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DISNEY PULLS THE PLUG ON THEME PARK IN HAYMARKET
Published September 29, 1994
Last night The Walt Disney Co. killed plans to build Disney's America in Northern VA's Prince William County, "apparently after deciding that an unexpected national debate" over its proposal "was hurting the company's image." Although Disney was on its way to "gaining final zoning approval" for the project, company execs "decided over the weekend that the prolonged and increasingly ugly fight could permanently damage Disney's valuable corporate image." Disney Design and Development Pres. Peter Rummell: "Implicit in our vision for the park is the hope that it will be a source of pride and unity for all Americans. We certainly cannot let a particular site undermine that goal by becoming a source of divisiveness" (Baker & Hsu, WASHINGTON POST, 9/29). Disney will hold a news conference later today. REAX FROM "GRIM" GOVERNOR: After a surprise meeting last night with park GM Mark Pacala and Disney Senior VP Robert Shinn, VA Gov. George Allen -- Disney's most "enthusiastic cheerleader" -- "emerged looking ashen and grim" and issued a terse statement: "I'm committed to a Disney theme park in Virginia and the jobs that will be created thereby. I'm pleased that The Walt Disney Company shares that commitment" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/29). DISNEY MANAGEMENT CHANGES: Disney also announced that Pacala is leaving the company and that John Cooke, president of the Disney Cable Channel, will now also serve as chair of the theme park. Dana Nottingham, the park's development director, will now be its president (WASHINGTON POST, 9/29).