The Road to DisneylandForward Leads to Discussion About Roads at Anaheim Planning Commission Meeting

On Monday night at an Anaheim Planning Commission meeting, a look at DisneylandForward was given to the public who attended and watched via livestream. The presentation shared information that had been released before, with some added bits of information. The meeting included a history of the Disneyland Resort’s current Development Agreement, the new Development Agreement and what it does, and other details regarding the changes to the city if DisneylandForward continues to move forward.


Some time and energy during this meeting was spent on the updates to several roads around the Disneyland Resort. This focus came apparently after there was some concern over the privatization of some roads around the Disneyland Resort, specifically Magic Way. This road between Walnut Street and Disneyland Drive is also the main entrance to get into the Pixar Pals Parking Structure at the Disneyland Resort. It is also where the entrance to a cast member parking lot that used to be Downtown Disney District parking and also the Disneyland Hotel parking. Residents voiced concern that if Magic Way were to be privatized, it would take away a bypass for locals who try to get around some of Ball Road when heading to I-5.

To address the concerns, Disney did a study of Magic Way on four days. Two of these days were on the weekend and the other two were during the week. They gathered information about the traffic patterns on Magic Way and discovered the 99% of the traffic is related to the Disneyland Resort. This included both Disneyland Resort guests and cast members. Disney also studied Magic Way during rush hours in the morning and evening. During this time it was discovered that during the busiest hour of the busiest day, only 30 cars were cutting through Magic Way to utilize it as a bypass to get to Ball and the freeway. This was in the morning. In the afternoon/evening, there weren’t any cars using Magic Way as a bypass toward I-5.

The study also discovered that while there wasn’t much vehicular traffic going through Magic Way, there was quite a bit of pedestrian traffic. In fact, a picture was shown that that portrayed how the planter in the middle of Walnut Street had a path through it. This wasn’t made by gardeners, but instead by the amount of pedestrians crossing the street at this corner of Walnut Street and Magic Way.

To address this issue, a plan was shown that would have a crosswalk and walkway into the Disneyland Resort for pedestrians to use. It also showed how Magic Way could continue to be utilized by emergency vehicles.

Magic Way is just one of the street abandonments that would be a part of DisneylandForward. Along with Magic Way, a portion of Clementine (currently used by buses to enter Toy Story Parking Lot), and also Hotel Way (entrance to the Pumbaa Parking Lot) would be privatized. Disney would pay fair market rates for this, currently believed to be $40 million.

It was assured that pedestrians would still be able to make their way through the Disneyland Resort during operating hours, just like they are now. No admission would be required to walk through the Resort. It would continue to be required for entering the parks. It was also made very clear that Disneyland Drive will continue to remain open for the public to drive on.

Another street abandonment that was issued is a street that currently doesn’t exist, but is planned for the future. This one is the extension of Gene Autry Drive. If it were to move forward, this would lead to it going through the current Toy Story Parking Lot and also some apartment buildings. Work is being done with Orange County to change these plans and not as much time was spent on this issue.

There will also be some bike lanes and pedestrian bridges built as part of the DisneylandForward project. This includes a bike lane on Walnut Street on the Disney side of the street that would be protected. Up to two pedestrian bridges could span Disneyland Drive and connect themed environment. Harbor Boulevard could see one to three bridges built. This would be contingent on how many parking spaces and structures end up on the East side of Harbor Boulevard. Any bridge that is built would include access for pedestrian from the street below, be open, and not be more than 50 feet wide.

Some time was also spent on other contributions that Disney would make to Anaheim as part of the terms of DisneylandForward. This would include:

  • Giving $30 million to the city to put toward affordable housing
  • Minimum $1.9 billion investment by Disney in DisneylandForward within 10 years
    • Additional $5 million payment by Disney if actual investment doesn’t total $2.5 billion in 10 years
  • $8 million contribution to city within one year of DisneylandForward approval to put towards park improvement or reinvestment
    • This money could be used anywhere in Anaheim, not just in the Resort District
  • Up to $10 million for sewer infrastructure upgrade on Katella Avenue
  • 40 year commitment by Disney for workforce development (estimated to serve 10,000 residents a year)
  • Investment and reimbursement for public safety. This also includes:
    • Construction and maintenance of a police substation and police satellite office
    • Construction of new fire substation
  • Reimbursement to Anaheim for additional staffing needed for city provision of enhanced plan check, permitting, and inspection services

There was also discussion about streamlining the Disney Vacation Club regulation process and its tax status. The meeting concluded with a question and answer time. Most of those who participated were in favor of DisneylandForward, although there were some dissenters. If things continue to move forward, the DisneylandForward project will have the following benchmarks this spring:

  • Anaheim Planning Commission Public Hearing – March 11, 2024
  • Anaheim City Council Public Hearing – April 16, 2024

If things continue to move forward in a positive manner, the Planning Commission Public Hearing on March 11th will include a vote that will move DisneylandForward along in the process. This will be followed by the April 16th Anaheim City Council Public Hearing which would also include a vote on DisneylandForward.

What do you think of what you are seeing of DisneylandForward? What are you most looking forward to with this project? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


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