DisneylandForward Vision Shared With Orange County Leaders

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, the DisneylandForward vision was shared with Orange County business leaders. Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock shared the vision for the future of the Disneyland Resort which includes new expansions for the theme park, parking, and retail spaces that are already currently in the Disneyland Resort boundaries.

“To put it simply, DisneylandForward sets the stage for significant and multi-decade investment in the future. This is the next generation of the Disneyland resort,” Potrock told the attendees. “When Disney invests, all boats rise and everyone benefits.”

DisneylandForward was first announced in 2021. The news was revealed in September, a few months after the parks had reopened from the pandemic. The presentation on Wednesday to the OC Forum was basically a town hall for Disney to share with business leaders the vision that includes tourism, tax revenue, and employment benefits to OC business and civic leaders.

“The economic engine that is the Disneyland resort will be turning 68 years young in July, yet we believe it has more potential than ever,” Potrock said. “When we work together the possibilities are endless and that is exactly what we are trying to do.”

Since initially making the Disneyland Forward in 2021, the Disneyland Resort has been working with the city of Anaheim to update the approval process that governs the resort district. It is expected that an environmental impact study will be completed by summer. This will be followed by a DisneylandForward proposal being sent to the Anaheim Planning Commission before the end of the year. It will then go to the City Council sometime early in 2024.

During the presentation, an economic study was also shared by Cal State Fullerton’s Anil Puril. This shared how the economic impact of every billion dollars invested by Disneyland. During an average four-year construction period, Disneyland would be generating 4,500 jobs, $11 million in tax revenue, and also $1.1 billion in economic output in Anaheilm for every billion dollars spent Puri’s study said.

The DisneylandForward presentation also included concept art from Disney theme park projects that are from around the world that shared “possibilities” of what the future expansion at the Disneyland Resort could be like. Projects that were presented included Tangled, Frozen and Peter Pan-themed lands that are coming to Tokyo Disneyland and also a new Zoopotia-themed land that is being built for Shanghai Disneyland.

“What we would love is for those future innovations to have a spot here in Anaheim,” Disney’s Global Development vice president Rachel Alde said during a panel discussion.

DisneylandForward is Disney’s attempt at working with Anaheim to grow and expand the Disneyland Resort as part of the economic rebound from the pandemic. Disney is hoping Anaheim will give it more flexibility to use land plans that were approved in the 1990s so that it can add a combination of theme park, hotel, retail, dining, and entertainment spaces on both the east and west edges of the Disneyland Resort.

“Back in the early ’90s, Disney and the city of Anaheim worked collaboratively on their vision for the next three-plus decades,” Potrock said. “Together, we built this unique tourism engine and the vision we had for the continued growth of this community is quite honestly a marvel. This is a very unique, special and advantageous benefit to the city of Anaheim, Orange County and in fact, the entire state. We are incredibly excited about the opportunity to do it again as we look to the next 10, 20 and even 30 years ahead.”

For the westward expansion portion of the DisneylandForward proposal, there is an Immersive Theme Park envisioned that would have theme park attractions on the Downtown Disney and Lilo and Stitch parking lots. This would weave around the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel.

On the eastside expansion, there would be a Disney Entertainment Destination that would pull together theme park experiences, hotel, retail, dining, and entertainment built where the Toy Story parking lot currently is situated.

Parking was also included in the DisneylandForward plan, possibly along Disney Way.

Currently, Disneyland has used less than one-half of the millions of square feet of theme park and hotel space approved by Anaheim for the resort district. If approved, the DisneylandForward conceptual development plan would stay within Disney’s current 500-acre property in Anaheim. There would be no physical expansion or additional acreage added to the Disneyland Resort.

What do you think of the DisneylandForward conceptual plan so far? What do you think is the most exciting thing about it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.


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