What's next for Disneyland, after the Eastern Gateway project?
With the Eastern Gateway project scuttled, what's next for the Disneyland Resort? Yes, we know that fans are getting a new parking garage and a fourth hotel to help soak up the expected new crowds coming to see Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in 2019 and beyond. But those additions won't solve all of Disney's out-of-the-park crowd management challenges.
What more could the Disneyland Resort do? In my Orange County Register column this week, I offer eight things that I think Disneyland still needs after cancelling the Eastern Gateway.
Topping the list is the continued need for better access to the resort from Interstate 5 for visitors coming in from the south. A big part of the Eastern Gateway's appeal was that it was an eastern gateway to the property. Given the way that I-5 slices past the resort, the location of that parking garage would have allowed for easier access for visitors driving northbound on the 5. Placed now next to Mickey and Friends, the extra parking garage will handle more cars, but it loses the advantage of doing that in a different location, as the Eastern Gateway project would have done.
Disney also needs a better way for people without cars to get picked up or use ride-sharing services. The current drop-off/pickup lot on Harbor is too often a gridlocked mess. Disney's missing an opportunity to encourage people to stay out of the crowded garages and parking lots by not creating ways to make it easier to get to and from the resort without a car.
But not every suggestion requires major capital investment. How hard would it be to create a few security lanes for people without bags? Or — to throw a huge bone to the fan community — to officially designate a space for a new Earl of Sandwich restaurant in the fourth hotel, or elsewhere in Downtown Disney?
And, finally, with all of these projects now announced, isn't it time to give fans a preview center for them by reopening the Blue Sky Cellar?
Please give the column a look, then tell us what else would you like to see Disneyland do to improve the logistics of visiting the resort.
Read Robert's column:
When Carousel hotel is demolished, as planned, pave the lot to be a new temporary Northbound location for DropOff/PickUp.
Eliminate all fast passes and replace with single rider lines.
With the second parking garage next to Mickey and Friends, it makes even more sense to have an exit out of Galaxy's Edge, but only at the end of the day. But keep the main entrance as the only entry point. It seems like the no-bag check line is a no brainer, but Disney hasn't done it. Add more trams! And keep them coming constantly.
Disney needs to up their tram game considerably if more crowds will be parking near Mickey and Friends. Already tram capacity is low and loading is slow. Something which would allow for strollers to load without being folded. And a better labeled, more enjoyable walking path from the structures would be appreciated too, because even if walking takes longer I enjoy the feeling of contro;ling my own pace and not waiting in an additional line.
Your article's headline says "Disneyland must make these 8 fixes to handle larger crowds" of which only 4 items are related.
The Monorail is a relic Anton, and trying to upgrade the system to be more robust and become an actual transportation option is a pipe dream. It's probably OK to move some hotel guests to and fro (though even that is a bit ambitious with even more rooms coming soon), but anything beyond that would require a serious upgrade of the entire system, including the tracks, which would turn the entire resort into a huge mess during construction.
Disneyland must be cursing Universal Orlando, and how easily they are able to buy up huge tracts of land to expand. If it were only that easy for Disney in Anaheim, their problems would be solved.
Anton - Quick service restaurants, monorail stops, attractions at hotels, and the Blue Sky Cellar all get guests off the walking paths, or, as some might phrase it, "handle larger crowds."
Does anyone think the seller didn’t approach Team WDW?!?!?
Hurting local businesses to make them sell is a long play. It'll be way too long to have any measureable results and it's still no guarantee they'll sell. What needs to happen is eminent domain, which is still a long process, but more precise in results. Force 1 or 2 businesses to sell to ensure a new transportation hub that's owned by the city. This means Disney will either offer an easement of their property to the city or Disney will also join in the fun of relinquishing their property to city. So everyone wins and Disney still wins in the end except for the Harbor businesses who are losing out to the city instead.
I'd like to see DCA have a monorail stop and the Marvel tie-in is a fun idea. If Disney had acquired the rights to Star Trek they could have simply beamed people around the resort, but I guess that's water-under-the-bridge now.
Why would the city deliberately cut itself off at the knees (reducing property tax income) to create a transit hub that only benefits one property owner and would then become a drain on the city's finances? Your eminent domain concept makes no sense, and would never hold up in court.
That's what the city did to build the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure when motel owners did not want to sell to Disney. That's why Disney doesn't actually own it right now. The city will sign it away to Disney for free after 30 years. The city doesn't charge anything to Disney for the parking structure. All parking revenues are for Disney. The city sold bonds to pay for the parking structure, which is on track to be paid off. So how this financial structure works out for the city really isn't hard to see. The city gains more from Disney's contributions via taxes than the smaller businesses.
While the real threat of eminent domain exists, there are more watchful eyes and more media, and independent groups focused on fair play. As eminent domain could have been enacted again by past councils, I don't believe the city or Disney want that as their legacy considering the sharp negative views that that still reside with their east coast counter part.
The issue of so many strollers needs to be addressed. I don't know how, but Disney needs to figure out something. Maybe eliminate totally free admission for infants, and make people put their stroller in a storage room similar to coat closets(free of charge) when no one is attending them. At this rate Disney's next parking garage will be for strollers!
I agree with everything in the article except the Star Wars Hotel. At the moment, Disneyland needs things that will help with moving guests, not getting more guests to visit. Plus, if the hotel is going to be connected to Star Wars Land it won't fit in California, and the appeal of an immersive experience is lessened if the immersion is being broken on a regular basis. Let's see how this works in Florida before jumping on that bandwagon.
Because, AJ, Disneyland doesn't give a crap about its visitors until they actually set foot on Disney soil. They've proven this repeatedly over the years: The trams suck. Both entrances suck. Security sucks. Parking sucks, and it could suck even more if it wasn't for the allegedly-horrible Anaheim city council, who made the Mickey & Friends parking situation happen. Disney sure wouldn't have bothered throwing any money at their worsening situation without everything the city did for them. Disney probably wanted a similar minimal-cost situation silver-plattered to them for the Eastern Gateway and acted like whiny little babies when they didn't get everything they wanted. Compromise is not part of the Disney business model.
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