Mickey & Minnie coming to Bahrain!

6 Feb, '07

Welcome to Bahrain, Disney World!

Al-Waqt was the only paper this morning to carry the story that Disney World might be coming to Bahrain, and a collection of investors including Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, the Kuwait Finance House and a collection of Bahraini companies and investors putting up 3 billion US$ Bahraini Dinars (US$7.95 billion) to build it over 6 years. The government of Bahrain’s equity in the deal is the provision of land, 16 million square feet of it.

The proposed location seems to be the coral reef of Fasht Al-Jarim, the once disputed location between Bahrain and Qatar which the World Court asserted Bahraini sovereignty over it. The Fasht Al-Jarim area covers about 42 million square feet, the project would cover 38% of the area. How that is going to affect the area environmentally is anyone’s guess; especially when you consider they’re proposing building a causeway to the mainland, so the damage is not going to be localised into the shrimping and fishing-rich area alone, but will affect the whole route coming back to the main island or Muharraq.

I am sure that this project will create countless opportunities for Bahrain and Bahrainis – if it in fact comes to pass – but I cannot but continue to think of the major change to Bahrain’s environment and coastlines. What are our children going to inherit?

I can’t make up my mind whether this is good or bad…

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Comments (20)

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  1. The Joker says:

    They still tell that story?

    I believe generation M in bahrain is the generation that grew up on the promises of building a disney-like theme park after they closed down Adhari in the mid 80’s and reached adulthood.

    You don’t have to make up your mind whether its good or bad, simply because it ain’t gonna happen.

  2. mahmood says:

    I hope you’re right!

  3. Anonymous says:

    mahmood 3 billion BD (7.8 billion USD)

  4. mahmood says:

    On second thought, this despondency and fatalism is killing the island! We no longer believe anything that is even approximately good, and prefer to dwell on bad news.

    There is reason for this of course, and I personally believe it is that we no longer trust the government, and we also believe that corruption is a way of life that will stifle any progress and will not allow such projects to come to fruition.

    I heard of this project last week, I think, and whoever told me this implied that it will never happen and it will (or already has) go to Dubai as the main investors refused to accept that the government of Bahrain’s “cut” that it wanted which was vastly disproportional to the real value of land being offered.

    Now that it is in the press, I wonder if that ratio has been sorted.

    If it has, then all power to them and I do hope that this project will come about. What the Islamists and the Ministry of Information (in view of them announcing the closure of 70 more entertainment facilities in hotels this morning!) is anyone’s guess.

  5. mahmood says:

    oops, thanks anon, will correct it.

  6. Ali^ says:

    Eh, it’ll probably never happen.

    They’ll probably just steal all the money with nothing accomplished =P.

    Like that Singaporean products mall (or something to that extent).

    Oh and I like how in that AlWasat link it says that the closing is a part of a plan to “improve tourism”.

    Ha!

  7. Adel says:

    So far most of the projects that have been announced during the last five years have materialised, hope this one goes threw as it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to Bahrain.

  8. Redbelt says:

    I know how you feel Mahmood.
    I remember I once was at Dr. Aziz Abul’s office and we were talking all things Bahrain. And he said: “my, you have a very black outlook to bahrain”, I responded that I don’t. Its just signs I see that are convincing me most things are done for show.

    Please. Disney land in Bahrain. They managed to scare the Indoor ski to Dubai. What reason do I have to believe that DISNEY will be here?

    bah.

  9. Adel says:

    Please. Disney land in Bahrain. They managed to scare the Indoor ski to Dubai. What reason do I have to believe that DISNEY will be here?

    Who would have believed 5 years ago that Bahrain will host the F1 till 2013, an 80 story Four Seasons hotel will be built in one of the most wonderful projects in the Gulf, and 9 man made islands will be built on an area of 20 square kilometers in the once no go area of Ras Al Bar. These are just some of the projects that have materialised, and if you are interested to know about more check this link.

    http://www.skyscrapercity.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=476

  10. mahmood says:

    You know something Adel, you’re right. We need to be more optimistic…

    We’re getting so bogged down in the crap that is being thrown at us, what we need to do is dodge and burn a bit. Do something positive and work toward eradicating the bad.

