According to Walt Disney himself: “Disneyland will never be complete, it will keep growing as long as there is imagination in the world”. Disney California's new expansion project called DisneyLandForward goes straight to that idea!
After more than 1 full year closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the disneyland which is the Disney theme park located in Anaheim California announces in a surprise way a major expansion of the theme park, this project is DisneylandForward, and it was announced this week.
For the plans to move forward, however, planning restrictions in Anaheim would need to be updated, which is Disney's goal in revealing this plan to the public.
New information will certainly be released as the restrictions are reduced, but so far, the information we have is what we will talk about in this post.
What is DisneylandForward?
First, let's talk about this new name that appeared in the media due to Disney's promotion.
The photo above shows the Westside footprint of the Disneyland Resort with possible immersive experiences that could include the theme park, Hotel, retail, restaurants and entertainment (Image provided by Disney).
"Disneyland will never be finished," Walt Disney famously said. ?It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination in the world.?
To continue Disney's dream, expansion needs to happen, though it's surprisingly hard to imagine.
In the 1990s, the City of Anaheim approved specific plans that would guide the growth of the Disneyland Resort and the business in the newly formed Anaheim Resort area.
These plans resulted in major improvements throughout the area – including the addition of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and Downtown Disneyas well as the neighboring Anaheim Convention Center.
But the existing "zone" approach is severely limiting Disney's ability to continue developing new technologies and experiences, according to the official site DisneylandForward.
"Without updates," says Disney, "the new experiences that have been released at other Disney theme parks around the world may never come to the California park."
As a result, DisneylandForward was created. This multi-year public planning effort with the city is expected to "update existing development approvals that will allow Disney to significantly invest in Anaheim in the coming years and meet future entertainment demands," according to Disney.
Do you have room for DisneylandForward?
If you're familiar with Disneyland as well as Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, you know that their footprints are very different.
In fact, the reason the sprawling four-park Walt Disney World came to fruition in what were then the undeveloped swamps of Central Florida was to give the Disney brothers, Walt and Roy, plenty of room for expansion that Anaheim lacked, a location with very limited borders.
We already talked a little about this in our post about the Walt Disney World history.
In reality, we don't know exactly what's to come - but how could Disney fit new rides, attractions, restaurants and maybe even a hotel into the existing area?
The west side expansion of the ?Immersive Theme Park? envisions a theme park in the Downtown Disney and Lilo and Stitch parking lots between the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel, according to the Orange County Register.
Looking at the plans available on the website, the current parking lots would be reconfigured and Disney would build "a new parking destination on the east side of the Anaheim Resort that would include a pedestrian bridge," according to the website. The footprint of the Disneyland Resort, however, would not change.
What would be added to the Park, and when?
What not to add seems like the real question to ask when you look at some of the suggestions on the DisneylandForward website.
For Disneyland, the highly themed lands of “Frozen” (Arendele), “Tangled” and “Peter Pan” (Neverland) are coming to the park Tokyo DisneySea and appear to be real good possibilities.
We are even rooting for it!
And California Adventure Park would see the addition of "technologically advanced, immersive, cutting-edge entertainment," which would include:
- "Zootopia" (a version of which is currently under construction at Shanghai Disneyland).
- A land of ?Toy Story? like the one at Hollywood Studios in Orlando.
- A “Tron” Lightcycle Run roller coaster, which is already a popular attraction in Shanghai and is also being built in Magic Kingdom.
The site also hints at a possible "Immersive Theme Park," as well as "A New Kind of Disney Entertainment," which could include new hotels, restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.
Unfortunately, there's no timeline available at this time (Disney just says it's a multi-year planning effort), but talks are moving forward with the city of Anaheim as Disneyland continues to prepare to open to the public in late 2019. April.
Additionally, the ready-made Avenger's Campus is scheduled to open in late 2021, and Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railroad is scheduled to open in 2023.
One thing is for sure: Disney is thinking big with its upcoming expansion site DisneylandForward.
Now, only time will tell if Anaheim will allow future expansion to happen - and what form it will take if it is finally given the green light.
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About the Author Carlos Braga:
Unparalleled experience in Orlando and Disney! As a former Universal Orlando team member and a passionate devotee of the magic of Disney, I have become a true Orlando travel expert. Before becoming a renowned travel consultant dedicated to Orlando, I had already made hundreds of visits to the parks, cultivating my knowledge and passion mainly over the last 7 years as a consultant and specialist in Disney travel.
My journey into this enchanted world began in 1995, when I took my first trip to Orlando. Since then, my love for Disney and the city has only grown. In 2023, we celebrate the sixth anniversary of 'Partiu Disney Parks', consolidating our role as one of the main sources of information about Disney and Orlando Parks.
During these six years of existence, we have continued to offer quality and updated content, being the reliable source for all those looking for essential information to plan their trip to Disney and Orlando. With my vast experience and passion for this magical destination, I am here to guide you every step of the way towards the most incredible Orlando and Disney experience!