Disney World is coming to Haifa, Israel!
Well, sort of.
Walt Disney Company’s investment arm Shamrock Holdings in partnership with the local privately owned firm, New Lineo Cinemas, will build a massive 30,000-square meter Disney amusement park as well as a 25 screen theatre complex and shopping plazas. The project is still in development stages but it is estimated to cost $170 million (600 million shekels) and to be completed by 2013.
The Disney amusement park will be located at a 20 acre empty plot of land adjoining other existing cinemas, but rather far from the Baha’i gardens and shrines (denoted by ‘A’ on the map):
The transition of Haifa from an industrial port city with heavy industries, factories and corrosively bad air quality is gaining pace with this project. Haifa is already famous within Israel for its diverse community of people who live in peaceful coexistence. Hopefully, the transformation will continue and the city will come to reflect economic diversity as well with less pollution causing service businesses like this.
One news report had this amusing quote:
If things go as planned, Haifa’s landmark sites such as the Bahai Temple or the Carmelite cable car could soon be replaced by Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and friends.
Perhaps this might be a good time to remind my dear fellow Baha’is that the point of pilgrimage is not and never has been to Haifa or the surrounding areas. So where is it then?
That, I’m happy to tell you, is “a little known fact”.