Skift Take

Disney has been talking about expanding its Shanghai theme park complex since before the doors officially opened. Despite a rough patch last year, the company is clearly optimistic about the market's future.

Shanghai Disney Resort has only been open for two-and-a-half years, but the complex is already getting ready for a second expansion.

Executives announced this week that the entertainment giant is adding an eighth land to the Shanghai Disneyland park, designed around the animated movie Zootopia. It will be the first Zootopia-themed area at any Disney park around the world.

The $5.5 billion park opened in June 2016; last year, it added a land based on Toy Story.

“We are thrilled to announce that Shanghai Disneyland will be home to the world’s first Zootopia-themed land,” Bob Chapek, Disney’s chairman of parks, experiences, and consumer products, said in a statement. “The rapid rate of expansion at Shanghai Disney Resort demonstrates our confidence and commitment to the company’s future development in China.”

Construction is set to start later this year, but the company did not say when the new land is expected to open. Details about the new area were sparse; a statement said it would include a new attraction, entertainment, shopping, and dining areas.

Shanghai Disneyland drew more than 11 million visitors in its first year, CEO Bob Iger has said. The new addition is designed in part to “provide even more reasons for guests to visit  Shanghai Disney Resort time and time again,” according to a press statement.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing since the opening; during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018, which ended Sept. 29, the park ran into some headwinds.

Iger said during an earnings call in November that the company resorted to discounted pricing to drive attendance due to some “softness in the tourism market,” but then saw good results after easing up on the price cuts.

“I think what we’re seeing in China is maybe a slight reduction in consumer confidence, and that’s having an impact on the business somewhat,” Iger said late last year. “But we still believe very, very, very bullishly in not only the business that we built, but the business that we can continue to invest in.”

Disney is a minority owner in the resort; its joint venture partner, the state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, holds 57 percent.

“This new expansion will provide our guests with an even richer selection of offerings, and will further boost our market competitiveness,” the consortium’s chairman, Yang Jinsong, said in a statement.


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Tags: disney, disney parks, theme parks

Photo credit: Characters from the movie Zootopia are shown at Shanghai Disneyland in this photo from 2016. Disney is adding a Zootopia-themed land at the park, the first such area at any of its global resorts. xiquinhosilva / Flickr

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