Wednesday, May 24, 2006


From The Sunday Times article:

MalagaDISNEY is drawing up plans for a possible park on the Costa del Sol which could transform the area?s tourist industry. The company has held talks with Spanish officials about building on farmland near the town of Manilva, southwest of Marbella, although the two sides have given different accounts of the venture. Disney said it was in negotiation for various new schemes in Manilva, including a summer camp for children, offering the opportunity to improve their sports and languages.

Javier Sansierra, the executive who has been running negotiations with Manilva town hall, denied it planned a full-scale theme park like Disneyland Paris, operated by Euro Disney. ?While I completely agree that a Euro Disney would do well in Spain and personally I believe it should have opened here in the first place, there are no plans to open a second or mini amusement park in Spain for the time being,? he said. However, officials in Manilva suggested a more ambitious project was being considered.

?The discussions are well advanced,? said Lucy Fernandez, a town hall spokeswoman. ?It is at a sensitive stage, so I can?t say too much, but the eventual aim is to open a Euro Disney-type park in four or five years.? Francisco Alvarez, the local tourism officer, who has been closely involved in the negotiations, said: ?We have the space here for Disney and are urbanising a couple of large areas for them. I know the company has acquired at least one estate here and we hope they will begin building soon.?

It is understood that in return for permission to build a new park in the area, Disney could be expected to contribute towards the cost of a new motorway from Seville to the Costa del Sol.

The company had originally planned to open a Disney theme park on the Costa del Sol in the late 1980s. After a long search, it narrowed down its options to a choice between Estepona and Paris. Although Spain?s climate gave it the edge, the company eventually plumped for Paris, largely because of its better communications. Some executives now admit that the site in Estepona ? where a 247-acre safari park has since opened ? would have been the better option.

Other large theme parks in Spain have proved successful. These include the highly rated PortAventura near Barcelona, Warner Bros Park in Madrid and Isla Magica in Seville. Disneyland Paris has been affected by problems ranging from bad weather to cultural differences between the US and France.


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