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Disney rumor reignited


A request for road improvements for a $1.1 billion theme park in Newton County has led to new speculation about the Walt Disney Co.'s interest in southwest Missouri.


Rumors that a Disney attraction was coming to Branson were rampant in the mid-1990s. Now, Newton County Commissioners are investigating whether Disney could be linked to a theme park proposal made earlier this month.


Jerry Carter, Newton County Presiding Commissioner, said the notion arose after Todd Marshall, who said he represented a Springfield company called ARM Risk, attended the April 12 commissioners' meeting. Carter asked about changes on county roads leading to the location the company is considering for a theme park.


A list of specifications Marshall gave the commissioners included first-phase construction costs of $1.1 billion, land purchases of 1,000 acres with the park taking 100 acres, six hotels, 95 shops, 27 rides, 12 stages and 18 restaurants.


"We want to be cautious and careful," Carter said. "We live in an opportunistic world and sometimes things come along we can't even conceive of."


A possible Disney connection was raised when commissioners checked the company owners. On a form called "Registration of Fictitious Name" filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office in March for ARM Risk, three owners are listed. Corporations routinely file such forms.


The owners are Michael Hill of Wilmington, Del.; Robert Brown, who lists his address as 500 South Buena Vista St., Burbank, Calif.; and Jason Johnson, who lists his address as Corporate Office, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.


On the Internet, commissioners found that the Burbank address is corporate headquarters of the Walt Disney Co. Lake Buena Vista, Fla., is headquarters of Walt Disney World Resort.


Officials at Disney headquarters in Burbank said the company would not comment on the matter.


The secretary of state's office has only an administrative role in filing business registrations, said communications assistant Ryan Hobart.


When someone signs the registration, he or she is legally bound to give correct information, Hobart said.


ARM Risk's address is listed as 1926 S. Glenstone Ave., Suite 353, Springfield, on the registration.


Todd Marshall could not be reached for comment. No phone listing could be obtained for ARM Risk.


Carter, who is 71, is a Newton County native. He said that such a project would forever change the county. The area where the company is seeking to buy land is mostly small acreage and some farms of 60 to 100 acres, Carter said. It is in the southwest quadrant of the junction of U.S. 71 and Interstate 44.


Some residents would be interested in the project, and some wouldn't, he predicted.


"We're right between two of the largest growth areas in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas, so we are becoming accustomed to shock here," Carter said. Just to the south is the Bentonville area and to the north is Joplin.


"It'll never be what it used to be."


In Branson, Herschend Family Entertainment spokes- woman Lisa Rau said they had not heard of the plans. The company owns the Silver Dollar City and Celebration City theme parks and other attractions.


Ross Summers, director of the Branson Lakes/Area Chamber of Commerce, said he also had heard of no such plans by Disney.


"These Disney rumors have floated around here for as long as I can remember," Summers said.


Developer Glenn Patch heard lots of Disney rumors after he purchased 7,000 acres of land just south of Hollister in the early '90s. His land is now the site of two golf courses, upscale homes and a commercial airport in development.


"When I was first coming here, I thought about painting a pair of black ears on my plane just for the fun of it," Patch said.


Sounds interesting, I wonder what has caused the sudden surge of "big names" wanting to build in Missouri/Kansas area. First Schlitterbahn, then Legoland and now Disney?!?!

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This is definitely good for Missouri and it seems like a great place to put the next Disney park. We're right in the middle of the country, and Branson is already a big theme park area/ tourist destination (similar to Orlando). If Disney move into the Show-Me state, I will be ecstatic!

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Great news, and hopefully it is real. While I don't think it has a high chance of being built, it would be great for the area if it was. If it is built, then maybe Disney will start to build more resorts without a magic kingdom.(Westcot, Burbank Entertainment Center)


Airtime-might give me another reason to visit Misery...I mean Missouri -&Gravity

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Am I the only one that thinks pigs will fly before a Disney park is built in Missouri? I know Branson is a pretty big deal and all, but I just don't see this coming to frusion. Yeah, it's all rumor right now, but I just don't see it happening.

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^I'm skeptical of it all as well; I just don't see them wanting to barge into this already over-crowded market. Besides, the area isn't all that popular, and it's just not set up for this kind of resort. Even if this project was toned down, it would still be run over by the competition, and if it was pushed farther, it might fail harder. I don't think it'll get past the risk-analysis stage, but we'll see.

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Why would they need to convince American's to travel to Missouri, when they do a hell of a good job making them travel twice the distance to Florida already?


I want to see Disney World expand even more. The place is amazing.

