Over 20 years ago, executives and planners at the Disney corporation were planning a massive expansion at Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California. Those plans never came to fruition. In 2001, Disney did open California Adventure, a feature park at Disneyland that has not shown any real measure of success.
The word is out that the Disney Corporation has plans in the making to expand the Anaheim theme park to the scope and magnitude of Orlando Florida's Disney World. It is reported that plans for construction of upscale hotels, time-share units, boutiques and other entertainment features to attract high-end consumers are on the drawing board. There are also plans to birng the Disney luxury cruise ship into Souther California ports.
The problem for the Disney Corporation is that they are now bumping heads with city officials and some local residents. It is Disney's contention that the Orlando theme park far out paces the Anaheim theme park in revenue sales and attendance. Earnings at Orlando's Disney World account for 80% of the corporation's theme park revenue.
The following are examples of how the Disney Corporation is using its clout to get its way at Disneyland California:
• Last month, Disney sued the city to protect zoning in the 2.2-square-mile Resort District and block construction of a residential project that includes affordable housing.
• Local business leaders along with the Disney Corporation are seeking a ballot initiative that would lock in the resort-themed zoning it desired and require a citywide vote before changes could be made.
• Disney Corporate attorneys forced a councilwoman to abstain from voting on the affordable housing proposal.
• Secret meetings were held with city officials, presenting to council members a preview of some of their closely guarded plans.
If the city of Anaheim wants to contend with the Disney Corporation, they will likely lose this battle.