Disney Cruise Line unveiled its conceptual renderings of what the experience at Lighthouse Point in South Eleuthera will be like for its cruise guests, explaining in a press statement after the unveiling that the development will celebrate the “culture and spirit of The Bahamas”.
During Disney’s D23 Expo in California yesterday, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde laid out the plans for Lighthouse Point. “Together, they have explored arts and cultural sites across New Providence and Eleuthera, from Junkanoo shacks to noted art galleries,” Disney said.
According to the press statement, Rohde has done work on the company’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando and Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, Aulani. The statement adds that Disney has been working with Eleuthera artist Kevin Cooper and internationally recognized artist Antonius Roberts.
“The Bahamas offers a fascinating, multicultural tradition of food, music, dance and storytelling,” Rohde said.
“Eleuthera in particular is home to many artists and we will be working with painters, sculptors, writers, storytellers, musicians, weavers and artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a completely unique experience that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic.”
Cooper said in the release that working with Disney is becoming one of the highlights of his professional career.
“Capturing the spirit of Eleuthera is really about the people,” he said.
“Together, we are going to be able to create something that is very special.”
Roberts added: “The essence of Bahamian art is color, the essence is rhythm, the essence is storytelling and our art reflects the spirit of our people. Disney has shown they understand the importance of engaging Bahamians and allowing us to share our stories and love for our country. I have seen how this input is influencing the direction of the design concept for this project and if there is any organization in the world that can celebrate the best of a place and appreciate and respect the best of its people, it’s Disney.”
At D23, Disney said it revealed two conceptual renderings of what Lighthouse Point could be after its development.
“The Lighthouse Point site is so beautiful and so full of nature that we want to preserve this and use our designs to call attention to the extraordinary quality of the place itself – a place of stunning natural beauty with a rich and fascinating cultural tradition,” Rohde said. “We will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment that creates this beauty.”
Conservationists have been greatly concerned about the impact Disney’s building of a pier for its cruise ships will have on the environment, but Disney contends it will use sound construction techniques and designs for the pier.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar called the deal with Disney a model one, explaining that the agreement calls for preservation of the natural environment.
The government and Disney signed a heads of agreement for the project in March of this year.
“Disney has done a tremendous job of following through on the commitments it made by taking a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to its environmental impact assessment, engaging directly with the people of South Eleuthera and creative communities and maintaining an open dialogue with civic and business leaders in order to maximize future opportunities for Bahamians,” said D’Aguilar.