Disneyland officially cancels its fourth on-site hotel

October 10, 2018, 2:00 PM · The Walt Disney Company officially is throwing in the towel on its planned fourth on-site hotel for the Disneyland Resort, abandoning its previously announced plans to develop a luxury hotel on the what has been the western edge of Downtown Disney.

"We’ve taken the time to review the economics of our proposed Four Diamond hotel for Anaheim and have made the final decision to cancel the project," a Disney spokesperson said in a email to Theme Park Insider. "While this is disappointing for many, the conditions and agreements that stimulated this investment in Anaheim no longer exist and we must therefore adjust our long-term investment strategy."

Originally, Disney proposed the fourth hotel to take advantage of a City of Anaheim tax incentive for building four-star hotels within the city. But when Disney killed its Western Gateway project after local opposition to that plan for a new highway entryway to the resort, it moved the site for its fourth hotel slightly to the south, to make way for a second parking garage on the former site of the Pinocchio surface lot, south of the Mickey and Friends parking garage.

The City of Anaheim decided that change in address reflected a substantial change in hotel project, especially since it meant the closure of several Downtown Disney businesses, including the movies theaters and four restaurants. So the city pulled the tax incentive from the project, which led to Disney putting the hotel project "on hold."

Meanwhile, labor activists succeeded in getting an initiative on the local ballot that would have mandated a substantial minimum wage increase for any Anaheim employer who was receiving tax incentives from the city. After Anaheim pulled the tax incentive from the fourth hotel project, Disney announced that it would give up all tax incentives from the city. This week, Anaheim officials ruled that Disney would be exempt from the minimum wage initiative, should it pass.

And now, after re-running the numbers on the hotel without the tax break, Disney has decided to kill the project that started this whole saga.

So what will happen to all those now-shuttered businesses on the west side of Downtown Disney? Earl of Sandwich reopened earlier this month. But beyond that, Disney has not committed to anything. At this point, it is up to Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney's development teams to come up with some new dining, retail, or entertainment options to replace those that have left the shopping complex.

All we know is... for now at least... it won't be a hotel going in on that site.

Replies (52)

October 10, 2018 at 3:15 PM

Okay, so what goes into Downtown Disney now? I vote for an Alamo Drafthouse, Din Tai Fung, and SoCal's first Waffle House. The central area is getting a Black Tap Craft Burgers, otherwise I'd vote for a Shake Shack on the west side, as well.

October 10, 2018 at 3:26 PM

Robert Niles Waffel House is the most disgusting food and way to cheap to be associated with Disney let alone So Cal.

October 10, 2018 at 3:46 PM

Something else for kids. We've got craft beer and burgers galore. Lots of parents missing Build A Bear, Ride Makerz, and Rainforest.

October 10, 2018 at 3:52 PM

Bring back the Rainforest Cafe!

October 10, 2018 at 3:55 PM

Why not have those restaurants reopen? They were closed because of that project so now they should be allowed to be re-opened (like Earl of Sandwich), but have the cost of reopening paid by Disney...because I mean, they are the reason they closed.

October 10, 2018 at 4:23 PM

Quick Service: Definitely a Burger Place in Downtown Disney. Burger Lounge is my favorite in OC Area.

Taco Joint instead of Tortilla Jo's...Maybe Korean Tacos...something you would see at the Anaheim Packing House

Full Service Restaurant: YardHouse/Stacked...or even have Cheesecake relocate from the GardenWalk over to Downtown Disney

Fun Stuff: No Movie Theater. It would have to be a store. No need for Tourists to go to the Outlets of Orange.

October 10, 2018 at 4:26 PM

I second Din Tai Fung!!!

October 10, 2018 at 4:40 PM

Din Tai Fung sounds like an excellent idea.

October 10, 2018 at 4:56 PM

I would like them to build a place restaurant to replace Ariel's Grotto. Disneyland needs a princess dining experience

October 10, 2018 at 4:57 PM

They need a Gus's Famous Fried Chicken. They would KILL there!

