The Walt Disney Co. unveiled a significant multi-year expansion plan for the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, including an overhaul of Disney's California Adventure with major family-oriented attractions such as an entirely new CARS Land inspired by Disney/Pixar's CARS. The announcement was made by Disney President and CEO Bob Iger and Parks and Resorts Chairman Jay Rasulo at a press conference at Walt Disney Imagineering's Glendale headquarters.
"The success of the Disneyland Resort over the past few years provides us with both the opportunity and the need to invest for growth, to enhance and expand the experience for our guests and attract new visitors, while at the same time delivering attractive returns on the investment," said Iger. "This plan is a reflection of our belief in the bright future of the Disneyland Resort and our continuing commitment to grow the Anaheim Resort Area as a world-class tourist destination."
Disney Imagineers will be bringing more of Walt Disney into Disney's California Adventure, celebrating the hope and optimism of California that attracted Walt to this land of opportunity in the 1920s. Guests entering the new Plaza will be instantly immersed in the world that inspired Walt during his early days as an animation pioneer. The new interactive Walt Disney Story attraction will set the stage for the unfolding story of Walt that will permeate the park. Extensive landscaping and new retail and dining throughout California Adventure will reinforce the connection with Walt.
The expansive program reaches throughout Disney's California Adventure, with a Little Mermaid attraction, a signature nighttime spectacular and new viewing area for 9,000, and the addition of the 12-acre CARS Land featuring the world of Radiator Springs with three new attractions.
Radiator Springs Racers, a major "E-ticket" attraction, places guests right in the middle of the detailed, dimensional CARS world of Mater, Lightning McQueen, Doc and Sally. Guests get a quick race briefing from Doc and Lightning, and suddenly find themselves in the midst of a race around hairpin turns and steep banks.
CARS Land increases capacity to the park with two additional immersive family rides, featuring Luigi and Mater from the movie. CARS Land represents an unprecedented level of collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Disney Imagineering to create this extensive new area. The new land will substantially extend the total area of Disney's California Adventure park.
Paradise Pier will host major new attractions beginning next summer with the opening of TOY STORY Mania!, a ride-through, interactive adventure where guests ride into a high-energy 4-D carnival midway hosted by TOY STORY characters. Woody, Jessie, Buzz, Hamm and the gang come to life in amazing ways, immersing guests in the rich stories of the Pixar blockbuster TOY STORY films.
A major ride based on Disney's classic THE LITTLE MERMAID comes to the park's Paradise Pier with leading-edge animation and special effects. Guests will dive into the magnificent scenes and magical songs from the movie. A Mermaid Grotto area with a fountain and sand castle will offer new play experiences for children.
The dramatic and unique Disney's World of Color will bring new nighttime excitement to Paradise Pier. This nightly panorama of water effects, colorful lighting and music will bring Disney animation to life with an entirely new creative and technical approach. The 9,000-person viewing area offers prime waterside viewing of the show -- and provides a site for live entertainment, music festivals, and outdoor film premieres.
The totally new gateway to Disney's California Adventure welcomes guests into an immersive world of historic California streets as Walt experienced them as a young artist arriving with big dreams.
A new visual icon in the tradition of Los Angeles, California's great entertainment palaces will draw guests into the heart of the attractions. This new facility, which was inspired by Los Angeles' historic Carthay Circle Theatre that premiered SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS in 1937, will house a next-generation Walt Disney Story featuring an interactive tribute to Walt's California experiences, and his entertainment legacy that continues worldwide today. Red Car trolleys reminiscent of the old Pacific Electric Railway will travel up and down the main street. New dining and shopping experiences and a slate of unique, live entertainment will bring energy to the Walt Disney Plaza.
Hollywood Pictures Backlot will be a new home for a slate of special ticketed events and chances to hear first-hand from innovative directors, writers and animators. An update of the popular family show PLAYHOUSE DISNEY will provide an experience for younger children.
The "Golden State" area of the park will see the addition of numerous new dining opportunities tied to the bounty of California's farmland and its rich ethnically diverse food heritage. Food and wine festivals that celebrate the seasons, tastes and cultures of the dynamic communities of the Golden State will entertain guests, bringing unique one-of-a-kind experiences.
A Preview Center located on San Francisco Street in the Golden State region of the park will feature models of Imagineering concepts -- giving park guests a sneak peek at what lies ahead. The Preview Center is scheduled to open in late 2008.
"Our Disneyland guests have a deep emotional connection with Walt Disney, whose life story really captures the pioneering spirit of California in the 1920s," said Rasulo. "The creative evolution of Disney's California Adventure will connect guests to Walt's own California adventure and reflect the place that he found when he first arrived with a cardboard suitcase in his hand and a head full of dreams."
This announcement follows Disney's ground breaking last month for a 250-room expansion of Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, including 50 rooms dedicated to the West Coast debut of Disney Vacation Club, the company's growing time-share business.
The proposed expansion builds upon the transformation of the Disneyland park into a multi-day destination resort that began in 2001 with the creation of the Disneyland Resort and the opening of Disney's California Adventure Park, Downtown Disney and Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
Located on approximately 500 acres in Anaheim, the Disneyland Resort includes the Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure Parks, three hotels with approximately 2,200 rooms and the 310,000 square foot retail, restaurant and entertainment Downtown Disney District. With 20,000 employees, the Disneyland Resort is Orange County's largest single-site employer and a $3.6 billion annual contributor to the local economy. In January 2004, the Resort welcomed its 500 millionth guest since opening on July 17, 1955.