Other than their food, it can be hard to swallow some things coming out of Malaysia.
[Update 2: Well it looks like we have confirmation. Sort of. Disney has yet to issue a statement, but a CNN journalist shared on Twitter that her Disney sources told her that Disney is not opening a new theme park in Malacca. And you read the news here first folks.]
Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog! Don’t believe what you read coming from the small ‘media’ outlets out of Malaysia, as it’s unlikely that US entertainment giant Disney announced today that it will be opening a Disneyland in Malacca, Malaysia.
Earlier today, unverified reports from small news sites in the Southeast Asia country of Malaysia were quick to report that Disneyland was coming to Malacca. In a report attributed to Malaysia’s TV3, State Tourism, Heritage and Culture EXCO Datuk Muhammad Jailani said that a Disneyland and Disney City Theme Park will be developed in Jasin district in 2027.
The approximately 80.9 hectares park will reportedly be the first Disney park established in ASEAN after China, Korea, Europe and Japan, and that its construction will cost about RM$2 billion.
Here’s the rub though – none of the major Malaysia media outlets, from The Star, New Straits Times, The Sun, Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia, Sin Chew Jit Poh and Nanyang Siang Pau, to name a few, ran the news.
[Update at 10am, 17 November: New Straits Times and Sin Chew have since reported the news, but the international news media have yet to]
Instead, it was small, unestablished online media that ran with the information and announced that Disneyland was coming to Malaysia.
According to Geek Culture sources, the news is not true, and Disney currently has no plans to open a new park. This is the same company that just announced it was laying off staff just last week, so why would it announce a new park this week?
Also, it has been noted that no Disney staff attended the press event in Malaysia where the announcement was made, and if this was a real thing, wouldn’t Disney have representatives there, alongside their Malaysia counterparts during the announcement?
And let’s not forget that Mickey Mouse wasn’t present either, and from what we gathered, Mickey, and even Minnie are always present when there is a major Disneyland announcement.
Also, what is Disney City? The American entertainment company has never used this term in any of their parks, so it seems weird that non-Disney representatives would be present to announce something new yet different at the same time.
So let’s see if we got this right: Someone in Malaysia said Disneyland was opening in Malacca, and development would begin in 2027, at a cost of RM$2 billion. That’s US$440 million. Shanghai Disneyland was constructed at a planned cost of US$3.66 billion, so US$440 million on a project bigger than Shanghai seems like a steal, or a flat out lie.
None of the major international media have reported the news out from the West and even across SEA, media response and reaction has been muted, short of a handful of unverified reports from small outlets.
No one from Disney showed up – not Mickey, Minnie or anyone else, and the timing of this, to come a few days after Disney announced layoffs, seems ill-timed and not something a well-oiled international entertainment company would do.
Such news would have had gossip around it from months ago, but there has been no leaks, no gossip or rumours, just today’s news. Let’s be honest here – there would have been rumours aplenty if this news was true, but it simply isn’t.
Fellow Malaysian online media, The Rakyat Post, has a slightly different take on the news, that it was likely that an EXCO member simply wants Melaka to be ready, in the eventuality that a major international theme park, such as Disneyland, was looking for a new home.
The other Malaysia media simply didn’t verify the news and double check the few sources they had.
Gerald currently straddles between his love of video games and board gaming. There’s nothing that interests him more than trying out the newest and fanciest gadget in town as well. He dreams of publishing a board game sometime in the future!