Disneyland's Major Expansion Just Took Another Step Forward, And It May Happen Even Sooner Than We Thought

Mickey Mouse in Magic Happens parade at Disneyland
(Image credit: Disney Parks)

It’s been just short of three years since Disneyland Resort unveiled DIsneylandForward, a major expansion plan that would include a massive increase for both theme parks as well as the Downtown Disney resort area. Last night the plan cleared yet another major hurdle, receiving approval from the Anaheim Planning Commission. Now it need only get a vote from the Anaheim City Council before work can actually begin, and things may begin very soon and happen much faster than we guessed.

During the Planning Commission meeting, it was stated that the proposal requires Disney to spend $1.9 billion over the next 10 years, but that the total expected investment of DisneylandForward is about $2.5 billion. Disney will also need to handle $5 million worth of street and transportation improvements as part of the expansion. But as reported by @Mousekgamer who attended the meeting, if Disney moves faster, and spends the full $2.5 billion over 10 years, it won’t need to pay the $5 million for the improvements, so there’s an incentive for things to happen fast.

This is great news for Disney Parks fans because, not to put too fine a point on it, Disney Parks expansion plans domestically have not exactly been moving quickly over the last few years. Since construction restarted following the pandemic things have moved slowly, and at events like Destination D23 we’ve been shown ideas for things the parks might do, with dirt having yet to be broken on major plans like the Dinoland U.S.A. replacement or the Beyond Thunder Mountain Magic Kingdom expansion. We don’t even know what the latter project even is.

It was also specified that the money spent to qualify for the savings would specifically need to be spent on new attractions or lodging. Simply building parking lots wouldn’t count. This means we’re talking about $2.5 billion in real, tangible expansion of the resort area, stuff that people will actually use and enjoy.

During the meeting it was stated by Disneyland Resort officials that they have a very clear idea on exactly what they plan to build. So once the final approval is received, which seems all but guaranteed at this point, we could see Disneyland Resort hit the ground running. Concept art has suggested Disneyland Resort could get a Frozen land similar to the World of Frozen that just opened at Hong Kong Disneyland as well as a Zootopia land similar to what recently opened at Shanghai Disneyland.

Work could begin on all this almost immediately, and while it will take 10 years for it all to be done, one expects that all the new stuff will open in stages, so we won’t have to wait a decade to experience the first new elements. And with the incentive of working quickly there, it could mean the first new additions to the resort could be here very soon.

It looks like the biggest expansion to Disneyland since the building of Disney California Adventure is on the verge of happening. The Anaheim City Council is expected to vote on the DisneylandForward plan at their April 16 meeting.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.