Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Disney and the Disney Cruise Line were hoping to purchase Lighthouse Point on Eleuthera—a small island in the Bahamas located east of Nassau and south of Disney-owned Castaway Cay. Disney is now awaiting a decision from the Bahamian government who’s Cabinet will vote on Tuesday whether on not Disney can purchase 700-acres of the island.

The Disney Wonder docks at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. (Todd Anderson, photographer)

UPDATE (10/19/2018):

  • The Disney Cruise Line Blog has announced that the Bahamian government has voted to approve the sale of Lighthouse Point to Disney.
  • The Prime Minister of the Bahamas made the official announcement earlier this afternoon.
  • The Cabinet met today after delaying the vote from Tuesday’s originally planned meeting.
  • Eyewitness News also shared the announcement on their Facebook page.
  • Disney Cruise Line plans to use this portion of the island as a destination for cruise guests as well as preserve sections for conservation.

What they’re saying:

  • Cabinet statement prior to decision: “Negotiations will now begin on a Heads of Agreement, which will detail the scope of the project, the obligations of the Disney Cruise Lines Island Development Ltd. and the obligations of the government of The Bahamas. The negotiation of the Heads of Agreement will commence immediately. When concluded, it will be presented to Parliament in keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Previously:

  • Disney and the Disney Cruise Line have confirmed interest in wanting to purchase Lighthouse Point on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera .
  • Similar to Disney-owned Castaway Cay, the 700-acre area would be used as a destination for guests during Cruise Line sailings.
  • The Orlando Sentinel reports that the Bahamian government’s Cabinet will be voting on Tuesday on whether or not Disney can purchase the portion of land.
  • Some Bahamian residents oppose Disney’s move to purchase the Lighthouse Point and have started a petition on Change.org
  • To help ease concerns about Disney’s plans for Eleuthera, Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences (which includes Disney Cruise Line), wrote an op-ed piece for several Bahamian periodicals.
  • Vahle shared not only Disney’s plans for the island, but also his experience visiting the island and talking with residents about what Disney hopes to provide should they purchase Lighthouse Point.
  • Disney’s plans would include:
    • Adding 120-150 jobs
    • Giving 170 of the 700 acres back to the Bahamas for conservation
    • Preserving an additional 100 acres of salt ponds on the property
    • Developing 20 percent of Lighthouse Point–plans that include low-density development such as beach chairs and umbrellas
    • Leaving the very southern tip untouched, and keeping it off-limits to Disney guests
    • Environmental efforts including:
      • Use of solar power
      • Constructing an open-trestle pier, which blocks fewer ocean currents and requires less dredging

What they’re saying:

  • Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences including Disney Cruise Line: “We appreciate the warm welcome we have received from so many in Eleuthera. We have approached this project with a focus on protecting and sustaining the natural beauty of this historic location, creating quality economic opportunities for Bahamians and celebrating the culture of the Bahamas. We will continue to talk with and listen to the government and people of the Bahamas as we share our proposal for welcoming guests and Bahamians alike to this special place.”

Jeff Vahle in his op-ed piece: 

  • “The crowd grew, and there were lots of questions about the project Disney would like to bring to the island. I am sure there were a few skeptics about our true intentions, especially given what some people and groups are saying. Skeptics or not, people talked, and they stopped to listen.”
  • “While the previously approved development for this property included plans for hundreds of homes, condominiums, villas, a hotel, and 140-slip marina constructed in the salt ponds, what Disney wants to do is different. Very different. In fact, our development is designed to have as little impact as possible on the natural environment.”
  • “From an environmental perspective, we are absolutely committed to doing the right thing – and would never risk the natural beauty of Eleuthera or our long-standing commitment in this space by doing otherwise.”
  • “Simply put, we want to work with the Bahamas to create an international destination that protects and sustains the natural beauty of this historic location; that creates quality jobs and opportunity for Bahamians; that celebrates the culture, and that strengthens the community in Eleuthera.”
 
 

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