“Today marks a significant milestone in the history of The Walt Disney Company,” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company. “Our Shanghai resort will be a world-class family vacation destination that combines classic Disney characters and storytelling with the uniqueness and beauty of China. Working with our Chinese partners, the Shanghai Disney Resort will be both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”
The Walt Disney Company and joint venture partner Shanghai Shendi Group broke ground on Thursday, 7 April, 2011 on the Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney resort in mainland China (Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 but is not on the mainland). The new Shanghai Disney Resort is slated to open in approximately five years. Upon completion the Shanghai Disney Resort will be home to Shanghai Disneyland, the world’s 6th Disney theme park.
Thursday’s groundbreaking paid homage to the culture and people of China. Mickey Mouse even wore a traditional Chinese costume to the event, which included traditional Chinese drum music, a 50-voice Shanghai children’s choir and a female soloist singing in Mandarin. Iger was joined by Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng and Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng to officially break ground for the project which has been approved by the Chinese central government in Beijing.
The groundbreaking represents an initial investment of approximately 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.7 billion) to build the theme park and an additional 4.5 billion yuan (US$0.7 billion) to build the other aspects of the resorts, including the hotels and the retail, dining and entertainment area. The investment amounts will be split between Disney and the Shanghai Shendi Group with Disney holding 43 percent of the shares of the owner companies and the Shanghai Shendi Group holding the remaining 57 percent. Financing will be proportional to ownership. In addition, a joint venture management company responsible for creating, developing and operating the resort will be formed with Disney having a 70 percent stake and Shanghai Shendi Group having a 30 percent stake.
“We’re incredibly excited to build a Disney resort in Shanghai, one of the world’s most vibrant cities,” said Staggs. “We are hard at work designing Shanghai Disneyland, which when complete will be a special place where guests of all ages will discover a world of imagination, creativity, adventure and thrills.”
On Opening Day in 2016, the Shanghai Disney Resort will be located on a 963 acre (3.9 square kilometer) site in Pudong, Shanghai. The resort will include Shanghai Disneyland, two themed hotels, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities, a lake, and parking and transportation hubs as well as plenty of room to expand.
Shanghai Disneyland will be a Magic Kingdom-style park that will blend the classic Disney storytelling and characters with all-new attractions and experiences tailored specifically for the Chinese audience. The heart of the park will be an interactive Disney castle offering entertainment, dining and performance experiences unique to Shanghai Disneyland. A beautiful, 11 acre (46,130 square meter) green space at the center of the theme park will also differentiate Shanghai Disneyland from the world’s other Disney theme parks. Shanghai Disneyland will feature several themed lands, complete with the exciting, iconic Disney attractions and experiences fans around the globe have come to expect form the Magic Kingdom.
Disney has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with China. Disney’s first animation screened in China in the 1930s. Today, Disney offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou employ more than 1000 individuals in a broad range of businesses including publishing, broadcast, mobile, web, retail and its English language program, Disney English which launched in 2008. Nearly 24 hours of Disney television programming is now available in China every week, reaching 300-360 million people every month.