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Disney Theme Parks Seek Broader Appeal : Entertainment: New Florida attractions costing $2 billion won't affect Anaheim, company says.

November 15, 1994|CHRIS WOODYARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — Fighting back from slumping theme park attendance, the Walt Disney Co. plans to try to broaden the appeal of Anaheim's Disneyland and Florida's Walt Disney World beyond families, which historically have been their mainstay, a top official said Monday.

While the company intends to spend upward of $2 billion on a new theme park, hotels and other amenities at its Florida operation, Disney theme park division President Judson Green said that doesn't mean less money will be available for projects in California.

Each proposal for a new theme park "stands project by project," Green said in a telephone interview. As such, spending in Florida should have no impact on whether Disney decides to go ahead with its plan to build a second theme park in Anaheim.

Disney has continued to make major investments in Disneyland. Early next year, the park plans to open a lavish new ride based on the Indiana Jones character, and later it will refurbish the badly dated Tomorrowland.

Green spoke in reaction to weekend news reports that Disney is spending $2 billion to build new attractions in Florida to try to increase attendance, which has dropped by 5 million from a peak of 33.7 million annually four years ago.

Disney reportedly plans to build a yet unannounced theme park called Animal World, a cruise ship terminal near Orlando and three hotels by the end of the decade.

In Anaheim, meanwhile, the company has sent designers back to the drawing boards in an attempt to find a cheaper alternative to the $3-billion Disneyland Resort it had planned to build next to Disneyland. The project would have included an 80-acre theme park, 4,000 hotel rooms and an amphitheater.

Green said Disney is "looking at a lot of options" in trying to decide what to build in Anaheim that could make Disneyland a more enticing destination for childless couples, so-called "empty nesters" whose children have grown and moved out and others who may not be responding now to Disney's family-oriented marketing.

One possibility, he confirmed, might be a nightclub and restaurant district in Anaheim, such as the one at the Florida theme park's Pleasure Island.

"We have instinctively appealed to families," he said. "The fact of the matter is we have a project that appeals to people of all ages and I think we're just more cognizant we need to find more ways to communicate what we have."

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