Saturday, January 8, 2011

Shanghai officials : Total investment amount in Shanghai Disneyland project still undecided

No surprise, Shanghai authorities reacted yesterday at all the articles announcing a Shanghai Disneyland cost "bigger than the Shanghai World Expo". They've released a statement saying that "the total investment amount remains undecided" because "they're still studying the project"... and it might be the truth. More about this official statement below:

SHANGHAI, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Shanghai authorities are still studying the Disneyland project and the total investment amount remains undecided, a government statement said Saturday.

Shanghai has established committees for it but we are still in the research and policy-making stage, said Jiang Xujie, an official in charge of the city's construction work, in the statement posted on the municipal government's website.

The investment will be properly arranged and the amount will be made public after officially approved, said Chen Qiwei, spokesman of the city government.

Chen said Shanghai Shendi Group Co. Ltd., a state-owned company that signed the deal with Walt Disney Co. for the theme park November last year, will set up a joint venture with Disney.

The construction timetable is being examined by Chinese authorities and will be made public as soon as it's signed off, he said.

Disney and the Chinese authorities have been negotiating on and off for more than a decade over the project, and the last round of negotiations took months.

The project is expected to cover a relatively small 4 square kilometers in the heart of a planned "international tourism resort" that covers 20 square kilometers in Shanghai's Pudong New District.

Earlier reports said the first-phase construction will cost 25 billion yuan (3.6 billion U.S. dollars).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shanghai Disneyland : an "exhorbitant" cost ?

This week we had almost daily news about Shanghai Disneyland, and today it's about the price of the whole project! More about this in the China Daily article below:

"Mickey Mouse and Company are coming to Shanghai, but they're going to have to contend with a bit of debate over the exorbitant cost of a Disneyland that is predicted to cost more than the World Expo.

Citing the Shanghai government, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday that the total cost of the 107-square-kilometer project - which began construction in November and will finish in 2015 - will exceed 100 billion yuan ($15 billion).

The core area of the theme park, covering seven square kilometers, costing about 25 billion yuan, the newspaper added.

However, a Shanghai-based investment fund manager, who is working closely on the project, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the reported budget is a very conservative estimate.

"Based on the experience of other Disney parks, it is safe to say that the project requires a lot of financing, and a one-time investment may not be enough," he said.

According to the Herald, developing the park's 13.6-square-kilometer supporting area will require about 40 billion yuan, and most of that cost will be covered by the Shanghai government.

If the reported budget is true, the park's 100-billion-yuan price tag will be significantly larger than the 23.6 billion yuan spent on infrastructure for the World Expo.

The massive park will be located in the Chuansha area of Pudong district. Dong Qinfa, deputy director of the Pudong New Area's Financial Services Bureau, told the Global Times that the theme park is going to be the most important project in Shanghai since the World Expo, and it will propel the city into a period of economic growth."

Text: copyright China Daily

Bad news : Oriental Land Co won't be in charge of Shanghai Disneyland management

Some weeks ago, strong rumors announced that Oriental Land Co might be in charge of Shanghai Disneyland management. Considering that OLC Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea are known to have an excellent management - and definitely the best maintenance of all Disney Theme Parks - the arrival of OLC in the SDL project was an excellent news. Sadly, Oriental Land denied yesterday being involved in Shanghai Disneyland management. More about this in today's China Daily article:

"Oriental Land Co Ltd, the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, on Thursday denied local media reports that it is negotiating with Walt Disney Co to participate in the running of a planned Disneyland theme park in Shanghai. The total investment could top 100 billion yuan ($15.09 billion), according to the reports.

"We have approached neither Walt Disney Co nor the Shanghai municipal government about jointly running the Shanghai Disneyland theme park," Hiroshi Suzuki, director of public relations at the leisure and tourism company, told China Daily on Thursday, adding that "media reports are not true".

A report in the 21st Century Business Herald claimed Oriental Land has entered into talks with the US-based Walt Disney Co to participate in the operation of the Pudong, Shanghai-based theme park.

The report said Walt Disney Co is pleased with Oriental Land's daily operation and personnel training at its Disneyland theme park in Japan and wants it to bring its experience to Shanghai.

Akiyoshi Yokota, executive-director of Oriental Land, was quoted by Bloomberg in January 2010 as saying "there's a possibility we may work together with Disney in Shanghai".

Infrastructure work on the park is set to begin this year, said a Jan 4 statement by the Shanghai Pudong New Area Construction and Transportation Commission."

Text: copyright China Daily

A Disney theme park in Israel ?

