FULL BREAKDOWN: Disneyland’s Plans to Expand Theme Parks; Create West Coast Disney Springs

    What a whirlwind of an afternoon. First, we spotted a pre-design bid for what was described as a third Disneyland theme park which got us wondering about what Disney could be planning. Then, minutes later, Disneyland officially announced the DisneylandForward project – essentially a proposal of what they could bring to the Disneyland area in the future.

    In this post, we want to break down everything we know about the proposal, what Disneyland has planned, and what this whole thing is about.

    Why DisneylandForward?

    After the COVID-19 shutdown, Disney is reevaluating its offerings and they’ve taken the downtime to look forward to the future of the resort. DisneylandForward is essentially an effort from Disney to get updated development approvals from the city of Anaheim to allow for different uses of the land they already own.

    The existing Disneyland Resort Specific Plan, approved in the 1990s, created districts for growth and limited the types of uses allowed in each district. Approvals generally required new hotels to be located in the Hotel District and traditional theme park uses to be located in the Theme Park District. But guests now seek a more integrated experience for the entirety of their stay.

    From Cars Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to the new Pixar Pals parking structure, Disney has spent billions of dollars over the last two decades investing in theme park experiences and infrastructure. While Disney has the development rights and the desire to continue investing in Anaheim, the space to develop integrated offerings is severely limited. Without broadening the uses allowed within each district or demolishing and replacing many beloved theme park attractions, further integrated development and theme park investment are not possible.

    Is DisneylandForward a third theme park?

    No, not really. Disneyland does not describe this as a third theme park. In fact, in a diagram released by Disney, it actually looks like this theme park expansion area will connect to their existing two theme parks – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

    What themed spaces are proposed?

    First, here’s a look at the high resolution concept art released by Disney. It’s worth noting that Disney is not seeking additional square footage. They are simply asking for an update to existing approvals to allow these themed spaces to be built on existing land.

    Matching it up to the diagram above, there are expansions to both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. While Disney didn’t commit to any attractions or experiences, they did give proposals for what could be in each area.

    Disneyland Park Expansion

    Disney said that the Tokyo DisneySea expansion “could be the perfect inspiration for the future of Disneyland Park”. In the proposal, they cited a Frozen-themed land, a Tangled-themed land, and a Neverland area. Here’s a look at the relevant concept art and a more detailed breakdown:

    • Guests visit Arendelle, the home of Elsa and Anna, and explore this ‘Frozen’ land filled with a thrilling boat adventure as well as a restaurant set inside a castle.
    • Rapunzel’s tower overlooks a charming forest where guests board gondolas to the lantern festival to live Rapunzel’s “best day ever” with Flynn. A restaurant where she befriended a band of thieves in the film is also featured.
    • The Neverland area features two attractions: one that, with the help of Tinker Bell, takes guests on a boat ride following the Lost Boys down a river; and the other taking guests on a journey to the middle of Pixie Hollow, where Tinker Bell and her fairy friends live. The area also includes a restaurant with spectacular views inspired by the Lost Boys’ iconic hideout.

    Disney California Adventure Expansion

    Disney proposed a more “technologically advanced” expansion for Disney California Adventure. Here’s a breakdown and a look at the relevant section of concept art released:

    • Currently under construction at Shanghai Disneyland, guests will be invited to experience the mammalian metropolis of Zootopia “where anyone can be anything,” with a new major attraction that will seamlessly blend Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology to bring this fan-favorite movie and its characters to life.
    • As part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, guests “shrink” to the size of a toy and join in the fun in this toy-filled land inspired by the “Toy Story” films. Guests can take a ride on Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster Andy assembled from his Mega Coaster Toy Kit. They can also join the little green aliens as they swirl about in their rocket ship toys in the Alien Swirling Saucers. The land also includes carnival games and a restaurant, Woody’s Lunch Box.
    • Currently open in Shanghai Disneyland and under construction at the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida, the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster invites guests to sync the pedal to the moto-metal while twisting and turning in the cyber-fi world in a high-speed race for survival.

    A Disney Springs at Disneyland?

    In addition to the outlined theme park expansion proposals, DisneylandForward also outlines “a new kind of Disney entertainment destination” that would be modeled after Disney Springs. This space envisions theme park experiences, hotels, retail spaces, dining locations, and entertainment. Details on the West Coast “Disney Springs” were still a bit light, but Disney is considering taking over the Toy Story parking lot for this area.

    Where will everyone park?

    Of course, with all of these spaces taking over existing parking lots, Disneyland will need to invest in transportation and parking. n the future, Disney envisions creating a new parking destination on the east side of The Anaheim Resort, which would include a pedestrian bridge with upgraded entrance accessibility for hotels and businesses located along Harbor Boulevard. In addition, Disney will continue to work with area businesses and the city to invest in and encourage the use of public transit and ride-sharing for our cast and guests.

    How much will this all cost?

    While Disney hasn’t said how much it will cost the company to execute all of these plans, they did say that they are not seeking public funds for the projects. In fact, Disneyland is touting the fact that this proposal would bring in thousands of new jobs not only for the construction of the spaces, but also the continued operations of the expansions.

    As always, keep checking back with us here at BlogMickey.com as we continue to bring you the latest news, photos, and info from around the Disney Parks!

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