Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Will Disney Come To The Gulf?

Most of the time I am posting about all of the incredible Mega Projects being developed in The Gulf. Today I will post on a Mega Project NOT coming to The Gulf...at least not yet. And that Mega Project is the Disney Theme Park. Why isn't Disney opening a Mega Theme Park in The Gulf?? With the gigantic Atlantis The Palm theme resort opening on Palm Jumeirah within days and so many top Mega Entertainment Projects being developed in The Gulf including:

> Dubailand,
> Six Flags,
> Universal Studios Dubailand,
> DreamWorks,
> Bawadi,
> Global Village,
> MGM Grand Abu Dhabi,
> Warner Brothers Theme Park, Abu Dhabi,
> Ferrari Theme Park, YAS Island,
> SeaWorld, Palm Jebel Ali,
> Sega Theme Parks / Emaar,
> WOW Ras Al Khaimah,

....with all of these and more, why isn't the world's leader in Mega Theme Parks - Disney - coming to The Gulf?? Back in February 2007 there were rumors that Disney and World's Richest Arab, Prince Alwaleed, were working to open a Disney theme park in Bahrain. Here are some excerpts taken from an article at BBC News about the deal:

'Feb. 6th, 2007

'Disney park to open in Bahrain

'A Saudi Arabian billionaire is in talks to open a Disney theme park in Bahrain, according to a report.

'Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is discussing the proposed $8bn (£4.1bn) scheme with potential investors, the local al-Waqt newspaper says.

'Kuwait Finance House, the region's second largest Islamic bank, is among those in talks, the paper said.

'It would not be the Prince's first foray into the world of Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

'He indirectly owns 10% of Euro Disney - which operates Disneyland Paris and also struck a deal late last year to distribute Disney merchandise across the Middle East and Africa.

'According to the report, a study has identified the need for a project for family entertainment.

'Disney currently has 11 theme parks including one in Paris and Hong Kong, and has set its sights on Shanghai where China's economic boom has created disposable income among the middle classes.'

After this story broke, Disney denied that they were opening a theme park in Bahrain...and that was the end of it. I continue to be AMAZED that with all of Disney's competitors opening in The Gulf, they have not announced that they too will be opening a theme park in the Middle East. What are they waiting for?? They even have the Disney Channel Middle East which has been going since 1997!

Now let's take a look at where, if they ever do decide to open in The Gulf, Disney would locate. I don't think they would open in Dubai. Why? Dubailand would overshadow them and I don't think they would want that type of direct competition. And I don't think they would want to open a theme park INSIDE of Dubailand....that would also overshadow the Disney brand making them just another attraction in Dubailand.

Abu Dhabi and of course Bahrain seem to be the two most logical choices for a Disney location. Both Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are moving strongly ahead with Mega Project developments, both have enormous amounts of cash to invest in new projects, and both want to become major tourist destinations. A Disney theme park would make either one of them a primary world tourist attraction. Furthermore, I think either Abu Dhabi or Bahrain make good since for Disney since The Gulf is rapidly becoming a world entertainment and tourist center...the perfect location for a new Disney theme park!!

Here is the link to the Disney Bahrain BBC News article used in this post:


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