Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shanghaî Disneyland smaller than Hong Kong Disneyland ?

Second article today about Shanghaî Disneyland, and this time it's hard to believe but all news coming from Chinese newspapers today are saying that Shanghaî Disneyland may be smaller on opening day than Hong Kong Disneyland! Can you believe THAT?

From Shanghaî Daily.com: "China's first state-level announcement on building a Disneyland in Shanghai indicated that the park's initial size may be much smaller than widely expected.

Its growth potential and contribution to the city's economy will still be substantial, according to analysts.

The news, however, disappointed some local Disneyland fans, who had hoped the Shanghai park could immediately bring more choices of rides and games than counterparts in Hong Kong and Tokyo.

The National Development and Reform Commission said late on Monday that in October it approved Shanghai's Disneyland project, which will occupy 116 hectares, or 1.16 square kilometers, in Chuansha Town in the Pudong New Area.

Comparatively, the size of the Disney park in Tokyo is 201 hectares while that of Hong Kong Disneyland is 126 hectares.

The Shanghai project will include an amusement park, logistics and public utility areas as well as a parking lot, the NDRC said in a statement.

It will be funded by Chinese and United States companies, it said, without offering details."

If we stop here the reading of the Shanghaî Daily.com article this news is for sure the biggest disappointment for Disney fans who expected the park to be - from opening day - as big as TDL or DLP. Let's go further in the Shanghaî Daily article:

"The NDRC did not say whether the land approved is for the initial phase or the whole project.

Earlier media reports said that Shanghai Disneyland would have three phases with a combined area of up to 10 square kilometers.

The Shanghai government in September started a relocation project to make way for the Disneyland.

A notice on the Website of the city's land regulator showed that initially 4.09 square kilometers of land would be requisitioned.

The Walt Disney Company said yesterday that it could not comment as it had yet to reach a final deal with the city government on the project.

Officials at the NDRC were not available for comment.

"The project will only be developed step by step in line with market response," said Wu Ke, a Zhongtian Investment Consulting Co analyst.

"Thanks to the city's prime location and economic dynamics, Shanghai Disneyland has great growth potential even if its initial size is small," Wu said.

The 1.16-square-kilometer area may just be the core area of project, the Xinmin Evening News reported yesterday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Nearby facilities would include a hotel, a huge shopping mall and other service facilities, it said...

"The initial size is not that important as people's curiosity could help boost attendance," said Zheng Jianyu, a Bank of Communications analyst. "But long-term performance will hinge on the pricing strategy and the park's new elements."

Okay, so it seems that it's not only a rumor, that the park could be smaller than HKDL on its opening day. But where exactly is the truth in all this? Could it be possible that the WDC will do again (and again) the same mistake, the kind of mistake they're still paying for because they've built too small theme parks at HKDL and Paris WDS? Did someone forgot to tell them that 1.3 Billion people are living in China? And 20 Million in Shanghaî only?

Frankly, i can't believe this - and i think i won't believe that SDL will be on opening day smaller than HKDL until the WDC do an official announcement. Now, we must not forget that the WDC have only 42% of the shares and so Shanghaî government may have the "final cut". And, as they've probably heard about HKDL difficulties they may think that they should go little by little instead to build a full size Magic Kingdom like the one in Tokyo or in Paris. I know, it's a big mistake, it's exactly what they must not do, but there is a possibility that they think like this...

Hopefully, soon we will know more about the real size of SDL on its opening day, but in the meantime here wi reaction of Lu Zhen, a chinese manager, when he learned that SDL could be smaller than HKDL:

"I'm a bit disappointed about the size (that was announced)" said Lu Zhen, a 28-year-old sales manager."If the park is bigger, I will go there twice or even more, but now I may go only if there is a price discount. I've already visited the Hong Kong park."

Frankly, i never thought i would hear something like that on this highly awaited Shanghaî Disneyland! If people start to think like this five years prior to the park's opening - even before they lay the foundation stone, then it's a bad omen for the future...

UPDATE: Last news about all this from Chinese newspaper The Standard:

The National Development and Reform Commission said the Shanghai project at Pudong New Area's Chuansha town will initially be built on 116 hectares of land - 10 hectares smaller than Hong Kong Disneyland.

There had been widespread concern over competition in August after a Walt Disney document showed Shanghai Disneyland would cost 24.48 billion yuan (HK$27.76 billion).

The document also said the first stage of the park would cover 150 hectares.

The mainland commission said the project to be jointly developed by mainland and American companies will include logistics support areas, a public utilities area and a parking lot.