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Yea, they already get people traveling all over the world for Disney World. IMO, a third location might have an impact on attendence at WDW. I doubt it would do much, if anything for DLR, though. We shall see though.

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I think this is complete and utter crack smoking. The vast majority of the US population lives on the coasts. There is no reason to build in places of low population density. Also, the weather at this location is going to really suck in the winter.

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the weather at this location is going to really suck in the winter


Even with the "weather" SDC pulls in their largest crowds during December. Also don't forget there is already a Disney park in Paris which has crappy winter weather as well.


Am I the only one that thinks pigs will fly before a Disney park is built in Missouri?


Yes but we also thought the same thing about Legoland, and it has already passed the first hurdle in getting built in KC.

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Even with the "weather" SDC pulls in their largest crowds during December. Also don't forget there is already a Disney park in Paris which has crappy winter weather as well.


Yeah, but people in Europe can't hop on a plane to Orlando for a few hundred bucks in the winter like we can. And, given this location, there won't be all that many locals.


It would be interesting to know how many people are within a reasonable drive from this location. I looked at a population density map, and this region is one of the least densely populated in the country.


Perhaps it could support one very scaled back Disneyland-type park. Heck, I hope they do it. I'd love another US Disney resort, even if it is a financial disaster.

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Wouldn't this effect the parks in Branson? I mean why go to SDC or CC when you can go to DISNEY right down the street?


Quite possibly, but not necessarily. Disney and SDC/CC are going after slightly different markets. This move could also be seen as just an effort to increase overall tourism in the region. A new Disney park, after all, could attract many new visitors to the area that wouldn't have dreamed of going there before. Branson is still viewed by a large number of people as a senior citizens only destination. A Disney park would do a lot to change that perception.

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I stand corrected


I still call BS, though. I mean they're crazy busy with HKDL and DCA, not to mention the rumors of a third gate at DL and a fifth gate at DW. I would bet that the 2 new resort gates would come to fruition before a whole new resort would, especially with there being 2 Disney resorts already in the country. They could be doing that indoor entertainment complex that the artwork was released for a while back...

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Another article:



Officials cautious about approach involving possible theme park w/ ARM Risk's registration with the Missouri Secretary of State and related documents.


Word that a Disney-scale theme park is coming to the area is going around again.


There is a variation on the theme this time — Newton County instead of more rural McDonald County — but the reaction of local government and business officials ranges from caution to skepticism.


A land-acquisition company that recently sent a representative to meet with the Newton County commissioners has identified property in the Redings Mill area for a possible park, according to Jerry Carter, presiding commissioner.


An address listed on a document that the company filed with the Missouri secretary of state’s office is also the address listed for the corporate offices of Walt Disney Co.


Carter said a man named Todd Marshall, representing ARM Risk, visited the County Commission late last week to ask about roads south of the Redings Mill area in connection with a potential theme park.


Carter said he referred Marshall to the Joplin Special Road District and to the Missouri Department of Transportation.


Robert Brown, listed as one of three principals with ARM Risk, according to papers filed March 16 with the Missouri secretary of state, said when contacted by phone Wednesday: “Our main job is land acquisition. ARM was put together for this land-acquisition deal, and it has no other purpose.”


ARM Risk has a Springfield address on the state document.


Brown said the proposed park initially would have 95 shops, 27 rides, 12 stages, and 18 restaurants and eateries. The proposal would include 1,000 acres of land, with the first phase to be completed in two years on 100 acres of that land. The proximity of two U.S. highways is a factor in the site selection, Brown said.


“They are looking at employing about 1,200 full-time people and about 6,000 seasonal workers,” Brown said. Parking capacity would be 9,000 vehicles, he said.


But even Brown cautioned that nothing is final. “It is still definitely just a proposal,” he said.


“I think the second phase is additional parking, additional hotels,” he said.


He would not identify the name of the company that is interested in the area for a theme park. When asked if it was related to Silver Dollar City or to Hard Rock International, which is building a Hard Rock Park in South Carolina, he said “no.”

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Disney are great at getting the rumours going, lets not forget, last year there were rumours of parks in Southern Spain, Austraila, Singapore and of course China. Not really sure another park in the US would be beneficial as it would take finance away from the other 2 sites. Would hate to see WDW... suffer just for the sake of opening another park.

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I say no to this whole idea. Disney's America never sounded fun in the first place. Why can't they just give up on the idea?


They never really gave up on the idea... Some of the ideas for Disney's America were transferred over to California Adventure (in some form).


For example, Grizzly River Run is basically a dumbed down version of what the Lewis and Clark River Expedition was supposed to be... Condor Flats is a basic build of what Victory Field was supposed to be and other concepts can be related to the former project too.

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