Disneyland Resort Announces Major Theme Park Expansion

In news that no one saw coming amid the pandemic, the Walt Disney Company has announced plans to expand the Disneyland Resort with potential new attractions and multipurpose areas. It is not a third theme park, but apparently it is close. The news comes through the Orange County Registry. They reveal that Disney just revealed plans for “DisneylandForward,” a plan to work with the city of Anaheim to expand the resort’s presence.

Starting this week, Disney officials will request the city of Anaheim to update its existing development approvals. This plan sets in motion a multi-year process to obtain approvals for a fairly extensive expansion, the end result of which is a further expansion of the park. And tons of new stores and restaurants to go along with it. There is already concept art for an aerial view of what the new expansion would look like, which you can see below. Emphasis on power.

The Walt Disney Company

Disney is developing its new destination in what is currently the Toy story parking lot. This is right across from the Anaheim Convention Center. Right now, that part of the batch is being used as a mass vaccination site against coronavirus. For years, fans have speculated that this would be part of the long-rumored “third gate”. Yet most hardcore Disney fans weren’t expecting a real move on that front for at least a decade.

The Disneyland Resort, with Sleeping Beauty Castle, Space Mountain and Incredicoaster

The Official Blog of Disney Parks

In a statement, a Disney official said this new destination “could bring together theme park, hotel and shopping, dining and entertainment experiences in a unique way that serves guests, convention goers and locals.” The current plan could see Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Downtown Disney expand on the west side of the Disneyland Resort. Right now, all of that real estate is being used as surface parking.

So let’s get down to the good stuff. What will be the theme of this area? It is unknown Disney does not call this area a “third door”. But from the art alone, it seems like it’s too big to be just one land. Something in the middle? Concept art shows a central mountain surrounded by water, with buildings scattered everywhere. An Autopia-style race track appears to be part of it, and it also looks like a Dumbo-style rotary ride. A mountainous ridge to the west separates the theme park from nearby neighborhoods. But even so, more park is more park. Hopefully, at some point, we will also have a new Tomorrowland in the park.

A new DisneylandForward site shares some project possibilities. They say this updated approach could allow for new lands and attractions. The site points to the Frozen, Tangled up, or Peter Pan areas coming to Tokyo DisneySea. The site adds that updated approvals could allow California Adventure to add more technologically advanced entertainment. Shanghai Disneyland’s mentioned Zootopia and the TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster as possibilities.

In short, Disneyland has the land and they want flexibility to maximize what they put on it. The DisneylandForward site says updated approvals from the city of Anaheim “are necessary as they will allow us to explore new integrated and immersive experiences that could include adding new attractions to theme parks without having to remove and replace prized rides and rides.” Stay tuned for more.

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