What DisneylandForward Means to DVC Members

Several highly motivated Anaheim residents just learned that you can’t fight city hall. Despite several acrimonious Planning Commission and City Council meetings, Anaheim residents woke up on Wednesday, May 8th, to learn that Disneyland Resort will expand soon. 

DisneylandForward won a 7-0 vote from Anaheim’s City Council, ensuring that Disney will spend at least $1.9 billion and as much as $2.5 billion to improve and expand Disneyland Resort. Here’s what DisneylandForward means to DVC members.

Disney Wins a Three-Year Negotiation

You may recall the failed Downtown Disney DVC project from 2018. At the time, members of the Anaheim City Council weren’t favorable toward Disney, ultimately scuttling a promised $267 million in tax incentives toward the project. 

Disney requested council members to vote to move this luxury hotel two blocks from the original location. The Anaheim politicians refused, and the situation devolved from there, with Disney eventually stating it would never accept Anaheim taxpayer money again. 

In 2021, after Disneyland Resort had been closed for a year, Anaheim politicians better appreciated the importance of The Happiest Place on Earth to the community…and Anaheim’s tax revenue. At this point, Disney broached a longstanding issue dating back to the mid-1990s.

Fountain at downtown disneyland

At the time, Anaheim had created zoning ordinances that initially seemed favorable to Disney. Over time, they proved problematic and may have played a hand in the Downtown Disney DVC resort debacle. 

Park officials sought to change those laws and thus began negotiations on the so-called DisneylandForward project, which residents initially misidentified as a park expansion. Instead, Disney sought to modernize the zoning ordinances and possibly even buy a road or two. And that’s exactly what happened. 

In the aftermath of Tuesday night’s vote, Disney and Anaheim have agreed to a 40-year contract that goes into effect in early June. At that point, Disney will purchase Magic Way and some other street sections, while paying for road improvements in other spots. Overall, Disney has committed nearly $85 million for roadwork alone.

Disney will also donate $30 million to the city for affordable housing, $10 million for sewer improvements, and another $8 million used at Anaheim’s discretion. Anaheim’s Disney-related tax revenue will also double to $280 million if the project achieves expectations.

What Disney Guarantees with DisneylandForward 

Technically, Disney has indicated it will pay as much as $2.5 billion to expand Disneyland Resort. The contract includes an out clause at $1.9 billion, though. Should circumstances dictate that Disney spend less, it’d pay a $5 million penalty to save itself $600 million. That’s why I’ll generally refer to this as a $1.9 billion project. The $5 million “penalty” represents a bargain for Disney if it can save itself another $595 million.

Still, Disney has posted thousands of pages of reports during the three-year DisneylandForward process, and I’ve read most of it. You can find specific plans here if you’re interested. The most important document is the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). I’ve read all 380 pages, and I’d highly suggest you save yourself the aggravation.

This filing shows what Disney expects to do during the upcoming expansion. And that’s also the asterisk in the discussion. We have two topics here: what Disney has put in writing and what park officials have said will happen. I’ll blur the lines here, but please remember that some of this could change or evolve over time. 

One of Disney’s primary goals is better parking and improved pedestrian options. Disney will build a new 17,600-space parking garage near I-5. Also, Disney must spend that $1.9-$2.5 billion by 2034, or a rate of $190-$250 million annually.

Disneyland Could Add 16 New Rides

Note that Disney hasn’t technically promised any rides. However, that EIR filed with the government lists the potential for 16 new attractions as part of the expansion. DisneylandForward could/should expand the Disneyland Resort campus by 50 percent, adding plenty of room for new attractions and themed lands. 

While Disney isn’t contractually locked into anything, the 16 new attractions would theoretically include five thrill rides, aka the E-ticket experiences. Nine of the rides would cater to families, two of which are so-called “round rides,” the inexpensive options like The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Mad Tea Party, and King Arthur Carrousel. Seven of the rides will be indoors, seven will be outdoors, and the other two are the round rides.

For its part, Disney has promised an Avatar “experience” coming to Disneyland. Presumably, that attraction will be part of the new offering and count toward the $1.9 billion. Disney CEO Bob Iger hasn’t indicated whether it’s a ride or if Disneyland will get a version of Pandora – The World of Avatar. 

The only information we have now is an illustration of the Avatar experience, which looks like an outdoor water ride. Some believe it’s an outdoor version of Na’vi River Journey. In contrast, others suspect a Disneyland take on the ride mechanics of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland.

What DisneylandForward Means to DVC Members

For DVC owners, the confirmation of DisneylandForward is a massive win. Disney is promising to update The Happiest Place on Earth with new attractions and experiences. During the council meetings, people referred to possible Avatar, Frozen, and Zootopia themed lands. 

None of that is guaranteed, but those plans already exist at other parks. So, they’d be cheaper to translate to Disneyland. Similarly, Disney executives have pointed to Fantasy Springs at Tokyo DisneySea as a potential inspiration. Here’s the new Tangled ride at that park:

I don’t know about you, but I want that here sooner rather than later. Of course, the changes will involve more than just parking lots and attractions.

Disney officials are acutely aware of the lack of housing inventory at Disneyland, especially for DVC members. The recent arrival of The Villas at Disneyland Resort helped some, but we could use more. Thankfully, help is likely on the way.


During the Anaheim Planning Commission on March 11th, 2024, an employee involved with the project explicitly states that this agreement will allow for the construction of DVC properties. Again, Disney offered no detailed context here, but these are easy dots to connect.

In the past, Disney wanted to build a luxury DVC hotel at Downtown Disney. The Anaheim City Council had the final determination on where Disney could construct that facility and refused to budge.

In the wake of the DisneylandForward vote, Disney has gained control over its own fate. One of the core concepts of this negotiation has been mixed-usage sites, a forward-thinking blend of stores, restaurants, and attractions. Hotel space is integral to that vision for Disneyland’s future. So, one of the creations I’m confident we’ll get from DisneylandForward is a new DVC hotel. 

Access all available Disney Vacation Club resale listings, or learn more about buying and selling with DVC Resale Market.


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