Shanghai Disneyland set for June opening
Updated: 2016-01-15 07:43
By Wang Zhuoqiong(China Daily Europe)
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse interact with onlookers at the unveiling of the Shanghai Disney Resort model last year. [Photo by Gao Erqiang / China Daily]
Shanghai's Disneyland will open its doors on June 16, The Walt Disney Co and its Chinese partner announced on Jan 13.
Construction has already been completed on the $5.5 billion site in Chuansha, which lies in the city's southeast, the companies said, adding that the park will be the first to use mobile technologies for crowd management.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, China's biggest-ever foreign investment project, is a joint venture between Disney, which holds a 43 percent stake, and Shanghai Shendi Group.
The theme park will feature Disney's tallest castle, two hotels, as well as shopping, dining and entertainment areas and a 40-hectare Wishing Star Park with natural scenery.
Details about ticketing and other operational factors have yet to be announced.
One of the highlights of the project is the ticketing technology, which the companies say will allow visitors to buy combined entry and transport tickets that take them to the front gates via Shanghai Metro. The resort will also provide a mobile app that notifies visitors of waiting times and other park information.
The app will help with crowd management, says Jiang Yiyi, director of the China Tourism Academy's International Tourism Development Institute.
Shanghai Disneyland is the California-based company's first project on the Chinese mainland and will be three times the size of its park in Hong Kong, which opened in 2005.
Although construction has entered "the execution period", Fan Xiping, chairman of Shanghai Shendi, says there is "still lots of work ahead before the actual opening".
The park was originally scheduled to open at the end of 2015. But in April 2014, Disney announced an $800 million expansion to the plan, with additional attractions.
Robert Iger, chairman and chief executive of Disney, said earlier that maintaining the US company's high construction standards has been proving a challenge.
Disney will be hoping its latest park can draw a large number of visitors from the 330 million people living in Shanghai and in neighboring provinces.
Yet the company will face competition. Universal Parks and Resorts has announced plans to open a large park in Beijing, and other major players are expected to follow them into the mainland market, according to industry insiders.
Jiang says there is huge demand in China for high-quality theme park products, as evidenced by the more than 3 billion domestic trips and 100 million outbound trips made by Chinese in 2015.
(China Daily European Weekly 01/15/2016 page15)