Disneyland’s $1.9-billion expansion plan OK’d by commission, heads to Anaheim City Council for final approval

Dubbed DisneylandForward, the plan is not specific about what exactly Disneyland plans to build.
Dubbed DisneylandForward, the plan is not specific about what exactly Disneyland plans to build, but it asks Anaheim to relax zoning rules and give Disney flexibility to construct new rides, hotels and stores alongside one another.

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, March 13. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter with a look at the latest local news and events.

Anaheim’s largest employer, long a dominant player in local politics, received the blessing of the city’s planning commissioners Monday night to move ahead with the DisneylandForward project. This proposed expansion of the “Happiest Place on Earth” would be the start of “at least $1.9 billion of new development at the Anaheim resort over the next 10 years, according to Disney officials.

L.A. Times reporters Summer Lin and Grace Toohey wrote about the commission’s 5-1 decision in this story published shortly after Monday night’s vote.


Specific plans for new attractions are not mentioned in the proposal, according to Lin and Toohey’s report, “but Disney officials have offered a vision for possible additions, such as immersive Frozen, Zootopia, Tron or Peter Pan experiences similar to those at Disney’s locations in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.”

Items that are outlined in the proposal include “an increase of 4,376 theme-park-related parking spaces, as well as a variety of traffic improvements, including adding bike lanes and pedestrian bridges and absorbing some local roadways into Disney’s oversight,” the article states.

The development is expected to produce more economic output and tax revenue, according to an analysis commissioned by the Walt Disney Co. If approved, the new agreement would call for Disney to provide $30 million for affordable housing within five years, $40 million for street and transportation improvements and $10 million for sewer upgrades.

The proposal has been put through the hoops, having been studied by city officials and residents for nearly three years, including in a recent community workshop, The Times reports, but it’s not quite finished. Next it goes to the Anaheim City Council, probably next month, for final approvals.


The fire burns at the former Tustin Air Base on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023.
State legislators are looking to ask President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress for help with hangar fire cleanup costs.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Stuck with huge bills incurred since the huge hangar fire at the former Marine Corps Air Station last September, the city of Tustin is looking for help. Tustin has incurred more than $90 million in cleanup costs, according to this TimesOC story by my colleague Gabriel San Román. The U.S. Department of the Navy, which owns the property, has so far paid the city $11 million and was expected to pay another $13 million by last Tuesday’s City Council meeting but had not. “We need that money, we need it now,” Mayor Austin Lumbard said. “We need a whole bunch more right after that. Things are going to get a little spicy if we don’t get [it].” The city expects asbestos debris cleanup and analysis to take several months to complete. Three local state legislators, Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), Sen. Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine) are pushing for $100 million in federal supplemental funds in a resolution that would first have to gain the approval of both houses of the state Legislature.

The oil sheen seen off Huntington Beach on Friday may have been caused by natural seepage. Originally suspected to have been an oil spill, a Coast Guard investigation had not provided definitive information as of earlier this week, The Times reported. The location of the seep is not far from the site of a large spill in 2021 that occurred when a ship’s anchor punctured an underwater oil pipeline in San Pedro Bay. The preliminary laboratory results show the sheen is “lightly weathered crude oil” and not a refined material like gasoline or diesel, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

As of Monday, 613,529 Super Tuesday ballots had been tabulated in Orange County, and 80,000-plus remained to be counted. The county has 1,819,334 registered voters. To see how people voted in local school board and other races, check out The Times’ live results page.


A wanted poster shows a gray-haired man in shorts handling equipment on a metal pole amid weeds and grass.
A man who allegedly has damaged wildfire-detecting equipment is sought by police.
(Irvine Police Department)

Police are searching for a man believed to have been damaging wildfire-detection equipment in open spaces in Irvine, The Times reported Thursday. Irvine police released images on Facebook and Instagram showing a man they said tampered with the fire detection devices on at least two different occasions. Police did not specify when the devices were damaged but did say the man was seen riding a black bicycle. Anyone with information about the man is asked to contact police at ipdpio@cityofirvine.org.

A man died last Wednesday after Fullerton police shot him multiple times with less-lethal beanbag rounds. The manager of a McDonald’s on South Brookhurst Road called police at about 3 a.m. March 6 to report two men standing outside the business who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, according to The Times article about the incident. One of the men began to swing a belt at officers as they approached him. They were unable to subdue him with a Taser gun, so they used the “less-lethal” rounds to bring him down. He was treated at the scene but later died of his injuries at a hospital. The incident is under investigation by the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Three women suspected of taking off with more than $3,000 in CVS merchandise were arrested by Huntington Beach police this week. Maria Parnica, 18, Daniela Ciuciu, 25, and 19-year-old Maria Hornea, all residents of Anaheim, were arrested and booked on charges of grand theft shoplifting and organized retail theft with the intent to sell, exchange or return.

