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How Disneyland Could Benefit From The Sale Of The Los Angeles Angels

Sleeping Beauty Castle and Matterhorn at sundown
(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

Major League Baseball is in for a potential shakeup as the current owner of the Los Angeles Angels has announced he is considering selling the team. A team sale is always a big deal, but fans of Disneyland Resort might want to keep an eye on what happens to the Los Angeles Angels, regardless of whether they care about baseball. Why? Because it could have a potential impact on the future of the theme park. 

This is because the sale of the Los Angeles Angels could mean the team might move, and while it seems unlikely the Angels will leave Southern California, even a move within the region could mean a brand new stadium. And a brand new stadium somewhere else could mean that the land the current stadium sits on, which is only a few miles from Disneyland Resort, might end up being available. Hear me out.

Storytellers statue at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

Disneyland Resort Is Already Planning A Major Expansion 

Earlier this week Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno announced plans to explore selling the team he has owned since 2003. As it happens, he bought the team from The Walt Disney Company. 

While the team has a lease with the city of Anaheim to remain in its current stadium through 2029, it’s possible that the city could void the lease, especially if a more favorable option were available. Even if the team remains through the existing lease, seven years is not that long in the grand scheme of things if a new owner had to wait  to move the team until the lease expired.

And as it happens, Disneyland Resort is currently in the midst of planning a major park expansion. Early last year The Walt Disney Company announced a plan it called Disneyland Forward. While the plans are still fluid, concepts include significant expansions of both existing theme parks, and as well as expanding the Downtown Disney retail and shopping district, mostly by making new use of existing parking structures. The current Toy Story parking lot could also be transformed into resort space.

The current stadium space has to be an attractive proposition. It’s close enough to the existing resort that it could easily be incorporated into the rest of it. It would be a great place to put a fourth hotel, with bus service delivering guests to the parks. It could also be used to build something like the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser. It’s close enough to the rest of Disneyland that guests could incorporate a themed-hotel into a longer vacation, but far enough away for it to also be its own thing.

World of Color at Disney California Adventure

(Image credit: Disneyland Resort)

Disneyland’s Third Gate?

Of course, the most exciting prospect would have to be Disneyland’s third gate. The idea of Disneyland Resort opening a third theme park has been suggested for almost as long as Disney California Adventure has been around, but the biggest problem is that Disneyland’s existence has resulted in Anaheim becoming so crowded that there’s very little available space for such things to be built. 

The stadium land would absolutely be enough space for a significantly-sized third theme park. The imagination runs absolutely wild with possibilities. Perhaps we could see the return of previous Disneyland expansion concepts, something like Westcot, or an entirely brand new idea. Walt Disney Imagineering would have a completely blue sky to start from, allowing for any possible idea when it comes to a park or the lands and attractions found within it.

While Disneyland’s relationship with the city of Anaheim hasn’t always been the greatest, the resort most certainly benefits the city. A third park would mean more people working in the city, many of them would be residents, as well as more tourist dollars. If Disney builds it, people will come.

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland

(Image credit: Disneyland)

Even Building Nothing Could Be Big For Disneyland

But even if Disneyland Resort doesn’t decide to go all out and build a third theme park on the site of the stadium, there’s a much simpler possibility that, while it may not sound exciting at first glance, could also open up a world of possibilities. Just make the stadium a parking lot.

As mentioned earlier, the current Disneyland Forward plans involve taking existing parking lot space and transforming it into resort space, but that, of course, means there will be less room for parking unless more space is found elsewhere. But the stadium site has lots of existing parking even with the stadium in place, and if it were gone, there would be that much more. 

Using the stadium as the new main parking lot for the entire resort could mean that even more of the existing Disneyland Resort parking could be eliminated in favor of more resort space closer to the existing parks, this could mean larger expansions of Disneyland or Disney California Adventure than are currently planned, more hotel space, or more shopping and dining. 

Mickey Mouse in Magic Happens parade at Disneyland

(Image credit: Disney Parks)

The Hurdles For Disneyland 

While this whole concept is quite exciting, there are, of course, a couple of hurdles for Disneyland, even assuming the resort is interested in taking over the space of the current Angels stadium. The first is completely beyond Disney’s control. There has to be somebody that wants to buy the Los Angeles Angels and that person has to want to move them to a new location that is willing to build a new stadium.

Even if all that happens, Disneyland then needs to convince the city of Anaheim to sell or lease them the current stadium space, and allow them to use it for whatever it is Disney decides to do with it. Disneyland and the city tend to get along, but the two sides have clashed in the past. Disneyland previously killed a fourth hotel concept when a city deal for tax breaks fell apart. 

Right now, the strongest argument to the city that Disneyland has in favor of the current Disneyland Forward project is that it’s not asking for any new land or any city funds toward the expansion. All Disneyland needs is city approval to modify an existing agreement to allow Disneyland Resort to do different things with the land it already has. 

Taking over the existing stadium would obviously make this a very different sort of deal and a very different negotiation with Anaheim. Disney would need significant buy-in from the city, which might happen, but is certainly not guaranteed.

If the Los Angeles Angels do end up moving, then there’s a good chance that something else is going to be done with the land the stadium is on. If major expansion is even a consideration for Disneyland Resort, there might not be a better chance for it for decades to come. 

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.