Disney to open in Puerto Plata
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Disney’s share price rocketed last week on the announcement by Michael Eisner of Disney’s plans to build a theme park on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.
The new resort, dubbed “Disneyland Dominicana” is set increase Disney’s theme park empire while boosting the local economy and providing thousands of new jobs for the area.
Allegedly, Disney has already purchased several large tracts of land using various holding corporations around the Long Beach and Costa Dorada area of Puerto Plata.
We went to talk with Disney’s head of PR, Lyon King and find out more about their plans.
He was keen to fill us in...
“We’re really please to be opening up in the Caribbean. We don’t want to ruin the local Dominican culture and make the resort too Americanized. Local food such as plantain and mondongo will be served to visitors. Hot-dogs will be offered, as and when they wander in.”
Hotdogs - two for 100 pesos
“To transport visitors around the resort, we’re investing in some two-wheeled vehicles with their own autonomous pilots. Although they are only about 5 feet long with one seat, they can carry 6 people comfortably. These things do make quite a noise, a cross between a hair-dryer and a grass cutter. And they emit some noxious gases, so should be entertaining whilst at the same time functional.”
Coming soon to Puerto Plata - Dominican Republic
“We were going to build a vertical drop ride, but we’ve got permission to use the cable car on the Isabela de Torres mountain which we’ll tie in with the Moto Ride. We’ll add in some wind machines, some waterfalls and increase the cable car drop speed. Should be quite a ride!”
Engineer’s sketch of one of the planned rides
“Instead of the Swiss Family Robinson house, we’ll have the Casa Dominicana, which will never be finished. Every week, we’ll add a couple more blocks to it.”
A prototype of one of the rides
“We’ve got some great new rides planned, some of them will be unique to Disneyland Dominicana. The Valley of Darkness is where people take a trip underground. Every so often, the ride will stop and they’ll be plunged into darkness.”
“Thankfully, we don’t need any special equipment for this. We’ve spoken to the local electricity provider and they’ve assured us that the power will go on and off intermittently anyway, so this ride will be easy to set up.”
“We’ve got some 30 foot tall screens coming for our new Gua-Gua 3D simulation. The idea is to simulate the experience of being a passenger in the local minibuses that travel around the Dominican cities. We’ll squash 40 people, some chickens and a donkey into a 10 foot by 6 foot room and try to create the Gua-Gua experience. There will only be 6 seats, so people will have to stand or sit on each other. There’ll be no air-con, and we’ve got a great merengue soundtrack to liven things up. The big screens will show motorcycles coming at you from all directions, loud horns blaring, trucks and SUV’s narrowly missing you and people crossing your path pretending you aren’t there. We still have some work to do on this one, as in early tests people were so frazzled by the experience they couldn’t last the whole simulation.”
A design for one of the new attractions
Some of the local Dominican companies are keen to be involved. Brugal will be sponsoring the Brugal Run roller-coaster.
Instead of “Sleeping Beauty’s Castle”, we’re planning the “Sleeping Security Guard’s Castle”.
Obviously, we’ll be doing a Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but we’ll be using real pirates this time.
“We’re training up some local staff to be able to give a great local feeling. They’ll be trained to ask all visitors where they are from and ask if they can they polish their flip-flops. Any visitors who avoid eye contact or look like they haven’t been there before will be offered a free tour of the facilities for 20 dollars.”
We’re not quite sure when we’ll get the go ahead to start building. I was speaking to the lawyers over there yesterday, "but they said that setting up a corporation there is a complicated process and takes months and lots of money. Don’t know why, but hey, gotta accept what your lawyer says, right? They said we needed to provide the names of 7 shareholders and I said no problem, Mickey, Minni, Goofy, Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi and the Jolly Green Giant. Oh, he’s not one of ours, is he?"
Michael Eisner being interviewed by the Gringo Times.
You think he’d have told us he doesn’t work for Disney any more!
“How much will entrance to the theme park cost?” we asked.
“Well, we’ve decided to leave that up to the staff. As long as we get 50 dollars each entry, they’re free to charge what they want. I imagine they’ll probably quote around 300 dollars and then it’ll be up to each customer to haggle them down.”
“But won’t that mean customers will have to wait longer just to get into the park?”
Well yes, I guess so. But hey, it’s the Caribbean. They shouldn’t be rushing around. They should relax while they’re queuing. I’m, sure there’ll be lots of street vendors providing the queues with interesting items to buy."
“Do you know if Michael Eisner plans to oversea this project personally?”
“Heck no! He resigned in 2005. Bill Igor is now in charge.”
“So why was Eisner making the announcement.”
“Who knows. "