Recent reports show that Downtown Disney is currently undergoing a period of new changes, possibly linking back to previously announced plans for DisneylandForward.
DisneylandForward, a plan announced by the Disneyland Resort to reevaluate zoning approvals in the city of Anaheim to best utilize available space for new projects, sparked the question of whether or not the Company would remove the Downtown Disney District (DTD) in favor of a new theme park or hotel. In fact, Disneyland previously confirmed the removal of Downtown Disney’s AMC movie theater in 2018 was supposed to provide space for a fourth hotel location on the property, though these plans later fell through.
Then, last year, Disney Parks revealed plans to revitalize the shopping district through a multi-year retail and dining expansion, including an open green and “lifestyle zone” in place of the former AMC. Furthermore, the iconic Rainforest Cafe location shuttered its doors, with the temple-themed building transforming into a storefront straight out of a Galaxy Far Far Away…
Now, more changes seem to have come to DTD all at once, causing many to wonder if the entry and exit of familiar merchandise and food service locations hint at the greater expansion alleged to come. For instance, last week both the popular WonderGround Gallery and Disney Home Store will temporarily close, with WonderGround moving west to a temporary location within the Star Wars Trading Post, as reflected on the Disneyland Resort website.
Moreover, soon the Earl of Sandwich eatery will replace La Brea Bakery Café, which served Guests “fresh-baked breads, pastries and sandwiches as well as salads and entrées” according to a now removed page on the Disneyland website. In fact, the original DTD Earl of Sandwich closed a few years ago to make way for the aforementioned hotel.
However, the Earl will later move to another spot within the District so that La Brea’s prime real estate can host the incoming, and infamous, Port’s near the Southern California Esplanade. In addition, WonderGround’s gallery will move into the former ESPN Zone building until the full expansion is underway.
Of course, while Disney Parks has neither confirmed nor denied the rumors, many fans speculate that these updates and adaptations are only temporary, with the open areas eventually undergoing a complete conversion as the Disneyland Resort expands. For now, you can still find magical merchandise from Disney Home and WonderGround within the World of Disney store and Star Wars Trading Post locations.
DisneyTips will continue to provide updates on the changes to Downtown Disney District as they develop.