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Disney eyeing Virginia for theme park site

Walt Disney Co. is planning a theme park in Virginia to do battle with Paramount Communications Inc.’s Kings Dominion park near Richmond, say sources. Disney wouldn’t comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported that details were sketchy, but the proposed park is thought to have an “America” theme appropriate to the location. The working name is Walt Disney’s America. It wasn’t known exactly where in Virginia the park would be located, but Disney has acquired land.

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The area between D.C. and the Richmond-Williamsburg area is a growing tourist destination: In addition to Kings Dominion, Anheuser-Busch Co. operates the Old Country; Civil War battlefields abound, and toy company Lego Systems AS is contemplating a $ 100 million park in Prince William County.

An announcement of Disney’s plans was said to be coming soon. Once the proposal is unveiled, however, there’s no guarantee the project will be built. Disney announced plans for a $ 3 billion development in Long Beach in 1990, only to abandon its plans when regulatory and environmental concerns intervened.

Disney now is making preparations for Westcot, a $ 3 billion theme park and resort complex adjacent to Disneyland in Anaheim and is planning a second theme park in Tokyo, Disney Sea.

But the plans for Virginia have remained a closely guarded secret.

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