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Disney’s Been Advancing Into Australia; Is a New Park Next?

Disney's Been Advancing Into Australia; Is a New Park Next? DCL Sydney Minnie and Mickey

As an Aussie girl growing up in the 80s, I was one of the lucky few who got to do things that the average person didn’t. Thanks to our family business, which has strong ties in the United States, my family and I were given the opportunity to travel at a time when leaving the island home we loved wasn’t common practice. In some ways, they were the good old days when the flights were so empty that it wasn’t uncommon to score four seats across the center to sleep your way across the Pacific Ocean, and our currency was reasonably on par with the USD. Though sharing that one horrendous projection screen at the front of the Qantas plane never did work out for us shorter folk.

It gave me a head start on my adventurous side, finding the joy in visiting new places and seeing new things at an early age. Even though I was one of only a few people I knew who had seen a Disney theme park, if you were to ask a school full of children where they wanted to go, Disneyland would have been the most common answer. There was no such thing as the Disney channel here for many years, and many of our favorite movies and TV shows often took months, if not a year, to arrive here from the USA, and that minor, split-second view of the Disney castle was enough to fuel our dreams of visiting Disneyland. It was a place that you could only dream about while watching the short 30-second advertisement on Saturday Disney on a weekend. And the idea that one could eventually be built in Australia; it might as well be heaven.

It is an idea that has been floated through the rumor mill for as long as I can remember. Whenever a large piece of land became available in Sydney or Melbourne, there was always talk that Disney might be interested in it. Though looking back, in truth, I can see this was never an option. We didn’t have the economy to support it as a predominantly domestic destination, and the world wasn’t yet in the travel-forward movement that it is today to encourage international travelers to visit in the numbers that were needed to sustain it. You only needed to look at that half-empty flight back to Sydney from Los Angeles to know it. Fast forward to the current time, and you can’t find a last-minute seat on a flight from LA to Sydney any longer. The demand has risen, and tourism in Australia is booming. The deterrent that we were basically at the end of the earth has now become a draw card, with travel culture no longer afraid to venture further away.

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I’m not the only one who sees it. Disney took their first steps into bringing their travel experience into Australian waters with the more recent introduction of the Disney Cruise Line. Sure, we’ve had Disney entertainment for a long time; shows like Disney on Ice, theatre productions, and more have visited our shores countless times. But this was the first time that Disney had shown interest in Australia as a destination. The Disney Wonder is rotating its way down Australia’s East Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne, circling around to Auckland in New Zealand. Cruises are mostly sold out, and reviews are positive. For many, this will be the closest they get to the magic of Disney.

Just this week, Disney and National Geographic have announced new 2025 itineraries, with a new 11-day Australian adventure on offer that promises you’ll explore nature, wildlife, and aboriginal cultures along reefs, rainforests, and wild Tasmania. The Tasmania part seems a bit random, but I’ll have to read more of the details to let you know. I can see the cogs are starting to turn. No longer is Australia seen only as a destination that Disney can visit to entertain the people who live there; it is starting to be the destination that tourists can visit to be entertained by Disney. And something tells me that Disney isn’t going to miss out on that action. I’ve started wondering if somewhere in the future cards, there might be hope for a Disney Park landing in one of our major cities. Let’s face it: it has to be somewhere just outside of Sydney. The investment would be huge, and the timeframe extraordinarily long, but if Hong Kong can sustain its own Disney Park, Australia can too!

Disney's Been Advancing Into Australia; Is a New Park Next? caleb-JmuyB_LibRo-unsplash-Large  Photo by <a href="">Caleb</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Photo by Caleb on Unsplash

Recently, I’ve been reading the newly released memoir by a fellow Australian, Rebel Wilson. Apart from being a great read (if you don’t have it, get it!) and discovering that we had strangely similar childhood experiences, it reminded me of the charisma that our unique Australian culture has. Hearing some of the words and phrases she recalls from the 90s growing up in Sydney, they ring in me like a school bell, instantly taking me back to a time and a place that, at that point in time, was so different from anywhere else in the world. Slowly, over the years, influences from other countries have trickled across social media platforms, blending certain aspects of our cultures together as we adopt each other’s traditions, pop culture, and even accents. The gap isn’t as wide now as it once felt between places like the United States or the United Kingdom. Even though I enjoy that connection to other places, I do worry that we are all slowly losing little pieces of the unique places we come from.

Perhaps that is what now makes Australia more accessible for tourism nowadays. This more familiar connection that people have with our country thanks to platforms like the internet connecting us more than ever before. However, I do take a pause in the hope that we have the chance to showcase more of our Aussie spirit in a setting like Disney Park before too much of it is lost. Looking at Disney Parks around the world is such a strong part of what makes places like Tokyo DisneySea so special. It has all the magic of a Disney Park, inspired by local food, culture, language, and tradition that set it apart from the rest. It’s not another carbon copy theme park but a destination all of its own, made more special because of its location, not just placed there out of convenience. This is what I am hoping Australia will one day have.

Disney's Been Advancing Into Australia; Is a New Park Next? Australia-Google-Map  Google Maps

Google Maps

If you look for them, you can find a news story on a weekly basis claiming some connection between Disney and a potential park sight. For us Australians, we tend not to take too much notice of them; our dreams and hopes have been dashed for years with such rumors that never came to fruition. Disney already owns a large chunk of land in Victoria, just outside of Melbourne, though nothing else ever came from that. Though more and more, I can see the sustainability of a Disney Park in Australia becoming a viable option. Outside the obvious connection to Finding Nemo, we have direct ties to many of the other Disney stories, in particular, Moana. We are a population that lives predominantly near the sea, and the ocean is a big part of our connection to nature. While I could sit here and Armchair Imagineer the whole thing with you, I think you get my point: An Australian-based Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, and a Home Disney Park and Resort could tie in very well together.

Could we see a Disney Park eventually open in Australia, and would you visit if it did?

Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.

Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.


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