As I mentioned earlier, this is a victory for the status quo — Anaheim agreed to continue not charging a tax it is not currently charging in exchange for Disneyland making an investment it had already planned to make. Still, the 3-2 vote this morning imposes some timing restrictions on Disney. It must start work on this billion-dollar expansion by 2017 and complete it within seven years, or the deal is off and Anaheim can start imposing a ticket tax anytime it wants. So, at least now Disney can't continue dragging its feet on Star Wars Land.
Or maybe it can. It appears that the first element in the capital expansion at the resort might be another parking garage, to be built on land Disney owns east of the resort. Our Matthew Gottula maps it out for us:
I drew a crude map! Disney will build the new 5,000-space parking structure on the areas marked in orange and green. pic.twitter.com/L4fvmYSRnO— Matthew Gottula (@DLthings) July 8, 2015
Visitors would use a pathway to be built on the site of the now-Disney-owned Carousel Inn to move between the new parking structure and the resort. A parking garage by itself won't satisfy the billion-dollar spend requirement that Anaheim demands, but the parking project should allow Disney to meet the start deadline without having to rush new theme park attractions into development.
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Nuisance taxes like this are hung over the heads of residents and businesses all the time to more or less to coerce (i.e. blackmail) people to get what the government wants. In this case, the City threatened to impose the tax which forced Disney to solidify plans to further invest in the property. In the end it's just a game of chicken that doesn't solve anything.
As for where its going, I'm guessing the first project will be the second parking structure, then most of the remainder will be split between Star Wars Land and Marvel Land. There may be some smaller projects as well (such as refurbishing existing attractions or possibly adding a stand-alone attraction *cough* Frozen *cough*), but for Disney to compete they need to bring in major attractions that will appeal to a wide audience base.
The $500 million must be spent for a 15 year extension of the tax exemption. This is likely to occur in the third decade. I'm not worried that there will be no investment in the interim, but it is likely no new construction is necessary since they can wait 10+ years after the first $1 billion. So in actuality, the $1 billion is sustaining them 10 to 20 years upon completion in 2024 before they have to begin construction of the addition $500 million before the 30 years is up.
Its all good!
I'm wondering if the Carousel Inn will be turned into a driveway to get into the new structure with shuttles exiting onto Disney Way.
P.S.: Anaheim already overcharges on hotel fees, so they can afford to cut us some slack on ticket purchases.
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