Disney wins approval from home city to expand park, eyes ‘immersive’ attractions

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Officials of the southern California city home to the first Disney theme park have approved expansion of Disneyland Resort over the next four decades.

Anaheim’s Planning Commission reviewed and approved the “multi-billion-dollar DisneylandForward project that would expand the theme park and bring more rides, hotels, and entertainment to Anaheim,” FOX 11 Los Angeles reported. 

The move could potentially bring lands similar to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opened in 2019 at Disneyland.  

“We know there are stories out there we haven’t told yet, like ‘Wakanda’ or ‘Coco’ or ‘Frozen’ or ‘Zootopia’,” Rachel Alde, Disney’s senior vice president of global development and finance said, according to the Associated Press. “We know what kind of stories we would love to tell. We need to get the guidance on what we can build there so we can understand how.”

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The expansion would not increase the size of what is currently Disney’s 490-acre footprint, nor change what Disney is allowed to build on it. It could, however, allow the Disney to put ride and entertainment attractions on what is currently a 50-acre parking lot.

Such a move would not be unprecedented, as Disney California Adventure Park, the 55-acre park that is a part of the resort, was built on a former Disneyland parking lot and opened in 2001, according to D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. 

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Disneyland

“What we’d like to do is develop differently. Right now, things are zoned for hotels or for parking. We’d like to make it a more integrated experience because we know that’s what our guests are looking for,” Suzi Brown with Disneyland told FOX 11. “It means you might have a hotel right next to an attraction, and it really allows us to bring lands that are more immersive.”

Star Wars land at Disneyland

 

Disneyland opened in 1955 and was the second-most visited theme park in the world in 2022, with 16.8 million people who went through its gates, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

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