Shanghai Disneyland budget: The numbers are in

Shanghai Disneyland budget: The numbers are in

To quell growing rumors, the city’s mayor reveals Shanghai Disneyland's proposed budget
Shanghai disneyland
Although Shanghai Disney hasn't been built yet, this young fan in Chuansha, the expected site of the 2015 Shanghai theme park, is already toting a Minnie bag.

Shanghai’s always searching for the next great thing to keep the city on the map: post-Expo, all eyes are on Shanghai Disneyland.

Rumors of all kinds have been swirling since the project was officially announced late 2010, but none more sharply than the question of what it is going to cost.

To put rumors to rest, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng announced that “Phase 1” - the Magic Kingdom - of Shanghai Disneyland would cost a total of RMB 24.5 billion (US$3.73 billion), according to Shanghai Daily, making the park one of the largest-ever foreign investments in China.

"I have read some media reports about the Disneyland investment, but they were incorrect," said Han, who was attending the CPPCC meeting in Beijing.

The Shanghai government regards the Disney Park project as an important step in its bid to build the city into a world-class tourist destination in the next five years— State media report on Shanghai Disneyland

"I thereby clarify the figure seriously. The approved investment for the first phase of the Disneyland project is RMB 24.5 billion," he said.

The project, which has been planned for almost a decade, is a joint venture between the state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, which was specifically created for the development of the Disneyland project, and Walt Disney Co., said an official to Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

This will be the first Disneyland theme park in mainland China, going head-to-head in Shanghai with a World of Warcraft theme park and the Huayi Brother’s Culture City movie theme park.

Shanghai Disneyland will be the company’s third park in Asia, after Tokyo and Hong Kong, although the latter has faced financial difficulties since it opened.

The first phase of the Shanghai project is now set to open in 2015 in Chuansha, Pudong, and is expected to draw more than 7 million visitors a year. When complete, the park will house three separate areas: the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and the Animal Kingdom.

According to state media reports, “The Shanghai government regards the Disney Park project as an important step in its bid to build the city into a world-class tourist destination in the next five years.”

To support this plan, the city is rerouting major infrastructure (and relocating abut 2,000 homes), and giving the park its own metro line with three dedicated stops -- much as it did for the 2010 Expo.

Disney hopes that building a park near such a large city as Shanghai, which is now home to approximately 23 million people, will create a built-in market for the project, as well as draw on China’s growing middle class from outside the municipality.

Even though the park is only in development, Disney is already making its presence felt in Shanghai, with more than 5,000 licensed retailers, a network of English schools and a hand in filming the China version of the "Amazing Race" TV show called "China Rush." 

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

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