Disney studies leaner Westcot

The Walt Disney Co. is considering a scaled-back version of its proposed $ 2. 75 billion Westcot Center at Disneyland, a result of deep losses at Euro Disneyland near Paris, a company official said.

“Clearly, Euro Disney is making us think twice about a lot of things,” said Roy Disney, the company’s vice chairman. The reports of uncertainty over Westcot first surfaced Sunday in the Orange County Register.

However, Disney spokesman John Dreyer said Monday that the financial performance of Euro Disney and development plans for Westcot are unrelated issues. Disney owns a 49% stake in the resort, operated by Euro Disney SCA, which lost $ 905 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

“(The) Euro Disney project has no relationship to the Westcot project or vice versa,” Dreyer said. “We have not made any decision about Westcot. We are still working on the project, studying and negotiating with the city.”

Plans for the Westcot Center, based on the hugely successful Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida, were approved by the Anaheim City Council earlier this year. The project calls for the theme park to be built on the current site of the Disneyland parking lot with Disney Development Co. building new parking facilities, hotels and retail space on real estate it controls around Disneyland.

Disney Development Co. senior veepee Ken Wong, who leads a 25-employee team that spearheads the companywide Westcot effort, said Monday that meetings are ongoing with chairman Michael D. Eisner and president Frank Wells, but he does not expect a “summit” meeting to consider officially greenlighting the Westcot project until early spring.

“So far as our lives are concerned we’re working hard on Westcot and hope to put it forth for a decision next year,” said Wong. “We are single-mindedly focused on the Westcot project.” The remarks mirror statements made last week by Eisner, who said Disney “is still in the decision-making process for Westcot.”

In addition to Westcot, Disney is working on three other major projects: A $ 700 million historical theme park in northern Virginia called Disney’s America, an ocean-oriented theme park adjacent to Tokyo Disneyland and new attractions, hotels and clubs at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

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