Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point Project Helmed by Joe Rohde

Disney Cruise Line officially announced their second tropical destination, Lighthouse Point, in The Bahamas, which if you’ve been following along, will be located at the southern tip of Eleuthera.

Florida Cruise Ports Castaway Cay Lighthouse Point Map

The new destination will celebrate both the stories of The Bahamas and the natural environment of Lighthouse Point itself.

“With three new ships joining our fleet, we thought this would be an incredible opportunity to add another unique destination to our ports of call. We looked all over The Bahamas and Caribbean for an ideal location that would enable us to create new experiences, while celebrating the culture of this amazing region,” Chapek said.

Disney tasked none other than Imagineer, Joe Rohde to take the helm for the Lighthouse Point development project in Eleuthera. Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, has embarked on an in-depth cultural tour of The Bahamas.

“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 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, and we will be working with artists of every kind, much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii, to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and imbued with Disney magic.”

With local artists such as Antonius Roberts and Kevin Cooper, as well as cultural experts, Rohde has explored cultural sites across New Providence and Eleuthera, from Junkanoo shacks to noted art galleries. 

Joe points out that Disney will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment and will be working with local artists to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and filled with Disney magic.

Lighthouse Point will have a seaside adventure camp feel with authentic Bahamian influence similar to the work done when designing Aulani. A dreamlike landscape with a combination of art and nature will be the overall aesthetic, not a pirate cove or some other generic island vibe. Below are some artist renderings of Lighthouse Point.

DCL Lighthouse Point Beach D23 Expo
DCL Lighthouse Point Rendering 1
DCL Lighthouse Point Rendering 2

Construction 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.

March 11, 2019 Disney Cruise Line completed the Lighthouse Point purchase, and signed a Heads of Agreement with the Bahamian Government. The Heads of Agreement is a contract that guides the responsible and sustainable way the site will be developed.

This is a look at the early site plan that was distributed around Eleuthera earlier this year before the sale of the land was completed.

Lighthouse Point Town Hall Handout Conceputal Land Use Study 2 20180912

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.

You can see the full announcement with Joe Rohde via following video posted on YouTube by The DIS.

The following is a transcript of the Lighthouse Point announcement featuring Joe Rohde with an introduction by Bob Chapek.

— Bob Chapek —
Since, 1998 Disney Cruise Line has brought Disney stories to life with dazzling experiences amazing entertainment and world-class service. In fact, there’s no better way to be fully immersed in Disney than by taking a voyage with us, and we’re so excited that Disney Cruise Line was recently voted the world’s best cruise line in its category by readers of Travel and Leisure. And of course we also create some magic off our ships with experiences at our port of call, including our very own Castaway Key. It’s one of our most popular destinations and it was voted top Cruise Line private island four years in a row by Cruise Critic.

Now as you know we’re adding three new ships to our fleet, and we thought this would be an incredible opportunity to add another unique destination to our ports of call. So, we scoured the Bahamas and the Caribbean for an ideal location that would enable us to create all new magic while celebrating the unique culture of this amazing region. And today, I’m beyond excited to officially share the location of this new Disney owned and managed port of call, it’s known as Lighthouse Point to those of the Bahamas and it’s found on the breathtaking island of Eleuthera.

We are creating a one-of-a-kind destination that aligns with our company’s long-standing and deep commitment to the environment while creating economic opportunity and strengthening the community on the island of Eleuthera.

Now isn’t that beautiful!

I have to say we’re only able to bring this experience to you thanks to the extraordinary people of the Bahamas, and in particular the people of Eleuthera. And today, I want to acknowledge two very special guests who helped make this project a reality the Honourable Dionisio D’Aguilar, Tourism Minister of The Bahamas, and Joshua Sears, Senior Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister of The Bahamas.

— Joe Rohde —
Good morning everybody!

Lighthouse Point, this Lighthouse Point site first of all is gigantic, and it is so beautiful so full of nature we want to focus on preserving that nature and use our designs to call attention to the extraordinary quality of the place itself.

If you just look at these pictures of the rock forms that are all along the edge of this island you can see how this place already has this magic spell all its own.

So we’re going to create a kind of seaside adventure camp that touches very lightly on the surface of this extraordinary land we’ve already begun capturing visual samples of trees, flowers, fish, birds, bug, shells, [and] sand.

This is going to become the inspiration for the colors of the patterns in all of our designs we want to draw attention to the natural beauty of Lighthouse Point and will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment because that’s what creates that beauty.

