Could Future Disneyland Expansion Be Even Bigger Than We Thought?
Bob Iger is teasing the future expansion of Disney Parks in California.
2023 has already been a massive year for the Disneyland Resort. We’ve seen a major new attraction in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway alongside two very well received brand new nighttime spectaculars in Disneyland’s Wonderous Journeys fireworks (the excellent theme song recently hit streaming services) and Disney California Adventure’s World of Color - One. And with the long-awaited return of the Magic Happens parade finally here, and a freshly renovated Mickey’s ToonTown set to reopen in just a few days, Disneyland has done a lot in a short period of time. So what’s next?
A couple of years ago Disneyland Resort announced what they called Disneyland Forward, a new plan that would renovate large areas of the resort area that would, among many other things, expand both theme parks significantly. Exactly when, or even if, any of that will happen is still a question but at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, CEO Bob Iger seemed to imply that there might be even more opportunity for expansion in California than we realize saying…
Iger certainly could just be referring to Disneyland Forward itself in these comments. If the expansion happens as it was previously described, it would certainly represent a significant expansion “opportunity. The thing is, Disneyland Forward was announced nearly two years ago, so we are all very aware of what opportunity exists there. So does that mean Bob Iger could be talking about something even bigger, or something more?
It’s difficult to guess what he means unless there is literally land in California owned by Disney that we don’t know about. Such a thing is technically possible but would seem unlikely, but the fact that Iger says “California” and not “Anaheim” or “Disneyland” could even indicate he’s talking about expansion elsewhere in the state.
Disney has owned other properties in California in the past. In the 1960s they had the rights to a part of what is now the Sequoia National Forest called Mineral King. Walt Disney had designs on a year-round mountain vacation destination that fell apart after he died. In the '90s Disney owned part of the port of Long Beach and nearly built a second gate there called Port Disney, but the decision was made to build Disney California Adventure instead.
The only thing that we know for sure is on the way for Disneyland is some sort of Avatar experience. It’s unclear if this will be a single new attraction or show, or perhaps an entirely new land for the park similar to the one found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Everything is pointing to something on the bigger side, though without the massive new expansion of Disneyland Forward, it’s difficult to see where something of that size would even go?
The problem is that, while the proposed plan for Disneyland Forward doesn’t require any new land, it uses existing Disneyland Resort property in new ways, due to previous agreements, the resort can’t make those changes without approval from the City of Anaheim. Disneyland has had to struggle with its limited space almost since the beginning, but the park has always figured out ways to expand. Whether we’re looking at a major expansion of Disneyland or even something new in California, it seems clear Disney is looking to grow. How much, and how fast, we’ll have to wait and see.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.