Sydney’s White Bay almost became “Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour” after the state government secretly discussed plans, covertly known as “Project Lester”, to develop a local Disney resort in 2007- 2008.
Fairfax Media has revealed the plans were very seriously considered but knocked back because of extensive infrastructure costs, which were estimated to start at $500 million, and the huge challenge of road changes that would have needed to been made.
If it had been successful this is what Fairfax reports “Disney Wharf at Sydney Harbour” would have housed.
- “Classic Disney” elements such as “Fantasia Gardens” with hedges cut in the shape of Disney characters
- Themed hotels and rides such as Nemo-themed attractions, Peter Pan and Dumbo rides and actors in Disney character costume entertaining visitors
- A marina, yacht club and ferry wharf
- Two new light-rail stations
- A retail space including stores such as the “Goofy Candy Store” and the “Princesses” boutique
- An entertainment quarter which the designers described would be a “high-energy NY theatre-style district”
- An “upscale” residential development
- A Disney town centre
- A Disney university and hospitality school
Development plans are said to have fallen through also due to lack of communication from Disney, with one source who looked closely at the project telling The SMH, “it was difficult to get detailed proposals from them in writing, and there was always doubt over whether it could work.”
Currently the site remains a concrete space with a temporary exhibition centre and a cruise passenger terminal.
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