Disneyland South-East Asia?

Two years after the tales were last heard of a possible Disney adventure in the region, there are prospects anew that Mickey could yet hold fort in a theme park here.

The operator of Tokyo Disneyland said yesterday — as fans flocked to the theme park on its 25th anniversary — that it was considering opening a new facility in South-east Asia. Oriental Land chairman Toshio Kagami said the company wanted to operate a new leisure facility other than a theme park in Japan.

“Maybe we will start with South-east Asia,” wire agency AFP reported him as saying, as Mickey and friends marked a quarter century in Japan.

Disney’s on-off link to the region was last in the news around the time Singapore was awarding its two integrated resort licenses.

Today had reported that Disney was evaluating the market, but did not have anything to announce. Then, unconfirmed media reports suggested that a site in Marina East had been earmarked for the theme park operator.

Malaysia had touted the Disney link in 2006, too, as it began to develop the Iskandar economic zone.

While Today had learnt then from Disney that there had been no discussions nor plans for a Disney-branded resort development in Malaysia, a developer for the economic zone said yesterday that it has since sold the land designated for a theme park to Khazanah, Malaysia’s state investment arm, and the latter has “taken the project forward”.

UEM Land director Zulkifli Tahmali told Today: “I’m not sure if it involves Disney, but Khazanah has always said it has been talking to a few theme-park operators, none of which has been finalised.”

Thailand has also been reported as a potential home for Mickey and Minnie as far back as 1994, while Singapore also tried to bring the pair to Seletar in the 1990s. Talks collapsed because Disney was not willing to pay for the land.

Source : Today – 16 Apr 2008

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