Artist rendering of possible future Disneyland expansion. Copyright Disney.

Disney Commits $1.9 Billion for DisneylandForward Expansion

Disney and the city of Anaheim released more info about DisneylandForward, the development plan for future Disneyland expansion. Specifically, the proposal seeks to update a decades-old city plan to allow for theme park, hotel, retail, dining, and entertainment development on the west sign of the existing Disneyland Resort. Disney is proposing to spend at least $1.9 billion on the expansion.

DisneylandForward has been getting a lot of coverage recently. You may have seen headlines talking about specific theme park attractions tied to the proposal. However, any attractions mentioned are merely blue-sky possibilities lifted from parks around the world. The aim of DisneylandForward isn’t to provide specific park expansion details. Rather, its goal is to update the 1996 agreement that is preventing the big updates Disney would like to make to the resort.

Due to the current restrictions with our approvals and the limited space, Disneyland Resort is constrained in what we can build in the future without removing or replacing treasured attractions or severely impacting our back of house staging and support areas.

DisneylandForward

DisneylandForward Proposal Specifics

DisneylandForward map of possible projects. Copyright Disney.

Disney would spend a minimum of $1.9 billion over ten years. That number could climb as high as $2.5 billion. Disney will pay Anaheim $5 million for street improvements if they fail to meet the upper threshold. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t spend the full amount, if not more.

The proposal states that Disney would make enhancements to the resort’s existing footprint. A majority of the development would occur on existing surface parking lots, which would require the construction of a new 17,000-space parking garage and the expansion of existing parking structures.

Disney has promised landscape buffers between the parks and surrounding neighborhoods. Disney also confirms new attractions would be designed with 360-degree architecture. This ensures the attractions will look as good outside the park as they do inside. Disney World parks do not have this requirement, which is why Galaxy’s Edge looks unfinished when viewed from World Drive.

Disney would pay Anaheim $30 million for affordable housing initiatives, broken up into two installments paid in years one and five. This commitment would be the “first and largest investment in Affordable Housing for a non-residential project in the City’s history.”

Disney would pay $40 million to take over some public streets and another $45 million for street and transportation improvements. In addition, they would build up to five pedestrian bridges over Harbor Boulevard and Disneyland Drive.

Disney would commit up to $10 million for sewer infrastructure.

Disney would pay $8 million for Anaheim city parks.

This is a very broad overview of DisneylandFoward. I encourage you to visit Anaheim’s project website if you want more detailed information.

What are those blue-sky attractions?

These are making the headlines, but Disneyland fans shouldn’t get too excited just yet. It’s pie-in-the-sky stuff. But I will be very interested to hear expansion news once Anaheim approves the agreement.

  • Tokyo DisneySea’s Rapunzel’s Forest (opening June 2024)
  • Tokyo DisneySea’s Peter Pan’s Never Land (opening June 2024)
  • Tokyo DisneySea’s Frozen Kingdom (opening June 2024)
  • Shanghai Disneyland’s Zootopia
  • Shanghai Disneyland’s and Magic Kingdom’s TRON Lightcycle / Run
  • Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land
Tokyo DisneySea's Frozen Kingdom. Copyright Disney.
Tokyo DisneySea’s Frozen Kingdom. Copyright Disney.
Shanghai Disneyland's Zootopia. Copyright Disney.
Shanghai Disneyland’s Zootopia. Copyright Disney.
TRON Lightcycle / Run coaster running on the track at night
Magic Kingdom’s TRON Lightcycle / Run

Other possibilities include Coco- and Black Panther-themed attractions.

What’s next?

Disney and the city of Anaheim will have one more workshop to discuss the proposal in February. Hearings are scheduled for various dates in March, April, and May.