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Walt Disney Company linked to project in Branson

2007-04-22

By Ben James: I found this story on ksdk.com:

Could the Magic Kingdom be coming to southwest Missouri?

Speculation is increasing around Branson after a request for road improvements for a $1.1 billion theme park in Newton County.

Such rumors of the Walt Disney Company opening an attraction in Branson were common about a decade ago. But the recent road improvement request has county commissioners investigating whether Disney is involved in the theme park proposal made earlier this month.

A Springfield company called ARM Risk is behind the project. An early proposal includes the purchase of about a thousand acres of land. A hundred acres would be set aside for the park, and construction would include six hotels, 95 shops, 27 rides, 12 stages and 18 restaurants.

Officials at Disney declined to comment on a possible theme park in Missouri.

The Disney link arose when commissioners noticed that two of the three ARM owners have offices in Burbank, California, and Lake Buena Vista, Florida -- the corporate offices of Walt Disney
Company and Walt Disney World Resort.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on April 22, 2007 at 2:06 PM
Disney would be stupid to build in the Ozarks. The company doens't need to undercut its Orlando and Anaheim properties by building another park in the U.S. Plus, Branson is a lousy market for the consumers Disney is after: way too downmarket. (I loved Arthur Frommer's smack-down of Branson several years back. Trust me, every executive in the travel industry is familiar with it.)

There are plenty of other businesses looking at theme parks these days. And it wouldn't surprise me to see them pull a Disney-adjacent address and float Disney rumors as a way to get the locals to jump quickly on infrastructure and zoning requests.

From David Kirby on April 22, 2007 at 6:22 PM
Yeah, I really find it difficult to believe that Disney would build a park in Branson. I imagine if they were building a park, they would have a larger area of land too.
From Anthony Murphy on April 22, 2007 at 8:08 PM
However, Disney is from Missouri (actually born in Chicago, but raised in Marciline Missouri.

Perhaps they are building a Walt Disney Museam or something.


I would really like them to put old rides that have been replaced there if it ends up being a theme park!

From Derek Potter on April 23, 2007 at 5:19 AM
There is a lot of construction/expansion going on in Branson. Whatever Frommer said about them doesn't seem to be holding back people from coming and businesses from investing billions into the town. I was there last year, and while I admit that it wasn't entirely my cup of tea (except for Silver Dollar City and the scenery of course), there's no denying that they draw in the crowds. Whether or not those are "Disney" crowds is the question. Most attractions are country music revues and the like. Is it the best move for Disney? I don't think so....could they be doing it? absolutely. Disney has the ability to create it's own market. I do however believe that it's probably another company behind the whole thing. There probably will be a 1,000 acre complex with hotels, shops, and a theme park in the next few years, but it will be someone else.
From Martha Dowling on April 23, 2007 at 6:45 AM
Actually I'm not surprised by Disney looking into this area. What a lot of people do not understand is that many people travel to the area NOT for the hokey county theme but for the very pretty lakes and natural surroundings. Big Cedar Lodge by Bass Pro Shops is always packed with high paying customers. A new development called Port Branson has upscale shopping and hotels which Branson was lacking. I think there was a need to have higher priced lodging that steered away from the hillbilly theme. The lake: Table Rock Lake is pristine unlike the over-crowded Lake of the Ozarks. I could definitely see many millions traveling from St. Louis area, Kansas City area, Arkansas, Des Moines, Chicago, Oklahoma City and other surrounding states that find the drive to Florida daunting. What you may not be taking into account that Midwesterners like to drive to their vacations. Weekend trips are common and many people in the urban centers like St. Louis already have a second home in the lake area. Now if you excuse me I have to get back to my tub of MOONSHINE!
From Ted Heumann on April 23, 2007 at 9:25 AM
It would be cool if this was a revival of the Disney's America concept which would work with Branson's tourist mix.
But I agree with the others that Disney is probably not involved.
From Larry Zimmerman on April 23, 2007 at 1:37 PM
Branson is undoubtedly a Destination (note the big "D"). As for target markets -- these days, anyone with $75.00 in their pocket is part of Disney's target market, and if they're spending money in Branson, they're not spending it on Disney...perhaps the planners feel it's time to change that?
From Anthony Murphy on April 23, 2007 at 10:58 PM
Is Mineral King making a return???

