Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Bob Iger announces that Shanghaî Disneyland has been officially approved by Beijing Central Government !
The day we were waiting for has come! Yes, it's now official, Beijing Central government has officially approved the Shanghaî Disneyland project!
An excellent New York Times article will give you more details about it, but first, the WDC official press release:
THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY REACHES ANOTHER MAJOR MILESTONE ON SHANGHAI THEME PARK PROJECT
BURBANK, Calif. – November 3, 2009 – The Walt Disney Company today announced that the Project Application Report (PAR) for a Disney theme park in the Pudong district of Shanghai has received approval from the relevant authorities of the central government of China.
"China is one of the most dynamic, exciting and important countries in the world, and this approval marks a very significant milestone for The Walt Disney Company in mainland China," said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
The PAR approval will enable Disney and its Shanghai partners to move forward toward a final agreement to build and operate the park and begin preliminary development work. Upon completion of the final agreement, the project's initial phase would include a Magic Kingdom-style theme park with characteristics tailored to the Shanghai region and other amenities consistent with Disney's destination resorts worldwide.
About The Walt Disney Company China
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified international family entertainment enterprise with five business segments and is a Dow 30 company with revenues of nearly $38 billion in its most recently reported fiscal year. Our first animation screened in China in the 1930s and today our long association continues with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with over 600 employees."
And today, the Shanghai municipal government confirmed that the Chinese government officially approved the Shanghai Disneyland Project, so it is now confirmed from both sides.
Now, i'm not sure we can expect the first Shanghaî Disneyland artwork tomorrow as it seems that the park concept still may have some changes, but the NYT article confirms some points i have been told like the fact that Shanghaî Disneyland Magic Kingdom will of course have WDI classic rides but also new rides that will "incorporate Chinese stories and history".
Always from the NYT: "The initial resort, with a mix of shopping areas, hotels and a Magic Kingdom-style theme park, will sprawl across 1,000 acres of the city’s Pudong district — with the theme park occupying about 100 of those acres. It would be a little bigger than Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and on par with the parks in Paris and Tokyo. It is expected to open in five or six years".
A park as big as the one we have in Paris or in Tokyo, that's what i call a real theme park, and obviously WDI Imagineers will have plenty of land to create a park that will amaze the guests. All we have to do now is to be a little bit more patient for the details which hopefully will be revealed soon.
And what Hong Kong Disneyland think about all this today? As you'll see, the announcement was received with mixed feelings:
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Managing Director Andrew Kam said the announcement marked "another significant step for Disney" in China, an important and dynamic market.
"We at Hong Kong Disneyland are focused on getting our exciting project underway as soon as possible," he said, referring to an expansion project on Hong Kong Disneyland.
Margaret Fong, commissioner for tourism, said she was confident that the Hong Kong Disneyland will remain attractive and competitive, adding that the Hong Kong park attracts visitors from not only mainland but also southeast Asia and other places.
Local business people and visitors said they expected the desire for the Chinese mainland visitors to visit Hong Kong Disneyland to be reduced but the Hong Kong park, with some unique attractions, should remain attractive to visitors from nearby."
BUT "News that Shanghai is to have its own Disneyland theme park was greeted Wednesday with mixed feelings in Hong Kong. Tourism chiefs felt the Shanghai park would not adversely affect Hong Kong Disneyland while others felt it was bad news for the park, which has been dogged by controversy since it opened in September 2005.
However, Democratic Party vice chairwoman Emily Lau said the Shanghai park was bad news for Hong Kong. Speaking on government radio RTHK, Lau said: "This will deal a very devastating blow to the Hong Kong theme park. I have said so in Legco [the Legislative Council] for some time".
"The original decision to put the theme park here was a big mistake,' she added. 'We have committed tens of billions of dollars, and now I just don't know how we will recoup that money". The Hong Kong government has encountered strong criticism for shouldering most of the cost of the park.
China's huge market is capable of supporting two Disneyland theme parks, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Rita Lau says, adding Disneyland theme parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai could cooperate for mutual benefits. In response to Walt Disney's plan to build a theme park in Shanghai, Mrs Lau today said the theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong could complement each other, creating more benefits for the two cities.
Noting Hong Kong Disneyland's expansion plan has been finalised, she said the work will start by the end of the year and the new theme areas will come on stream in phases in the next few years. The secretary said Hong Kong will continue to develop new tourist attractions, citing the Hong Kong National Geopark as an example. Mrs Lau said Hong Kong's geographic location allows it to cooperate with other places to develop more diversified tourism products, including cruise tourism services and multi-destination itineraries. The Government will work on this with concerned parties.
In the meantime, let me know what you think of this awaited announcement in the comments or on the D&M english forum on Mice Chat
Picture: copyright Disney