October 10, 2018 at 5:21 PM

What’s going to happen to the run Disney weekends, since the 2018 run Disney’s were canceled because of the construction that was going to take place.

October 10, 2018 at 6:01 PM


October 10, 2018 at 6:17 PM

Absolem and The Cheshires Cat's Grass Lounge and edibles shop

October 10, 2018 at 6:49 PM

It feels like it would make sense to still build a hotel, just not on the scale of the cancelled project. It could fit in the footprint from ESPN and Rainforest (both would be gone) and bordered by Downtown Drive, Magic Way, and Disneyland Drive. It could still include a first floor full of shopping and a few restaurants and tie into the monorail station, but not be the grand scale of the former project.

October 10, 2018 at 6:52 PM

As much I would like to see a Din Tai Fung, I expect WDC to squeeze in a mini Disney Springs in there somehow someway

October 10, 2018 at 6:57 PM

Maybe a bowling alley and video arcade like Disney Springs?

October 10, 2018 at 7:00 PM

I would like to see the movie theater converted to a 4D experience for movies like we see in DCA with the extended trailes/sneek peaks. Disney could capitalize on this and be the pioneer!

October 10, 2018 at 7:07 PM

There is already a Waffel House on Harbor Blvd down street from D-Land.. Also one in Long Beach. Not 1st in SO.CAl..

October 10, 2018 at 7:26 PM

How about a water park

October 10, 2018 at 7:55 PM

Panda Express

October 10, 2018 at 7:56 PM

In-N-Out, Ample Hills, Themed Bar (a la Hangar Bar) and a Broadway style theater!

October 10, 2018 at 8:35 PM

There are no Waffle House brand restaurants in California. I get not loving it if it you didn’t grow up with it. I feel the same way about In n out. I think it is surprisingly bad.

October 10, 2018 at 8:46 PM

The "fourth" will not be with us after all...

October 10, 2018 at 9:31 PM

I still like the idea of plowing out some real estate and having a permanent food truck area. Add some entertainment venues around it; comedy club, ADVENTURERS CLUB, etc. Mix things up a bit.

October 10, 2018 at 10:20 PM

To me this plan always looked kind of sterile and thrown together, with it being Disneyland i'd expect to see something more whimsical looking. Star Wars and Marvel being the big additions over the next decade I sincerely hope Disney takes this opportunity to build a normal hotel that caters to families, DLR already has the Grand and Disneyland Hotel, I don't think anybody wants a 4 diamond $500 a night hotel.

October 10, 2018 at 10:21 PM

Yes, Adventurers Club, a big one. Bigger Trader Sam's too.
Habit truck has been going well, make it a permanent restaurant - and big.

October 11, 2018 at 12:06 AM

Bring back Rain Forest Cafe

October 11, 2018 at 12:19 AM

Bring back the Rainforest Cafe - loved that place for breakfast. It's hard to find a good breakfast at the resort with table service.

October 11, 2018 at 1:00 AM

I would love to see ESPN Zone or even a Dave and Busters there, I loved watching my sports between parks. Splitsville already has bowling alleys.

October 11, 2018 at 1:29 AM

Din Thai Fung!!!!!!!!

October 11, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Just bring back RFC and ESPN Zone. Great food. I don't think the theater did well but I'm all for bringing it back with up to date sound system and theater experience. Maybe like the one in Orlando in Disney Springs.

October 11, 2018 at 6:26 AM

>>>Robert Niles Waffel House is the most disgusting food and way to cheap to be associated with Disney let alone So Cal.

I dunno, I've heard good things about the Robert Niles Waffel House....

October 11, 2018 at 7:55 AM

The complaints about Waffle House food being disgusting are pretty funny. I trust the food from Waffle House far more than I trust the food from any sitdown restaurant other than a Japanese steakhouse. At Waffle House the food is cooked in front of you. The menu may not be the most nutritious or food-trendy, but they have to at least make some effort to keep the food prep area clean and sanitary and store the food at the right temperature. You have no idea what happens in the back at your favorite restaurant, and you probably don't want to know.

Talk to some food service workers sometime. Every last one I know has at least one horror story about the food in their restaurant.

