Walt Disney Co opens its first theme park in China in the spring of next year.


SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Mickey Mouse, Peter Pan and Han Solo will beckon visitors to Shanghai when Walt Disney Co opens its first theme park in China in the spring of next year.

Dancers perform during the groundbreaking ceremony of Shanghai Disneyland in Pudong April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song
Dancers perform during the groundbreaking ceremony of Shanghai Disneyland in Pudong April 8, 2011. REUTERS/Aly Song

The $5.5 billion theme park, being developed with China’s state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, will transport visitors to six themed “worlds” and offer other attractions based on “Star Wars” and the Marvel Comics’ superheroes, including “Iron Man”, “Spider-Man” and the “Hulk”.

Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of the iconic U.S. entertainment firm, told a news conference in Shanghai on Wednesday that the park would be “authentically Disney and distinctively Chinese”.

The park will “not only showcase the best of Disney’s story telling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage,” Iger said at an ceremony in Shanghai, where the firm unveiled a miniature-sized model of the park.

Visitors will be able to pass along “Mickey Avenue”, float through “Adventure Isle”, “Fantasyland” and “Treasure Cove”, before taking off for “Tomorrowland”.

Disney, which opened its largest ever store in Shanghai in May, will be hoping it can tap into growth in the world’s second largest economy, despite China’s recent slowdown.

Disney earlier this year delayed the opening of Shanghai Disneyland until the first half of 2016 from a scheduled start at the end of 2015 as it expanded plans for the park. The park is now scheduled to have a grand opening in spring next year.

The firm’s park and resorts segment brought in $15.1 billion globally last year, around a third of its total revenues. Disney is also tapping into China’s film market, with the latest outing of its “Avengers” series taking the number two spot in country’s 20.4 billion yuan box office for the first half of the year.
Reporting by SHANGHAI newsroom; Lisa Richwine in LOS ANGELES and Sneha Banerjee in BENGALURU;
Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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