16 July 2019
Bob Iger unveils a scale model of the Shanghai Disney Resort last summer. Photo: internet
Bob Iger unveils a scale model of the Shanghai Disney Resort last summer. Photo: internet

Disney said to plan June 16 opening for Shanghai theme park

After more than a decade of planning and five years of construction, The Walt Disney Co. plans to open its first theme park in mainland China June 16, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed people close to the project.

Disney chief executive Robert Iger previously said he hoped to announce an opening date by the end of 2015 — a goal that appears to have slipped because of the political challenges of coordinating an announcement with Chinese officials.

Major construction on attractions such as the company’s biggest princess castle, known as the Enchanted Storybook Castle, a themed area based on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and a Toy Story hotel, is close to completion, the report said.

The next several months are expected to be spent largely on hiring and training employees, testing systems and working on entertainment, including a Putonghua version of the musical The Lion King.

Disney has so far hired 2,000 of the 10,000 employees it will need to operate the US$5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, which is 57 percent owned by a state-backed consortium, Shanghai Shendi, and 43 percent by Disney.

However, the media giant owns 70 percent of the joint venture that will operate the park.

In selecting the opening date, a Thursday, the company had to take into account several considerations, including holidays earlier in the month, the June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the belief among many Chinese that the number four is unlucky.

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