Culture

Niles: Disney finds a new challenge in The Bahamas


The Mabrika Cove Cabanas are among the available accommodations at Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas, debuting in June 2024. (Photo by Kent Phillips, Disney).

Disney’s Imagineers often talk about a “blank sheet of paper.” It’s the starting point of a design process, when nothing has been created yet and all you have is that blank sheet of paper.

Of course, these days, it’s more likely a blank document or project file on a computer screen rather than a physical sheet of paper, but the point remains the same. You start from nothing.

Except, you don’t. Disney’s Imagineers work in physical space as well as in media. They build theme parks, hotels and cruise destinations. No matter where in the world you are building something new, you are replacing or at least transforming whatever was there before. The page is never blank.

Disneyland replaced an orange grove, which probably replaced whatever grew naturally on that space in what is now Anaheim. Walt Disney World replaced a good deal of marshland in Central Florida. But Disney’s latest creative destination occupies a space renowned for its natural beauty. It cannot — and should not — be erased. So how did Disney design around that?

Earlier this month, I sailed on a press preview tour for the new Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in The Bahamas. A quarter century after Disney opened Castaway Cay on the former Gorda Cay in The Bahamas, Disney has opened a second private destination in the archipelago, this time themed to art, culture and nature of The Bahamas.

While Disney partnered with local artists and cultural organizations to create buildings, art installations and entertainment programming for Lookout Cay, the nature was already there. To best experience that, Disney has created a Nature Trail on which Lookout Cay visitors can walk or bike through the preserved areas of Lighthouse Point, including to its limestone cliffs and the historic lighthouse that gives the area its name.

The Mabrika Cove Cabanas are among the available accommodations at Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas, debuting in June 2024. (Photo by Kent Phillips, Disney). 

I took an hour to explore the site. I understand why so many Bahamians have argued to preserve and protect the previously isolated area on the southern tip of Eleuthera. Disney is developing less than 16% of its Lookout Cay site, keeping that development well away from the iconic cliff and lighthouse, which should help ensure unspoiled views for a generation to come.

The question now is, “for whom?” Will Disney provide easier access to the historic section of Lighthouse Point for Bahamians as well as its cruise passengers? However that shakes out, this site should be seen.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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