The DLR occupies the NW corner or Harbor/Katella, the convention center occupies the SW corner and a 3rd gate will occupy the SE corner. The NE corner contains GardenWalk, budget motels, mid-range hotels, the Pumbaa Lot, various strip mall businesses and office buildings.
Let's Blue Sky out 25+ years to when the DLR will most likely have a 3rd gate and Disney has purchased GardenWalk. My question is how can the NE corner of Harbor/Katella be reworked/realigned to not only maintain the usefulness of what is already there but create a more cohesive DLR experience. This would include improved parking and access, integration with GardenWalk, an easy walkable connection between the current entrances to DL and DCA and the 3rd gate, etc. What could an overall plan look like?
The GardenWalk , the Firehouse, the HoJo would all stay, the budget hotels are important to both guests and Disney as alternatives to the DLR hotels, but could be moved. With all that in mind...
What if Disney was able to purchase more of the land east of Harbor, north of Katella, all the way to the freeway and make deals with current motel owners. Disney would help the motels along Harber move to a new "motel courtyard" in the big space north of Pumbaa and east of the HoJo. These motels would have virtually the same access to the parks as they do now. Clementine St would be realigned and expanded to be used as access to the motel courtyard. The Pumbaa Lot/Structure would be built farther to the east right up against the freeway with access from the current N and S bound freeway exits. The area east of Clementine and south of Disney way would remain unchanged (there's a big hotel and residential in this area). Strip mall businesses would be mostly removed, with some stores/fast food places somehow integrated with GardenWalk, perhaps by occupying the land east of GW.
This would open a corridor from the Esplanade across Harbor then south via GardenWalk to Katella and the 3rd gate. There could be Downtown Disney East, maybe another Disney Hotel, but most importantly, a pedestrian connector from DL/DCA to GardenWalk and the 3rd gate, as well as maintaining a budget motel presence, which is very important to both the DLR and guests.