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Disneyland to expand Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, add time-shares

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Disneyland Resort announced plans today to add 250 units to its luxury Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, including its first 50 time-share offerings on the West Coast.

The lucrative Disney Vacation Club time-share business already has 350,000 members, but 86% of them live on the East Coast; the addition of 50 two-bedroom units in Anaheim marks a push to expand the business in California.

Sales, profits and membership have doubled since 2003, said Jim Lewis, president of Disney Vacation Club. "We want to expand business aggressively," he said. "We believe we should be going west."

With only 50 villas scheduled for completion by 2009, there is clearly more room for growth. In Florida, the company offers more than 2,000 units at seven resorts -- six at Walt Disney World and one in Vero Beach. An eighth vacation club is in Hilton Head, S.C.

Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle joked with Lewis today: "I don't believe California and Anaheim should ever be below what you do in Florida. So that's the marker, man, you need to start working toward it."

The 2.5-acre expansion is expected to create 300 union construction jobs and 100 hotel jobs.

The cost of joining Disney Vacation Club starts with a minimum $16,700 one-time purchase price, plus annual maintenance fees of at least $600. Members then buy points and use them to determine where, when and for how long they stay. The average purchase price is $26,000, which buys a two-bedroom unit for one week each year.

"This expansion underscores our commitment to growing and investing in both the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Resort Area," said Disneyland Resort President Ed Grier.

He noted that the resort had change significantly since 1995, when there was one theme park, one hotel and one "very large parking lot."

Today, the resort has two theme parks, three resort hotels and Downtown Disney, an entertainment, dining and retail venue. The resort area contributed $80 million in bed tax revenue to Anaheim last year and accounted for 54% of the city's tax revenue.

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