Disney Plans Themed Hotels for Major U.S. Cities

8 Feb

The Orlando Sentinel reports, Disney plans themed hotels for major U.S. cities:

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is considering putting Disney-themed hotels and nightlife districts into downtown areas of major cities that don’t currently have Disney properties.

This is an interesting idea. John Frost points out in The Disney Blog that they could, for example, build in New York City, to service guests visiting their Broadway shows. And I do think the Disney brand is strong enough to attract a reasonable number of travelers, especially if they’re able to keep prices competitive with the other major hotel chains.

I’m a bit more skeptical about setting up the “nightlife districts,” a la Downtown Disney. The shopping part of Downtown Disney would probably go over well in most cities, given the mall-ification of America. But the nightlife, Pleasure Island, entertainment component might not fare so well. Most cities’ clubgoers are fairly fickle in their nightclub tastes, meaning that clubs have to change names/styles/je-ne-sais-quoi on a regular basis to keep the crowd jumping.

Of course, none of my skepticism is going to stop me from hoping they set up shop in Boston. It’s cold up here, and I need a Disney fix! Warm me up with a themed hotel with associated shopping and nightlife; be sure to include a DisneyQuest-style arcade with Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold and CyberSpace Mountain. After all, wasn’t part of the DisneyQuest concept the ability to replicate rides cost-effectively in a large number of cities?

Never mind that DisneyQuest Chicago failed. I’m not thinking about Disney’s bottom line here . . . these are my needs we’re talking about!

(As a small tangent here. . . Boston actually has a company trying to fill a theme park-ish, interactive entertainment niche: 5WITS, presenting Tomb. It’s a bit overpriced, and as I don’t know many people that have been there I suspect they may not be drawing the crowds they’d hoped for. But I had fun there, so I figured I’d give them a little plug. I’ll go back fer sure when they put in a new show, preferably one with pirates. Or the ability to shoot down some aliens. Hey, I’m not picky.)

[Update: More on this from Orlando Sentinel: “Disney also is contemplating small, immersive “niche theme parks” and water parks in other cities, Rasulo said.”

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the “Lessons Learned” meeting when DisneyQuest Chicago closed; I hope they review those PowerPoints before they make their next move.]

2 Responses to “Disney Plans Themed Hotels for Major U.S. Cities”

  1. Dude February 8, 2007 at 4:25 pm #

    DisneyQuest Chicago was very profitable. Disney did not want to manage that type of venue remotely is the reason it closed. It was also difficult for them to make agreements to open future locations, thusly making it somewhat silly to have one location outside of Florida. If Philadelphia had better support from the city, we would have had more DisneyQuest locations. Sadly, that didn’t.

    On the bright side, we get this, plus we wouldn’t have to deal with all of the impending closures that would be happening now, had Disney gone through with it. Case in point — DisneyQuest in Orlando is closing, thusly, so would the others!

  2. Kitty-chan February 8, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    Ah, there it is again . . . the ever-popular rumor that DisneyQuest Orlando is closing.

    Now, sooner or later it’ll probably be right. The currently popular variation on that rumor is that DisneyQuest will turn into an ESPN Zone location, which makes a lot of sense in context (especially when you see how poorly maintained DisneyQuest Orlando is).

    I’m willing to suspend disbelief a little and imagine that Disney would have better luck scouting new locations for DisneyQuests these days, now that interactive VR entertainment feels almost retro. And I’d really like to see Disney re-purpose some of those DisneyQuest attractions in other locations, the way they’ve put CyberSpace Mountain into the Paris Studios park. In fact, they can install another instance of it in my living room anytime they like!

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