Sharing this story is really important to us. Disney has maintained a 60-year long commitment to environmental stewardship we’ve acted upon it in big and small ways all around the world the most obvious example being the Disney Conservation Fund which now has awarded more than 75-million dollars in grants to conservation programs all around the world including the Bahamas.

So The Bahamas is not just a place of stunning natural beauty, there’s also a fascinating cultural tradition of food, music, storytelling, dance, and the island of Eleuthera in particular where Lighthouse Point sits is full of artists.

So we’ll be working with painters and sculptors, musicians, storytellers, weavers, artists of every kind. Much like we did with Aulani in Hawaii to create a completely unique destination that is saturated with Bahamian culture, and then imbued with Disney magic.

Just for example in the Bahamas there’s a traditional celebration that’s called Junkadoo. Junkanoo. It’s
a seasonal celebration it happens in the winter, but the people who create the artwork that supports it they work all year round and they create these extraordinary huge colorful really really inventive costumes and floats.

So, we visited several of their studios to check in, to see what kind of work they were doing. The works amazing, but was
more incredible is to see the way that their work mirrors exactly the way we work at Imagineering there is a sense of collaboration, teamwork, a clear sense of theme, clever use of materials, a profound awareness of course of an audience.

So this seems really like a fertile thing to look at. We’ll be working with all kinds of artists, including some fine artists with international reputations, but these guys, our linchpin is to collaborate with these unsung heroes of the art world of the Bahamas the creators of these amazing Junkanoo costumes so you can expect like a lot of this vibe at Lighthouse Point.

We’ve been going back and forth for a while. Anybody who looks at Instagram, if you really look carefully you can see. And some of you might know that I occasionally sketch, and I’ve been leaving the trail of sketches around the Bahamas just the people you know going about their lives doing their thing all these that we’re dealing with because this project like Aulani is about people.

I mentioned collaboration already if this is going to be authentic that it has to be a collaborative enterprise. It has to be something that we do together with Bahamian artists and thinkers we’ve already been discussing ideas with creative leaders there identifying the best ways for us to come together and share this rich fascinating culture with our guests.

This is Antonius Roberts on the left Kevin Cooper on the right. Antonius is an internationally recognized master from Nassau, Kevin Cooper is from Eleuthera they’re anchoring our effort to find enlist local creative community of artists so that we can bring the best and welcome wealth to this project and really make it sing.

Now I believe that the spirit of the team infuses the spirit of a project. So this stuff is important and this team has been really fun to work with, these are great guys that fun will be passed on to you.

The end result, will be a place not like any other. Not a replica of some old Bahamian town. Not a pirate fantasy, but a dream like landscape of adventure by the sea where art and nature combine with Disney magic to create a destination that can only exist in one place, here at Lighthouse Point.

What do you think about Lighthouse Point?

9 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point Project Helmed by Joe Rohde”

  1. Paul

    The more I look at the photos the more I think this looks more like Aulani and less like Castaway Cay. I guess that’s the point, two contrasting destinations. Biggest contrast so far – How close the ship is to the beach of Castaway Cay and how far away it is from the beach of Lighthouse Point.

  2. Michael

    Judging from the concept painting, it appears the beach has moved to the east shore of the point. I recall in early reports it was on the west side, closer to the pier. I guess they’ll be running trams like at Castaway Cay

  3. beth

    Thrilled that Joe Rohde is heading up this project! He is so thorough with details and incorporating nature and the entire culture into places!!

  4. ddey

    Best would be to move all Disney sites and docked ship out of view from lighthouse point (this would not be hard todo). Then give the surrounding two beaches of the point to the government as a national park (instead of the chunk of land north of lighthouse point). The Government can then Charge $10 a day pass to lighthouse point. This would make money to protect other beaches on this island from development and everyone else on the 100+ miles of Eleuthera can still visit without seeing 100’s of people wondering around. I doubt most Disney cruise ship passenger’s would want to walk a mile to see lighthouse where as most people staying on the island will drive 100 miles to see it.

  5. Margot

    Anybody at Disney reading these comments…. Can we ban “bad” sunscreens that kill reefs? And supply the few “good” ones? Hey Bahamian government! you could do it too. Small thing but big impact?! Just sayin’

  6. Dave Gregory

    I curse you Disney [expletive deleted] for destroying this beautiful beach. No doubt Joe Rohde will turn this place into a horrible mutilated mess that looks worse than his own left ear.


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