California Residents’ Rage Could Doom Disney’s Multimillion Dollar Expansion Plan

A man holds a sign in front of Disneyland Resort calling for higher safety standards befor
APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

Residents of Anaheim, California, are unhappy over announced plans for Disneyland to buy up several city-owned streets and to close them off to local traffic as part of the park’s expansion plans.

Disney was asked the city to sell them several roadways bordering their existing park property, including a street named Magic Way, according to KTLA-TV.

But residents say that they use the 1,150-foot road on the west side of the resort to skirt more heavily used roads in the city and also to gain access to the 5 Freeway.

Residents are furious that Disney intends to close the road to nearly all traffic and make it a pedestrian walkway for its hotel and parking users to get to the park.

“I love Magic Way,” resident Randy Lewis said during a recent meeting at city hall. “I do not love the idea of closing Magic Way. It’s a great way for residents to bypass a lot of traffic.”

But Disney claims that a traffic study of the use of the road revealed that “99 percent” of the traffic on the road is Disney related.

“Of the 11,153 vehicles that traverse Magic Way on a daily basis, 11,053 of them are either departing or arriving at a Disney property,” said Disney consultant Joe Haupt. “Less than 100 are non-Disney users.”

Anaheim City spokesperson Erin Ryan added, “There would still be some cars on that road and access for emergency vehicles, but it won’t be a street as it is today.”

The park wants to offer the city a flat payment of $40 million to take over ownership of Magic Way, Hotel Way, and a part of Clementine Street.

Disney has not announced any time line for construction of its expansion effort in the area encompassing Magic Way Street.

The city Planning Commission is set to vote on the proposal on March 11 and the full city council is planning to take up the proposal in May.

The park’s expansion plans come on the heels of a hike in prices even as attendance fell nearly 21 percent last year.

The entertainment giant hiked prices at both Florida’s Disney World and California’s Disneyland last year.

At Disneyland, prices are soaring for almost every ticket level, with daily and multi-day tickets rising between 4 percent and 15.7 percent, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The price of “Magic Key” annual passes will climb between 3 percent and 21 percent.

Meanwhile, Disney World is seeing the price of annual passes rising between $40 and $50.

The price hikes follow reports from last year saying Disney parks experienced a disappointing summer in terms of attendance, with one travel company that tracks line-waiting time at Disney World saying that the Independence Day weekend was one of the slowest in nearly a decade.

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