Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shanghaî Disneyland's final location announced

Shanghaî Disneyland will be located at the Chuansha town of Pudong New Area, covering 116 hectares, according to the theme park's final plans announced on the National Development and Reform Commission website yesterday. China National Development and Reform Commission has also declared that the Shanghai Disneyland project has been formally approved by the State Council. Shanghaî Disneyland is expected to open within five years and is expected to cost 3.5 billion US dollars.

Note: A french version of the first part of this article is available HERE. Also, the picture above was not released yesterday but is a SDL first project draft layout.

From china.org.cn: "The Shanghaî Disneyland project, which will be jointly developed by Chinese and United States companies, will include an amusement park, a logistics support area, a public utilities area and a parking lot, the commission said.

The announcement is the first time authorities have officially confirmed the location of Shanghai Disneyland, even though previous media reports have pinpointed the area. The news has pushed Chuansha's home prices to 12,000 yuan ($1,760) per sq m from 3,000 yuan from three years ago.

The Shanghai government received the green light from authorities late last month to build Shanghai Disneyland Park in partnership with media giant Walt Disney Co.

"Many business-savvy people are making the Disney theme park a profit-driven project, seeking opportunities to make every penny of it," said Gu Xiaoming, professor from the tourism department at Fudan University.

By contrast, the villagers who live in the area are likely to benefit the least from the park.

And Li Zhengfang, a 58-year-old villager in Zhaohang, even gave her life when clamoring for benefits for some of the elderly, whose homes were "unluckily" not partitioned into the Disneyland division, Li's daughter said.

"My mother along with other four delegates had negotiated with the village committee in August in hopes of incorporating all the elderly into the Disneyland beneficiaries," said Li Ying, the late Li Zhengfang's daughter.

A widespread rumor had circulated in Zhaohang that the pension level for female villagers older than 55 or males older than 60 will be raised to the township level of 910 yuan from the current level of 385 yuan, if they were going to be relocated for Mickey, junior Li said.

On Aug 6, on her way to make an appeal for more benefits for the elderly, the senior Li died of high blood pressure, leaving the negotiations unsolved.

"Generally speaking, the government must subsidize farmers who lose their land for commercial or industrial projects, but the allowance range could be varied according to different conditions," said Gui Shixun, professor at the Population Research Institute, East China Normal University based in Shanghai.

Based on current regulations, farmers will be transferred to the "small-town social insurance system" from the rural pension as one of their compensations for losing their plots of land.

The system in Shanghai is a compulsory social insurance mainly targeting residents living in Shanghai's suburban areas who are registered as permanent residents in the city, aiming to guarantee their basic needs for life.

Officials from Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau said no specific policies have been announced to resettle the people to make way for the park.

Local officials said earlier that the government has started preliminary plans to resettle more than 4,000 residents in a 4-million-sq-m area in Pudong New Area that covers Zhaohang.

"Past experience has showed that the government must build residential buildings for the resettled residents, given the high price of commercial properties in Shanghai. The prices are so high that those villagers cannot afford to buy one," Gui said.

"From a long-term perspective, getting the residents in and training them to be staff of the Disneyland will benefit them more than merely giving them a sum of money as a compensation," Fudan University's Gu said."

Also, the Orlando Sentinel announced recently that "The Walt Disney Co. plans to bring a delegation from Shanghai to Orlando early next month for a series of briefings with executives at Walt Disney World, as the company accelerates design of its first resort on mainland China.

The meetings, which will include tours of Disney World’s fire and emergency-response operations and water-quality-monitoring labs, come with Disney attempting to finalize an agreement to build Shanghai Disneyland in the world’s most populous country.

Studying Disney World’s infrastructure may be important as Disney is believed to be planning a multi-park destination resort in Shanghai that could ultimately rival its Orlando property in size — much larger than Disney’s other theme-park resorts in California, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong."

Also, from chinadaily.com: "In recognition of the notorious competitiveness of high school life in this country, Disney is going to shift the setting of the Chinese version of High School Musical to the first year of college.

Disney announced on Sunday that it would co-produce a Chinese version of the smash musical with local partners Shanghai Media Group and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, about two weeks after the company won the government's approval to build a Shanghai Disneyland.

Titled Disney High School Musical: China, the new film has a storyline close to that of the HSM series' first installment, launched in 2006. With their friends' support, two new students overcome the odds to win a singing competition.

Disney, having co-produced two films with Chinese companies, knows the importance of localizing a story.

"In China, students in high school are so focused on academics that it wasn't realistic to portray them singing and dancing in the way that American high school students have time for," says Jason Reed, general manager of Walt Disney Studios International Production.

Also, the main love interest has become a poet, instead of the basketball star in the American films.

"Our partners think that in China you might be more attracted to the smart and thoughtful guy," Reed told China Daily via telephone interview. "He (the protagonist) is a thoughtful, intelligent and studious young man who is really defined by his skill and academics."

Music and choreography for the new film are the work of local talents, except for the hit melody, We're all in This Together, which is from the original film. It is now matched with Mandarin lyrics.

The classic values conveyed by the teen tale, allied to the story's emotional connection with Chinese audiences, have built up Disney's confidence in the new film.

"A lot of the themes in the HSM series, such as the sense of self-discovery, communal support, optimism and friendship are universal values that work in all countries," Reed says.

"Also, one of the fundamentals common to our two countries' strengths is people coming together to achieve greatness. That is a great affinity between the two cultures."

As an Emmy Award-winning film series with more than 500 million viewers globally, HSM is not new to Chinese youth. The stage show of its first installment kicked off in Shanghai this summer, before which two films of the trilogy had been aired on CCTV.

As for Disney's two previous co-productions in China, The Secret of the Magic Gourd (Baohulu De Mimi) was co-produced with China Film Group and Hong Kong Centro Digital Pictures. It was adapted from a folk tale and grossed $2.7 million at the Chinese box office in 2007 - a fair performance for a children's film.

The 2009 co-production Trail of the Panda (Xiongmao Huijia Lu), in co-operation with Chinese filmmakers Castle Hero Pictures and Ying Dong Media, was also favorably received.

The latest co-production may even feature at Shanghai's Disney park.

"My personal goal is to create a Chinese character, or a set of characters, that are so compelling and local audiences love so much that they end up in that park and parks all over the world," says Reed. "I tend to dream big."

The companies will work together on production, while Huayi Brothers will handle the film's distribution in China, and Disney outside the country.

The film is expected to be released in the summer of next year. It is being filmed in Shanghai and features six new young stars drawn from across China. Chen Shizheng, one of China's leading stage and film directors, directs it."

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

Text: copyright china.org.cn and chinadaily.com

Pictures: copyright Disney

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