The recent pandemic may have made time feel like it slowed down, but we can assure that it has not and in the blink of an eye Disney’s youngest Resort and Theme Park has crossed the half decade mark. On June 16th, 2016, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger opened his magnum opus, Shanghai Disney Resort located in Shanghai China.
The Resort is huge, covering over 900 acres. It consists of one theme park, Shanghai Disneyland, two hotels, Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel, and one shopping/dining district, Disneytown. The Walt Disney Company owns 43% of the resort and the Shanghai Shendi Group owns the other 57%. In terms of operating the park and developing the resort for future expansions, this is done by the Shanghai International Theme Park and Resort Management Company, 70% of this group is owned by Disney with the other 30% owned by Shanghai Shendi Group. It took over 100,000 workers and five years to build Shanghai Disney at a cost of $5.5 billion USD.
The park opened with six lands, these lands were inspired by the classic lands from Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, but were tailored to the cultural sensitivities and customs of the Chinese people. The park was designed using the mindset uttered frequently by Bob Iger, “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese.”
The original six lands included Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, and Tomorrowland. In 2018, Shanghai Disney’s first addition, Toy Story Land, was added. An eighth land, City of Zootopia, is currently being built, with no set opening date.
Shanghai Disneyland’s attendance has been stellar, reaching a high of 11,800,000 guests in 2018. In 2019 11,210,000 guests visited the park, putting Shanghai Disneyland at number 10 for the most visited theme park in the world. This is a huge accomplishment, seeing as the park had only been open three years by this point. During this time period, Shanghai Disneyland had more visitors than the decades old Universal parks in Florida, beating out both Universal Studios Orlando and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Happy Fifth Birthday Shanghai Disneyland. We can’t wait to come visit you once international travel becomes a bit safer, and that Zootopia land gets completed.