Shanghai Disneyland breaks ground tomorrow

Shanghai Disneyland breaks ground tomorrow

They’ve talked the talk, now shovels are hitting the dirt as the long-awaited Shanghai Disney site gets under way
Shanghai disneyland - main
A Chinese farmer tends to her crop at Qigang village in Pudong, part of the new Shanghai Disneyland site.

They’ve gotten approval after approval and now Shanghai Disneyland is finally getting under way with construction slated to start tomorrow, April 8, report State media sources.

Given the official go-ahead in late 2010, after more than a decade of negotiations, the Shanghai Disney theme park will be the first Disneyland in mainland China and the fourth outside the United States -- the others being in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong. It will be about 1/26 the size of Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The 116-hectare site, which will include a theme park and two hotels and an area “for further development,” according to Xinhua news agency, is expected to cost RMB 24.5 billion, one of the largest foreign investments ever made in China.

"Compared with Disney's land acquisition in Florida, the Shanghai park provides Disney with a powerful business partner (the Chinese government) and a blueprint for business expansion to fully exploit the surging domestic consumption in the fastest-growing economy in the world," notes Alan Gould, an analyst with New York-based Evercore Partners to the Hollywood Reporter.

The first phase of Shanghai Disneyland is set to open in 2014, with the rest of the project following in 2016. In its first year of operation the park is expected draw 7.3 million visitors.

For more on the Shanghai Disneyland saga and what it means to Shanghai, read on at "Shanghai Disney finally gets moving", "Everything you need to know about Shanghai Disney" and "Shanghai Disneyland budget: The numbers are in".

A borough-bred Manhattanite, editor and writer Jessica Beaton lived in Shanghai for five years and has now moved to Hong Kong.

Read more about Jessica Beaton
CNN Partner Hotels

Elite Escapes

Grab your Barbour jacket. The Land Rover Discovery tour includes castles, horse shows and plenty of off-roading