In recent news, many have seen, heard, and speculated about the building of Disneyland Malacca.
What was originally an ambiguous announcement release has unfolded into a media brouhaha of excitement and confusion.
Now, the air has been cleared.
With all the buzz around social media, the state has issued a statement.
On Friday (18 November), Malacca’s State Heritage and Culture Committee Chairman Datok Muhammad Jailani clarified in a press conference that as of now, there is no agreement on the “Disney City” plan.
He elaborated that they’ve neither signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) nor a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with any representative from Disney.
At the conference, he has also apologised for the media confusion.
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Jailani explained the unfolding of the events as such:
A company had informed them about their intentions to construct a “magnetic train system” to link the tourist locations in the state and in that chain of communication, the company also hinted the potential for a Disney theme park to be built.
However, these are still in the planning stage and the exco has not signed an Mou or an MoA.
Nevertheless, there is interest for there to be a Disneyland in Malacca.
Why Were We Excited?
This was the announcement video released to the public:
Jailani said, “After more than 20 years, we will have our very own new theme park and even though it might not be so large I feel that it will be more than enough to live up to the Disneyland name which is an achievement and feat in itself to be brought to our shores.”
According to Melaka Hari Ini, it, accompanying Disney City, would be the biggest theme park in Southeast Asia, being built on 80.9 hectares of land, with a price tag of around RM2 billion (~S$600 million).
Disneyland is finally coming to Southeast Asia!
Not only is Malacca building a Disneyland, they will also be having a 22km-long “Maglev” transportation system which will connect Malacca’s tourist hotspots.
Jailani spoke to reporters and said the investment value for the Maglev line was estimated at RM900 million (~S$272 million).
For those who don’t know, a “Maglev” transportation system involved trains operating on an electromagnetic system.
Not only would Malaysia now boast a new, state-of-the-art tourist funhouse, it would also be home to a fantastic, cutting-edge transport system.
With all these promises, it’s hard not to get excited right?
Flattening the Fattening Excitement
Before the press release on Friday, CNN Digital’s Asia Write Heather Chen managed to get in touch with Disney officials and the myth was already debunked.
In a tweet on Thursday (17 November), Chen announced that a Disney representative has told her that “it’s fake news and purely speculative.”
Since then, her tweet has been deleted at the order of Disney, but she has released a follow-up tweet saying that “the original clarification (she) made from reaching out and reporting still stands.
“There are no official plans for a Disney-themed park in Melaka, earlier reports were purely speculative and misinformed,” she wrote.
To clarify: My tweet has now been deleted on orders of Disney. But the original clarification I made from reaching out and reporting still stands — There are no official plans for a Disney themed park in Malacca, earlier reports were purely speculative and misinformed.
— Heather Chen (@heatherchen_) November 17, 2022
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Why were we suspicious?
First and foremost, the low cost. RM 2 billion might seem like a boatload, but compared to other Disney projects, it’s nothing. SoyaCincau reported that it cost almost 8 times that amount (RM15-16 billion) to build Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland.
Putting that into perspective, the estimated cost of this project seems too good to be true.
Next, the lack of Disney representatives. You’d think that in the announcement of a Disneyland opening, Disney would at least send one representative down.
In the official announcement video, there were no Disney representatives among the bunch of ministers present.
Also, Mickey Mouse wasn’t present either, and from the past openings, Mickey, and even Minnie, was always present when there was a major Disneyland announcement.
Third, the wrong character. In the video, it showed a large Minion statue in the artist’s impression of the place. For those who are unaware, the Minions IP is owned by Illumination Entertainment, which in turn is co-owned by Universal Pictures. None of which are a part of, nor even fall under Disney.
That’s like an announcement about a Marvel movie, only to have Batman at the background.
Last but not least, the wrong castle. The video’s Disneyland castle, which was supposed to be of European architecture, looks more like The Sultan’s Palace from Aladdin.
Even before Chen’s Tweet and the press statement by the exco, there were a few sharp-eyed sceptics who shot down the news. They pointed out the various flaws in the video announcement, which cleared some of the air.
Nonetheless, some were still hopeful.
Now, after the media release, there are many disappointed hearts.
Me too sia.
So, what now?
As of now, there is unfortunately no confirmation or promises for anything.
As of now, all we can do now is set our alarms later, so we can enjoy the Disneyland dream longer…
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