Disneyland gets initial nod for $1.9B investment

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Dive Brief:

  • The City of Anaheim, California, granted preliminary approval April 16 to a Walt Disney Co. plan to invest $1.9 billion in its flagship Disneyland Resort in the Southern California city over the next 10 years. 
  • DisneylandForward lays the template for creating new attractions, restaurants and shops on property Disney already owns. It includes Disney paying Anaheim $85 million for street and transportation improvements, $30 million for affordable housing, $10 million for sewer upgrades and $8 million for parks, according to a project fact sheet. The investment would create 7,800 construction jobs, according to a news release from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. 
  • According to the fact sheet, there are also incentives for Disney to invest up to $2.5 billion within the 10-year timeframe, or pay the city an additional $5 million in cash. 

Dive Insight:

The Disneyland improvements are part of the firm’s larger commitment to spend $60 billion on its parks and cruise lines over the next 10 years. Disneyland, which originally opened in 1955 with the nickname, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” spurred the development of other resorts in Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

While the company hasn’t revealed which new attractions it wants to create within Disneyland, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro has floated the idea of bringing to life some of the mythical countries found in Disney movies, including Arendelle from “Frozen,” Wakanda from “Black Panther” and Santa Cecilia from “Coco.”

Beyond the initial 10-year span, DisneylandForward would extend Anaheim’s development agreement with Disney for 40 years, through 2064. 

While construction and maintenance work was evident during a March visit to the park — City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. was ensconced in scaffolding, and diggers were walled off in a section between Critter Country and New Orleans Square — the update would be the the first major work at the complex since the 1990s. Anaheim City Council is scheduled to vote on a final approval of the project on May 7.

“Disney is making it clear that California is its home because we provide the welcoming and supportive environment where businesses want to expand and create more jobs,” Newsom said in a news release. “We look forward to cultivating more Disney magic and building opportunities for all as this investment drives billions of dollars in revenue for our state and local communities.”

Disney increasing its stake in its marquee resort in California follows a decision last year for the firm to nix a $1 billion investment in Florida, where it openly feuded with Gov. Ron DeSantis over social issues. 

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