Disney is making the economic case for expanding and adding new attractions to its existing Disneyland Resort property in Anaheim.
Speaking to a group of business and civic leaders at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel last week, Disneyland President Ken Potrock laid out a number of positive outcomes if the park is given approval to expand.
According to the Orange County Register, Potrock cited a recent Disney-commissioned report by Cal State Fullerton that estimated the economic impact of the company’s DisneylandForward initiative.
The findings from the economic impact study? The expansion could bring in more than 4,500 jobs, $11 million in tax revenue, and contribute more than $1 billion to the Anaheim economy for every billion dollars spent over the 4-year construction process.
From there, the expansion could create more than 2,200 jobs and add more than $250 million annually to the city’s economy, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Disney has been engaging its neighbors about renovation plans during a series of conversations throughout the community. Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings and ask Disney officials about the proposed expansion, which was announced in 2021 prior to the park’s reopening after it was shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The major challenge facing the company, and why these community pitches are taking place, is existing zoning laws that restrict Disney from expanding in certain ways. The “Resort Specific Plan,” which was established in the ’90s, limits which areas of Disney-owned property can be used for things like retail, hotel and attractions.
The entertainment giant has been working with city officials over the past several months to obtain mixed-use development approval to allow for the park to revamp a significant portion of resort property adjacent to the existing park boundaries.
Any expansion would take place within the resort’s 450-acre footprint in areas that are not currently being utilized for attraction space.
Disney has not given concrete details about how it plans to expand if given the OK by the city, but development would happen around two Disney hotels west of the theme parks and on the site of a parking lot on the east side, according to earlier reporting from the Times.
An environmental impact study is expected to be completed this summer, and the Anaheim Planning Commission could vote on the plans by early 2024, according to the O.C. Register.
Disneyland is critical to the economy of Anaheim and its visitors are responsible for more than 50% of the city’s annual tax revenue, the Times reports.
And despite some tumult between the city and the company in the past, the two entities appear to be working together in concert with this latest proposal.
Anaheim Mayor Ashleigh Aitken appeared to show her support for expansion, saying on Twitter, “good things” are happening in the city. She was responding to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who also appeared to be signaling his support for the plans.
The news of Disney’s projected economic boon to Southern California comes days after the company announced it would be withdrawing plans to develop a $1 billion campus in Florida, due to the company’s ongoing spat with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Newsom, an ardent critic of DeSantis and a political rival as both mull over potential White House bids, called the Disney plans “Great news for the city of Anaheim.”