Disney considering South Korea park

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The Walt Disney Co. has met with local officials in Seoul to consider the possibility of building a new park in South Korea. No specifics for a timeline have been determined.

Read more from The Chosun Ilbo.

The Mole's avatar
Can you say Euro Disney? I have this odd feeling that if the 'rich' french don't go to the parks, will the cash strapped Koreans go?
Mamoosh's avatar
If Disney parks start cropping up like Starbucks the experience of visiting one won't be special anymore. Aren't they worried about diluting the brand?
Jeff's avatar
It's not about how much money the locals have, it's about the culture. The Asian markets are getting trendy and somewhat materialistic like Americans. I suspect they're banking on this trend.
I wish Disney would stop building parks and fix the ones they have now. I know its all about making money. Don't you think they should come up with another name for the parks than Disneyland over seas.
The Mole's avatar
True Jeff, but this is a soceity where many people play MMORPGs in Internet cafe's because they can't affort their own computer. Even if they are becoming materialistic, I don't think they'll spend it on a Disney theme park.
Eisner seems to have no problem whatsoever dilluting the Disney brand. Direct-to-DVD sequels to just about every classic Disney film you can think of, Disney Stores in every mall across the country and now Disney theme parks on every continent... it will continue this way until the day a new CEO comes aboard that has long-range vision instead of short-term goals.
TheRealCP's avatar
What Vortex said.
Jeff's avatar
I think Disney could have a cure for cancer and a lot of you'd poo-poo it just because of the guy in charge.

If building parks overseas will dilute the Disney brand, can I see a show of hands from our American members that have been to the Asia, let alone an Asian Disney park? That's what I thought.

Yeah, if Disney cured cancer (or AIDS or world hunger for that matter), I'd certainly "poo poo" it because of Eisner being in charge of the company. Makes sense, especially when you consider that I am anti-Eisner but still buy pretty much every new Disney DVD release and visit two or more Disney parks on a yearly basis.

Seriously though, I would be concerned about the guy in charge because a product is nothing unless it is handled correctly. I don't envision Eisner being the kind of CEO to do that. Regardless of what you think, a lot of other people seem to think Eisner is bad news for Disney. When 2 or 3% of stockholders voting against a CEO is considered bad, how do you explain 45% voting Eisner out? For some reason, I'm inclined to think that people like those in CALpers knows a little about the decision they made back in March.

Mamoosh's avatar
Well perhaps "diluting the brand" was a poor choice of words on my part. My bad.
I think put it this way - how much of Disney's American parks are made up of Asian tourists? The Paris resort? A fractional or negligible portion of the total attendance? On that same token, how often do you see ads on TV telling you to visit the Tokyo or Paris parks? Never? It's about making the product accessible to as much of the world's population. Six Flags parks don't compete with each other. To say that parks on other nations.

My only concern is the obvious lack of proper investment that's gone into the Hong Kong park. One can only assume that the Shanghai or Seoul parks will follow suit. If you think California Adventure is half a park (which I might add I don't), then Disneyland Hong Kong looks to be a quarter.

Rob, you've forgotten one continent that's still Disney-less - Australia. There were serious attempts from Disney to get a park built in a number of different locations in Australia (we nearly got DisneySea, post-Long Beach and pre-Tokyo), but the Government's offers weren't good enough for Disney. Given that a large portion of our tourism market is from Asian countries, the now four (to be) Disneylands in Asia pretty well kill that plan well and truly.

TheRealCP's avatar

I don't know. When I used to go to WDW twice a year, there were HUGE numbers of Japanese tour groups. I mean, *HUGE* numbers of them.

My Mom almost ran over a Japanese guy with my brother's wheelchair on accident after leaving Illuminations too! Oops.

So there are a lot of Asian guests, I can say that much.

Don't misinterpret... I'm not saying that Disney shouldn't build parks in other countries and deprive people living in those countries the joy of the Disney theme park experience. auscoasterman brought up what I feel is going to dilute the brand- sub-par Disney parks that lack the things that have made their properties a part of pop culture for the better park of five decades!

I liked DCA (unlike many others) and I feel that it has a lot to offer. I even recall posting a pretty nice TR about the place in June or July. But while I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the park, I didn't feel that it had the same feel of other Disney parks like Disneyland & WDW's Magic Kingdom and Epcot because it was very obvious where budget cuts stifled creativity. What worries me is that DCA is regarded as one of the better late '90s Disney parks, with a lot more criticism being piled on top of Animal Kingdom and Disney Studios in Paris. In fact, I've heard nicer things said about some Six Flags parks than Disney Studios! But the reality is, it doesn't matter what I think of a Disney park like DCA. Most people think it's a prettied-up Six Flags parks and while I disagree, the attendance numbers show I'm in the minority.

The Hong Kong park has been criticized for a lack of attractions, big and small. While I will try to avoid too much speculation, I have a feeling that this park will be even less Disney-like than Disney Studios. And with each Disney park that features less and less of what made Disney parks so incredible in the first place, the brand gets diluted a little more. Maybe that matters not to the majority of Koreans going to their new Disney park but it does weaken the strength of the brand in the long run. And that's one of the reasons why I am not alone with my disapproval of Disney's current CEO and Board of Directors, for that matter.

*** This post was edited by Rob Ascough 11/9/2004 9:10:59 AM ***

janfrederick's avatar
I think Disney Sea would counter that argument. Then again, it wasn't 100% Disney right?

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