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Southern California City Council Gives Key Approval to Disneyland Expansion Plan

Southern California City Council Gives Key Approval to Disneyland Expansion Plan

 


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) Visitors to California's Disney Parks could one day wander through the snowy hamlet of Arendelle from Frozen or the bustling, creature-filled metropolis of Zootopia under a plan to expand the park approved by the Anaheim City Council.

Disney would spend at least $1.9 billion over the next decade to transform its 490-acre (488-hectare) campus in densely populated Southern California. It would be the largest expansion of Disney's Southern California theme parks in decades, aiming to create more immersive experiences for guests. Disney would also be forced to spend tens of millions of dollars improving streets, building affordable housing and other infrastructure in the city.

The council unanimously approved the project following an eight-hour meeting that began Tuesday evening. Orange County Register reported. A second council vote for final approval of Disney's plan is required in May.

The plan would not expand Disney's footprint in Anaheim, a tourism-dependent region, but would help it add rides and entertainment by allowing the company to move parking to a new multi-story structure and redeveloping the massive land, as well as making other changes to the way it uses its properties. .

Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the Downtown Disney shopping area are surrounded by highways and residential areas in the city located 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. The company therefore considers this plan essential to be able to continue creating new large-scale attractions. .

A significant portion of public testimony to the City Council focused on Disney's plans to purchase a public street near the theme park and turn it into a pedestrian bridge as well as its plans to add a crosswalk in another neighboring street.

Scott Martindale, who lives nearby, said the crosswalk would improve safety.

No change or project is perfect. But in this case, I think the benefits outweigh the benefits, he said. Martindale added that Disney has been conducting community outreach about its expansion plans for three years.

Another neighbor, Cassandra Taylor, said she is looking forward to the new rides the expansion will bring. But she is concerned about Disney's plans to privatize a city street, adding that she first heard about the idea last month in a newspaper article, although she had attended two presentations of information from Disney.

They may have plans for a pedestrian bridge now, but once they own it, they could just as easily remove it, Taylor said. It will be theirs and theirs entirely. Voters will have no say in its future use.

Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, said during the meeting: “We are ready to bring the next level of immersive entertainment here to Anaheim. Over the past two decades, Disney's investments have included Cars Land, Pixar Pier, Edge of the Star Wars Galaxy And Avengers Campus.

Disney has not committed to which stories it plans to feature given that new development will take years.

This is the first time Disney has sought to make a major change to its California theme parks since the 1990s, when the company won approval to transform Disneyland, its original theme park dubbed the happiest place on Earth. the planet and built in 1955, into a resort. He later built the Disney California Adventure theme park and the Downtown Disney shopping and entertainment area.

Disneyland was the second most visited theme park worldwide in 2022 with 16.8 million people passing through the gates, according to a report from the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM.

Anaheim is the most populous city in Orange County and is home to 345,000 residents as well as a major league baseball team and a national hockey league team. Hotel revenue typically accounts for about half of the city's revenue and is expected to climb as much as $236 million this year, according to city estimates.

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