Shanghai Disney to open doors next year

Shanghai Disney to open doors next year

The opening of Shanghai Disney, previously expected to be at the end of this year, has been postponed until next spring, according to Robert Iger, chief executive of The Walt Disney Co.

The delayed opening is a combination of further attractions being added, costing an extra US$800 million (S$1.08 billion), and the benefits of moving the event closer to China's Lunar New Year holidays in early February, said bloggers following the announcement.

The massive theme park is a joint venture between Disney and China's State-owned Shanghai Shendi Group.

"Even with that expansion, we will complete major construction by the end of this calendar year," said Iger, as he delivered Walt Disney Co Ltd's earnings for its first fiscal quarter ended Dec 27, which showed that diluted earnings per share increased 23 per cent to US$1.27 from US$1.03 in the prior-year quarter.

"We are planning a spectacular grand opening in the spring of 2016, which we believe is the optimal time to showcase the full grandeur of this world-class destination."

Shanghai Construction Group Co Ltd, one of Shanghai Disney Resort's major contractors, said in early December that the first phase of the park would be completed by the end of last month. Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong claimed that the basic construction of the site and its auxiliary projects will be mostly completed by 2015, at a meeting in late January.

Worth a total investment of US$5.5 billion, the resort is expected to generate 33.6 billion yuan (US$5.38 billion) of profit for Shanghai annually, which would equate to 1.6 per cent of the city's gross domestic product in 2013, said Du Changchun, a researcher at Northeast Securities Co Ltd.

It has already been credited with boosting Shanghai's realty development and property prices, said Catherine Chen, manager of research, Cushman & Wakefield Shanghai branch.

Average apartment prices in the Chuansha area, where the Disney facility is being built, surged to 28,331 yuan (US$4,534) per square meter by the end of 2014, about 25 per cent year-on-year growth, and 70 per cent higher than that of 2011 when construction started, according to data from Dooioo Property, a Shanghai-based realty services provider.

"The opening of the Disney Resort is expected to drive retail service growth in its neighborhood as well as retail property prices, adding to the diversity of Shanghai's retail service landscape," Chen said.

Located in the Pudong district, the developers claim Shanghai Disney will feature classic Disney storytelling and characters blended with brand-new experiences tailored specifically for Chinese people. The resort will also include two themed hotels, a large retail, dining and entertainment venue, recreational facilities and a lake.

Upon completion, it will be the sixth theme park of The Walt Disney Co, after Los Angeles and Orlando in the United States, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong.

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