LOS ANGELES — Just over a year ago, Disneyland Resort's relationship with its hometown of Anaheim was tense. Now, the two sides have "reset" ties as the park prepares to open its largest single-themed land expansion ever, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
As many other California municipalities struggle to generate new revenue sources, Anaheim is in the enviable position of having a cash cow in its backyard. Even Burbank, a city where Disney's corporate offices are located, has struggled fiscally with deficits in recent years due to worker pensions and other costs.
Anaheim is anticipating the new 14-acre expansion will provide a big boost in tourism and hotel taxes, which make up about half of Anaheim's annual general budget of $330 million. Galaxy's Edge reportedly cost Disney about $1 billion.
Several hotels report being sold out for the first few weeks of the Galaxy Edge's opening on May 31. Anaheim's hotel tax revenues soared after Disneyland in 2012 opened a 12-acre Cars Land at its California Adventure park.
"We are anticipating millions of annual new visitors here and a very positive impact on the revenue that we see from hotel stays but also to sales tax," said Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim. "There is no doubt that Cars Land had a serious impact on bringing more people here to Anaheim and had a very positive impact on the revenue we've seen."
Disneyland officials declined to discuss projections for the new Galaxy's Edge, which has been in the works for several years. It follows Disney acquiring Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise in 2012.