California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and now, mainland China. In a southeastern suburb of Shanghai, work has started on the sixth international Disney theme park. This one will have the largest Magic Kingdom of them all, according to the Daily Mail. It’s estimated that the park will cost £2.25 billion ($3.7 billion) and will attract 7.3 million visitors per year. The plans are to open in five years.
Bob Iger, chief executive at Disney, said the latest rendition will be “authentically Disney, but distinctly Chinese.” The building of this park in Shanghai comes almost 60 years after the original Disneyland in Anaheim was built. It took over 10 years of negotiations between Disney and the Chinese government before work began.
Image: Marc van der Chijs /Flickr
To make way for the project, residents of once-rural Chuansha were moved off farmland and relocated. According to the article, China has a poor history of successful theme parks, with many of them running at a loss and eventually shutting down. There will also be nearby competition, including a planned Legoland Park in Malaysia, a large amusement park in Singapore, and already-existing smaller theme parks in the Shanghai region.
Although Shanghai’s population is 22 million and the country recently hosted the 2010 World Expo which drew a record 72 million visitors, at 963 earmarked acres the Shanghai Disney park will be over three times as large as the Hong Kong one, which is struggling to remain profitable. We’re not sure how Disney is planning on making this massive new park a success, but after working on it for so many years we think they probably have something pretty fancy up their sleeve.