Disney cancels plans for a resort near DC

Posted Monday, November 28, 2011 9:01 PM | Contributed by Jeff

The Walt Disney Co. has canceled plans to build a Disney-branded hotel near Washington, D.C., less than three years after spending $11 million to buy land for the project. Disney acquired the property — 15 acres in a development called National Harbor, just outside the District of Columbia — in May 2009 as part of a strategy to develop standalone hotels or smaller, niche theme parks.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, November 28, 2011 9:05 PM
Jeff's avatar

Analysts are morons. Aggressive capital spending in a recession sets you up for winning when you come out of it. Considering Disney has done a better than average job getting through it all, they've been making the right decisions. Remember also that the world is kind of "on sale" during a recession. Starting Aulani, the DCA re-do and the Magic Kingdom Fantasy Land re-do were all the right things to do.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, November 28, 2011 9:18 PM
OhioStater's avatar

I think that's a perspective that many do not see (in terms of the long run). The house we are living in right now would have been way beyond our means in 2003, but the return on the investment down the road is wonderful. :)

Frankly this is the first I even heard of this idea, and I am sort of sad to see it fall to the wayside. It would have been nice to have a little bit of Disney closer to home.

Tangent for later int he thread: when we were young (circa 1989 or so) wasn't there some sort of controversy about Disney wanting to buy land and build a new park in the Virgina area? Or is my mind just making this up? For some reason I recall articles about disgracing civil-war lands, etc.

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Monday, November 28, 2011 9:39 PM
James Whitmore's avatar

I remember the "Disney America" plans. Seems I even remember seeing Mickey in a three pointed hat. Anyways, wikipedia says the park was planned for Haymarket, Virgina, themed around the history of the United States and was canceled in 1994.


jameswhitmore.net

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Monday, November 28, 2011 9:40 PM
Jeff's avatar

I believe there were several holding companies buying up land somewhere in Virginia, yes, but nothing ever became of it.

But yeah, the "long run" is exactly the thing that analysts don't care about. I was just chatting on FB with some friends about Facebook wanting to IPO early next year. Why bother? Being a private company is exactly the reason they've been able to move as quickly as they have, in the direction they see fit. Being public will crush that, and it doesn't appear they even need some massive funding event to continue to grow.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Monday, November 28, 2011 9:47 PM
James Whitmore's avatar

Between this resort deal and the prior "Disney America" park, it seems Disney does have it's eye on the DC area. I wouldn't be surprised if Disney doesn't revisit this market again in the future.


jameswhitmore.net

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Monday, November 28, 2011 10:01 PM

Remember also that the world is kind of "on sale" during a recession.

Indeed. I'm betting TWDC made a fair profit just holding on to the property during this time. National Harbor's development has been slow, but steady---including both residential and commercial. The "hill" that Disney owns could well end up as the high-end residential in that master plan.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 12:36 AM

The area in Virginia in question was supposed to be very close to the Manassas battlefield. Obviously, there was a lot of opposition from historians, preservationists, etc.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:06 AM

A lot of people in the region seem to not be entirely surprised, and some are even saying it makes sense for Disney to get out of National Harbor. It isn't exactly close to the main draw of DC (the National Mall), isn't close to a Metro stop, and the crime rate in the immediate area isn't good at all. Some have also speculated it might have a bit to do with how (badly) Aulani is allegedly performing, and how they approach their non-park developments.


Original BlueStreak64

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:10 AM

I love all the holier than thou people of Virginia/Maryland/DC who are so thoughful of protecting the sacred ground in that area. You need only to go about a block or two off the National Mall to see what a real cess pool our nation's capitol is.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:21 AM

The analysts that I have met/talked with have been a mixed bag. Some are very impressive; others not. No different than anything else I suppose.

I think Disney drives what its analysts say more than it reacts to what they say. I suspect that Disney made the business decision (for whatever reason) to cancel the project. Analyst statements are being used as support/cover.

There are a lot of good deals out there. Doesn't mean every one should be taken though. Being overextended (even at a lower price) is still an issue.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 8:43 AM
Jeff's avatar

maXairMike said:
isn't close to a Metro stop

That's a feature, not a drawback.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:30 AM
James Whitmore's avatar

When I plan a DC trip my hotel must have a Metro stop nearby. It's a requirement for me. I love the Metro... clean, efficient and safe.


jameswhitmore.net

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:34 AM

I don't mind the Metro...so long as you know what stops to avoid.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:09 AM
TiggerMan's avatar

Jeff said:

maXairMike said:
isn't close to a Metro stop

That's a feature, not a drawback.

Couldn't disagree with you more. Considering how bad DC and Beltway traffic is around here, being Metro accessible is plus.


Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line. www.TiggerMan.com

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:17 AM
Vater's avatar

This is kind of disappointing. The National Harbor is really an impressive area with shops and restaurants that you can't find just anywhere (especially in this area). There have been billboard ads for the Disney resort coming to the Harbor for the last few years. I think it would have been a win for the place, and a further step toward improving at least that portion of Prince George's County.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:33 AM
Jeff's avatar

You guys are completely missing my point. This isn't about working or living in DC, it's about enabling a particular demographic to visit a particular tourist destination. Various Six Flags parks have arguably attracted a less desirable element due to proximity to public transportation.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:43 AM

Isn't the idea of the resort that people would stay there who were visiting the DC area? As such, wouldn't you want to make visiting the area as easy as possible? I have always used the Metro almost exclusively when visiting the DC area. And won't Disney prices keep the less desirable element away?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:43 AM
rollergator's avatar

I understood what Jeff was getting at....it's about selected demographic groups - something Disney is ACUTELY aware of.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 10:51 AM

But aren't they also aware of the importance of clean and efficient transportation systems for their guests?

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