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Unbuilt Disney - The Story of Disneyland Australia


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The Disney Dish Podcast has done a 2 part podcast delving into the history and story of Disneyland Australia. Would highly recommend a listen, it's a fascinating story!

Link to part 1: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-1


Link to part 2: https://disneydish.bandcamp.com/track/unbuilt-disney-disneyland-australia-part-2


I've listened to this podcast on and off. They have a really good backlog of episodes to choose from. The podcast mainly covers insider knowledge, history and reviews of the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and Universal Parks all around the world.

Edited by Luke
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I'm incredibly glad they didn't build this - it's so cringy.


If Disney built a park in Australia, I hope it had much of the same attractions they can be found in the US, as well as maybe 1-3 "Australian" attractions - like Disneyland has Great Moments with Mr Lincoln, and previously America Sings.

I am proud I'm Australian, but all these attractions just sound super cheesy (but it was 1998!)

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26 minutes ago, AlexB said:

Any chance they have an article or transcript? I'm not one with the patience for listening to these sorts of 'live recorded' shows. i want to read at my own pace (which is generally faster than they can speak...) - plus I don't believe in paying for this sort of stuff.

You don't have to pay. If you don't mind listening through the website, at a so-so audio quality, just hit the play button on the page.

25 minutes ago, Jessicajealousy said:

I'm incredibly glad they didn't build this - it's so cringy.

I am proud I'm Australian, but all these attractions just sound super cheesy (but it was 1998!)

^I agree! Some of the attraction concepts are incredibly cheesy, and perhaps even disrespectful to Aboriginal culture. It would probably not pass in 2017's society. It's also because the concepts were developed by American ex-imagineers, ex-universal creative back in the early 90's - the cultural appropriation by the designers was lacking.

Edited by Luke
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Disney has a history of coming close to building in Australia one infamous case is disney wharf in Sydney.

Heres some reading material.



Plus some reading material relating to disneyland gold coast.


Edited by Theme Park
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  • 1 year later...

Solid bump I know, but seems to the most relevant place to post this article from the Bulletin today...

Gold Coast theme parks: 1998 deal for Gold Coast Disneyland dumped over $845m disagreement

MARCH 08, 2019

IT took 21 years of work but entertainment giant Disney was finally keen go build its own Disneyworld on the Gold Coast.

But it all went wrong and the plan fell apart.

The prospect of a Gold Coast Disneyland was back in the news this week on the back of the State Government announcing it would push ahead with creating a global tourism hub.

95551dd58c87c8595e73cd59afe67cb4?width=1024 The Gold Coast nearly had its own Disneyland

Leading Coast businessman Tony Cochrane, who will be part of a Gold Coast Tourism Advisory Panel, told Toursim Minister Kate Jones the tender process could lead to an entertainment giant like Disneylandpitching a project without a casino component.

“I think our view will be let’s bring everything forward. Let’s look at everything. We shouldn’t rule anything out or anything in at this early stage,’’ Mr Cochrane said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the Coast. Let’s see what they’re going to propose and where.”

His comments came 21 years after the Coast came close to securing Disney, only to lose the deal in an argument over nearly $1 billion.

The push to secure Disneyland for a site at Coomera first began in 1977 when the Southport-based Star Land Company began trying to woo the American company.

f6c0f32216cc85f961c92cbe027535bf?width=1024 How Gold Coast Disney would have looked.

But it was not until early 1998 that things got serious when the State Government got involved.

Gold Coast-based Sport Minister Mr Mick Vievers visited Disneyland in late 1997 with former Expo chairman Sir Llew Edwards, fuelling speculation that the Government was negotiating a deal with Disney Corporation to set up shop in Queensland.

Talk initially centred on Bribie Island but attention soon turned to the Gold Coast and the Star land.

953a66ce75120a79b4adeff4b65c27ab?width=1024 An early concept image

Initially led by the Borbidge Government and continued by Labor after it won that year’s election, taxpayers ultimately stumped up around $2 million.

Operating under the working title of ‘Starland’, former premier Wayne Goss was brought in to lead the charge and was sent to the US by the Government to negotiate with the Walt Disney company.

There was strong support from the Gold Coast City Council’s Cr Jan Grew.

92631e149c4b38cd193692643fafefa4?width=1024 An overview of the Disney site at Coomera.

Less than two months after taking office, Premier Peter Beattie wrote to Disney saying he wanted an answer on whether the project would go ahead by September 1998.

Disney responded that month saying it would require millions of dollars in support to make the theme park viable.

“For a Disney project to be feasible, it would require direct government support including land, infrastructure, tax incentives and capital dollars for construction costs of the theme park of at least $US300 million to $US500 million, most likely toward the upper end of this range,” the company said.

be5ad38bdedf0685b1c05955bb86185d?width=1024 Former Premier Wayne Goss Picture: Nathan Richter

A month later, Mr Beattie wrote to the Disney organisation seeking a clear indication by the end of September as to whether the Starland project had sufficient support for a full financial feasibility study to proceed.

But Disney hit back claiming the “economics” were “difficult”.

“At this time, we do not have sufficient confidence that the project will receive enough financial support for it to be feasible, and therefore, do not wish to risk creating false expectations either among the public, government leaders or Star Land Company.

2a2246c92e5e04bb9d30707444a25cc3?width=1024 Premier Peter Beattie in 1998.

“Therefore, unless your government is willing to commit to this type of funding, we don’t believe that probabilities warrant further time and energy being spent …’’

The Premier then wrote to Star Land chairman Dr J. Carmichael that the Government appreciated the substantial effort and commitment by the company to the development of the project.

“In the circumstances, I advise that the Queensland Government is not prepared to provide any further funding to the Star Land Company for the Starland project,’’ he said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

With the new Coomera connecter now on the table it is prime time for Disney to enter our country. Bellow I have added a possible plan that could be used.


* Famers are getting ready to sell up. could be possible to get a great deal. Walter Disney found WDW when he flew over the site and it was picked due to the new highway route that was added and he could profit off it. 

* Guest can stay on site or catch the G:link from surfers/Broadbeach > Train Helensvale to new station > the new station into resort (1 hr?)

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The biggest issue right now is that the land isn't zoned for anything but farming and it's likely going to be a number of years before that's changed. And on public transport you'd be look at a >90 minutes journey from Broadbeach. the G:Link takes about 50 minutes to do the full run, then it's another 15 minutes to Ormeau, plus whatever else to the location. 

With that said, there is still a huge catchment area (3.5 million within two hours drive) around already (who can access by public transport or car) and there will easily be in excess of a million people move into the area over the next few decades once it is opened up for development. It probably is a prime area for theme park development, but I don't see it happening for a while (probably not within 10 years).

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I’d love to see a small Hong Kong style park, but it would require about a billion dollars worth of government support. Is your local government out of deficit? Would the rest of the community be willing to sacrifice this much cash (football stadiums seem like an easy alternative)? How would the other parks feel about this level of support for a new competitor?

Disney might be better off setting up in Adelaide...

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VTP would lose it if local or state governments actively invested in a competitor that would wipe them out. I can’t see it happening, and as a local I would have massive issues if millions let alone a billion dollars of tax payer money went to opening a theme park when we still have multiple schools with kids having to sell chocolates to get air con. 

Edited by Brad2912
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