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Disneyland is now a historic theme park district: What's that mean for future projects?

Brady MacDonald, The Orange County Register on

Published in Home and Consumer News

The DisneylandForward environmental impact report identifies the potential Disneyland Theme Park Historic District as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places – which automatically places the district on the California Register of Historical Resources.

The DisneylandForward proposal seeks to update a 1990s Anaheim, California, city plan to allow for a mix of theme park, hotel, retail, dining and entertainment on the eastern and western edges of the Disneyland resort.

A major impact of the DisneylandForward proposal would be to Disneyland itself – a historic landmark more than 50 years old that is considered a significant cultural resource. The study notes that change has been the most enduring constant of the 68-year-old theme park – meaning the DisneylandForward project would be historically appropriate.

“There have been continuous changes to the park that started upon its opening,” according to a report created by the Historic Resources Group for the DisneylandForward EIR. “Disney is the steward of its history, but also responsible for sustaining the viability of the theme park and ensuring that it is maintained and updated in order to reflect current needs and expectations.”

What does the historic designation mean for future Disneyland renovations, projects or expansions?

Disneyland is required to have any substantial changes to the park documented by a historian who would submit digital copies to the city of Anaheim and the Walt Disney Company archives.


There are plenty of rides and attractions at Disneyland that could be considered cultural landmarks, but only three places at the 68-year-old Anaheim theme park have been singled out as historic in the DisneylandForward EIR.

The Main Street Railroad Depot, Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and Hungry Bear restaurant have been listed on the California Register of Historic Places and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, according to the DisneylandForward Environmental Impact Report.

“Over the years, many rides have come and gone in the park, but the overall design, concept, setting, feeling and historical associations have remained constant and unaltered,” according to the DisneylandForward EIR.

The DisneylandForward report singled out the three individual historic places as representative of the first three decades of the park – one each from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.


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