Shanghai Disneyland Officially Opens Today – Everything You Need To Know

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Jun 16 2016
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After spending a staggering US$5.5 billion (£3.88 billion; RM22.5 billion), Shanghai Disneyland is officially open today. Covering an area of about 4-square-km in the town of Chuansha in Shanghai’s Pudong New Area, it features a theme park and two themed hotels. The new resort is Walt Disney Company’s sixth worldwide.

Shanghai Disneyland - Mickey Mouse Clock

The Shanghai Disneyland is part of Shanghai Disneyland Resort, which in turns is 57% owned by the Shanghai municipal government, with the rest owned by Disney, the US media and entertainment giant. The company has a 70% stake in the resort’s management company, with the city government owning the remaining 30%.


When the construction of the Shanghai Disneyland started in April 2011, there were debates whether the new amusement park will cannibalize Walt Disney’s fifth Disneyland – Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Although Disney says the market is enough to support multiple parks, the fact remains Hong Kong would get the beatings.

Robert A. Iger - Chairman and CEO of Walt Disney Company

Attendance at Hong Kong Disneyland dropped sharply in the 12 months ending September 2015, the park has said, falling to 6.8 million from a record high of 7.5 million in 2014. Hotel occupancy declined to 80% from 93%. The facility – which is 52% owned by Hong Kong’s government and 48% by Disney – reported a loss of about US$20 million.


Shanghai Disneyland’s massive size – about 3 times that of its cousin, 11-year-old Hong Kong Disneyland, would definitely be a rival to beat. The park is targeting about 15 million visitors a year. That should not be an impossible mission considering a whopping 330-million people live within 3-hour drive of the park.

Shanghai Disneyland - Performers take part in a Parade

What are the major attractions offered by Shanghai Disneyland? Apart from the largest Disney castle anywhere in the world, the US$5.5 billion park’s big draws include the company’s first Pirates of the Caribbean-themed land and longest parade route of any of the six theme parks. But that’s not the reason why you want to visit Shanghai Disneyland.


Unlike its other international parks in Tokyo, Hong Kong or Paris, the Disneyland in Shanghai is about mainland China – less Westernized but more towards cultural imperialism – at least that’s what Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger tries to sell it. “We didn’t just build Disneyland in China; we built China’s Disneyland,” – Mr. Iger said.

Shanghai Disneyland - Walt Disney Theatre

To prove his claim, certain features were taken out completely because they were “too American”. Hey, if you want a clone of Walt Disney World Resort from Florida, the Chinese might as well fly over to the United States. After all, money is no problem to the Chinese. Therefore, you can’t find “Main Street, U.S.A.”, which was replaced with Mickey Avenue.


However, as much as they tried, the park still consists of 80% Disney and 20% Chinese. There’re heroes of Marvel Comics and Star Wars, the two-tiered Tomorrowland, TRON Lightcycle Power Run, Indiana Jones-style cave, Peter Pan’s Flight, Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, the Once Upon a Time Adventure and Adventure Isle (renamed from Adventureland)

Shanghai Disneyland - Snow White

There isn’t any monorail or bullet train service too. Shanghai Disneyland also tries to relate the Garden of the 12 Friends with Chinese 12 zodiac animals. Hence, there is Hamm the pig from “Toy Story”, Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” and “Jolly Holiday Lambs” in the “Jolly Holiday” song in “Mary Poppins.”


As for food, resort managers say 70% of the fare on offer is Chinese, with another 20% categorized as Asian. Naturally, getting hotdog is harder than finding dim sum breakfast, Asian BBQ ribs and vegetarian dishes. Shanghai Disneyland Hotel’s rooms start at around US$250 (£177; RM1,026) a night, while the kid-friendly Toy Story Hotel starts at US$130 (£92; RM533) a night.

Shanghai Disneyland - Alice in Wonderland Maze

How about ticket prices? A daily ticket to the theme park will cost 499 yuan (HK$590; US$75; £54; RM310) during peak times, such as holidays and weekends, and 370 yuan (HK$436; US$56; £40; RM230) on other days. There’s a package for a family of three wanting to spend a weekend at the resort – 2 days of touring its attractions with 1 night’s stay at one of its hotels – 7,000 yuan.


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