Did Disneyland Just Announce A Third Gate? Not Exactly

Today, in a news briefing by the Disneyland Resort announced plans to expand and maximize their current footprint. In a project known as “DisneylandForward”, Disney officials are trying to get Orange County to let them allocate certain land use for future development.

These are long term plans for the park that include expanded parking, retail and shopping experiences as well as expanding the theme park experience. The purpose of DisneylandForward is to try and envision what Disneyland could look like in the coming decades and get the city of Anaheim and Orange County onboard.

Currently, Disneyland is bound by agreements made by Orange County in the late 1990’s as to what they can and cannot do in Orange County. Walt Disney Imagineer Jeanette Lomboy addressed those concerns at today’s press briefing.

“Because of the current rigid district structure, we just need more flexibility,” Lomboy said. “We’re excited about the possibilities and ready to dream. Believe me, we have no shortage of ideas, content or stories to tell or build.”

Specifically, we are talking about the western corner of the property near the AMC Theater and the ESPN Zone, both currently going unused. Over on the east side, the Toy Story parking lot could be additional theme park space, retail and restaurant areas as well.

“What we do know today is that guests need and want more,” Lomboy said. “In order to give guests what they want, we need more flexibility here in Anaheim. Guests are demanding immersive integrated experiences that are not singular in their uses. We no longer think of uses as separate. Retail, dining, entertainment, theme parks and hotels are all part of the same experiences in the same place. And we need the space in our lands to create story-rich environments.”

The idea is to no longer take each small parcel of land and deem it for use as retail, restaurant or theme park. Instead, DisneylandForward wants the space to be “mixed use”. Therefore, any space can be used for hotels, dining, retail or theme park. It’s a big ask, but not completely out of left field.

“We’re not announcing anything specific today as part of DisneylandForward,” Lomboy said. “These kinds of projects should give you a flavor of the types of industry-defining integrated experiences and story-rich lands that we want to bring to Anaheim.”

And here is my favorite quote of the day: “We’re not changing the size of the toast, we’re just spreading the peanut butter around,” according to a Disney official.

Keep in mind, this is just to give an idea of what Disney COULD do, if approved. Not what they will do. No doubt Disney fans will over analyze and dissect every aspect of the above concept art. However, it isn’t even a place holder. It’s really just an example. No specific rides, dining or hotels have been designed yet. They have a long way to go and today was the first step forward with getting the city of Anaheim and Orange County onboard with the concept. Your thoughts?

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