A Hong Kong tourism insider said the similar size of the Shanghai and Hong Kong theme parks would put them on an equal footing initially.

He said it was Disneyland's policy to expand parks gradually after their opening.

"It will not use all the 400 hectares [in Chuansha town] at once," he said. The insider also said Hong Kong people should not worry about the size of the local park as the second expansion phase will add another 128 hectares.

"The agreement between Disney and the Hong Kong government said Disneyland cannot gain anything if the park does not make a profit," he said.

"Disney wants to expand the park more than anyone else to make more money."

Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents chairman Michael Wu Siu-ying said it would be "fair competition" if the two theme parks are of similar size as they can attract different types of visitors.

"The Shanghai theme park will be for visitors from eastern and northern China and the Hong Kong park for international visitors and those from Southeast Asia," he said.

He also said the Hong Kong park might have some advantages over Shanghai even if they were of similar size.

"Hong Kong Disneyland will expand and have more facilities in the coming three years.

"It will have some advantages over Shanghai as its park will not open until 2014."

UPDATE 11/25: Have a look to Randy savage comment in the comments section. If Randy is right, then may be all this is not necessarily bad news.

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this interview on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Text: copyright Shanghaî Daily.com


Gilad said...

What? 10 years of talking and negotiating and that's what they've decided?! another mini-version of Disneyland in China?!?!?
All I have to say is WTF (I censor myself in respect to Alain and this amazing blog).
Disney is ,again, not learning from the past mistakes.

RandySavage said...

The first rule in reading these reports is to remember that with respect to the definitions and usage of words like "park", "resort", "attraction", "on-stage", "back stage", etc. there is an enormous disconnect between the general public/media - be it Chinese or American - and the Cognoscenti on these boards.

If you tell the general public the size stats of Animal Kingdom (500 acres) and Disneyland (85 acres) and nothing more, they will think that AK has 5x as many things to do.

The media consistently compares apples to oranges and this latest report is no different.


To clear through some of the latest information here are some resort/park sizes in hectares:

Disneyland Paris Resort: 1,943 ha
DLP Park On-Stage: 51
WDSP On-Stage: 25

Tokyo Disney Resort: 200 ha
TDL Park On-Stage/Parking & Back-Stage: 50/30
TDS Park On-Stage/Parking & Back-Stage: 48/23

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort: 126 ha (not including 2nd park landfill)
HKDL Park On-Stage: 22
HKDL Park On-Stage after 3 new lands: 27

Shanghai Disney Resort: 400-800 ha unconfirmed
Shanghai Disneyland Phase One: 116 ha

Since there was no mention of hotels in that 116, I would assume that the number most comparable to this would be Tokyo Disneyland's 80 ha, which includes on-stage/backstage areas of TDL park as well as parking for that park. This would mean the Shanghai Disneyland park at opening would be significantly larger than TDL park.

The Chinese are not about to get fooled twice into underbuilding in Shanghai.

Alain Littaye said...

Thanks, Randy, that is what i call a clear explanation, and no need to say that i hope you're right!

Anonymous said...

In Paris Disneyland, management canceled the second studio park and caused all the 7 hotels built for the dual parks, to suck the life out of EDL's mainpark. Honk Kong Disneyland was underbuilt, and guest became bored with it's lack of E ticket adventures that Tokyo Disneyland had on the map. I hope the same mistake is not made a 3rd time in Shanghai.

Honor Hunter said...

Another thing to remember Alain, is that the size may be comparable but what really matters is how many attractions they put in that space AND what those attractions turn out to be.

We should know more when a detailed plan is presented to the public...

HKinsider said...

Thanks for the detailed info.

Alex said...

How's the competition in Shanghai?
They've got a pretty good Happy Valley park, dont they?
I know that the Disney magic is something entirely different, but attractions-wise they've got good competition...

Another Voice said...

As one understands things, the 116 hectares includes the entire footprint of the "intial" project - onstage, offstage, support, maintenance and parking lot. This would indeed make it smaller than the Hong Kong Disneyland area. It would also leave the development without a hotel and entertainment district.

Most of the land that has been earmarked for this project is already developed, meaning the Chinese government will have to takeover the land from the people and businesses currently there. That's expensive, even for a government that enslaves its own people. The much larger developments were supposed to be built in less densly populated areas.

It's also likely a sticking point between Disney and the government. Disney thinks most of its profits come from hotels and merchandise, the local city government would rather see those profits funneled into existing or locally owned businesses.