The Third Battle of Bull Run: The Disney's America Theme Park (a)

19 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Elizabeth A. Powell

Elizabeth A. Powell

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Sarah Stover

affiliation not provided to SSRN


In the A case, Disney CEO Michael Eisner pondered whether to go forward with his plans for a U.S. history theme park called Disney's America, located in Prince William County, Virginia. The case depicts the origins of the Disney idea; one that Eisner hoped would distinguish his personal legacy and the company's work with local and state governmental officials. Alongside of these pro-growth efforts, opposition to the project grew. Originally the terms of the debate were about growth and environmental impact. After the project was approved by the state of Virginia, however, the terms of the controversy shifted to the sacred ground of the historical area. On these terms, Disney's image of wholesome family fun was tarnished and portrayed as saccharine “McHistory.” The B case provides an epilogue and interpretations about why Disney ultimately abandoned the project.





When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme….

—Jiminy Cricket

On September 22, 1994, Michael Eisner, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, one of the most powerful and well-known media conglomerates in the world, stared out the window of his Burbank office, contemplating the current situation surrounding the Disney's America theme park. Since November 8, 1993, when the Wall Street Journal first broke the news that Disney planned to build a theme park near Washington, DC, ongoing national debate over the location and concept of the $ 650 million park caused tremendous frustration. As Eisner thought back over the events of the past year, he wondered how his great idea had run into such formidable resistance.

. . .

Keywords: corporate communication, community relations, government Regulations, Public Relations/Publicity

Suggested Citation

Powell, Elizabeth A. and Stover, Sarah, The Third Battle of Bull Run: The Disney's America Theme Park (a). Darden Case No. UVA-BC-0177. Available at SSRN:

Elizabeth A. Powell (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-982-2730 (Phone)


Sarah Stover

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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