BUSINESS

Disney chief rejects idea of third Anaheim park but confirms expansion

Disney has already surveyed guests about a possible 'Star Wars' expansion

A new Disney theme park in Anaheim is probably not in the works but an expansion of Disneyland is very likely.

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert Iger dismissed rumors that the company may open a third theme park adjacent to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure.

But in the same breath, he said an expansion of Disneyland is in the works.

"We have plans at Disneyland for an expansion that we have not announced but those plans at the present do not include a third gate," he told shareholders in San Francisco during the Burbank company's annual meeting.

According to longtime park watchers, Disney has developed plans, dating to 2000, to build a third park on a 78-acre site just south of Disney's complex on Harbor Boulevard.

But those plans, Disney experts say, were shelved while the company focused on the 2001 opening of Disney California Adventure, which fell short of predictions until a $1-billion expansion in 2012 added the hugely successful Cars Land.

A Disneyland expansion is likely to feature Marvel superheros or "Star Wars" characters.

After all, Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment Inc. in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012.

Disney may have already begun gauging public interest in a "Star Wars" expansion.

On Twitter, one Disney guest posted a screen grab in 2013 of a Disney survey that asked: "How interested would you be in visiting a Star Wars themed land at Disneyland Resort?"

Other survey questions included: "Which Star Wars characters would you definitely not want to see or meet in person?"

Also, Disneyland's recent announcement to close the Innoventions exhibit hall in Tomorrowland prompted fans to suggest that a new Marvel or "Star Wars" attraction is in the works for that building.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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