Walt Disney waves its magic wand, bringing jobs and tourism dollars to Washington

Since not every American can get to the Walt Disney Company's theme parks, the Walt Disney Company is coming to you. (OK, you, if you live anywhere near the Washington, D.C. area.)

It was recently announced that Disney just bought 15 acres in Prince George County, which is in Maryland. They're going to be building a new 500-room resort hotel at National Harbor, a touristy location that just opened up along the Potomac River a year ago.

Here, you can find hotels, shop until you drop, attend one of the many festivals that seem to be ongoing, or even settle down and live, since there are condominiums to buy.

However, National Harbor opened not long before our economy began to crumble, and so as the Washington Post reports, "many of the 400 residences at National Harbor have not been sold."In any case, this is a bright moment in a pretty bleak year so far, economically speaking. Disney, which paid $11 million for the property, hasn't announced exactly when they're going to start building their resort hotel and the land surrounding it--visitors will be able to see the Washington Monument in the distance--but with the jobs the projects creates and all of the tourism dollars it should bring in, it should provide a nice economic stimulus for the region.

One thing this resort won't be, however, is a theme park. People in the area, and history buffs, may remember that Disney had some plans in the 1990s to build a theme park to be called Disney's America in nearby Prince William County, in Virginia, but that fell through because locals were afraid that visitors and urban sprawl would overtake the area and destroy what everyone loved about it. Kind of like when a subdivision mows a forest of oak trees and then calls itself The Oaks.

But if Disney's America doesn't exist, Disney is, however, earning the right to call itself Disney's America. They're already prominent in the mid-Atlantic region, offering Adventures by Disney, where they give guided tours, including a bike tour around the National Mall, a lunch trip to Mount Vernon and private tours of the White House, Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. And way off on the other side of the United States, in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, Disney is building a resort hotel that will open in 2011.
The hotel is expected to cost $800 million when it's done and will include a spa, saltwater snorkeling, a replica volcano and will, among other things, host weddings.

No word on exactly what this new resort in Prince George County will have, but if Disney's involved, one thing is for sure: it won't be a Mickey Mouse operation.(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

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