Sunday, March 28, 2021

Disneyland Resort Looking for Zoning Changes to Dream Big for the Future

© Disney

Last week there was a lot of news flying around about the Disneyland Resort announcing some mega-expansions, which sadly was a bit of a misleading take on the news that the famous park had to share.  Instead, the real message of the launch of the DisneylandForward website was to persuade the City of Anaheim to grant the resort zoning changes that they want to support their long term growth.

The Disneyland Resort has publicized a couple large expansions in the past few years, including a giant new parking deck and additional hotels, all of which was scrapped for various reasons.  It looks like Disney is now taking a step back and trying to get permission to move out of the restrictive zoning plan put in place in the '90s in order to really expand as they wish.  The old (but still current) plan dictates where attractions, hotels, parking and more can be built on Disney's land and grants no freedom to move things around.

However, as Disney explains "today hotel, theme park, retail and dining are all part of one immersive experience.  Guests expect that the future of entertainment will seamlessly weave all uses together in ways that were hard to imagine 25 years ago when the city created these specific plans."

© Disney

And so they'd like to blow away the old zoning plan, and allow them to build more freely on the land they have left.  And that's pretty much all parking lots right now, which would be shuffled into a giant new parking deck they proposed once before.  And that's where the excitement over "expansion" came in, because Disney released some images along with the plan that show exciting new stuff.  However, this is just all a bunch of ideas that Disney is throwing out there to get their point across - NOT any type of actual plan.  

To be more clear, Disney writes that "are at the very beginning stages of the process. While the project will be refined over time, we hope to explore the creation of integrated experiences featuring new theme park attractions, dining, retail, hotel, and more.  Right now, we don’t have any specific projects planned for the future."


© Disney

Still, expanding both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure onto new acres (an idea of which can be seen above), adding to Downtown Disney, and creating an entirely new mixed use area South of the parks does look neat.  It's just that it's not a real plan at this point, just an idea to help sell the zoning change plan.  But putting out exciting looking concepts certainly won't hurt their cause with fans of the resort - but the City and neighbors are the real focus of those that need to be 'won over.' 

If zoning is granted and the Disneyland Resort is able to expand as they desire one this is for sure, we will all love the results no matter how they look many years down the road.