After years of possibilities we would finally get a Disney property right here in Washington-- and everyone locally actually seemed to be supporting it this time.
Well this past week when we were all comatose from turkey and stuffing Disney pulled out of the National Harbor project. The hopes of a nice resort to visit and the occasional character breakfast only a 45 minute drive away have now been formally crushed.
The Post does not lay out why Disney pulled out of the National Harbor project, but several reasons are apparent to most local observers. The National Harbor project opened in the middle of the economic downturn and seemingly has never fully recovered. The Gaylord convention space is nice and is often used, but the hotel occupancy never seems to be that high and other portions of the project (condos and timeshares) have not sold as quickly as many expected.
For the Disney-philes out there we also know that the Aulani exxperience, championed by the previous head of Parks and Resorts, has not been the best for Disney. Its led to a financial mea culpa that will require DVC to subsidize dues for initial members for the entirety of the project and the firing of Jim Lewis as well as other senior DVC Executives.
Finally, there seems to be a shift in how Parks and Resorts is looking at expanding. The concepts of Aulani and National Harbor were under the old regime. Now we see a focus more towards park development with the Shanghai project, California Adventure Expansion, Fantasyland Expansion and the recently announced Avatar deal. I think this shows that the once hoped for expansion of Disney-themed resorts around the US is no longer in the plans as Disney looks to revitalize their existing assets.
So oh well, no National Harbor character breakfast for our family. Another dream of Disney in DC crushed.