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Disney blames theme park spending for cancellation of National Harbor hotel project

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Disney has blamed the cancellation of its ambitious National Harbor hotel project near Washington D.C. on the level of capital spending at its various theme park resorts.

The company purchased a 15-acre plot on the site of the $2 billion National Harbor development in 2008 for $11 million, and planned to construct a large-scale resort hotel. However, the Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney has now dropped the project due to pressure from shareholders to rein in its spending.

Disney has invested $2.7 billion this year on a range of projects, including the expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the continuing overhaul of Disney California Adventure and initial construction on Shanghai Disneyland. The company has also launched the Disney Dream cruise ship and the Aulani Resort in Hawaii. It has also announced plans to add a land based on James Cameron's Avatar movies to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The backers of the National Harbor project have pointed to the wider economic environment as the reason for Disney's decision, with lending conditions for hotel operators currently weak.

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