    I just don’t know how to do or think that at the moment…

  11. Adel says:

    More about projects in Bahrain from a Kuwaiti forum

    http://www.alnwady.com/stock/showthread.php?t=16480

    Mr Faisal Jawad says “the economic boom in Bahrain is continuing as businesses migrate from Dubai to Bahrain” .

    جواد: الطفرة الاقتصادية تستمر مع هجرة من دبي الى البحرين

    قال رجل الأعمال المعروف فيصل جواد إن الطفرة الاقتصادية التي تشهدها المنطقة ستستمر، وإن هناك سعياً من عدة شركات للانتقال من دبي الى البحرين بسبب تواصل الطفرة والحاجة الى بيئة تنافسية قريبة من مناطق النمو الخليجية، وهو ما يوفر فرصة مميزة للشركات البحرينية لتطوير أعمالها واقتناص الفرص التي تنمو مع نمو السوق. بعكس ماكان يدور في أذهان البعض، فان هناك الا سعي من شركات عدة للهجرة من دبي الى البحرين، موضحا «ان شركات تدرس العودة إلى العمل في البحرين نظرا إلى ان أسعار السكن والتوظيف في دول مجاوره مثل دبي وصل إلى مستويات تعجز الشركات عن تحمّلها، خصوصا الشركات الكبيرة إذ تصل هذه الكُلف إلى أرقام كبيرة، وهي كُلف أعلى من البحرين بنسبة تفوق نحو 60 في المئة، من هنا فإن التاجر البحريني عندنا يتحدث عن عجزه في منافسة دبي فهو يخدع نفسه لأنه يجب التخلي عن فكرة منافسة دبي لاعتبارات عدة أهمها ان الرواتب فيها أعلى من البحرين والإيجار في دبي هو ضعف ما هو موجود لدينا، فمثلا إيجار القدم المربع في محل بمركز تجاري في البحرين 16 دينار تجده في دبي يكلف 32 دينارا للمساحة نفسها».

    وذكر انه «عندما يأتي تجار كويتيين للاستثمار في البحرين لا يناقشون صاحب الملك في الإيجار نظرا إلى أن الأسعار في الكويت هي أيضا ضعف ما هو موجود لدينا».

    «مجموعة جواد للأعمال» تمتلك 500 فرع في 2008
    جواد: نسعى للتميز من أجل استمرار النجاح

    قال الرئيس التنفيذي لمجموعة جواد للأعمال، فيصل جواد، إن «المجموعة تسعى جاهدة إلى تحقيق التميز في عملها من أجل الظهور بمظهر مختلف وغير اعتيادي لمواصلة نجاحها في العمل التجاري».

    وذكر جواد انه «مع نهاية العام الماضي ( 2006) بلغ عدد فروع الشركة المنتشرة في البحرين وخارجها نحو 295 فرعا للمجموعة، إذ من المقرر ان يتم افتتاح نحو 70 فرعا آخر في 2007 ليصل عدد الفروع بنهاية العام الجاري إلى 365 فرعا، في حين سيبلغ عددها في العام المقبل 2008 إلى 500 فرع في البحرين وخارجها حسب خطة التوسع».

    وأشار جواد إلى ان الفروع المنتشرة في البحرين وصلت إلى 108 فروع، وفي الكويت 16 وفي السعودية 40 وفي سلطنة عمان 22 وفي قطر 29 فرعا، أما في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة فوصل عدد الفروع فيها إلى 82 فرعا، إضافة إلى وجود فرعين لمطعم (ديري كوين) في أفغانستان.

