Could a recent purchase of nearly 15 acres of land by The Walt Disney Co. near its Anaheim Disneyland Resort mean an expansion for the parks? Property records show that in March a division of the company bought the Carousel Inn and Suites at 1530 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim and last year, the company purchased two large office buildings at 1515 S. Manchester Ave. and 1585 S. Manchester Ave. in Anaheim.
All three parcels, a total of about 14.7 acres, are connected and sit across Harbor Boulevard from Disney California Adventure. Disney would not disclose how much it paid for the three parcels but property records say the total value of the land is about $60 million.
The Walt Disney Company confirmed the purchase, but said the land would not be used to expand rides or attractions, a company spokesperson said Wednesday. This by itself does not mean that the new land purchase couldn’t still be instrumental in bringing new rides and attractions to the parks.
According to the Anaheim Planning Department, the 158,708-square-foot building on the new land purchased will be used for office and warehouse support for Disney’s theme park and hotel operations, and will eventually be expanded for additional parking needs.
“With the resort’s continued growth resulting in additional cast members and a record number of guests, this property will help to support additional infrastructure needs, including warehouse and office space and parking,” Disney spokesperson Suzi Brown said.
All the talk about expansion is not just speculation. Here’s what we do know. In July, Disney officials committed to invest at least $1 billion in the park by 2024, under an agreement that ensures the Anaheim will not impose an entertainment tax on theme park tickets for the next 30 years. We also know that Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger told shareholders in March that the company has plans for a park expansion. Also while speaking with Wall Street analysts, Iger revealed that Disney is currently working on “a fair amount of design and development (taking place by the company’s Imagineers) to greatly increase Star Wars presence in multiple locations around the world.”
“If we ever do an expansion, it would be within the footprint of the existing park,” Brown said. “This is not next to the park, it’s a short distance away.”
A statement which still may be a positive sign for expansion, because if Disneyland ends up moving its backstage offices to this area it may mean they could build new attractions in some of the areas in Disneyland resort which currently house their backstage offices. A solution that could keep expansion plans with in the “footprint.” One thing is for sure. Changes are coming and Disneyland plans to keep moving forward.
For a closer look at some more detailed maps take a look at this article from SlashFilm.
Photo from Peter Sciretta.