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Disney: No park planned in Latin America

November 7, 2007 | 10:42 am

The entertainment giant took the unusual step of placing a paid advertisement Tuesday in Argentine newspapers to deny reports that a new Disney facility was to be built here. The ad said Walt Disney Co. "is not considering at the moment the implementation of any theme park project in the Argentine Republic or in any other country in Latin America," noted a story about the flap on the website of the newspaper Infobae.

Last month, La Nación wrote about the swirling rumors in an account under the headline "Disney, an ephemeral Argentine dream."

Disney said in its ad that it was initiating "legal actions" against Emile Maxim St. Patrick Higgins, who it said was responsible for spreading reports about a prospective new "Walt Disney Mundo." La Nación identified Higgins as an "eccentric Jamaican impresario" who heads a firm called Higgins Warner Corp. The newspaper quoted a local official as saying that three helicopters recently transported Higgins and apparent associates from the United States and the United Arab Emirates to meet with the mayor of San Pedro, where the park was supposedly to be built at a cost of $1 billion.

On Tuesday, Disney declared that Higgins had no "no relation" to it. It also expressed regrets that the actions could "damage the good faith of public opinion, generating false expectations." An e-mail sent to the Argentine firm associated with Higgins elicited a response that "Walt Disney Mundo ... has nothing to do with Walt Disney World of the U.S."

Posted by Patrick J. McDonnell and Andrés D’Alessandro in Buenos Aires

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