California’s Disneyland park has been closed for over a year now. On March 14, 2020, Disneyland shut its doors with the rest of the world, something that has never been done in the theme park’s history. A year later, the original Disney park is weeks away from reopening its gates, months after its Florida counterpart Walt Disney Disney World brought magic back in the midst of a global pandemic.
Florida had it easy when it came to reopening its theme parks. California has had high COVID-19 numbers from the jump and implemented some of the strictest mandates to combat the spread. As more and more California citizens get vaccinated, the park has plans to reopen only to California locals at the end of April.
Anaheim has certainly felt the effects of a year without Disneyland. If you’ve ever visited the parks, you’d know that tourism is Anaheim’s saving grace. There isn’t much to do outside of the theme parks and the city relies heavily on Walt Disney’s innovation to bring in revenue. Now that the park has been closed for a full year, Anaheim is open to negotiating an expansion to their tourist mecca and Disney is putting on a full court press to make things happen with their DisneylandForward campaign they launched last Thursday.
Now, this is an unexpected move by the city of Anaheim. They’ve had an agreement in place with Disneyland since the 90’s that controls how much property Disneyland can have for their parks, retail, and hotels. Disney is not looking to acquire more property, just seeking the ability to expand their parks into areas that are currently reserved for parking lots.
How would this all pan out, you may be asking yourselves? Well, Disney already has an idea. Disneyland would expand into what is now the Downtown Disney parking lot while the California Adventure park would extend into the Simba parking lot. They would also like to convert the current Toy Story parking lot into a shopping center similar to that of Shanghai Disneyland or Disney Springs in Florida.
What excites me most about this possible expansion is what attractions could be added to the parks. Disney hasn’t given us any details just yet, but I would love to see a Toy Story Land in California. The envy I feel when I see my East Coast friends riding that Slinky Dog coaster is real! With California Adventure’s newly remodeled Pixar Pier, a Toy Story addition to the park would be perfect! Another speculation is Zootopia-inspired expansion like Shanghai Disneyland has in their park. I’m a huge fan of that movie, so I would love to see that too! Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan lands are all coming to Tokyo DisneySea, so any of those areas could be themed for Disneyland as well
Don’t get too excited yet, my friends. This whole proposal process can take about two years to complete alone and Disneyland is still finishing up the new Avengers Campus and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. So while further expansion could be far off, it is fun to speculate just what new pieces of Disneyland and California Adventure may be on the horizon. Given how difficult the last year has been for the city of Anaheim and Disney alike, there is hope that this process could be a bit quicker. Both parties have lost time to make up for but the past year has shown the city what a Disney-less Anaheim means for the local economy. The projected shortage in the budget from a lack of tourism in the area would seem to make them more amenable than every to Disney’s wishes.
What do you all think about the possible expansion to the Disneyland and California Adventure parks? I, for one am excited about it, but I am still hoping they reintroduce their Annual Pass program before the expansion. Let us know all your thoughts in the comments below!
Also, with so many Disney fans on our site and in the queer community, how do you all feel about WERRRK.com increasing our coverage of the Mouse going forward? Let us know your thoughts on that as well and if you’re a Disney fan like us and have things to say, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!