Anaheim gives preliminary approval to DisneylandForward

April 17, 2024, 3:06 AM · The Anaheim City Council early Wednesday morning gave preliminary approval to the DisneylandForward proposal. The 7-0 vote brings Disneyland one step closer to being able to expand attractions and hotels on current parking lots at the resort.

The council still must give final approval for the proposal, which is expected at its meeting next month.

"We've been on a nearly 70-year journey to get here tonight and the future is indeed a bright one for both the Disneyland Resort and the City of Anaheim," Disneyland President Ken Potrock said to the council. "Through this collaborative planning process, together we can build a stronger, more vibrant community with thriving local businesses and enhanced benefits for residents. And we can welcome visitors from around the world to one of the greatest cities in the United States."

Once in place, the DisneylandForward agreements will allow Disneyland to develop attractions, retail and hotels on land currently reserved for use as parking in the current land use agreements between the city and the resort. If you are curious how Disneyland visitors will deal with reduced parking opportunities, Disney owns property adjacent to Interstate 5, on the east side of the property, that it already is cleared to develop for a new multilevel parking structure. That will be connected to the resort via pedestrian bridges over Harbor Boulevard (that also will connect to street-level sidewalks on Harbor).

Disneyland has not announced what projects it will develop on the land that would be opened to development under DisneylandForward. But it has teased the possibility of new lands based on Frozen and Zootopia that have opened at other Disney theme parks. Disney CEO Bob Iger also announced that the resort will build an Avatar-themed land, which could be part of the DisneylandForward expansion.

For more on DisneylandForward, please see our previous coverage:

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Replies (8)

April 17, 2024 at 8:47 AM

This is great news! I stayed up way too late waiting for the vote. Excited for what the future may bring. I was wondering what the "final approval" next month entails though. Is it another vote? Or a formality, just making it official. Will final approval be a simple process or will there be another round of discussion, questions, and statements before the council members decide for good. I'm not familiar with how council votes normally work and was curious about what to expect.

April 17, 2024 at 1:04 PM

In many jurisdictions, legislation requires two readings for passage. This was the first. In practice, the first vote is the "real" one, and the second vote is typically quick, unless some huge news breaks that causes council members to change their minds. Final approval should come at the council's meeting on May 7.

I would expect Disneyland to commence work on the new parking structure very soon after that, as that will need to be complete before the resort can close the Toy Story lot.

April 17, 2024 at 6:21 PM

While the second vote is in fact just a confirmation of their vote last night, the bigger concern is the 30 days after the second reading. First, the decision isn't officially final until after that 30 day period when the ordinances are ratified. But more importantly, this 30 day window is when anyone who wished to challenge the projects can file a lawsuit over the environmental document that was also officially adopted. Per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) anyone can file a lawsuit based on any specific claims made during public testimony, questioning the validity of the studies that made up part of the Environmental Impact Report. So everything will be on hold until Friday, June 7th to make sure there is not a legal challenge. Unfortunately on a project this big and note worthy, someone or some law firm with most likely do just that, if for anything else, it delays the project and cost more money and sometimes results in a settlement where the plaintiffs receive cash or other considerations.

April 18, 2024 at 10:34 AM

Operkill - TPI member since the day of his post.


April 18, 2024 at 9:36 AM

Actually Operkill is pretty much on the money here. Now, while my speciality is in Bird Law, the above statement from Operkill is accurate.

April 18, 2024 at 10:58 AM

I am a City Planner in Southern California, so I am familiar with the process. Long time reader here, just never had the desire to comment. I enjoy the site and your comments TH.

April 18, 2024 at 11:39 AM

TH represents everything wrong with America today, falsely impugning the integrity of someone he doesn't even know on the basis of their opinion. A sad, ill-mannered little man.

April 20, 2024 at 9:17 AM

I’m anxiously waiting until Disney can get this “DisneylandForward” stuff implemented. 2081 can’t get here soon enough…

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