Lighthouse Point is a private resort complex and an exclusive cruise port for Disney ships on Eleuthera Island (Bahamas). The property was acquired by Disney Cruise Line in March 2019 (from the Bahamian government) and privately-developed (by The Walt Disney Company via the subsidiary Disney Parks & Resorts). The project's cost is expected to be between USD 250-400 million (~EUR 225-360M) for development works, with planned completion in 2022-Q4 or 2023-Q1.
The property (as acquired) was sized 750 acres (~3 km2 / 1 mi2), of which Walt Disney agreed to donate 190+ acres (77+ hectares, in the southernmost part) to Harbour Island Eleuthera/local government for creating a nature park.
Walt Disney's other/second private Bahamian island destination is Castaway Cay. Both exclusive Disney cruise ports in The Bahamas are managed by Walt Disney Company's subsidiary Disney Parks and Resorts. Statistics show that around 2/3 of all Disney voyages (208 itineraries in 2018) visit the Bahamas and that nearly 80% of these tourists are young families (with children under 18) and household income ~USD 136,000.
Eleuthera Island is located approx 80 km (50 mi) east of Bahamas' capital city Nassau (New Providence Island). Eleuthera has total land area approx 457 km2 (177 mi2), length 180 km (110 mi), max-width 1,6 km (1 mi), highest elevation 61 m (200 ft) and total population around 12,000. Island's biggest towns (as size) are Governor's Harbour, Tarpum Bay, and Rock Sound, while the largest (as population) are Dunmore Town, Spanish Wells, and Rock Sound. Eleuthera's best-known tourist attractions include pink-sand beaches, numerous caves, and diving sites (with amazing coral reefs), the Pineapple Festival (annually held in Gregory Town), Harbour Island (off Eleuthera's northeastern coast), Glass Window Bridge (an isthmus / narrow land separating the Atlantic Ocean from island's rocky coastline).
The island is served by North Eleuthera Airport with regularly-scheduled flights to the USA (Miami FL, Charlotte NC, Fort Lauderdale FL, Orlando FL) and mainland Bahamas (Nassau). Regular domestic flights also link to Governor's Harbour and Rock Sound. Seasonally-scheduled flights also connect to the USA (Tampa FL, Atlanta GA).
Disney Lighthouse Cay (private island cruise port and resort)
On March 7, 2019, behind closed doors, Disney and Bahamas secretly signed for Lighthouse Point an HoA (Heads of Agreement). On March 9, in Tarpum Bay, Bahamas' Prime Minister announced the deal at a town hall meeting, followed by an official government press release. On March 20, the HoA was tabled at the House of Assembly session. The revealed to the media contract described Walt Disney’s development plans for the Lighthouse Point property and both parties' concessions. The document was signed by Camille F Johnson (Bahamas) and Jeff Vahle (President of Disney Signature Experiences).
By the signed contract, Bahamas leased for 50 years (until 2069) the 750 acres / 303 hectares land (including part of the underwater seabed) for building a pier (cruise ship docking facility), marina and leisure facilities. The 50-year lease can be optionally renewed for another 50 years. The entire leased property is exclusive to Disney ships and customers only. The seabed was leased to Walt Disney at fixed annual rent USD 1,000 per acre for the first 10 years). For every other 10 years, a rent review will update/increase the lease pricing. Walt Disney agreed to comply with the Bahamas relevant to the construction project requirements, laws, and regulations and agreed to obtain all necessary for property's operation permits, licenses, and certificates from Bahamian local authorities.
Construction works will include building a Pier, Berth, Marina, dining and drink facilities, retail shopping facilities, spa facilities, recreational facilities (including themed buildings, playgrounds, attractions), maintenance facilities, facilities for the employees. Lighthouse Beach will be expanded and enhanced. A minimum of 120 Bahamians will be employed during the project's construction phase. It was estimated that after its completion, Disney Lighthouse Point will support between 120-150 permanent Bahamian jobs (horticulture, transportation, maintenance, security, entertainment, food and beverage services, lifeguards, recreation). Additionally, Disney will develop local training programs for Bahamians wishing to work at Lighthouse Point.
The 190-acre of land plus 2,5-acres of property's southernmost point will be donated (sold for US$10) to the Bahamian Government. Walt Disney will sponsor the building of a road (through state-owned land) and the construction of a car parking for Bahamians wishing to visit the leisure complex. The nearest to Lighthouse Point large settlement is Bannerman Town (to the northwest).
By the signed deal, Walt Disney is exempted from customs, excise, and stamp duties when imports/exports construction materials, plants, furnishings, machinery, equipment, and supplies for developing the property. Walt Disney was also exempted from any tax, assessment or imposition upon/against earnings and revenue derived from Lighthouse Point operations for 20 years after the cruise port destination opens for business.
Core elements of Disney's new Bahamas cruise port project include low-density development, sustainable design, free public access, economic opportunities for Bahamians, overall workers ratio 80-20% (Bahamian-foreign workers) during project's construction phase, creating 150 permanent jobs (with health benefits) for Bahamians after project's completion. Construction will start after the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Plan is reviewed and Gov approved.
More details on the newest Disney Bahamas project were revealed during D23 Expo 2022 (September 9-11). Lighthouse Point's amenities include numerous dining venues, shops, a large outdoor water playground, a cultural pavilion, large recreational center.
By Disney's Lighthouse Point project will be developed only ~1/5th of the property, and ~90% of the energy will be from solar-power installations.
Disney Lighthouse Point cruise terminal
By Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point project will be constructed 409 homes/homesites, 65 hotel-branded residences, 50 hotel rooms (suites), 60 condos, Boat Marina for homeowners (capacity 72 slips), Yacht Marina for mega-yachts (capacity 140 slips, Beach Club, tennis courts, 18-hole golf course (with Clubhouse), educational eco-center, dry stack boat storage. For the marinas, the existing salt ponds will be excavated out into the ocean.
By this project, Disney will develop ~1/5 of the property and will fit it with beach chairs, umbrellas, walkways, support structures, solar panels (as an alternative power source). 170 acres will be returned for conservation (public beach, nature park), 100+ acres of salt ponds will remain untouched. The entire leisure complex will be available to Bahamians every day and accessible via a Disney-built road.
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