    وقال إن «التوسع لدى المجموعة يعتمد على ازدياد أعداد مراكز التسوق، إذ كلما افتتح مركز تسوق كبير تسعى المجموعة للتواجد فيه وهذا ما جعل المجموعة تقرر فتح نحو 33 فرعا في مركز التسوق الذي يتم انشاؤه حاليا في البحرين وهو (سيتي سنتر) وستضم هذه الفروع محلات أزياء وأثاث ومطاعم وغيرها».

    Here is what Gulf Nationals think about Bahrain in a Saudi travel site. It’s not only whores and booze that brings them to Bahrain

    http://www.travel4arab.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=141

  12. I shot J.R. says:

    I’m sure some MPs will denounce Mickey and his gang of infidels as being UN-Islamic, and will join the ‘anti-nancy’ brigade with protests, while at the same time call for more family-fun filled entertainment, like bringing in a big ex-russian space shuttle from the days of sputnik and call it a ‘Bahrain Summer Festival’ and then watch it rot on the cornich.

    Of course if this thing even gets approved, I highly doubt it will go through . . . unless someone in power is an avid donald duck fan and will promote bahrain as the place to be, just like how we got the F-1!

    But if it does happen, it will be interesting to see these people :ninja: wearing a mickey-mouse-ears hat . . . .

  13. mishmish says:

    I’m sure Prince Al Waleed knows what he is doing, that man does not do things by half measures – and I can see how Bahrain would be quite viable as you can tap into the KSA and other Gulf markets, perhaps even attract Asian visitors – but won’t have the competition here eg. from Dubailand.

    Makes perfect sense to me to open Disney Gulf here.

    Mahmood, I agree, it is a bit of a double-edged sword – would it bring great opportunities for the country or take the country too far down a road from which you can’t turn back?

    That’s why a strategy is needed -and when it comes into being, I hope it is not one that looks at mass tourism, because for a country this small it could have severe consequences, and in my view is not sustainable, nor the right route to follow.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Walt Disney Co. denied on Tuesday that it is in talks to build a theme park in Bahrain

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/financialpost/story.html?id=4dec6a1e-2f5e-4f5d-aa0f-33f0fb083246&k=21084

  15. docspencer says:

    Anon, any company would deny until you have signed contracts.

    But the idea if implemented would be absolutely wonderful for Bahrain’s tourism industry and the locals. Any disneyworld you go to is really uplifting and a great deal of fun for all ages. I even saw people in wheel chairs there!

    Vic

  16. Adel says:

    This is another take on the news by Gulf News. I will not give up on this till I hear something from Al Waleed Bin Talal.

    Bahrain may soon decide on setting up Disney theme park
    By Habib Toumi, Correspondent

    Manama: Bahrain is planning to build a Disney theme park, the first in a Muslim country, sources said yesterday.

    Talks with government officials have been going on for about two years, but there is growing confidence now that an agreement will be reached soon and work on the project will start this year,” sources told Gulf News.

    The Disney theme park may be built at an expected cost of about $8 billion, most likely near Durrat Al Bahrain, a luxury resort being built in the southern tip of the kingdom.

    “There is growing interest in Bahrain because it is politically stable and financially attractive. The interest is also because the park will not compete with Disney parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo,” the sources said.

    The proposal to build a Disney theme park was prompted by the lack of large-scale entertainment venues in the Arab world and the new travel patterns that emerged after the September 11 attacks.

    “Fewer Middle East and Gulf nationals now travel to Europe and the US, which means that by building Bahrain Disney, there is an outstanding opportunity to expand tourist attractions and bring more families from the region to Bahrain,” the sources said.

    http://www.gulfnews.com/business/General/10102422.html

  17. Maverick says:

    Today’s GDN carries a denial on page 1. :w00t:

  18. Maverick says:

    BTW Imagin Donald havig to wear pants since exposure will not be permitted. :devil:

    Will ghutras be available with Mickey mouse ears :ninja: ….some cultural fundamentalist wil protests at that too……Jeeeez where is the freedom anymore…..:dizzy:

    Yes M the Environmental impact will be huge. But then as you can see that in this country as with the rest the environment always takes last priority….. :angry:

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