Lao entrepreneurs boldly invoke Disney name in unaffiliated theme park project.

B63XJ2 The central monument at Buddha Park, aka Spirit City or Xieng Khuan, on the banks of the Mekong River, Vientiane, Laos
Credit: © Chris Hellier / Alamy Stock Photo

Disney Adventures offers tours of Laos with stops at Mount Phousi and an organic rice farm. One place they probably won’t be visiting—Disney Laos.

That’s because the amusement park—which includes planned “cartoon character parks,” a water park, and other recreation—is not actually the latest link in Disney’s chain of theme parks in Asia. The Disney Laos amusement park is not a Disney property at all, but rather an unaffiliated project currently under construction by Lao entrepreneurs who have a hazy understanding of global intellectual property law.

“If it’s called ‘Disney Laos,’ then that should be permitted. But Disneyland? That would be copyright infringement,” Somjith Aliyaphaphone, a Lao investor in the theme park, told the GlobalPost. “We think that’s the case, anyways. But, yes, we’re worried about lawsuits.”

Despite the concern over potential legal action, Disney Laos has already broken ground on its future site in Thakhaek, the capital city of the Khammuan province. The group backing the project has announced its plans on Laos’s state-run media site and stated they hope to complete construction and open in the next seven to 10 years—which leaves plenty of time for Disney’s lawyers to explain international trademark law to them.

Disney told the GlobalPost that they currently have “no plans for the region at this time.” Travelers to Laos will simply have to find other ways to amuse themselves in the country, which is filled with incredible food, mysterious pots, and much, much more.

As for travelers interested in an authentic Disney experience in Asia: both Hong Kong and Tokyo have official theme parks.