Disney denies plans to partner on Dubailand development

DUBAI Despite whispers locally that The Walt Disney Co. might partner in the development of the stalled Dubailand entertainment resort, Disney says it has “no plans” to open a resort in the Middle East.

Still, a spokesperson for the Orlando-based company calls Dubai “an attractive market” and did not rule a future project there.

“We continually look for opportunities to grow our business and as a part of that process, we have conversations with many different entities,” the spokesperson tells Arabian Business. “While Dubai is an attractive market, we currently have no plans for the region.”

The US$91 billion Dubailand project has been on hold since the global financial crisis of 2008. Originally designed by Dubai Properties Group to be twice the size of Walt Disney World Resort, Dubailand once boasted tie-ups with Universal Studios, Six Flags and Legoland.

However, research firm Business Monitor International has recently called for a massive downsizing of the project to fit in with the “harsh realities” of Dubai’s battered real estate sector. “Serious thought (and downsizing) will be needed if the project is to fit in with the harsh realities of Dubai’s subdued property market in 2011,” the report says.