Disney Wants to Create a More “Integrated Park Experience”, but It May Not Be so Straightforward

disneyland park expansion
Credit: Disney

One of the reasons Disney has been as successful as it has is because of how much the company focuses on innovation; the Walt Disney Company has always prided itself on being forward-thinking. Walt Disney himself said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

sleeping beauty castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort / Credit: Disney

Walt Disney Imagineering & Theme Park Expansion

In Disney Parks, the creative genius behind innovation and expansion is Walt Disney Imagineering. Disney Imagineers are the minds behind many of our favorite lands and rides at the Disney Theme Parks. They are the engineers and architects who bring the magic to life. The division was founded in 1952 by Walt Disney to design Disneyland Resort, the original Disney Park. Walt Disney envisioned a place where storytelling, cutting-edge technology, and exceptional Guest experiences would combine to create a truly magical environment.

disneyland resort pixar pier

Pixar Pier, Disney California Adventure Park / Credit: Disney

For a while now, we’ve been seeing progress at the global Theme Parks with new lands. Disneyland Paris had the Avengers Campus, followed by the Frozen-themed land—Kingdom of Arendelle—which is currently set to open somewhere between 2023 and 2025 in Walt Disney Studios Park. Disney Imagineering has also been sharing new looks and behind-the-scenes footage of the construction and expansion. There is also a World of Frozen that they have been working on at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Domestic Disney fans have been asking for these expansions at the US-based Disney Parks, and it appears Disney wants to give fans what they want.

Disneyland Resort Park Expansions & Challenges

Disneyland Forward President Ken Potrock shared, “Thinking big and leading the way is both our legacy and our best path forward. Now is the time to be bold, to dream, to believe, and to lead! The Disneyland Resort is poised to create new jobs and revenues for our community as well as new immersive entertainment and experiences for loyal fans and new audiences for generations to come.”

In the plan outlined,  Disney teased the construction of lands themed to Frozen, Peter Pan, Tangled, Zootopia, Tron, and Toy Story. It looks forward to a more integrated experience, with better transportation systems, hotels and parks blending together, and “an expanded Downtown Disney shopping and dining area that resembles Disney Springs at Walt Disney World.”

However, as reported by SFGATE, this isn’t quite so straightforward. In order to make this happen, Anaheim will have to approve the DisneylandForward initiative; this would render the present geographic zoning constraints obsolete. Rather than expanding on Disneyland’s geographic footprint, the proposal would instead restructure the Park. It would be “a redistricting of land and a loosening of restrictions the city put in place in the 1990s to allow for more flexible construction and overall planning.”

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland Resort featuring Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park/Credit: Disney

“Ultimately, it will be a decision of our city council,” Mike Lyster, chief communications officer for the city of Anaheim, told SFGATE. “But why we’re interested in looking at it is that whenever the theme parks expand, it drives new revenue for us.”

At present, the proposal is expected to be presented for official approval in early 2024.

About Priyanka Kumar

Priyanka is a writer, artist, avid reader, and travel enthusiast based in Chicago. In her free time, she is probably walking by the lake, catching up on the latest releases on TV, or spending inordinate amounts of time rewatching Moana, Encanto, and her Disney Channel life-long favorites Zack and Cody wreak havoc on the Tipton.

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