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Robert Niles

Legoland announces new theme park for 2013 in Malaysia

Published: December 14, 2008 at 9:56 PM

We're still awaiting official word if Merlin Entertainments is going to proceed with a second Legoland theme park in the United States. (Legoland has been bogged down with various government boards around Kansas City for years.) But Merlin's moving swiftly to announce projects outside the United States and Europe.

Following the announcement earlier this year of a new Legoland in Dubai, this week Merlin officials announced that a sixth Legoland park will be built in Malaysia. The $200-million theme park will be built across from Singapore, as part of the multi-billion-dollar Iskandar Development Region in Malaysia's Johor state.

Merlin will own 20 percent of the park, though it will design it and operate it. The park is scheduled to open in 2013.

Update: Interesting local reaction. In short, people not happy. They wanted Disney instead.

Replies (3)

Joshua Counsil

Published: December 15, 2008 at 9:14 AM

Interesting choice - I'd like to see a history of U.S. theme park construction in foreign markets. I understand that their economy is doing well, but any particular reason for choosing Malaysia?
Robert Niles

Published: December 15, 2008 at 11:22 AM

There's definitely a market in non-U.S. and non-European markets for U.S. theme park brands to attach to commercial and tourist development projects. You see this in Dubai most notably, but also in China and now in Southeast Asia as well.

For the most part, these deals are easy money for theme park companies. The local developer pays for the project and, in some cases (though not this one), even for the parks' operation. The theme park company does the design and training, then cashes the checks.

Disney pioneered this model with the Oriental Land Company in Tokyo Disneyland.

Now, the question is... how many of these parks will end up being built? I've read plenty of skeptical comments about how many of the announced Dubai projects will ever see opening day. Don't know about the Malaysian situation however. I wonder what the percentage of announced projects that get built there is.

Joshua Counsil

Published: December 16, 2008 at 7:22 AM

Yes, these do seem to be springing up more and more rapidly over time. Let's see how it goes for them.

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