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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

A Disneyland in Gurgaon? Top honcho’s visit sparks speculation

Sanjeev K Ahuja, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, September 16, 2011
First Published: 00:29 IST(16/9/2011) | Last Updated: 00:32 IST(16/9/2011)

In a secret yet high-profile visit, Walt Disney president and chief executive officer Robert A Iger made a quick stop at the Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon on Tuesday.

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The hush-hush affair gave rise to speculation whether Gurgaon will be the next destination to house a Disneyland.

The visit by Walt Disney's top boss has once again rekindled hopes of setting up of a world-class amusement park in the city. The idea was first mooted by former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala in the early ’90s. Iger, escorted by about a dozen private bodyguards, reportedly spent more than two hours at the Kingdom of Dreams in Sector 29.

Anumod Sharma, managing director, Kingdom of Dreams, remained tightlipped and neither confirmed nor denied Iger's visit. He also refused the divulge details regarding the purpose of top honcho's visit.

Highly-placed sources, however, said that Iger reached the venue around 4pm after landing at the IGI Airport in his private aircraft and remained there till 6.30pm.

He took a round of the site and saw rehearsals of the musical 'Jhumroo' in the Nautanki Mahal. Officials also explained to him the backstage technology used during performances. Iger also visited Cultural Gully and was particularly impressed with the theme-based restaurants offering culinary delicacies of various Indian states.

The purpose of the visit is still not clear and this has sparked several speculations that range from his plans to set up a Disneyland in Gurgaon or taking the Kingdom of Dreams concept to other countries such as the US, UK, Australia and China. The promoters of the Gurgaon facility had earlier hinted at massive expansion plans.

It is also rumoured that Walt Disney might be interested in acquiring a stake in Kingdom of Dreams and further developing the project.

Even the local police seemed to be unaware of Iger's short stopover. Former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala had mooted a proposal to set up Disneyland in the foothills of the Aravallis in Gurgaon.

Opposition parties, however, did not support the idea and the plan fell through.

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