Disney will close McDonald’s restaurants in Anaheim

McDonald's Corp. is apparently no longer "lovin' it" at the "Happiest Place on Earth."

The three McDonald's restaurants at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim will close Sept. 2 as part of planned refurbishments, Disneyland spokeswoman Lisa Haines said Thursday.

Disney has been promoting healthier eating habits for children since the fall of 2006, when it introduced new food guidelines for restaurants and others seeking to license its popular characters.

The entertainment company pledged to make "nutritionally beneficial" changes in meals served to children at all Disney-operated restaurants in its parks, including eliminating trans fats, the notorious artery clogger that California last month banned from restaurant menus starting in 2010.

A national watchdog group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, this week released a study of children's menus at the 25 largest fast-food restaurants, in which it found that most of the McDonald's meals were too high in calories.

Disney decided in 2006 not to renew a cross-promotional pact with the fast-food giant, ending the arrangement with the release of "Cars" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."

One reason, The Times reported then, was that the company — which prides itself on being family-friendly — wanted to distance itself from fast food and its links to the childhood obesity epidemic.

Under the agreement, said to be worth $1 billion to Disney, McDonald's paid $100 million in royalties and conducted 11 promotions a year for Disney films, videos and TV shows, with seven aimed specifically at the young Happy Meal consumers.

Disney also agreed to let McDonald's set up shop inside its theme parks.

Haines said the closures at the resort are not related to the corporate healthy food initiative. Indeed, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain will continue to provide food service at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.

Guests who can't recall seeing the McDonald's arches at the Anaheim resort can be forgiven. The restaurants go by other names, specifically Burger Invasion, Conestoga Fries and Harbour Galley. But the menu items include Big Macs and other familiar fare.

"We are considering a number of concepts that will offer our guests a wide variety of food options," Haines said. "Disney's parks continue to have a relationship with McDonald's."


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