The Orange County Register has reported, that the The Walt Disney Co. has purchased a hotel located directly across Harbor Boulevard from its two theme parks for $32 million. A Disneyland spokeswoman confirmed the purchase.
But the question emerges, is Disney purchasing the Carousel Inn & Suites to operate as a hotel, or is this an “offering” to the overall plan to add a streetcar system to the Anaheim Resort area? The proposed streetcar system is tentatively planned to run between the completed ARTIC train depot, near Anaheim Stadium to the Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center. In the Register article, Disneyland spokesperson Suzi Brown stated that “current management will continue to operate the Carousel Inn.”
Public records indicate that Disney, through a limited-liability corporation, Carousel Holdings EAT, purchased the 131-room Carousel Inn & Suites on 1530 S. Harbor Blvd. from Good Hope International. The purchased was finalized on March 23.
Plans for the streetcar system, which are far from solidified, originally proposed Disney Way as the closest point the system would come to the theme parks. Reports in local publications accused Disney of strongly influencing the route selection process, and so increasing the overall cost. The past director of the Orange County Transit Authority went so far as to recommend that Disney contribute to the project, since they would benefit so greatly from it.
Last year Anaheim officials attempted to buy a similar site, an IHOP restaurant and a hotel, to accommodate a route more friendly to Disneyland Resort visitors, but were rebuffed.
Disneyland characterizes the acquisition as “strategic investment” as acquisition of these “legacy properties,” generally long help by families, are rarely sold.
Whatever the fate of the Carousel Inn & Suites, there is no doubt that a light-rail system would revolutionize the area of Anaheim east of Disneyland, help to solve parking issues, greatly reduce the ART bus system, and even possibly determine viability for an eventual third Theme Park.
“The Walt Disney Co. saw this as a strategic investment, as opportunities to purchase properties in close proximity to the resort are extremely rare,” said Suzi Brown, a Disneyland spokeswoman.
Brown said the current management will continue to operate the Carousel Inn. She added that Disney has no long-term plans for the property at this time.