Eisner and some of the executives were very interested in expanding and building a new theme park. When they were attending a meeting in Virginia, they were impressed by the post war restoration. The idea of building a theme park with American history as the main idea came to Eisner at that time. The idea became a plan and soon the executives of Disney found suitable land that was affordable with all amenities. An international airport was nearby; the land would not create any environmental issues. It was also near an interstate highway. The politicians of the state were also for development and growth.
The land identified with all these benefits was in Prince William County in the heart of Virginia’s Piedmont region. What Eisner may not have known at that time was that the Piedmont region was home to some of Americas most influential and wealthy people. The region had also fought off several developmental projects from that area. Once the announcement was made by Disney about the building of the theme park, opposition started rising from most of the wealthiest people from the region. There was also opposition from various organizations like The Piedmont Environmental Council.
Why Disney America was never built The various organizations started mounting negative publicity against Disney. Disney being an image conscious company was put in a dilemma. Eisner was of the view that the project had to go on. He was also supported by the Virginia’s Governor George Allen. In spite of various campaigns by Eisner, the opposition kept mounting against the project with historians and journalists joining the bandwagon against Disney. All the opposition finally caught up with Eisner who decided that continuing with the project was not worth it.
The decision was made because Eisner knew that if the park was opened in spite of the opposition, after it was opened, it could lead to further trouble, especially from the historians. The need for focusing on the other projects and the risk to Disney’s reputation were the most important aspects that made Eisner decide not to go ahead with the project. Eisner decided that deciding not to go ahead with the project was the best option under the circumstances. If he had continued with the project, there could have been opposition from Historians who were already campaigning against the project.
If Disney had to concentrate all its efforts on the Disney America project then there was a risk of losing focus on its other business concerns. There was also the risk of losing the reputation of Disney that had been built for years. These were the main reasons for ending the project, but the other reasons were because of the problems in the management of Disney where one key executive had died and another had resigned. There were also rumors that there was a leadership crisis in Disney. All these reasons made Eisner deciding against continuing the project.
The best choice under the circumstances This was also the best choice that Eisner had. The project seems to have become a personal ambition for him. He had made remarks in a press release that would not have benefited the company. He also took it upon himself to go ahead with the project. This led to irrational thinking. Monitoring various projects would have actually become difficult if the company had so many hurdles in just a single project. The situation for the Disney company at that time was not good with the EuroDisney making a huge loss and the number of visitors dropping.
Fighting a legal battle with the opponents of the park in Piedmont would have drained the resources of the company financially. There is evidence to suggest that Historians would have found fault with the many historical scenes depicted in the theme park, if it had been built. The Piedmont community and the environmentalists were also preparing for a legal battle with monetary contributions pouring in. This would have led to a long legal battle if the park had been built. So it was best in the interests of the company that Eisner decided not to go ahead with the building of the Disney America theme park.
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