Or something like it? (I know it was a Ski resort or something along those lines)

From Matthew Baker on April 24, 2007 at 4:10 AM
Do you mean the Mineral King resort idea (in California) that was bandied about a bit several years ago? That never went anywhere, thank God. Unless you mean a different project. (Some of you may or may not recall that about ten years ago or so there was a brief flirtation with building a huge resort in the Mineral King valley which is in the southern part of Sequoia National Park. That area is a wonderful High-Sierra wilderness and and a development of that sort would have been a travesty.)
From James Thrombley on April 24, 2007 at 6:26 AM
This would be great! Mikey and minnie sitting down to possum and biscuits.
From steve Cunningham on April 24, 2007 at 10:41 AM
the other rumor around this proposed park is that the Osmonds, who own a music theatre in Branson, are behind the park. Perhaps they do not want to be outdone by Dolly Parton.

I live in the KC area and love the Branson area. I would hate, however, to see Silver Dollar City hurt by adding a major theme park, such as Disney, to the area. Silver Dollar City has been there for nearly 50 years.

Some may remember that Shepard of the Hills (another attraction in the area) and Silver Dollar City were used in the Beverly Hillbillies as their old homestead, before they moved to California. So, that helps date the Branson area as far as attractions go.

Yes, if you like trees, large hills, and water as part of your vacation, then Branson is an ideal destination. There are lots of resorts, golf courses and condos to choose from.

From Jaivion Williams on April 24, 2007 at 3:53 PM
well that was one of walt's ideas when making WDW butwhy build there when it will closed for most of the time.
From James Adams on April 25, 2007 at 8:58 AM
Apparently, the scoop is that Disney's new growth model is to bring Disney to the people rather than bring people to Disney. Apparently, this includes creating smaller parks throughout the country. Why? It seems that people will come to Disneyland or DisneyWorld whether they build heavily or not. The main reason people do not go is airfare, gasoline charges, and driving distance.

Disney's not stupid, they know the gas "shortage" will continue to drive up pump prices and thereby people will travel less distances for their vacations. So, Disney believes they must adapt and put money into smaller parks throughout the country. Branson is a great option for them - already heavy traffic during vacation times, space, little hassel from government, closed during winter in order to control cost, etc. We may not like it, but youve got to adapt to survive.

From Jaivion Williams on April 25, 2007 at 2:05 PM
yea they should start makin smaller parks and they dont have to be magic kingdom,i'm tired of seein castles everywhere i turn.
From David Kirby on April 25, 2007 at 6:50 PM
Tired of seeing castles every where you turn? You mean all 5 of them?
From Rachel Askue on April 25, 2007 at 7:50 PM
"By Ben James: I found this story on ksdk.com:

Could the Magic Kingdom be coming to southwest Missouri?

Speculation is increasing around Branson after a request for road improvements for a $1.1 billion theme park in Newton County."


I will have to search ksdk.com for this story. One fact I have to point out is that Branson is NOT located in Newton County. If memory serves correct, Branson is located in Taney county. Newton county includes a southern portion of Joplin, MO and extends south of Joplin to Neosho, covering an area south and east from the junctions of I-44 and 43 highway to include the communities of Redings Mill and Spring City.

After this topic of a "Disney of the Ozarks" came up in a discussion during class today, I decided to search out information online. For what it's worth, a classmate stated today that his Aunt sold her property to Disney. Supposedly the remitter on her check was Disney Corp. I'm not sure if all this is rumor or fact, but I do know there is a lot of acreage south of Joplin that has not been commercially developed.

From Rachel Askue on April 25, 2007 at 8:09 PM
"By Ben James: I found this story on ksdk.com:

Could the Magic Kingdom be coming to southwest Missouri?

Speculation is increasing around Branson after a request for road improvements for a $1.1 billion theme park in Newton County."


I will have to search ksdk.com for this story. One fact I have to point out is that Branson is NOT located in Newton County. If memory serves correct, Branson is located in Taney county. Newton county includes a southern portion of Joplin, MO and extends south of Joplin to Neosho, covering an area south and east from the junctions of I-44 and 43 highway to include the communities of Redings Mill and Spring City.

After this topic of a "Disney of the Ozarks" came up in a discussion during class today, I decided to search out information online. For what it's worth, a classmate stated today that his Aunt sold her property to Disney. Supposedly the remitter on her check was Disney Corp. I'm not sure if all this is rumor or fact, but I do know there is a lot of acreage south of Joplin that has not been commercially developed.

From Rachel Askue on April 25, 2007 at 8:10 PM
http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070424/NEWS01/704240365


Hope this link works. After more research, I found this interesting article.

From Rachel Askue on April 25, 2007 at 8:11 PM
http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070424/NEWS01/704240365

Hope this link works. After more research, I found this article.

From Mark Freedman on April 26, 2007 at 12:16 AM
Now that we know it's not Disney, perhaps we can speculate that the Holy Land Experience is wanting to move from Orlando to Branson. A Christian Amusement park is a perfect fit for Branson.

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