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  1. #1

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    3rd Gate in Irvine?

    There's been a lot of talk lately about the need for a third park in Anaheim to alleviate the overcrowding at Disneyland. But some people have pointed to various reason why that is unlikely to happen. And a lot of it revolves around the company's international focus and space limitations in Anaheim. So it got me thinking about what possible options there might be to get a third gate in California?

    What if Disney built a third and resort not in Anaheim by at the Great Park in Irvine instead? The Great Park is a little over 16 miles from Disneyland (about a 1/2 hour in traffic). By comparison it's little over 15 miles from the Magic Kingdom to Universal Studios Florida. And it's 27 miles from Disneyland to the once proposed Port Disney in Long Beach. From the John Wayne Airport to the Great Park is a little over 9 miles but 14 miles to Disneyland. By comparison it's 17 miles from the Orlando Airport to Disney World.

    The Great Park has lots of open land on which to build a full-scale resort and the Irvine train station (Amtrak/Metrolink) is right next to the site. Since the Great Park been fraught with financial mismanagement and has been struggling to get off the ground I was thinking it could be a solution to both Orange County and the City of Irvine's problem with the Great Park and Disney's problem with Anaheim.

    Disney would still maintain their parks in Anaheim but have a third gate and a number of Disney-owned hotel rooms in Irvine. If they built just one fully-loaded theme park at the Great Park in Irvine they could conceivably more than double the current attendance of their California parks. And in Irvine they would have maximum control over the hotel and retail business and finally have an extended-stay resort on the West Coast, just as they do at WDW on the East. People could experience the "Disney bubble" without having to put up with the Florida humidity and bugs.

    But of course even if you got Irvine and Orange County to go along with the scheme it would probably cost around 5 billion dollars to build a new theme park, hotels, etc. That's a lot of dough. Knowing their focus is all on Shanghai Disneyland now and in the foreseeable future, in all likelihood the Walt Disney Company either can't afford to finance such a venture or would be unwilling to do so. But what if the Irvine resort was built by a separate public company of which a percent of its stock would be held by The Walt Disney Company? This would minimize the construction cost and risks to the company. The initial financing for the venture could come from multiple sources, but basically from a syndicated loan and public stock offerings. The county and the city would provide the land to the company and use some of the $1.1 billion approved by the voters of Orange County for the Great Park to help build the public infrastructure. In return Disney could agree to maintain and even help develop some of the features in the park's plan, keeping a good deal of it open to the general public.

    I know it's a blue sky dream, but hey Disneyland started out that way too. If Europeans can start a petition drive to "Save Disneyland Paris," when it's still basically a financially unsuccessful resort, why can't we start one to get a third gate in California to help with the overcrowding of a highly successful one? OK tear it apart and tell me what you think?

  2. #2

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I don't think another site would work well, too much travel time. I also don't think Port Long Beach was ever a real project, but rather a tool to manipulate the city of Anaheim. But I don't think space is an issue at DLR at all. I'm fairly confident that Disney already owns all the apartment buildings adjacent to the Toy Story lot. I know Eisner explored the idea of moving all of DL to the Inland Empire so that they could build a new DLR there more like WDW. But they could never get that to pencil out, it would have taken several billion to move and rebuild DL.
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  3. #3

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I too have brought up this option for Disney in the past. The Great Park would have been a fantastic place for Disney to expand to but the transportation around O.C. is a nightmare even with a short 15 mile drive. They'd have to do some serious transportation infrastructure and get it passed through multiple local and state committees and regulations. If they had unlimited funds, a high speed monorail would be the best way to make this happen but the likelihood of this happening is unfortunately slim-to-none. Still, it would have been awesome to see the great park area turn into the next Disney World.
    "Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey."
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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I think an off-site park is a good idea, but perhaps out the other way, away from populous areas. Though keep in mind that DCA struggled for years with Disneyland right next door so a satellite third park would have the double-whammy of being "not Disneyland" and being even more difficult to get to than DCA.

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I can see it as separate two-park resort. Build the Star Wars & Marvel Parks there with the coasters everyone seems to want. Make it a destination in itself. People would plan a two-stay vacation. X days at DLR and X days at 'Disney's SuperHero Planet' or whatever. I'm sure Disney could set up a shuttle system for transferring 'onsite' hotel guests.

    Personally I probably would visit once since I'm not really into those IPs & don't do mega-coasters. Some people would probably feel the same way about DLR. My Disney-loving son would probably be a 2 days at DLR & 5 days at 'Disney Planet' kind of guy.


