For many decades the Walt Disney Company have expanded their theme park business
world wide, with their first International park being Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. Disney resorts now reside in Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai, all with various unique experiences for those who travel the world and visit these other parks.
Many people over the years have speculated on other potential locations Disney could expand to if they were to make more parks, but with how much debt the company has taken on it most likely will be a licensing deal similar to Tokyo Disneyland where another company owns it but shares the revenue with Disney for their name, likeness and characters.
So what are these potential locations?
5 – Nara (Japan)
So let’s start off with the least likely of this list, Nara.
Nara is Japan’s Former Capitol and
since the location is more South while Tokyo is more northern it could appeal to the other half of the country. With The Oriental Land Company owning the Japanese park rights, Disney could just suggest the location and potentially build a park there. But one of the main reasons I mention this location is because Nara is the former location of “Nara Dreamland”, a now defunct and demolished theme park that operated from 1961 – 2006 and was in fact going to be an officially licensed Disney park.
Walt Disney himself, and his Imagineers, worked with the Matsuo Entertainment Company, and right as it was about to open Disney and Mr. Matsuo couldn’t agree on licensing fees and Walt left the project, leading to Mr. Matsuo renaming the park to “Dreamland”.
The historical significance of this location is why I believe a Disney Park could be built in Nara, especially since the land where the park once stood is now completely empty.
4 – Sydney (Australia)
Going Down Under, Sydney Australia is another location that was in talks of receiving a
Disney park. One Project was called “Disney Down Under” in the 1990s but was passed over for a Chinese Park which eventually became Hong Kong Disneyland.
Another project was “Disney Wharf At Sydney Harbor” but it was also canceled due to the cost of making the park as well as difficulties with the local government.
The most likely location for the park would have been just outside of Sydney near a waterfront where potential water based activities and experiences would have been made available near a Magic Kingdom like park with an Australian touch added to the various rides and locations. It was thought that Disney would possibly seek to make new films to appeal to the Australian and Pacific Islander Community to attract more local guests.
3 – Dubai (United Arab Emirates)
Dubai is considered to be one of the richest places in the world with various locations
and experiences to attract tourists, such as Motiongate Dubai, a Movie themes park with
locations themed after Columbia, Pictures, Lionsgate, Dreamworks and Smurfs.
Dubain Disney was actually in development for the Dubailand Project with Riva Creative hiring Favilli Studios to design the park for a pitch to Disney, and concept art even leaked online in 2014.
However, the project was rejected by Disney as the Dubailand project was facing many financial setbacks and is often considered one of the largest theme park disasters in history.
I believe a Disney Park in Dubai could definitely work and in fact the concept art looks fantastic, but they should probably work with a different company that has a better track record for managing projects. Most of the attractions would be located in indoor façades of course due to the high temperature of the Arab Desert.
2 – Seoul (South Korea)
Seoul is another location that could be perfect for a Disney Park, because, well,
someone else already built one.
What I mean is, in 1989 the Lotte Corporation opened a large recreational center called “Lotte World” and it is considered one of the best Disney knock-offs in the world.
The small park sees nearly 10 Million guests annually. It features various rides/attractions and yes, even has a Disney-esque Castle.
But what could be done? How could Disney build a park there when one already exists?
Easy, just approach the Lotte Corporation for a licensing deal, and re-theme the park to Disney.
Sure it isn’t a huge resort like most other Disney Parks, but I’m pretty sure the Lotte Corporation could acquire or build a hotel/resort nearby and tie it in with the park. Easy money for Disney, easy increase in guests for Lotte and another place where Disney can spread their magic.
1 – Rio de Jinero (Brazil)
Rio is one of the most populated areas in the world, located in South America, a
park/resort targeted at South/Latin America could definitely bring in some big bucks for the mouse.
One of the world’s tourist capitols, the location would be more than enough to not only satisfy the local population, but definitely would be on the checklist of every tourist, mostly during World Cup season and especially during Carnival.
Attractions targeting that part of the world like Coco, The Emperor’s New Groove, Book of Life, the Three Caballeros and even BlueSky’s Rio would most likely satisfy the local populous.
In fact, many people have been attempting to let Disney know Rio is a fantastic setting for a Park for years now. However their interest would likely depend on how much money Disney would have to sink in, which is why it is better to license to someone else that way you pay less and earn annually.
These are just five possible locations for International Parks.
I’m sure many would prefer another park in North America but Disney isn’t likely to do that, at least not for a long time since it costs billions to make a fully functional park like a Disney Park. If the park doesn’t make a return within a certain time frame the investment may be seen as a failure, which is why investing in international licensing deals is a better option.
It is even rumored that Disney plans to sell their ownership of the Hong Kong and Shanghai parks and enter a licensing deal with the new owner so that they can recoup their recent debts.
Where else do you think a Disney Park would work?
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.