There’s a lot going on at Disneyland right now, and if you haven’t been keeping up from the beginning, things can be a little confusing — to say the least!
Disneyland is working hard to bring Disney fans NEW things in the parks, just like the new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure attraction, Tiana’s Palace, and even San FranSokyo Square. However, Disneyland has bigger plans on the way that were shared through a proposal for a potential expansion project, complete with a full report on the environmental impact that the expansion project would have. Before we dive into a breakdown of how the Disneyland expansion could affect Anaheim environmentally, some backstory is in order!
Way back in the day in 1953 when Disneyland first came to be, Disney and the City of Anaheim made an agreement that Disneyland would consist of five zones, each with very strict development guidelines. One guideline that is now causing Disney hindrance basically states that in order to bring in something new, something old must then be scrapped. So, in order for Disney’s dream of a constantly expanding theme park to come true, some classic, beloved attractions would have to be done away with. See the issue?
DisneylandForward was then created in an attempt to work with the City of Anaheim and its communities to modify these guidelines to reflect the current goals of both Disneyland and Anaheim. Specifically, Disney aims to have the guidelines updated to support their expansion project, as the current guidelines do not support the expansions Disneyland has in mind.
Per the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act, Disney must receive approval from the City of Anaheim to rezone areas of the resort. As part of the approval process, Disney collaborated with Anaheim to curate a 17,000-page environmental report for DisneylandForward which highlights 16 short- and long-term impacts that the addition of more rides, shops, and restaurants to the existing resort would bring.
Per the Los Angeles Times, the three larges causes for concern are the significant effects the four-year construction phase would have on noise pollution, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions. However, Disneyland states that the surrounding community won’t be affected aesthetically or as far as transportation goes.
Specifically, the report stated that Disney aims to add 14 new rides and attractions — 7 in each theme park expansion. Further, Disneyland hopes to add a “themed ride system” similar to the Skyliner or PeopleMover that could connect the theme parks to their relative expansions. So… how will Disney mitigate effects of these additions?
According to the LATimes, Joe Haupt, chief executive of real estate development firm Spectrum Development Group stated that Disney’s report assumes a “worst case scenario” of what could happen environmentally. An acoustic engineer even spent two weeks collecting sound profiles throughout the park to model how a shift in design could potentially affect noise pollution.
To mitigate this, Disney cited that they would install 12-foot-tall noise barriers and prohibit fireworks shows west of Disneyland Drive and in the Toy Story parking lot. As far as community aesthetics go, Disneyland stated that a “360-degree architectural design” would be used so that public views from nearby properties would be improved.
Another huge concern is air quality. Disneyland stated that demolition debris would be recycled, and low-emission paints would be used. An updated transportation system, parking garage, and pedestrian bridge will be added to help reduce the amount of air pollution. Per California State Law, many waste-reduction and energy-efficient strategies are already in use in day-to-day theme park operation.
Disney has already proposed its economic case for the project, stating that for every $1 billion Disney invests to redevelop and update Disneyland Resort, the project will generate an estimated $253 million annually in economic output, $15 in tax revenue, and 2,292 jobs, according to the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton. However, according to Anaheim consultant Bill Halligan, the project could limit local affordable housing options.
While adding employees is seen as a great thing, it’s important to also consider where additional employees would reside. Housing is limited, and the market has already skyrocketed in recent years.
The environmental report has entered a 45-day public comment period that will end on October 30th. After the comment period, the Anaheim City Council will hear and respond to public comments and host two public workshops before issuing a final report and holding final hearings. Disney’s aim is to have a vote by the end of 2024.
We’ll continue to keep you all updated with more Disney news as we have it, so make sure to follow along with more so that you’re always in the loop and never miss a thing.
What do you think of the potential Disneyland expansion project?