Disney Cruise Line Shares New Details about Eleuthera Project

Disney Cruise Line Shares New Details about Eleuthera Project 

Second Island Destination will Celebrate the Culture of The Bahamas


ANAHEIM, Calif. (Aug. 25, 2019) – Today at the D23 Expo, in front of an audience of thousands of Disney fans and international media, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek and Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde shared new details about how Disney Cruise Line’s plans at Lighthouse Point will celebrate the culture and spirit of The Bahamas.

Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando and Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, has embarked on an in-depth cultural tour of the Bahamas to meet with local artists and cultural advisers. Together, they have explored arts and cultural sites across New Providence and Eleuthera, from Junkanoo shacks to noted art galleries. 

“The Bahamas offers a fascinating multi-cultural 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.”

Kevin Cooper, a master artist from Eleuthera and Antonius Roberts, an internationally recognized master artist from Nassau, are anchoring Disney’s efforts to work with the local creative community.


“Capturing the spirit of Eleuthera is really about the people,” Cooper said. “Our people bring to the table their history, their culture, their food, their dance and more. Working in collaboration with Disney and with other artists is turning into one of the highlights of my 30-year career. Together, we are going to be able to create something that is very special.”


“The essence of Bahamian art is color, the essence is rhythm, the essence is storytelling and our art reflects the spirit of our people,” Roberts added. “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.”

As part of the event, Disney shared two early conceptual renderings to show how the design will be influenced by both the natural environment of Lighthouse Point and the culture of Eleuthera and The Bahamas more broadly. 

“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.”


Disney Cruise Line completed its purchase of privately owned Lighthouse Point earlier this year and signed an agreement with the Government of The Bahamas that guides the responsible and sustainable way the site will be developed. 


The Bahamian government negotiated a model agreement with Disney – preserving the natural environment of Lighthouse Point and the culture of The Bahamas while growing economic opportunities for Bahamians,” said Bahamas Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, who attended the event. “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.


Disney has committed to develop less than 20 percent of the property; employ sustainable building practices, including an open-trestle pier that eliminates the need to dredge a ship channel; establish environmental monitoring programs during construction and operation; and donate more than 190 acres of privately owned land to Government, among other commitments.


Through the Disney Conservation Fund, Disney has provided more than $13 million to marine conservation programs around the globe, including several in The Bahamas. Since 2007, Disney has been directly involved in leading a multiyear initiative to protect and rehabilitate coral reefs in The Bahamas and will continue to work with leading conservation organizations and communities to protect special places there. 


Work at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and accepted by the Government of The Bahamas and public consultation has occurred. Construction could begin in 2020 with completion in late 2022 or 2023. 


Disney’s own internal team of animal and conservation experts is working closely with a highly qualified team of Bahamians and an experienced international firm to develop a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan that align with Disney’s company’s deep and longstanding commitment to the environment.