Disneyland Has Announced Major Plans To Expand In California

Disneyland has been closed for over a year and while it's making plans to reopen, we're still a month away from that. And yet, major plans were just announced for a significant expansion to the Disneyland resort that will include additional theme park space and new shopping and dining space that will be built all, or at least mostly, within space that the resort already has that it being underused.

The specific details are a little light to be sure, but the project has a name, Disneyland Forward, and is a multi year plan that will see Disneyland Resort expand around the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier Hotel, as well as the current Toy Story parking lot. In those places we would find an apparent expansion of hotels, dining and shopping, and also more theme park space, though Disney is not, at least as of the moment, calling it a third gate.

The Disneyland Forward project does already have its own website, which at least gives us an idea of the sorts of things Disneyland resort is planning, though clearly nothing is set in stone quite yet. As far as new theme park lands goes, it suggests potential lands based on Frozen, Zootopia, or Tangled, as well as more classic films like Peter Pan. The site also floats the idea of the Tron Lightcycle roller coaster, currently at Shanghai Disneyland and under construction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, as something that might make the jump to the west coast.

Disney is calling the main location an "Immersive Theme Park" but rather than being a park in itself, the plan looks to be to potentially expand both existing theme parks. According to plans it would surround the existing Disneyland Hotel and the Paradise Pier Hotel and provide additional shopping, dining, and other forms of entertainment.

Disneyland Forward plans

Then, in the space that is currently nothing but parking lot, we could actually get another DIsneyland theme park. Disney is not yet calling this a third gate, but considering its separation from the rest of the resort, it's difficult to call it anything else. Many have theorized that when and if a new theme park was added to the Disneyland Resort, that parking lot would be exactly where it would go.

Disneyland Forward plans

This is exactly how Disneyland expanded the first time. When Disney California Adventure was constructed, it was built in the parking lot of the existing Disneyland theme park. Now, it looks like the plan is to do that again, taking over the current main parking lot to built more entertainment space. A new parking garage structure was planned on that side of the park already.

Don't expect any of this to happen too quickly, Disney says it will present its plans to the Anaheim City Council by 2023, and that means that even after approval any of this new stuff will come several years after that, so don't expect to see any of it until the latter half of this decade at the earliest. Still considering that Disneyland isn't asking for any additional space in the city, simply the ability to redevelop what they already have, it seems like a forgone conclusion this will all go forward. Especially since Disney apparently isn't looking for any financial assistance, which was what killed the last new Disneyland project.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.