Walt once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” Well, it appears that the Walt Disney Imagineers have a bit more gas in the tank. In a press briefing given on Thursday, Walt Disney Imagineering’s Jeanette Lomboy divulged plans for a new phase of expansion for Disneyland aptly named DisneylandForward.

Lomboy stated, “Because of the current rigid district structure, we just need more flexibility. We’re excited about the possibilities and ready to dream. Believe me, we have no shortage of ideas, content or stories to tell or build. What we do know today is that guests need and want more. In order to give guests what they want, we need more flexibility here in Anaheim. Guests are demanding immersive integrated experiences that are not singular in their uses. We no longer think of uses as separate. Retail, dining, entertainment, theme parks and hotels are all part of the same experiences in the same place. And we need the space in our lands to create story-rich environments.”

Before you go getting your Mickey ears in a tangle, Walt Disney Co. hasn’t submitted development plans to the Anaheim City Council. According to The Los Angeles Times, The Walt Disney Co. will not be presenting in front of the council until 2023.

An Unusually Early Sneak Peek

Now, this news took most fans by surprise, as the only way to discover that something was in the works was by uncovering the web address, disneylandforward.com. It wasn’t until we heard the official news from Lomboy that this dream became a… shall we say… possibility?! Within seconds of the announcement, the online chatterbox was ablaze with rumours of a “third gate” coming to Disneyland, while others quickly counter that it was merely an “expansion.” Whatever you call it, it is going to take a lot of fanatical pressure to get the Anaheim zoning approved – pressure in the tune of “potential.” And Disney just may have known that from the start.

Typically, The Walt Disney Company keeps plans and concept art close to the vest. The plans we see are rarely a first pass. In fact, in most cases, the vibrant conceptual artwork we are exposed to is likely to have half a decade (or more) under its belt, despite its ability to feel “Blue Sky” fresh. However, in the case of DisneylandForward, it seems that we are getting a sneak peek and some very early rough “ideas.” Why would Disney show their hand so early in the game? Because these are not ground plans of what will be – rather what could be. That is if only Anaheim would be willing to play ball.

Greasing the Anaheim Wheel

So, Disneyland is now pushing the city of Anaheim to allow them to expand into the property that they already own. In the words of Bob Dylan, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Clearly, The Walt Disney Company is dangling the carrot of increased tourism traffic and city revenue. Who knows, maybe the allure of dollars and cents will throw a little extra pressure on those with a vote to make this change come to light.

Currently, the messaging on disneylandforward.com reads as mix-n-match. One one hand, you will find traces of a visually stunning wonderland, as you would expect to uncover whilst thumbing through the lustrous pages of Walt Disney Imagineering: A Behind the Dreams Look at Making the Magic Real. On the other, you are hit with a manifesto of sorts – showcasing facts, figures, and past accomplishments. It is a bit jaw-dropping to see that Disneyland must resort to a “call to arms” in order to make waves. One thing is for sure, they do it with grace while skillfully peppering in promises of tomorrow.

It is no secret that Disneyland and Anaheim have had their differences in the past, but something tells me that this time around could be different. After all, what separates this expansion from past defuncted projects is plain to see; Disney is not asking for any money! They’re simply requesting a change to the rather rigid zoning that would allow for growth and expansion.


Currently, there is theme park zoning, hotel zoning, and dining zoning. What Disney is looked to do now is mix it all up. The proposal calls for a theme park expansion on what is now the Lilo and Stitch parking lot near Paradise Pier Hotel and the Disneyland Hotel. This would allow for Disneyland Hotel and Pixar Pier Hotel to be inside parks, joining the prestigious ranks of the Grand Californian.

Also incorporated into the plans is the usage of both the AMC Theater and ESPN Zone located in the Downtown Disney District. The expansion would also see the usage of a 56-acre field to the east that has long been discussed as a possible third theme park. The area would include a hotel, along with shopping and entertainment (which could be could be anything from walk-around characters to full-sized theatre, as you can find in Shanghai Disneyland’s Downtown Disney), as well as additional parking near Disney Way.

Lands and Attractions

DisnelandForward.com has been flirting with website visitors about Disneyland Park receiving “exciting new lands and attractions” much akin to those coming to Tokyo DisneySea, such as:


Guests visit Arendelle, the home of Elsa and Anna, and explore this ‘Frozen’ land filled with a thrilling boat adventure as well as a restaurant set inside a castle.


Rapunzel’s tower overlooks a charming forest where guests board gondolas to the lantern festival to live Rapunzel’s “best day ever” with Flynn. A restaurant where she befriended a band of thieves in the film is also featured.

Peter Pan

The Neverland area features two attractions: one that, with the help of Tinker Bell, takes guests on a boat ride following the Lost Boys down a river; and the other taking guests on a journey to the middle of Pixie Hollow, where Tinker Bell and her fairy friends live. The area also includes a restaurant with spectacular views inspired by the Lost Boys’ iconic hideout.

Meanwhile, Disney California Adventure “could be home to some of Disney’s most technologically advanced, immersive and cutting-edge entertainment, taking cues from these exciting lands and attractions around the globe for inspiration.” These include:

Toy Story Land

Guests can take a ride on Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster Andy assembled from his Mega Coaster Toy Kit. They can also join the little green aliens as they swirl about in their rocket ship toys in the Alien Swirling Saucers. The land also includes carnival games and a restaurant, Woody’s Lunch Box.


Guests will be invited to experience the mammalian metropolis of Zootopia “where anyone can be anything,” with a new major attraction that will seamlessly blend Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology to bring this fan-favorite movie and its characters to life.

Tron Lightcycle Run

The TRON Lightcycle Run roller coaster invites guests to sync the pedal to the moto-metal while twisting and turning in the cyber-fi world in a high-speed race for survival.