Shanghai Disneyland Finally Opens After Five Years of Construction

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Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) finally opened its first Disney resort in mainland China, and its 6th worldwide, on June 16after five years of construction and $5.5 billion spent.

Shanghai Disneyland located in Pudong district in Shanghai, covering 963 acres and more than 330 million Chinese citizens living within three hours of the park. The new theme park includes two hotels, the tallest and largest Disney Castle in the world and a shopping district with over 50 retailers.

Shanghai Disney resort combined Chinese elements with authentic Disney characters. The theme park includes Broad-way style theater, live entertainment venues, and six themed “lands”, with one devoted to Pirates of the Caribbean. Characters in “Garden of the Twelve Friends” land are reimagined from animals of the Chinese zodiac. The food in Shanghai Disney also includes Chinese elements. Disney serves food such as braised pork knuckle in soy sauce and pork-stuffed mooncakes in shapes of Disney characters.

The opening ceremony of “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese” park held in the rain and following much anticipation. Both the president of China and the United States send a letter of support to the opening ceremony. “I hope that Shanghai Disney can provide visitors with safe and premium experiences and become a world class theme park. I hope it promotes exchanges across cultures of the world,” according to a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping, read by Vice Premier Wang Yang. “The resort captures the promise of our bilateral relationship,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a letter, read by Disney CEO Bob Iger at the ceremony. Several senior officials also attended the ceremony in Thursday morning, including Shanghai’s Communist Party secretary and its mayor.

“Together we have created an extraordinary destination, a magical place unique in all the world, where East meets West, the past meets the future, and anything is possible for those who believe. It is our sincere hope that this spectacular place will inspire wonder and create joy for the people of China for generations to come.” Iger said at the ceremony.

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