearances, Iger mentioned that essentially, the lack of hit movies from the studio was one of the factors that was holding back expansions at the Disney parks. He mentioned that the company was essentially looking for its next “Frozen” to create a new themed land at the parks. Also, it’s going to be interesting to see how potential leadership changes within the company affect this development. The company has been preparing for life after Iger for years now, but he remains the top decision-maker.

With the land that Disney currently owns in Anaheim, company executives are confident that they will be able to increase the number of attractions at the park by at least 50%. Of course, part of the expansion plans also includes new shopping and dining areas, as well as potential Disney-themed hotels. That will be on top of the new rides that could be coming soon. Experts also estimate that the expansion will ultimately cost much more than the 2 billion dollars that the company is currently stating it will allocate to the Anaheim property. As far as expansions beyond the city of Anaheim, those could come in the form of third-party hotels or even competing attractions. As mentioned, Disney still has enough property within its portfolio in the city to continue doing business there, at least for the next few decades.

Mario Perez

Author: Mario Perez


Mario is a seasoned journalist who’s worked with multiple publications over the years. He has a passion for looking for that story within the story itself. When he’s not actively looking for breaking news, he enjoys playing and watching sports.

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