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THE THIRD BATTLE OF BULL RUN:
THE DISNEY’S AMERICA THEME PARK (A)
When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme. . . .
—Jiminy Cricket
On September 22, 1994, Michael Eisner, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, one of the most powerful and well-known media conglomerates in the world, stared out the window of his
Burbank office, contemplating the current situation surrounding the Disney’s America theme park. Ever since November 8, 1993, when the Wall Street Journal first broke the news that
Disney was planning to build a theme park near Washington, DC, ongoing national debate over the location and concept of the $650 million park caused tremendous frustration. Eisner thought back over the events of the past year. How could his great idea have run into such formidable resistance? The Controversy Comes to a Head
Eisner’s secretary clipped several newspaper articles covering two parades that took place on September 17 in Washington, DC. Several hundred Disney opponents from over 50 anti-Disney organizations marched past the White House and rallied on the National Mall in protest of the park. On the same day in the streets of Haymarket, Virginia near the proposed park site, Mickey Mouse and 101 local children dressed as Dalmatians appeared in a parade that was filled with pro-Disney sentiment. Eisner was particularly struck by the contrast between the two pictures: one showing an anti-Disney display from the National Mall protest and another of
Mickey and Minnie Mouse being driven through the streets of Haymarket during the exuberant community parade.
Despite the controversy depicted in the press, on September 21, Prince William County,
Virginia planning commissioners recommended local zoning approval for Disney’s America,

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