Approved!! – Mother Russia Is Getting Its Own Disneyland, Finally

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May 12 2015
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With Russia still struggling after the collapse of oil prices, Putin administration needs to keep his people happy while feeding his expanding military forces. Although the oil prices have recovered ever since, it’s still too far away from the peak of US$110 a barrel. Putin wants his people to forget about the economic problem – by boosting domestic spending. And in order to make them spend, they’ve to be happy consumers in the first place.

Russia Moscow Landmark Building

You can practically get everything in Russia, from endless of vodka to expensive iPhone. But there’s something clearly missing in Moscow – a Disneyland-like amusement park. That just doesn’t make sense, considering Russia is one of the top three superpowers in the world, after United States and China. The idea of creating a “Children’s Wonderland” in Moscow first surfaced for as far back as in 1961.


Since then the concept or idea has remains as it is – an idea without a concrete decision. In the 1990s, 3 million-square-meters of land was allocated for construction of an amusement park through a non profit under the leadership of sculptor Zurab Tserateli. The project failed to pass an environmental test. In 2005, Tserateli revived the idea, proposed an amusement park in northwest Moscow.

Russia Moscow Disneyland - Zurab Tserateli

The 81-year-old Zurab Tserateli had actually committed tens of thousands of dollars on the area, constructing a car service centre, a concrete factory and other structures a sculptor could think of, but never a real amusement park. In 2007, surprisingly Moscow’s authorities confiscated the territory where the centre was to be constructed, after an inspection found that it was being used illegally.


Then in 2013, the supposedly Moscow Disneyland, to be developed by the South Korean Lotte Group and would have taken up 51-hectare and contained a theme park, an aqua park, hotels, retail space and car parks, had been abandoned. Sergey Kuznetsov, Moscow’s main architect, had said such large-scale project would be better to be located outside the city.

Disneyland at Night

Some say a Russian Disneyland would never materialised as long as corruption plays a part in the project. But construction specialists say the main problem is Moscow’s cold climate, where temperature could drop to minus-30 Centigrade during the winter. While this is a huge problem for roller coaster fanatics, the country also has notorious safety record as far as theme park is concerned.


Commercially, Moscow’s harsh winters would eat into the profits of a Russian Disneyland since it can’t stop operating for more than 2-weeks a year. Moscow does have several smaller amusement parks and water park though, but they are not integrated, not to mention out of date. Perhaps the Russian government has finally come to its sense, and realize the benefits of such a tourist spot, not only for Russians but also to attract foreigners.

Russia Moscow Disneyland - Sochi Park HotelRussia Moscow Disneyland - Sochi Park European-class Amusements

Nevertheless, the closest Russians could get is their Sochi Park, built in the Imereti Valley for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Sochi Park became the largest amusement park in Russia, which the Russians desperately called the “Russian Disneyland”. It had a 13-meter-high carousel, 12 European-class amusements, merry-go-rounds, roller-coasters, souvenir shops and a 3,600 suites Azimut Hotel Sochi.

Russia Moscow Disneyland - Sochi Park Snake Attraction

Now, after 54 years of flip-flopping, Russians could finally have their own “real” Disneyland. Moscow’s urban planning commission has approved plans for a children’s amusement park, similar to the concept of Disneyland, to be built in the Nagatinskaya Poima park in south-eastern Moscow. According to the City Hall, the amusement park will include an indoor theme park operated by Hollywood animation studio DreamWorks.

Russia Moscow 2015 Disneyland - DreamWorks Partnership

The Russian latest version of Disneyland will have a total area of more than 290,000-square-meters. Besides DreamWorks, another park operated by Russian animator Soyuzmultfilm will be built, plus a movie theatre, cafes, shops and others. Apparently, much of the park’s territory will be developed as a public park, including a pedestrian zone along the bank of the Moscow River. Let’s hope this one takes off for real.


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