Just weeks after Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans for a new, Texas-themed resort, those plans are in jeopardy. The town of Disney, Oklahoma, has filed a lawsuit against the Disney company over the new resort, halting construction.
With a population of less than 400, the quiet town of Disney, Oklahoma, sits on an island at the southwestern end of the Great Lake of the Cherokees in northeastern Oklahoma. In fact, the residents there often refer to the town as “Disney Island.” Despite the town having no connection with the Disney Company, or with Walt Disney himself, it has often had to deal with the association and notoriety the name brings. Residents report visitors to the town mistaking it for Walt Disney’s birthplace, and overzealous Mickey Mouse fans repeatedly stealing town limit and “Welcome to Disney” signs.
Construction of Disneyland Texas Resort
As reported by Uncle Walt’s Insider on October 15, Disney Parks and Resorts announced recently the development of over sixty thousand acres of land near Chickasha (pronounced “CHICK-uh-SHAY”), Oklahoma, into a new resort destination. The long-rumored Disneyland Texas Resort would feature theme parks, golf, water parks, and six different resort hotels themed to the six nations that have ruled over the state of Texas. The Lone Star-themed resort was also announced to include a Disney first: a casino, allowed because of the tribal jurisdiction over part of the property.
Disney fans worldwide, but particularly in the central portion of the United States, were elated that a new vacation destination was in the works. Families were already making plans to visit the resort — and its announced “world’s largest Buc-ee’s” — when it opened in 2019. But the existence of the whole resort project is now in jeopardy.
Town claims confusion, loss of revenue, improper selection process
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, the Town of Disney claims permanent harm to its own name if the project is allowed to proceed. They have been granted a temporary injunction halting construction, and are seeking to have the project permanently shut down.
“Disney, Oklahoma, has been around since the 1930’s,” says Mayor Chris Tuter. “We’ve been here since before Disneyland, and way before Walt Disney World. And every time someone says,’Hey, we’re going to Disney!’, do we ever see anything from that? Not a penny. We’re tired of being ignored.”
Apparently the location of the proposed resort was the final straw. Tulsa attorney Debbi Helge, who is representing the town in the proceedings, tells Uncle Walt’s Insider, “My client has been extremely tolerant with the Disney Company using the town’s good name to promote their properties in California, Florida, and around the world. But with this project, they are encroaching on my client’s right to exclusive use of the Disney name in Oklahoma.”
Mayor Tuter added, “It’s bad enough that they’re building a Texas-themed resort in Oklahoma, but Chickasha? Really? I mean you’ve got a town already named Disney and you don’t even ask us if we’re interested?” When reminded that the town had limited land availability, being located on an island, Tuter mumbled, “We would’ve figured something out. It just hurts not to be asked.”
The American Automobile Association, or AAA, has joined the lawsuit, citing the probability of future confusion and annoyance when their members request TripTiks with “Disney in Oklahoma” as their destination.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!