Friday, April 3, 2009

Disney Comes to Pedro

Some good economic news for the South Bay: Disney Cruises will move the Wonder cruise ship from Florida to the San Pedro - Los Angeles harbor starting January 1, 2011. Disney's series of cruises to the Mexican Riviera will create 2600 new state and local jobs, 130 of which will be reserved for the always powerful longshoremen's union, and attract an estimated $7 million in state and local tax revenue. (The article says $47 M, but two previous articles say $7M, so the realist in me says that's a typo editorial didn't catch.)

It is open to question how much of that tourist revenue San Pedro will retain as it is likely Disney will shuttle the boat's occupants straight to Anaheim, Land of Enchantment, before their merry little feet have had a chance to scatter any of that green pixie dust on local ground. San Pedro has been trying to gentrify the waterfront for at least a decade with local galleries hosting a Thursday night ArtWalk, caf├ęs, and development projects like the recession-prone, near-empty Vue condominiums, but for now it remains a colorful, working class area of the port city, home to renters, not owners.

Maybe the Vue could get hooked into this Disney project and provide short-term accommodations more central to SoCal's other tourist destinations. An ocean view with a shuttle ride beats suffering in the alternately sweltering or gray and humid, stagnant atmosphere of land-locked Anaheim through which the aroma of highways and french fries has been officially mandated to waft at all times.

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