    BTW, I always wondered what happened to El Toro.
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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    They looked at it at one point, I believe. They were looking at the old Lion Country Safari area. In fact, if I remember
    correctly, they even considered Mag-Lev monorail. It's simply too far and too expensive.
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  7. #7

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    If you have ever been to WDW, you know that traveling distances between parks is annoying. This park would be much farther than that and would take cars into traffic that is not for theme parks. Port Disney was also planned to coincide with DCL. It could be a stop on cruises, as well as be the main port for DCL ships, like Cape Canaveral is now. I could see Disney being interested if the location was closer, but remember that Disney wants to keep its guests on property and surrounded by only Disney owned or operated shops with Disney transportation, and this would go against that.

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imagineer45 View Post
    If you have ever been to WDW, you know that traveling distances between parks is annoying. This park would be much farther than that and would take cars into traffic that is not for theme parks. Port Disney was also planned to coincide with DCL. It could be a stop on cruises, as well as be the main port for DCL ships, like Cape Canaveral is now. I could see Disney being interested if the location was closer, but remember that Disney wants to keep its guests on property and surrounded by only Disney owned or operated shops with Disney transportation, and this would go against that.
    I agree. A third gate 15 miles away seems unlikely. Disney doesn't want guests getting out of the DLR mindset by traveling 30-45 minutes on surface streets to another park.

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
    I also don't think Port Long Beach was ever a real project, but rather a tool to manipulate the city of Anaheim.
    Hey, that whole affair landed the Oregon Air Museum the Spruce Goose....so I am happy
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  10. #10

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I don't see the Irvine Company going along with this at all. Plus, the Great Park gets a ton of use and people love it.

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    Initially I thought no way, I'd hate that, however, it would (or should) ensure that the park is very good as Disney would know it would have to be a strong pull on its own and not rely on Disneyland much like DCA version 1 did.

  12. #12

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    @ Amanda949 the Irvine Company doesn't own the Great Park and even if they did I'm not so certain they would be opposed to idea. As for tons of people using the park. Only a fraction of the site is open to the public now. And I mentioned that they would probably have keep a good chunk of the land open to the public for recreational use.

    @ Imagineer45 I agree that the traveling distances between parks at WDW is annoying. But part of the annoyance for me is that you are still on the Disney property! At least I would understand why I had to go that far here. But that's one of the sticky parts of this idea. The only thing I could think of was if they had a special Disney Resort Line (like Hong Kong) that ran between the ARTIC in Anaheim (which is less that 4 miles from Disneyland) and the Irvine station (which is adjacent to the site). They would probably have to have a spur to take the trains off the main line on both ends. No it's not ideal but neither is cramming more people and cars into the small Anaheim footprint.

    Even if Port Disney was planned with the cruise line in mind don't you think there would have been a lot visitors traveling between the two parks? I'm sure most people going to Port Disney would have wanted to go to Disneyland as well. And as I pointed out the distance between Disneyland and Irvine is less than Disneyland and Long Beach.

    I kind of disagree that a Irvine resort would take people out of Disney's sphere of influence, because you'd have built a full-on resort where they didn't need to go off site except to go to the Anaheim parks. So they'd be staying at a Disney resort, eating at a Disney restaurant, and shopping at a Disney store. Much easier to do this in a large space where you can control your surroundings than at Anaheim.

    @ Stormy I personally would rather see an Adventure-themed 3rd gate -something like a mash-up of Adventureland and DisneySea, with a little Animal Kingdom, Discovery Bay and Epcot thrown in. But if they finagled Marvel and/or Star Wars into it I'm be OK with that too.
    Last edited by Eddie Davidson; 06-03-2014 at 02:52 PM.

  13. #13

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Davidson View Post

    @ Stormy I personally would rather see an Adventure-themed 3rd gate -something like a mash-up of Adventureland and DisneySea, with a little Animal Kingdom, Discovery Bay and Epcot thrown in. But if they finagled Marvel and/or Star Wars into it I'm be OK with that too.
    That would be cool, too. I was thinking more of a way to keep Marvel & Star Wars OUT of DLR
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  14. #14

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    I'm sure Irvine residents would be against such a plan. If they feared 5000 planned homes, they will not want anything bigger than Wild Rivers moving into the Great Park. Not sure what the effects of theme parks on property values are but if it means I could afford a SFD home (that's not a cluster home) in any Great Park Neighborhood, I'd be all for a Disney park.

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    Re: 3rd Gate in Irvine?

    Yet another 3rd gate thread?!?

    DCA still needs all the help it can get. BVS and CarsLand helped, but it isn't enough. DL hasn't had a new e-Ticket since 1995. Do you really think TDA is even considering a new gate, when they can't keep their stuff together with two parks?

    I'd rather have them fix DL and DCA....

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