Disneyland aims for a substantial expansion to bring more immersive attractions to its California park.

Strolling through the wintry, snow-clad village of Arendelle from “Frozen,” or the bustling, creature-filled cityscape of “Zootopia” might become a reality for visitors to Disney’s California theme parks in the future.

This possibility hinges on Disney securing approval from local authorities for the expansion of its Anaheim resort over the next four decades. The proposed expansion doesn’t entail enlarging Disney’s existing 490-acre (488-hectare) footprint in Southern California or altering its current construction permissions. Instead, it aims to facilitate the development of new attractions by utilizing the expansive 50-acre (20-hectare) parking lot area. Parking for Disneyland would be relocated to a multi-story structure, all while adhering to the confines of the resort surrounded by residential neighborhoods.

Rachel Alde, Disney’s senior vice president of global development and finance, highlighted the potential for storytelling opportunities such as “Wakanda,” “Coco,” “Frozen,” or “Zootopia.” The city of Anaheim’s planning commission is set to review the proposal for Disneyland, which requires Disney to invest a minimum of $1.9 billion in theme park amenities, lodging, entertainment, and related facilities over the next decade. The project must receive approval from the city council before implementation.

Disney’s objective is to create immersive experiences akin to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, introduced in California in 2019. While the specifics of the new developments are yet to be determined, the aim is to replicate experiences like “Zootopia” at Shanghai Disneyland, where guests can navigate through a vibrant cityscape inhabited by animal characters reminiscent of the film.

Alde noted the challenge of accommodating large-scale projects within the original Disneyland without impacting existing attractions cherished by loyal visitors. This initiative marks Disney’s first significant alteration to its California theme parks since the 1990s, when it transformed its initial park into a resort hub and later introduced Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney.

Disneyland, established in 1955, ranked as the second-most visited theme park globally in 2022, attracting 16.8 million visitors, according to a report by the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM. Disney’s parks serve as a vital tourism draw for Southern California, particularly Anaheim, contributing significantly to the city’s revenue.

The proposed plan also entails substantial investments in street improvements, affordable housing, and other infrastructure projects within the city. Disney has engaged in workshops to address residents’ queries, including concerns about absorbing a local road into the theme park.

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