Disneyland Looking to Make Big Changes

Disney wants to expand California theme parks, without expanding footprint
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 11, 2024 7:31 AM CDT
Disneyland Seeks First Big Change Since 1990s
Visitors pass through Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., April 30, 2021.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Walking through the frosty, snow-covered hamlet of Arendelle from Frozen or the bustling, critter-filled metropolis of Zootopia might be possible one day for visitors to Disney's California theme parks, the AP reports. That's only if Disney wins approval from local officials to expand its Anaheim resort over the next four decades. The proposed expansion wouldn't increase Disney's 490-acre footprint in Southern California or change what the company already has permission to build. But it could help the company develop new attractions. They could place rides and entertainment options on what is currently a sprawling, 50-acre parking lot—and move parking for Disneyland to a multistory structure—all while keeping within the boundaries of a resort surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

The city of Anaheim's planning commission is scheduled Monday to review the proposal, which also must be approved by the city council before taking effect. Disney's goal is to create what it calls more immersive experiences for tourists, similar to the attraction Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which opened in California in 2019. The company said it doesn't yet know which stories would be central to the new developments, but the idea is to create areas like "Zootopia" in Shanghai Disneyland, where animal characters walk through a vibrant cityscape that resembles the setting of the film. It's the first time Disney has sought a major change to its California theme parks since the 1990s, when the company obtained approvals to turn its first park into a resort hub which ultimately comprised a second park (Disney California Adventure Park) and a shopping and entertainment area (Downtown Disney).

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