Disney backs out of National Harbor development in Washington D.C.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming. The Location Based Entertainment project at the Walt Disney Company appears to be on the ropes. The Walt Disney Company just backed out of the National Harbor project near Washington D.C. that was going to be a hotel and DVC complex.

With Aulani suffering a very rough start and no other projects announced, this would appear to be the death knell for Jay Rasulo’s plan to spread the Disney theme park experience everywhere in the form of mini-themepark experiences. The new management at Disney’s themepark division has decided to focus on larger scale projects instead.

The idea with the LBEs was that Disney would entice potential guests to the larger theme park resort destinations by offering the same level of magic and guest experience at a location nearer to them, but on a smaller scale. This turned out to be a very inefficient way to accomplish that goal.

Do you think this is a good move on Disney’s part?

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8 Responses to Disney backs out of National Harbor development in Washington D.C.

  1. Chuck says:

    I am very upset since I am only an hour away form DC but 19 hours away from Disney World this would have been my way of getting a little bit of Disney magic without having to go all the way to Florida. With Disney’s track record with DC and Virginia they are never going to be able to get land here to build again, our area is very mad. This is also going to mean a possible end to the National Harbor since I know a lot of people there have been holding on to there stores just because Disney was coming. Without them I’m afraid the struggling National Harbor is going to become a ghost town.

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  7. ErwinM says:

    I had some hope for this when I was at National Harbor for lunch a couple of weeks ago and saw some earth movers at work on the Disney plot. I figured that with Aulani now open, things would start moving on this. Alas.

    But if the development deal had been done on terms in any way resembling the Aulani boondoggle (and if the now-departed man responsible for that mess had had anything to do with the National Harbor project), Disney is probably smart to pull out before any work gets done, lest they read the fine print down the line and discover that they’ve got a legal disaster on their hands. Even more likely, they ALREADY went back to read the fine print and found that it was going to end up being a mess, so they decided to take the hit for pulling out of the deal.

    And really…500 or so units, with the only Disney amenities being in the resort itself? Very poor competition for the Gaylord next door.

    It would have been wonderful to have this nearby, but when years went by and there was no word at all on anything moving on this, I started to worry.

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