If you live in an area of the United States outside of Florida and California, you’ve probably heard rumors or stories at one time or another that a Disney park was considered to be built in your area.
One community in Texas, however, paid dearly for the idea that the next Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort would come to their area.
Plano’s Thomas W. Lucas Jr. once carried out a heist that left many investors and community members in the North Texas area absolutely stunned. Of course, he didn’t get away with it.
From 2006 to 2010, Lucas raised more than $60 million from hundreds of investors by convincing them he had “insider knowledge” about a brand new Disney Park and Resort coming to the area. “Frontier Disney DFW”, as it was called, was to have several theme parks, a water park, a new airport, a maglev train, hotels, villas, sports facilities and a shopping mall. Lucas’ presentations even included elaborate maps, floor plans and models of the property that would become the state of Texas’ biggest tourist attraction.
The only problem? None of this was true. Disney employees testified at his trial that there were never any plans to develop a property in Texas.
The scheme tricked two types of investors: those who invested in options to buy land near the bogus development and those who actually bought land near the property, Courthouse News reports said.
Ultimately, Lucas was sentenced to 17.5 years in federal prison on seven counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to an FBI agent by Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith in September. 2015. He was ordered to pay $8.5 million in restitution. .
Lucas is currently serving his sentence, which will end in 2033.
There is a current trend around social media where many fans and political leaders are offering their states for Walt Disney World Resort to move into, but we encourage you to be extra careful if you ever receive a call from a private investor claiming having insider information about an upcoming Disney park and resort in your community because most likely it’s not real or satisfying, as good as it sounds.
Have you ever heard that story of Thomas Lucas in the fake Disney park that was never meant to be?
Let Academy Travel’s team of experts help you plan your next magical vacation at the water parks of Disney World, four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – and the shopping and dining district of Disney Springs! Or how about a trip to Disneyland Resort to experience Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure, as well as the shopping and dining district of Downtown Disney!