Walt Disney Co.’s new park in China will offer Jet Packs, a rafting adventure, rides on a Tron-themed Lightcycle and the largest parade in any of its resorts, all aimed at winning over Chinese customers.
The Shanghai park, scheduled to open next spring, includes six themed lands such as Mickey Avenue and Tomorrowland, and an area where visitors can interact with characters from the Star Wars and Marvel movies. They were unveiled Wednesday morning at a press conference in Shanghai.
Disney’s first resort in the Chinese mainland “celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger said in the statement. It’s meant to “delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come,” he said.
The $5.5 billion Disney Shanghai Resort, which the company is building with local partners, is served by two hotels — Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. The project is Disney’s largest foreign investment and a big bet on the growth of middle-class consumers in the world’s most-populous country.
Under a strategy Iger calls “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese,” the world’s largest entertainment company is trying to include as much local content as possible to appeal to Chinese consumers and avoid complaints of cultural imperialism that greeted its resort in France.
The park, which Disney began building in April 2011, is located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, China’s wealthiest metropolis. It’s the centerpiece of a 20-square-kilometer (7.7 square mile) tourism and resorts zone, adjacent to Pudong International Airport.
Disney is opening the resort in the face of economic slowdown in China. The world’s largest theme-park operator also will have to deal with increased competition, including a Universal Studios theme park being built in Beijing, and a studio and entertainment center in Shanghai from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.
Burbank, California-based Disney previously released only a few details about the project. Its Enchanted Storybook Castle in Shanghai will be the largest such structure at any of its parks.
The parks and resorts division is Disney’s second largest, after TV networks, accounting for 31 percent of the company’s $48.8 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year.
This article was written by Christopher Palmeri and Alexandra Ho from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.