If you’re anything like me, you’ve been obsessively checking Disney news and forums to keep the magic alive while at home. Luckily for many of us, news of the California parks reopening helped give new hope for potential future travel, or even just being able to watch content from creators who are able to go before us. We all thought that was it, but the good news just kept on rolling. Within the past few weeks, Disneyland released its new DisneylandForward initiative. There’s still a lot we don’t know, but today, I’m going to be breaking down what we do know and sharing my thoughts on this huge update.
What is DisneylandForward?
In simple terms, DisneylandForward is the company’s plans for expanding the California resort. In more detail, its a public-facing planning initiative that The Walt Disney Company is working with the City of Anaheim on to hopefully get approvals for an expansion to the resort. So no, Disneyland is not officially expanding yet.
According to the official DisneylandForward website, Disneyland’s footprint and hotel capacity wouldn’t be changing. Rather, the project aims to revamp and update existing Disney-owned property. One of the biggest points mentioned is the adjustments of zoning, which currently holds stricter guidelines as to where hotel and theme park elements can be located. With this, Disneyland is asking to broaden the allowed uses of each area of land, describing so-called “integrated” and “immersive” entertainment experiences that meet current guest desire and demand.
Ok, so what do these “integrated” and “immersive” experiences look like? Most of the specific examples given are highly anticipated, or existing and popular, attractions from other parks: the Frozen, Tangled, and Peter Pan areas, the rumored Zootopia area, an adaptation of Hollywood Studio’s Toy Story Land, and even the addition of the Tron Lightcycle roller coaster. When we take a look at the map of possibilities, it appears as though they’re proposing adding attractions around existing hotel areas (at the far end of Downtown Disney) and even an “island” across the street. The “island” area proves to be especially interesting, as its being marketed as a “new kind of Disney entertainment destination” that would take modeling inspiration from Disney Springs. On a less exciting front, one new parking area is proposed.
On the “Leading Together” section of the site, the initiative details Disneyland Resort’s contributions to the local community, as well as some of the ethical and logistical stats of how the project would be executed. Finally, the contact page gives individuals the opportunity to sign up for DisneylandForward updates and even get involved or demonstrate their public support of the project.
Let’s Talk About It
So here’s the golden question: is Disneyland going to expand and what will it actually include? That much, unfortunately, we don’t know yet. When we take a look at the concept art, though, there is a huge realm of possibilities. If all of the demands of DisneylandForward are met, the possibilities map shows us that we can expect expansions to the footprints of both Disneyland Park and Disney’s California Adventure that would stretch across Disneyland Drive. The maps don’t show enough detail, but there is just enough to generate rumors of more attractions that Disney hasn’t yet divulged the details of.
Is this all going to happen? Only time will tell. Disneyland and the City of Anaheim have butted heads in the past, most recently on a now-cancelled hotel project. However, DisneylandForward doesn’t appear to be making significant increases to the existing guest capacity of the entire resort. The focus on increasing the overall resort’s potential to cater to industry and guest needs might be able to help it gain favor with the government.
Ok, Toni, but what do you think? In all honestly, I think there’s a lot of potential with DisneylandForward. Considering the resort’s history with the City of Anaheim, I don’t see all of the requests being met, but I also don’t see the entire initiative getting shut down. At the same time, I think the timing of the proposal is perfect- the demand for Disneyland is really high right now, and all of the local businesses that rely on the resort have been struggling, so this is a perfect way to bring tourists back into town. Realistically, I believe we’ll end up getting to experience some sort of compromise from the original plans within the next decade.
If you have thoughts on this new and exciting news, I’d love to hear it! In the meantime, I’m sure we’ll all have our eyes glued to Twitter, just waiting for the next pixie-dusted announcement.
Have a terrific day,