An Irvine man has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for embezzling from a Newport Beach firm. Between 2008 and 2022, Varun Aggarwal, now 42, was an internal auditor at KBS Realty Advisors. In that capacity he faked invoices for consulting services, or for work at inflated prices. Aggarwal received more than $2.7 million from the scheme and resigned in January 2022 when the invoices were being investigated, according to court documents. In addition to giving him prison time, Judge Cormac Carney required Aggarwal to pay $2,729,718 in restitution.

A Laguna Niguel man involved in a standoff with Orange County sheriff’s deputies was charged yesterday with two counts of attempted murder. City News Service reported the neighborhood around the 31000 block of Golden Lantern was locked down briefly Saturday night after Justin Derek Jennings, 39, fired his weapon and nearly struck deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter. The law enforcement officials had been called to investigate a report that a man had fired a rifle inside a home during a family dispute.


Player Brian Illoski greets the press on media day for the Orange County Soccer Club.
Player Brian Illoski greets the press on media day for the Orange County Soccer Club at the Great Park Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, Tuesday, March 5. The team is getting ready for its March 23 home opener.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Orange County Soccer Club is looking ahead with optimism, the Daily Pilot reports. My colleague, Matt Szabo, spent some time with club members during a recent media day at Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine. He reports that last year, coach Morten Karlsen, who took over in the middle of the season, led the team from 11th place to second in the United Soccer League Championship Western Conference. The club is preparing for its home opener, March 23 against Miami FC.

2023 Hoag Classic Champion Ernie Els drives the ball off the 16th hole tee at the Newport Beach Country Club.
2023 Hoag Classic Champion Ernie Els drives the ball off the 16th hole tee at the Newport Beach Country Club on the final day of last year’s tournament.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

The Hoag Classic returns to Newport Beach Country Club next week. Gates open daily at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 20, through Sunday, March 24. The full schedule of events can be found here. Last year’s champion, Ernie Els, is eligible to play along with other World Golf Hall of Fame members, major PGA champions and legends of the game who will compete for the $2-million purse. Over the years, the Hoag Classic has raised more than $25 million for Hoag’s program and services, as well as other local educational and military charities.


Arturo Mandujano Jr. pours a latte at MoonGoat.
Arturo Mandujano Jr., manager of Moongoat Coffee Roasters’ newest location at the UCI Research Park, pours a latte during the cafe’s grand opening Thursday, March 7.
(Eric Licas)

‘Community first’ is the unofficial motto of the co-founders of MoonGoat Coffee Roasters. The owners put the focus on the people of Orange County, noting there is a unique vibe here they hope to capture. The roastery recently opened its fourth brick-and-mortar location in UC Irvine Research Park, and it’s already become a popular place to hang out, according to this feature story by my colleague, Lilly Nguyen.

Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach is offering specially priced tickets for this summer’s shows, only through Sunday, March 17. The lowered prices for the pageant’s production of “À La Mode: The Art of Fashion” applies to Monday through Thursday evening performances from July 6 to Aug. 30. Tickets can be purchased online at foapom.com or by calling (800) 487-3378. Use promo code GREEN24 for $45 tickets in Main Tier seating, up to a $70 value.


The Knott's Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival Pie Eating Contest in 2023.
The Pie Eating Contest at last year’s Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Festival.
(Sarah Mosqueda)

Knott’s Berry Farm’s annual Boysenberry Festival is on now through April 7. The theme park pays homage to the little berry that put Buena Park on the map with this food and wine festival. Activities for all ages include a pie-eating contest, live music and more. All the details can be found here.

The Argyros Plaza at Segerstrom Center for the Arts hosts the Beckman Arts & Science Festival this Saturday, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Innovators of all ages are invited to explore the connections between science and the arts through performances, interactive exhibits and hands-on activities. Visitors will see Lego car racing, wind turbines, robotic soccer and other imaginative creations.

Erin go bragh, March 17 is nearly upon us! Here are few area events with nods to St. Patrick:

— Dana Point Harbor St. Patrick’s Day Lunch & Harbor Cruise, Sunday from 12:30 to 2:30. The cruise includes an Irish-inspired catered lunch. Live music provided by the Brennans, a family band. For more information and to register for the cruise, visit this site.

— Downtown Santa Ana’s Almost St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl for revelers 21 and up, Saturday from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Organizers promise “green themed fun, contests, prizes and some malarkey.” A list of the participating venues, more information and a link to buy tickets can be found here.

— Despite its German roots, the Biergarten at Old World Huntington Beach is holding its Irish Fest today through Sunday. Full bar, dance and food.


Thank you for reading today’s newsletter. If you have a memory or story about Orange County, I would love to read and share it in this space. Please try to keep your submission to 100 words or less and include your name and current city of residence.

I appreciate your help in making this the best newsletter it can be. Please send news tips, your memory of life in O.C. (photos welcome!) or comments to carol.cormaci@latimes.com.