$7.8b Shanghai Disneyland to open on June 16
THE US$5.5 billion (S$7.8 billion) Shanghai Disneyland in the Pudong district, which has been in the making for almost five years, will open on June 16, Chinese and foreign media reported.
Ticket prices and other operating plans will be revealed later, the California-based Walt Disney company and China's state-owned Shanghai Shendi consortium, which co-own the resort, have announced.
Previously, there was speculation that entrance prices would be between 300 yuan (S$65) and 400 yuan, reported the South China Morning post.
Walt Disney owns a 70 per cent stake in the company which will run the park while Shanghai Shendi holds the rest.
As for the division in property, Disney owns 43 per cent and Shanghai Shendi 57 per cent, Bloomberg reported.
The 3.9 sq km area that will be open to the public is just the first phase of the project and is slightly smaller than Sentosa but almost three times bigger than the Hong Kong Disneyland.
According to Shanghai's Eastmoney financial news website, phase one is forecast to attract 15.6 million visitors per year, with a projection of more than double that number when the resort is completed.
Eastmoney also predicts that the park will boost annual retail growth in Shanghai by more than 4 per cent.
Chinese academics say the park could contribute US$3.3 billion to the city's economy every year and account for 1 per cent of its annual gross domestic product, reported Agence France-Presse.
The park was originally slated to open last year, with the date later pushed to the upcoming Chinese New Year next month.
It will feature everything from an Enchanted Storybook Castle - the tallest in any Disney park - to a Toy Story-themed hotel and a Grand Theatre featuring a Chinese-language production of the Broadway hit The Lion King.
But Walt Disney also says the park will reflect China's own culture.
Said Disney chairman and chief executive Robert Iger: "When it opens in June, Shanghai Disney Resort will be a one-of-a-kind, world-class destination that is authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.
"The resort reflects Disney's legendary storytelling along with China's rich culture and showcases some of the most creative and innovative experiences we've ever created."
The project was first envisioned in the 2000s when Chinese President Xi Jinping was a rising official in Shanghai.
Last year, Mr Xi told US business executives that he supported the venture at the time, helping it to get under way when other officials were pushing for a more Chinese culture-based project.
"I voted yes for Disney," he recounted, "because China needs a diverse culture-based entertainment market."