Could Disneyland be getting bigger?
The Walt Disney Co. recently bought three major plots of land near the popular Anaheim resort, reports the Los Angeles Times. The acquisition has sparked speculation of a park expansion that may include characters from the Disney owned Star Wars or Marvel super hero franchises.
"People have put two and two together and they know that something cool could be coming down the line," Robert Niles, a Disney expert and founder of Themeparkinsider.com, told the LA Times.
Its been several years since Disney acquired the two iconic brands, snapping up Marvel Entertainment Inc. in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012.
"It's really a no-brainer that Star Wars will take over at Disneyland and Marvel will probably go into Disney California Adventure," Todd Regan, founder of the Disney blog site MiceChat.com, told the LA Times. He said he believes the new land purchase will allow the company to move behind-the-scenes operations away from the main campus to free up space for new Imagineer-designed attractions.
In March, Disney bought the Carousel Inn and Suites, a hotel property close to the Anaheim theme park. It also acquired two large office buildings near the property last year, which Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said would fulfill park infrastructure needs “including warehouse and office space and parking” amid record numbers of park attendees and a larger staff.
But Disney officials did not confirm whether the new property purchases—which total about 14.7 acres-- indicated park expansions in the future, noting that any new attractions would be build within the “resort’s current footprint.” According to local property records, the value of the land is about $60 million, though the company would not confirm how much was paid.
Still, Disney fans have reason to be hopeful that a park expansion is in the works.
CEO Robert Iger told shareholders in March that the company was planning an expansion in the near future. The company has also agreed to invest $1 billion in Disneyland by 2024 to avoid entertainment taxes in the city of Anaheim.
This year has already been a great year for Disney, which reported record domestic attendance and profits compared to the same time last year, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Technology is also proving profitable for the company. Disney announced that since its rollout, 13 million visitors have used MagicBands, flexible all-in-one wearable devices that function as theme-park tickets, FastPasses and hotel-room keys. They also act a wearable credit card-- which Disney says leads to each guest spending was up a reported 2 percent.
New attractions to debut as Disneyland later this year include the Indiana Jones themed bar Jock Lindsey’s The Hangar and a Morimoto Asia restaurant.