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Disney Park Is Preparing for MASSIVE Expansion With Latest Approval

Mickey Mouse at Disneyland
Credit: looseey, Flickr

After a lengthy council meeting, the City of Anaheim has approved DisneylandForward – meaning there’s just one more step to go until Disney can go ahead with expansion plans for its oldest theme park resort.

With The Walt Disney Company investing an incredible $60 billion into its theme parks over the next decade, there’s been plenty of debate as to how this will impact each theme park. So far, Disney has been most explicit about what will come to Disneyland Resort, claiming that it would funnel at least $2.5 billion into new theme park experiences, including attractions, themed lands, hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment, and a possible third park.

Mickey Mouse in front of his house in Mickey's Toontown at Disneyland

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Expansion Plan Approved, New Park Incoming?

There’s just one obstacle in its way. At present, Disney is restricted in how it can develop the land it already owns. To overcome this roadblock, it submitted DisneylandForward – a proposal “to update where types of development can go and how it mixes together on land Disney owns around its Anaheim theme parks.”

This requests zoning changes that would allow for theme park attractions alongside existing hotels on the west side of Disneyland Drive, as well as new attractions and other experiences to the southeast on what is currently the Toy Story Parking Area. It would also give Disney permission to construct additional parking east of Disneyland Park and California Adventure, and potential footbridges across Harbor Boulevard and Disneyland Drive.

Mickey's Fun Wheel and Incredicoaster on Pixar Pier at Disneyland Resort's California Adventure

Credit: Brandi Alexandra via Unsplash

DisneylandForwad cleared its first hurdle in March when the Anaheim Planning Commission gave its approval. The second step was getting approval from Anaheim City Council – which Disney has successfully done as of the early hours of April 17.

Last night saw city council members sit down for an eight-hour meeting in which local Anaheim residents and Disney officials shared their thoughts on DisneylandForward. While this meeting wrapped up with a 7-0 vote in Disney’s favor, it wasn’t totally without criticism.

According to KTLA, many residents shared their disapproval of the City of Anaheim potentially transferring responsibility of Magic Way to The Walt Disney Company. The meeting included three and a half hours of public comment from 84 public speakers, with 57 in favor, 24 against, and three “without a clear, strong opinion on the plan.” Multiple attendees reportedly questioned why the city needed to rely on Disney to provide money to support its streets and infrastructure. Others suggested that Disney could donate more money to the city without expanding its theme parks.

Disneyland's Main Street, empty

Credit: Disney

Related: Upcoming Disney World Expansion, a Swing and a Miss?

“DisneylandForward also calls for Disney to pay $39.6 million to take on responsibility for Magic Way, a road of 1,150 feet in length from Disneyland Drive to Walnut Street, and for two entry drives into Disney parking at Hotel Way and at Clementine Street,” the city said in a public statement at the end of the meeting. “The city is transferring responsibility for Magic Way because the road overwhelmingly serves the Disneyland Hotel, Disney employee parking and the south end of the Pixar Pals Parking Structure. Magic Way is set to stay open to traffic accessing the hotel and parking. The street is set to close to right turns at Walnut to help limit visitor traffic through nearby neighborhoods.”

Residents have also shared their concerns about an increase in traffic, noise, and pollution. “A project like DisneylandForward will only further exacerbate the current problems,” Anaheim resident Trangdai Glassey told Reuters. “To disregard the human costs from a project of this scope is unthinkable.”

Main Street, U.S.A, station with the Disneyland Railroad train arriving at the station above the Mickey Mouse floral array that greets guests in the entrance to Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

Ken Potrock, President of Disneyland Resort, described DisneylandForward as the resort’s “legacy project” during the meeting. “We are ready to bring the next level of immersive entertainment to Anaheim,” he said. “We are committed to starting right away.”

As per the City of Anaheim’s terms, Disney is required to invest at least $1.9 billion into Disneyland Resort. Whiole Disney is yet to confirm specific attractions covered by DisneylandForward, new additions will allegedly trickle in over the course of “years and decades.” The resort has teased an expansion inspired by Avatar (2009) and pointed to new attractions added to its other resorts, such as World of Frozen, as an example of what the investment could bring.

A little girl walks through the World of Frozen

Credit: Hong Kong Disneyland

Now that the City of Anaheim has given DisneylandForward the nod of approval, there’s just one more step to making it official. A second procedural vote will take place at the council’s next meeting on May 7. If approved (which seems extremely likely), the proposal will require another 30 days to take effect.

What additions do you hope will come to Disneyland Resort as a result of DisneylandForward? Let us know in the comments!

This post originally appeared on Inside the Magic

About Chloe James

Chloë is a theme park addict and self-proclaimed novelty hunter. She's obsessed with all things Star Wars, loves roller coasters (but hates Pixar Pal-A-Round), and lives for Disney's next Muppets project.

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