Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Disney Rumor: Building a Better Mouse Trap?

The Disney Geeks have posted before about Disney building a Location Based Entertainment (LBE) center near us in Greensboro, NC.

Honor Hunter at Blue Sky Disney has just posted an article about LBE's, UEC's (Urban entertainment Complexes) and the Disney-MGM Studios name change--or the fact that it has to happen eventually.

Honor refers us to a great article by Kevin Yee at MiceAge. The biggest change that Kevin describes is not only a hotel and a theater--but the possibility of a major E-Ticket attraction as well. A reason for families to visit and stay at the Disney branded hotel. Most of Kevin's post is dreaming, but it does lead down some interesting paths.

Dig if you will the picture of a small River Country, Splash Mountain or minor Fantasyland park inside a major hotel complex in downtown Greensboro. Or why not a sports theme to coincide with the ACC Hall of Fame that is being planned? I can see an ESPN Zone hitting the mark--along with virtual sports games and attractions themed towards small town sports. Once section deals with the major sports in the area: baseball, football and basketball. What about a water park themed after the sports?

But what really gets this Disney Geek going is the thought of a Soarin' based attraction in Greensboro. Imagine having your choice of three different films: the original one in the parks now, one that showcases the best of Disney around the world and one that flies you into the greatest ACC games of all time. Imagine watching Michael Jordan during the 1982-1982 Chapel Hill season. Flying through historic games. And historic stadiums. Smells, sounds and motion.

What a night! Dinner at a fabulous Disney themed restaurant. A ride on Soarin' Over Disney world-wide and then a dessert at the ESPN Zone. Why not throw in a stroll through the highly interactive ACC museum? Or dance at the Disney night club? Then cap it off with a stay in the hotel. They could include some of the newer properties, like Turtle Talk with Crush or the Monster's Inc. Laugh Floor. Something that could be changed and updated fairly easily. And don't forget about virtual Space Mountain. But I digress. Disney would need to build something that would capture a family for a day or weekend. Business travelers could take advantage of it, but it would need to be geared for the family adventure. The Greensboro area has the International Furniture Market twice a year. Although this doesn't bring in familes, it fills up every hotel to capacity within a 75 mile radius. The ESPN Zone would be full for that week

Even if Disney does involve itself with the ACC Hall of Fame, it doesn't need to be married to it. The ACC Hall of Fame is such a hot property for Greensboro that sponsors would fall over each other to be involved.

Now we come back down to earth and look at some of the nitty-gritty:

When we examine the possibility of an attraction that would be appropriate for everyone and would fit the constraints of an LBE, we scanned the parks for an idea that would fit. The best attraction we came up with was Soarin'. It has a smaller footprint than a traditional roller coaster ride and the ability to customize/update with a new movie makes the idea fitting. Let's leave it up to the Imagineers to come up with a new and exciting variation that would fit the theme being offered. In scanning the internet for dissenters to Soarin', we were hard pressed to find anyone that did not love the ride (or at least find it appealing). We still have trouble believing that a piece of the magic could end up in our own backyard, even though the concept seems so intuitive:

  • half way between New York and Orlando
  • the heart of ACC country
  • a downtown that is in the infancy stages of revitalization. Real estate prices are still growing at a developer's pace, as opposed to being valued by the already revitalized area.
  • the proximity to major transportation (I-40/I-85 meet in Greensboro) and three international airports
  • the ability to promote the brand with a small weekend getaway type feel

What else could be in store for us?

Bring it on!

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