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Anaheim City Council gives key approval to highly controversial DisneylandForward proposal after hours-long, heated meeting

Anaheim City approves Disneyland expansion proposal
Anaheim City approves Disneyland expansion proposal 02:35

A proposal that would bring nearly $2 billion in new rides, attractions, restaurants and shops to Disneyland was the subject of an hours-long and contentious city council meeting in Anaheim that started Tuesday night and lasted into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. In the end, the plan was approved in a 7-0 vote, the city says. A second council vote is required in May for the plan to get final approval.

Residents packed the meeting where council members were to officially decide the fate of the proposal that would add $1.9 billion in advancements to the park and the surrounding area.

Anaheim says 84 members of the public spoke at the session, with 57 in favor, 24 opposed and three who didn't have a strong opinion either way.    

While many support the idea due the the influx of additional money to Anaheim, plenty of residents have loudly voiced their opposition in recent months. 

Related: Anaheim residents voice concerns over Disneyland's proposed development plans

The proposal, known as DisneylandForward, is expected to bring major attractions to property already owned by the park, like the Toy Story parking lot adjacent to Harbor Boulevard.

On top of new rides and theme park attractions, more hotels would be constructed near Disneyland Drive, along with new stores and restaurants in the surrounding area. 

"You need to listen to your voting residents," said one person at Tuesday night's meeting. 

More than 900 people signed in opposition to the proposal, saying that their main concern is that Disney would buy Magic Way from the city for nearly $40 million, shutting it down to residents who use it on a daily basis. 

"I would suffer," said Stepahnie Mercadante, who lives nearby. "What's really hard, is that it would make the area around me suffer."

Last week, council members held a public forum to address concerns and answer questions posed by residents, hoping to provide some transparency on the massive project."

Disneyland executives say Anaheim could net more than $100 million should DisneylandForward becomes reality.

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