October 11, 2018 at 8:47 AM

LOL - Both sides get what they deserved in this standoff. Unfortunately, fans and guests lose out when a powerful company and power-hungry elected body are unable to find a compromise.

Only in California!

October 11, 2018 at 10:40 AM

Why not that smaller Star Wars boutique hotel? I sure plenty of pixy dusterers will accept the obscene price Disney is going to ask for it. It will leave enough place for quality dining options like Mac 'n Cheese, chicken fingers and a cupcake store.

October 11, 2018 at 11:32 AM

How about something for adults only. Like a bar lounge in order to escape all the other things just for kids.

October 11, 2018 at 11:52 AM

Leave all that space for a SW expansion.

October 11, 2018 at 12:08 PM

If they build a hotel, I think it SHOULD be a luxury hotel. After all, the vast majority of guests at DLR are locals, and don't stay at hotels anyway.

October 11, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Just build it little by little. One tower at a time.

October 11, 2018 at 12:57 PM

Bowling alley and video arcade would be a cool addition. I still think they should put the hotel in since they already got rid of the "FUN" places like ESPN zone and rainforrest.
Maybe do a more kid oriented dave and busters/ESPN zone? Make it Disney related somehow. Those places bring in families too even just for weekends! And it gives the guests staying at hotels something else to do.

October 11, 2018 at 2:19 PM

Great time to drop another Art Smith's Homecomin location, It would be cool to see something like a Portillos. They dropped one in Buena Park and Moreno Valley. Would love to add another creole style place like the Maple Leaf (crawfish bakes) in New Orleans. Love Ralph Brennan's but always had a hard time getting in. Wouldn't say no to a Franklin BBQ 2nd location...

October 11, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Maybe even something like the San Francisco Speakeasy or Bourbon and Branch.

October 11, 2018 at 10:24 PM

Bring back the Rainforest Cafe! Great for the kids and cocktails for the grownups!

October 11, 2018 at 10:26 PM

Instead of Rainforest bring in T Rex.

October 12, 2018 at 12:52 AM

Why is there even mention of Waffle House? Get that garbage back home, no need for it at Disney. There are many restaurants at Disney Springs that could fill spaces at Downtown Disney.

October 12, 2018 at 3:36 PM

I like the idea of a water park... I don't really care for the high class hotels anyway. But why should Disney build anything new. Maybe it's time to move DisneyLand to a new location. Maybe outside of California. Find someplace that has a LOT more room, like Disney World. Disney was for families... and kids... High class Hotels aren't worth the money. When I go to Disney, I go to the parks. Why spend so much on the hotel? Of course, you might ask, "Why spend so much on the Parks?"

October 12, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Whitecastle, Steak & Shake, 5 Guys.

October 12, 2018 at 8:17 PM

growing up going on family vacations to disney world meant staying on 192 in kissimmee and going to waffle house every morning. for me and my childhood memories, disney and waffle house go hand in hand, they are practically inseparable.

October 13, 2018 at 1:16 PM

It would be nice to see something different there. There is already a bowling alley open in Downtown Disney. I think a restaurant that serves breakfast all day would be great. Something more affordable. Did you know that the Dennys across the street from the park entrance is rated the number #1 Denny’s in the US? Maybe something with a water show like they used to have at the Disneyland Hotel.

October 13, 2018 at 6:00 PM

Mel's dinner. Or a 50's theme place. Even Ruby's would do. Mel's dinner is from the movie Cinderella story.

October 13, 2018 at 8:09 PM

I would rate the chance of Waffle House going into Downtown Disney as extremely remote, it's much more of a 192 kind of establishment lol.

October 16, 2018 at 10:47 AM

Adventurer’s Club or another themed bar for sure! They are really popular in LA too, so I bet a lot of locals would go there when they visited DL.
Also, in response to another comment, I have worked in food service and have worked for Disney, and although other restaurants have some issues, I really cannot see any restaurant in Downtown Disney having health code violations. They are like no other company, especially behind the scenes, and they would never allow that. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how it was on the cruise ships.

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