Dis­ney sets June date for open­ing of Shang­hai park

Pro­ject to be three times big­ger than Hong Kong ver­sion, say com­pany of­fi­cials

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - ByWANG ZHUOQIONG wangzhuo­qiong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Dis­ney­land theme park and re­sort in Shang­hai will open its doors on June 16, the Walt Dis­ney Com­pany and its Chi­nese part­ner said on Wed­nes­day.

Con­struc­tion work on the $5.5 bil­lion pro­ject, lo­cated in the Chuan­sha town­ship of Pudong New Area in Shang­hai, has been com­pleted, the two com­pa­nies said, adding that the theme park will be the first of its kind to use mo­bile tech­nolo­gies for crowd man­age­ment.

The Shang­hai Dis­ney­land, China’s big­gest for­eign in­vest­ment pro­ject till date, is a joint ven­ture be­tween the Walt Dis­ney Com­pany and Shang­hai Shendi Group. Dis­ney holds a 43 per­cent stake in the pro­ject, while the re­main­ing 67 per­cent is held by Shang­hai Shendi.

The theme park will fea­ture Dis­ney’s tallest cas­tle till date, two ho­tels, a pirate-themed park, shop­ping, din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas and a 40-hectare “Wish­ingS­tarPark” with nat­u­ral scenery.

The theme park’s tick­et­ing plan as well as other op­er­a­tionalde­tails will­bean­nounce­data later date, the com­pa­nies said.

The Shang­hai theme park is the United States-based Dis­ney’s first pro­ject on the Chi­nese main­land and will be three times the size of the theme park it set up in Hong Kong in 2005.

“Con­struc­tion of the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land — which in­volved the tal­ents of tens of thou­sands of tech­ni­cians and con­struc­tion work­ers — is en­ter­ing the ex­e­cu­tion pe­riod,” said Fan Xip­ing, chair­man of Shang­hai Shendi Group, adding “there’s still lots of work ahead be­fore the ac­tual open­ing”.

The park was orig­i­nally set to open at the end of last year. In April 2014, Dis­ney an­nounced an $800 mil­lion ex­pan­sion with ad­di­tional at­trac­tions. Main­tain­ing Dis­ney’s high con­struc­tion stan­dards has been a chal­lenge, Robert Iger, Dis­ney’s chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive said ear­lier.

One of the high­lights of the pro­ject is the lat­est tick­et­ing tech­nol­ogy that will en­able vis­i­tors to buy com­bined en­try and trans­port tick­ets that trans­port them to the front gate of the park via the sub­way. The re­sort has also cre­ated a mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion that no­ti­fies vis­i­tors in ad­vance of wait­ing­time­an­dother park-re­lated in­for­ma­tion.

The­newap­pli­ca­tion will also help in bet­ter crowd man­age­ment, said Jiang Yiyi. di­rec­tor of the China Tourism Academy’s In­ter­na­tional Tourism De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute.

The world’s largest the­mepark op­er­a­tor is tar­get­ing 330 mil­lion res­i­dents liv­ing in Shang­hai and its neigh­bor­ing cities. “Shang­hai and its neigh­bor­ing cities have a rich pool of po­ten­tial vis­i­tors to the theme park,” said Jiang.

How­ever, Dis­ney is also fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from other global theme park oper­a­tors in China. Uni­ver­sal Parks and Re­sorts has al­readyan­nounced plans to open a huge fa­cil­ity in Bei­jing. Com­pe­ti­tion is set to in­ten­sify fur­ther, said in­dus­try sources.

Jiang said there is a huge de­mand­inChina for high qual­ity theme park prod­ucts as seen in the more than 3 bil­lion do­mes­tic trips and 100 mil­lion out­bound trips last year.

The open­ing of the Dis­ney re­sort will boost theme park man­age­ment and im­prove the qual­ity of ser­vices and prod­ucts, she said.

Con­struc­tion of the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land is en­ter­ing the ex­e­cu­tion pe­riod.”

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