Disney may have to put its cards on the table and spell out its plans for growth in the Anaheim resort area. The city is no doubt feeling burnt after the bait and switch the Mouse House pulled by offering the city WESTCOT and delivering California Adventure. Disneyland’s current second gate has never pulled in the numbers that Disney forecast and the local tax base never met the goals city managers had counted on.
So now Disney and Anaheim are both trying to see who holds the strongest bargaining position in the resort area. Don’t kid yourself thinking this is over low income housing. If Anaheim wanted to they could very easily rezone any number of commercial properties up and down Euclid Blvd (or adjoining streets) to include low income developments. Euclid is walking distance, or a short bike ride, from the Disney resort, so it’s perfect for aspiring cast members. Anaheim city council’s decision to put up a fight against Disney’s desire to keep the Resort area focused on resort offerings, is merely a bargaining position against the future.
I think Disneyland could solve this problem by announcing their third park, shopping, and hotel projects. They can probably even get Anaheim to concede a few more benefits and possibly deed some land to Disney to help connect the three parks. If Disney gave Anaheim some assurances that they were fixing the California Adventure problem, opening a third gate, expanding hotel rooms, and growing the Downtown Disney area, I think you’d see Anaheim city council come around. They just want whats best for Anahiem, essentially to grow the tax base.
The Los Angeles Times also takes a look at the current mess.
Disneyland President Ed Grier declined to give specifics but noted that some plans are "around the corner."
"It is very, very important for us," Grier said. "I don’t think that
can be underestimated…. There’s much more of an opportunity for us
Disneyland may be where it all started, but it was long ago outpaced by
its Florida counterpart, with four theme parks, two water parks, six
golf courses and 22 hotel resorts. Walt Disney World accounts for about
80% of the company’s theme park operating income, said David Miller, an
analyst with Sanders Morris Harris.
"Florida means so much more to the company than Southern California," Miller said.
I think it would be a mistake for Disney to try and overlay the Orlando model on Anaheim. Disneyland will always be dependent on local visitors to make up the bulk of the admissions. If Anaheim were to follow the Orlando model, the next park build would be a water park. This would not be a great attraction for locals. Rather, I think a better model would be to try and provide locals with an experience they can’t get anywhere else without flying (something California Adventure fails at miserably).