Walt Disney Co. unveiled details of its newest theme park to open next year in China, which will include attractions based on “Star Wars,” “Frozen” and Marvel superheroes.
But the $5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort six themed lands will incorporate cultural concepts tailored for Chinese visitors. Under construction since 2011, the park is expected to open next year.
During an appearance Tuesday in Shanghai, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said the park will combine the best of Disney’s storytelling with the rich heritage of China.
“We are taking everything we’ve learned from our six decades of exceeding expectations – along with our relentless innovation and famous creativity to create a truly magical place that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” Iger said.
As the world’s most populous country, China has become a major market for Disney’s feature live-action and animated films as well as merchandising and attractions based on film characters and story lines. About 330 million people live within three hours of Shanghai and the new theme park.
Disney owns 43 percent of the venture and Shanghai Shendi Group Co., a state-owned consortium of three businesses, owns the rest. The Burbank entertainment and media giant’s first foray into China was Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005 at a cost of $3 billion and underwent a $500 million expansion two years ago.
In addition to the theme park, Disney has other ventures in mainland China including a partnership with Shanghai Media Group for television production, movie co-production, distribution and marketing and the world’s largest Disney Store in Shanghai’s Lujiazui district.
Featured at Shanghai Disney will be the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure attraction in Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park; TRON Lightcycle Power Run and Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue in Tomorrowland; and the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle in Fantasyland. Live actions shows will include one based on “Tarzan” with Chinese acrobats and another based on top grossing film “Frozen.”
Outside the theme park, visitors will find Disneytown, an international shopping, dining and entertainment district; and the gardens of Wishing Star Park.
The Los Angeles Times reported that during his appearance Iger said there would be attractions based on “Star Wars” and Marvel superheroes although provided no additional details.
The Times story also said that Shanghai Disney would not have the American-oriented Main Street area or other American features found in other parks. In Main Street’s place will be the Garden of the Twelve Friends, with Disney characters representing the dozen signs of the Chinese zodiac amid cherry trees.