Eastern Gateway is Dead Predictions - What's Next?

October 26, 2017, 8:38 AM

Now that the Disneyland Eastern Gateway is Dead, what is next? Here are my thoughts. Ranked by probability.

1. It's not really dead. It's in hiatus. (90%)

The Eastern Gateway was part of a big puzzle that is now pushed into the future. The ambitious Marvel Land needs the northern esplanade land for expansion. Disneyland still needs more parking. That bridge is still needed, but it needs to accommodate the hotels too. So the master planning continues beyond 2020 when the government lease on the building expires. New Anaheim City Council will surely be elected in November 2018.

2. New Disneyland Resort and Downtown Disney East.(50%)

With the removal of AMC, Rainforest Café, and ESPN Zone plus the new luxury Disney Hotel, there's not so much to do in Downtown Disney. They should extend Downtown Disney into the Eastern Gateway with an entirely new Hotel and a new mixed use parking structure. The new bridge will remain, but it will be a smaller scale and local businesses are not shut out. The new parking garage can still serve theme park parking as overflow. The entire facility will be in the security zone.

3. Disney Aulani West. (10%)

A new luxury Disney Hotel with DVC and water park. Disney World gets lots of new hotels constantly. Why can't Disneyland get more resorts that have the same quality as Aulani. Having been here, you get hooked into the Hawaii spirit. More Polynesian resorts please.

Your thoughts?

Replies (6)

October 26, 2017, 11:58 AM

My responses

1. Its hard to say if the project is dead, or postponed. It is possible Disney wanted to build two parking ramps, the one they are going to build now instead, and the Eastern Gateway. I think a better spot for a third parking ramp would be the parking lot south of the Paradise Pier Hotel. The eastern Gateway Spot can be used someday a for a third theme park.

2. Downtown Disney will soon be a thing of the past. I'm sure most of the businesses except AMC will now be a part of the new hotel complex, but it will be focused mostly on hotel guests. Disney is basically just creating an expanded an updated hotel area that was torn down to make room for Downtown Disney in the first place. Disney is spending millions to replace Downtown Disney with basically a nicer version of what was there before. Its a good decision, but once again Disney is replacing a remnant of Eisner's bad management. They originally wanted to build a much nicer downtown Disney, but just like DCA, the people at the top thought they could cut corners and people wouldn't notice, and as usual, they were wrong. Instead they wasted money building an entire complex that will be torn down less than 20 years after it opened.

3. Disneyland doesn't have the room Disney World has. Disney would love have the majority of their out of town visitors stay in Disney owned hotels like at Disney World. And they are working on changing that. But its a long process. There are still plenty of decent hotels within walking distance of the parks, and Disneyland currently has the nicer ones. I don't know much about DVC, but the hotel market in and around Disneyland is much different than at Disney World. A water park is probably not an option because Southern California's water supply is becoming more and more limited. Why should a water-park be approved when Southern California residents are frequently being asked to reduce their water consumption?

Edited: October 26, 2017, 1:27 PM

Randy: Good reply, but I'll like to counter some points.

1a. Parking lot south of Paradise Pier is currently identified as Downtown Disney parking. It's a surface parking lot, but I agree it could be converted to a parking structure for thousands of more spaces for theme park parking. There's also no excuse for not integrating theme park parking and Downtown Disney parking. Universal can do it quite easily.
1b. Eastern Gateway is much too small to be a third park. That's why I suggested #3, a hotel resort with water park.

2a. Downtown Disney isn't going away. Splitsville is coming soon. They asked Build a Bear and RideZ to go away to install restaurants. This suggests they were preparing for Rainforest Café and ESPN Zone to leave so they need more restaurant capacity.
2b. I disagree Downtown Disney was a cheap design. It was actually better than how DCA looked when it debuted. DCA's restoration never touched DD and certain parts of DCA. This oversight is getting remedied in dramatic ways as you see today.
2c. There's rumors that the tram is going away because it can not handle the capacity of 60% additional people due to the new parking structure. In its place, new shops and ornate designs will be installed along the tram route to make the trek seem shorter. Thus Downtown Disney is expanded into the tram route.

3a. There is no excuse to not add additional hotel rooms especially after DCA was fixed with Carsland. The demand is there. The resort doesn't have enough rooms. Disney owns enough undeveloped parcels in the West side, the East side, and Toy Story Lot for many new hotel towers.
3b. The water supply is no longer an issue. The drought is over after the heavy rains last year. Down the street, the Great Wolf Lodge opened 2 years ago with a water park. Knott's Soak City just expanded with new slides. Water parks actually don't use up that much water since the water is recycled. They hardly ever dump it into the sewer system. If they need to drain the water, it goes into water company holding tanks until they need it.

Any new ideas #4, #5, ...?

October 29, 2017, 1:35 PM

My longer-term prediction. Maybe more wishful thinking,but definitely possible.

The eastern gateway, with a little more land that Disney secures over the next 5-10 years becomes a new hub. Multi level parking, transportation hub, hotels, new and improved downtown Disney, the whole package.

This frees up land to put in Marvel land and expand the parks a bit more, maybe even eradicating the current downtown Disney area.

The current staff parking gets redeveloped to gate number 3.

Joining all 3 parks, the new downtown Disney and the western parking complexes is a new continuous mass transit system. I don't think moving walkways would be sufficient, so maybe a gondola or people nicer system.

October 29, 2017, 1:36 PM

Does anyone think if Iger got to start with a fresh canvas that the Grand Californian would be outside the park perimeters?

Edited: October 29, 2017, 5:26 PM

If Disney is able to secure the West Coast University site and a few more hotels on Harbor especially adjacent to their closed hotel property, it’ll definitely open opportunities to further develop the Eastern Gateway into something more grand. Downtown Disney parking should pivot to the east side. Transportation should be on the first floor of the Eastern parking structure. The new hotel should be a compact high rise Tower. Go with either a single long tower or 2 separate towers. Build Downtown Disney East on 2 floors that naturally flow onto the new bridge into the Esplanade.

October 30, 2017, 12:18 PM

Nothing happens with Eastern Gateway's property until the lease is up on that building that was sitting in the middle of the site and Disney can obtain control and clear that site. Then, the land becomes back in play for whatever Disney's need at the moment turns out to be.

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