At 1 am Wednesday morning, a 3 to 2 vote in the packed city council chambers nixed the levying of an admission tax on theme park tickets at the Disneyland Resort for the next 30 years. The Walt Disney Company had dangled a $1 billion carrot in opposition to the tax, in the form of improvements to the two theme parks, a new 5000 space parking structure, and street improvements in the resort area.
After 5 1/2 hours of public comments, the City Council voted 3-2 to approve the deal, which requires Disney to begin construction by the end of 2017 and complete the theme park expansion within seven years. If Disney doesn’t hit the deadline or meet the spending threshold, the admission tax moratorium would expire.
That vote was actually taken to extend an exemption for Disney that started in 1996 and expires June 30, 2016. No Disney park in the world currently has an admission tax. A further agreement was reached to extend the pact another 15 years if Disney later proceeds on a separate $500 million project.
“We are excited about what the future holds for Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort as we work together to ensure our city continues to thrive and grow,” Michael Colglazier, President of the Disneyland Resort said after the vote.
No specifics have been offered as to the exact nature of the park improvements, or which park or parks they will be added to.