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Anaheim Grants Final Approval for Disneyland Expansion

Anaheim Grants Final Approval for Disneyland Expansion

In this handout photo provided by Disneyland Resort, a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park illuminated during a special live streamed moment to welcome Cast Members back to the resort on April 26, 2021 at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. (Christian Thompson/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

5/9/2024

Updated: 5/9/2024

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Anaheim, home city of Disneyland, approved the theme park’s expansion plan May 7, paving the way for new attractions and entertainment in the years ahead.
The City Council unanimously approved the DisneylandForward proposal in its second and final vote Tuesday, granting permission to implement changes to the theme park over the next 40 years. This includes an investment of $1.9 billion in the project over the next decade.
“We’ve worked closely with city staff, neighbors, and our local community over the past three years to make sure DisneylandForward is a win for everyone—I’m grateful the city council agrees and voted to work with us on this legacy project that will set up Disneyland Resort and the City of Anaheim for an incredibly bright future,” Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock wrote in a statement.
The agreement will go into effect in the next 30 days.
The city said that the approval was based largely on the revenue and opportunities that the park could generate, whether directly or indirectly. According to the city, visitors contribute over half of the revenue used to fund essential services such as police, fire, libraries, community programs, and debt repayment.
“Our city has a special and unique relationship with the Disneyland Resort, which began in the 1950s and continues to this day. Disney’s commitment to partner with Anaheim and invest billions of dollars is a win for our community,” Mayor Ashleigh Aitken said in a statement following the initial approval.
The company estimates that the expansion will generate more than 9,000 jobs in California over four years due to new construction. Annually, the project is expected to contribute $508 million to the economy and employ over 4,500 workers through its operations.
Disney’s agreement with the city also stipulates a $30 million allocation for affordable housing, $8 million for city parks, and $45 million for street and sewer improvements, among other benefits.
After the first vote in April, Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the city’s approval of the expansion, citing California’s welcoming and supportive business environment as a catalyst for job creation and business growth.
While the approval of the “expansion” doesn’t physically enlarge Disneyland, it permits the rezoning of land—initially approved in the 1990s—to accommodate additional theme park attractions, hotels, retail venues, and dining establishments within its existing footprint.
According to a map released by the city, new attractions—including theme parks, hotels, retail dining, and entertainment—will be added to the eastern and southwestern parts of the existing parks.
Potential projects include attractions inspired by plans from other Disney theme parks worldwide, such as Frozen, Tangled, Toy Story, and Peter Pan; however, Disneyland has not made commitments to any specific projects yet.
Tuesday’s approval also grants Disney permission to acquire Magic Way, Hotel Way, and a section of Clementine Street—all currently public streets—for nearly $40 million. These streets may be converted into pedestrian walkways to link the new developments with the park, according to the proposal.
However, some community members worry that privatizing city streets through the purchase could restrict residents’ rights in the area and cause problems for their daily commutes.
“Restricting the foot traffic on Magic Way for only Disney guests who will have their keycards is unfair,” said Margaret Patino, a longtime resident who lives near the park, in a previous meeting. “Neighboring hotels, motels will not have access, leaving the surrounding residents to deal with increased traffic on Ball [Road], Katella [Avenue] and losing the access to the 5 Freeway.”
Others expressed their concern about potential noise, traffic congestion, increased crime, and pollution associated with the expansion.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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