Nickelodeon and Marriott, Sitting in a Tree

Thomas S. Mulligan reports in the Los Angeles Times that…

Nickelodeon is teaming up with Marriott International Inc. on a chain of kid-friendly resort hotels that will feature elaborate water parks and live entertainment from SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and other stars of the cable TV channel.

Look’s like Walt’s revolution continues.

The first hotel, set to break ground in January and open in early 2010, will be a 650-room facility with a 100,000-square-foot water park in San Diego’s Liberty Station, former home of the Naval Training Center, Viacom Inc., which owns Nickelodeon, and Marriott said Thursday.

They said they expected to build 20 hotels in the United States and abroad by 2020.

For Nickelodeon, it’s a chance to extend its brands deeper into the resort industry, a process started two years ago with the opening of an Orlando, Fla., hotel, Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn.

San Diego is smart.  They are close to Busch’s Sea World, the San Diego Zoo/Wild Animal Park, and not too far from Legoland.

Remember the trial balloons a few months ago about Disney doing this sort of thing by dotting the country with developments that would be much smaller than full-blown theme park developments?  I could see Disney partnering with an established hotel chain, maybe even acquiring one.  After all, Disney currently operates Resort hotels of its own, and Disney has swapped executives with hotel chains.  The important thing about any "location-based entertainment" development would be avoiding the same fates as Disney’s previous forays, such as DisneyQuest, Club Disney, Mickey’s Kitchen, and even The Disney Stores.  I could see something such as a hotel with Disney Vacation Club units, themed pools, a World of Disney store, an ESPNZone, maybe a multiplex cinema, a studio for the local ABC television station and radio stations, and, of course, an area pushing Disney vacation packages to the destination Resorts.  Adventures by Disney and a broadway-style performance venue would be nice, too.

2 thoughts on “Nickelodeon and Marriott, Sitting in a Tree”

  1. OK, sounds like it could be fun. But aside from staying there and shopping there, why would my family and I go to such a place? I would hope that should Disney branch out into this area there would be more to do than simply be surrounded by Disney images and the opportunity to just buy more stuff. I like what they’ve done at Vero Beach–a relaxing destination with just enough Disney magic surrounding me. But I won’t go to, say, Chicago, just to stay at a Disney hotel and eat at another ESPNZone restaurant and swim in a shaped pool.

  2. I couldn’t see these places being “destinations” myself. That wouldn’t be the purpose. The purpose would be for someone who is travelling to the area anyway to pick that place as a place to stay. In addition, locals could drop in for some of the offerings, too, and maybe get their appetite whetted enough that they’d then plan their next trip to one of the destination resorts.

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