A Disney theme park in Israel? Considering the risks of conflict in the middle-east anyone would probably say "no way!" but this article by the Fast Company web site seems to indicate that some kind of Disney entertainment might be coming to Israel:

"Mickey Mouse may be going Middle Eastern: A Disney-affiliated investment firm has signed on to help develop a 20-acre entertainment complex in Haifa, Israel. Plans for the entertainment complex include a small amusement park, a multiplex theater, and a shopping mall.
Shamrock Holdings, founded by Disney family maverick Roy E. Disney as his family investment firm and still maintaining intimate ties with the Walt Disney Company, is a partner in the Haifa project. The other party Shamrock is working with is New Lineo Cinemas Israel. New Lineo operates two large multiplex/shopping mall complexes in suburban Tel Aviv.

A spokesperson for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts tells Fast Company that Disney has no plans to build a park in Haifa, Israel. However, local politicians, New Lineo and the Israeli press all confirm that the project is going ahead. At a press conference Monday, New Lineo Deputy CEO Avi Edery said: “The project, which is still in its development stages, reflects our goal of providing quality entertainment for the people of Israel.”

In an official statement, Haifa mayor Yona Yahav noted that, “This plan expresses confidence in our plans to turn Haifa Bay into a thriving business area. The plan began with the municipality's assistance in the building of Cinemall and the upgrade of the mall, previously known as the Lev Hamifratz Mall, and the building of the transport hub for the cable car, which carries passengers up to the Technion and Haifa University.”

Shamrock already has extensive holdings in Israel, including some which have landed the firm in political controversy. Shamrock acquired 25% of New Lineo in 2009; the movie theatre company is also reportedly trying to open similar shopping mall/multiplex hybrids in Europe.
That an amusement park is opening in Haifa, partially funded by a Disney-affiliated investment firm is beyond dispute. But the real question that amusement park geeks is asking is whether Disney is involved.

Globes, a reputable Israeli business daily, reports that the site will include a “Disney amusement park.” So does industry newswire Amusement Management. The Chinese Xinhua news agency, which has surprisingly extensive Israeli/Palestinian coverage, claims the amusement park will not be Disney-affiliated, echoing the statement of the Walt Disney Company.

The plot for the amusement park is small, at only 30,000 square meters. This will be smaller than the attached 50,000 meter multiplex/mall. But there are precedents of Disney opening micro-theme parks. In terms of size and location, the Israeli project seems like a larger scale version of the DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park in Florida. DisneyQuest is a mega-arcade that contains a variety of proprietary immersive virtual reality games and high-tech indoor rides. Disney also pioneered the Club Disney project in the 1990s which placed children's entertainment centers inside big box locations near suburban shopping malls..."

"While Israel has indigenous theme parks of its own such as the comically quaint Mini Israel, low air fares mean that Israeli travelers can easily visit European megaparks such as Disneyland Paris. Tense relations between Israel and its neighbors also mean that a large-scale theme park would not have a regional audience to draw on. Israel's population is less than that of Los Angeles County; even with the country's massive tourism trade, there are simply not enough numbers to support a local megapark.

But whether or not the finished project will have mouse ears, it seems that the late Roy Disney's private investment firm thinks Israel amusement parks will make them some shekels."

Text: copyright Fast Company

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Last news about Shanghai Disneyland !

Shanghai posted today some news about Shanghai Disneyland. It's all about the beginning of the works, so don't expect rides details but at least it proves that the project is on its way:

"LARGE-SCALE construction of the Shanghai Disneyland project could start as early as May with work on two major roads leading to the future theme park due to be completed in April, officials said yesterday.

Hangcheng Road and Tanghuang Road in the Pudong New Area are part of the 40 billion yuan (US$6.1 billion) infrastructure budget for the first Disneyland Park on China's mainland - a sum equal to Pudong's spend on infrastructure for last year's World Expo.

"A lot of construction vehicles and earth-moving vehicles will enter the plot through the two roads," a Pudong Construction and Traffic Bureau official surnamed Wang said yesterday.

"The two roads will be closed to the public, with only construction vehicles allowed to use them," he said.

All construction related to the Disneyland project is expected to be finished in 2014. The park is due to open in 2015.

Houses on the 3.9-square-kilometer site have all been cleared after residents were relocated in the middle of last year.

Work to expand three other related roads - Nanliu Road, Zhoudeng Road and Liufeng Road - will start in June, while work on Xiupu Road should start within the year.

The infrastructure projects include eight roads which will be the major routes to the Disneyland park and will cost about 10 billion yuan, Wang said.

A new elevated road is to be built on Shenjiang Road. Meanwhile, a river about 10 kilometers long and 60 meters wide is being created around the park area. "The river will make the theme park an enclosed area," Wang said. "It will facilitate the management of the park and adorn the landscape." Another water feature, a 0.39 square kilometer lake, will be built inside the amusement park.

Shanghai announced in November 2009 that it had gained central government approval for the Disneyland project.

The park will cover about 1.16 square kilometers, while facilities such as parking lots and dining areas will occupy up to 2.74 square kilometers."

Text: copyright Shanghai