Last week, I came across some information online claiming that Disney is planning on opening its first theme park in Latin America in Curitiba, Brazil. I couldn't find anything about it in English, nor could I find any official information, so I can't guarantee this is definitely going to happen. Really, at this point, it's hearsay.
But given Disney's plans to build a theme park in China, and the fact that Curitiba is already a prime location for multinationals (it is home to one of only two IMAX theaters in Brazil, as well as the Brazilian headquarters for several major corporations, including HSBC), it seems possible. According to the sources, Curitiba was chosen due to its excellent infrastructure, its strategic location (its proximity to the city of Sao Paulo as well as several Mercosul countries), and its international airport.
So here are some of the details of the supposed plan to build DisneyLand Brazil:
- Construction is due to begin in August 2011 and is scheduled to last up to five years;
- The park will occupy 25 square kilometers, and the DisneyLand complex will be made up of four areas: a theme park, a water park, a zoo, and a shopping and hotel complex;
- There will be a special part of the park just for Zé Carioca (!), who will be one of the main personalities at the park, along with Mickey, Minnie, and co.;
- The park will offer packages to visit other Brazilian attractions, including Iguacu Falls and the Amazon, costal cruises, and special Disney hotel packages in major Brazilian cities, including Rio, Floripa, Recife, Salvador, and others;
- Disney-owned resorts in Rio, Porto Seguro, and Manaus;
- the launch of several Disney-owned TV channels, including Disney Channel Brazil, a new HBO brand that will include American channels like A&E, E!, and others, and a host of ABC Brazil channels (including news, ABC Family, and ABC);
- Several Disney-owned radio stations;
- a Buena Vista Pictures/Disney Pictures complex for making movies and dubbing/subtitling American movies into Portuguese.
There are some obvious pros and cons to an enormous undertaking like this, but the potential large number of jobs it could produce are a strong factor in its favor. Though the project will depend on talks with Parana government officials, it may also depend to the next Brazilian presidential administration, which will also be responsible for massive infrastructure and construction projects for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Aside from political support, Disney will have to throw some serious money around to get such a big project off the ground.It looks like Disney is keeping its plans hush hush until they are finalized, but I'll be sure to post any new information as it becomes available.