The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Disney Special

Shanghai Disney: The Best Yet?

With billions of dollars of investment and a billion-strong audience, Shanghai Disneyland is set to be the most innovative and original park the Walt Disney Company has ever built

‘‘Authentically Disney but distinctly Chinese.” That’s been the Disney line since the company announced plans to build a park and resort complex just outside the world’s third most populated city.

“We’re being careful to make the right statements in terms of not only being welcomed in China but also being correct culturally, instead of the opposite,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger, who’s overseen the development of the $5.5bn (£3.7bn, €4.9bn) destination.

Situated in Pudong in a specially designated tourism zone, Shanghai Disney Resort has five themed lands, two hotels, a retail and entertainment district and a metro station capable of delivering 20,000 people per hour to its door.

Iger has been involved in the project since the late 1990s, when then-chief Michael Eisner sent him looking for a site for the resort. Shanghai’s government earmarked the Pudong location, but did not officially approve the project until 2009. Shanghai Disney Resort – a collaboration between the state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, with 57 per cent ownership, and the Walt Disney Company (43 per cent) – has been a long time coming.

Now, Iger is looking at an income qualified audience within a three-and-a-half hour travel radius – be that by metro, bus, high-speed rail or car – of more than 300 million people.

“It would be as though the whole population of the United States could afford a ticket to Orlando and could get there within three-and-a-half hours,” said Iger.

The potential audience, coupled with the scale of the destination – not to mention the combination of established and newly created IPs, tried-and-tested and brand new park experiences, Chinese and global culture – makes the opening of the Shanghai resort a watershed moment for Disney, for China and for the global attractions industry.

“After 17 years of working on this project, I’m still awed by it. The scale, the detail, the sheer artistry; it’s all breathtaking,” Iger said. “Even though it has all of the Disney details, it’s unlike any other destination we’ve ever created. We set out to build something truly extraordinary and we’ve succeeded in a way that far exceeds our most ambitious expectations.”

Fast Facts

• 330 million income-qualified people within a 3.5hr travel radius

• Attendance predictions of up to 12 million in the first year

• Future attendance predictions of over 30 million

• The most expensive theme park resort ever, costing $5.5bn

• Phase one of Shanghai Disney Resort is 3.9sq km (960 acres)

• Once completed, the destination is estimated to measure 7sq km (1,730 acres) and cost $15bn

• A peak-time adult ticket costs $75

• The park will employ 10,000 staff

Disney works with the local community

Disney VoluntEARS have embarked on a number of initiatives in Pudong and Shanghai, helping at children’s hospitals and schools. One project involved teaching children about the environment as part of last year’s Earth Day celebrations.

Disney works with the local community
Disney works with the local community
Disney VoluntEARS have embarked on a number of initiatives
Disney VoluntEARS have embarked on a number of initiatives
Disney works with the local community
Disney works with the local community

What is Shanghai Shendi Group?

Shanghai Shendi Group is a state-owned company approved by Shanghai Municipal Government. It’s responsible for collaborating with the Walt Disney Company on the investment, development and operation of Shanghai Disney Resort through three joint venture companies (Shanghai Lujiazui, Shanghai Radio, Film and Television Development and Jinjiang International Group).

Shanghai Shendi Group is also responsible for the development of the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone. It has a 57 per cent share in Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney has a 43 per cent share. There’s a separate management company where Disney has a 70 per cent share and Shanghai Shendi Group has 30 per cent.

“Shanghai Disneyland is the 4sq km core area at the centre of the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone, but Shanghai Shendi Group is responsible for the entire 20sq km destination,” says Christian Aaen of Entertainment + Culture Advisors (ECA). “That’s important because that’s what justifies the huge investment in the theme park. Shanghai Shendi Group will be developing supporting commercial, residential, retail and tourism real estate around it.”

“Shanghai Shendi Group is about the larger economic impact: the construction jobs and the thousands of workers in the Disney parks and other businesses in that zone,” he says. “That’s how Shanghai Shendi Group and the Shanghai government are looking to monetise their investment over time. If tourists come to Shanghai because of Shanghai Disney and extend their stay by one or two days, that will have a significant impact on the hotels, restaurants and service industry. It’s really part of this 15 to 20-year vision. It’s a long-term investment.”

What is Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone?

Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone is in the Pudong New Area in Shanghai. It has a total area of 25sq km (9.7 sq mi), and a core area of 7sq km (2.7sq mi), including 4sq km (1.5sq mi) for Phase One of Shanghai Disney Resort.

Shanghai Disneyland at a glance

A brief guide to the first phase opening, Shanghai Disneyland

Fantasyland is the largest of the five zones and home to the Enchanted Storybook Castle. The magical area is inspired by Disney’s animated fairy tales, old and new. Running through Fantasyland, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is an enchanted boat ride that leads to the castle and an AV water fountain display.

Look out for: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, Alice in Wonderland Maze, Frozen: A Singalong Celebration

Disney’s fairy tales inspire Fantasyland
Disney’s fairy tales inspire Fantasyland

Adventure Isle

Adventure Isle, a new and original world from Disney
Adventure Isle, a new and original world from Disney
Unique to Shanghai Disneyland, Adventure Isle is an ancient lost world of jungles, rumbling mountains and strange animals. The theming is based on a story of a group of adventurous explorers who discover a mysterious island civilisation, with brand new original characters and storytelling.

Look out for: Roaring Mountain, Tarzan: Camp Discovery, Call of the Jungle, Soaring Over the Horizon


Tomorrowland transports guests to a sci-fi future
Tomorrowland transports guests to a sci-fi future
The all-new Tomorrowland, like the original Disneyland, is inspired by the future. Technology and science are central to presenting a bright vision for the planet. As well as cutting-edge attractions, the Star Wars Launch Bay will immerse guests in the world of Disney’s Lucasfilm IP.

Look out for: TRON Lightcycle Power Run, Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, Stitch Encounter, Jet Packs

Treasure Cove

Pirates are everywhere in Treasure Cove
Pirates are everywhere in Treasure Cove
Disney’s first ever pirate-themed land has been created especially for Shanghai Disneyland. The designers have worked to convey the rowdy world of the high seas with humour and mischief. Wild and noisy, Treasure Cove features colourful characters, giant ships and an acrobatic stunt show.

Look out for: Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular

Gardens of Imagination

Gardens of Imagination: Chinese Zodiac meets Disney
Gardens of Imagination: Chinese Zodiac meets Disney
At the centre of the resort’s themed lands, seven landscaped gardens make up the Gardens of Imagination, a place of whimsy and fantasy. Inspired by the Chinese garden with a network of bridges and trails, guests can find Zodiac-inspired characters in the Garden of the Twelve Friends, musical delights in the Melody Garden and photo opportunities with their favourite characters.

Look out for: Fantasia Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mickey’s Storybook Express

Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: TechnoAlpin
TechnoAlpin Indoor offers expert consultation for indoor snow concepts, assisting customers with the integration of snow in the initial design phase of spa concepts and this way providing individualised solutions for any business in order to elevate the guest’s spa experience.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The Bird’s Nest Pool Villas feature a pool and terrace, and ocean view baths. They are inspired by the fictional Rung-Nok community
"Looking back, local people knew how to live among the forest, using knowledge and resources to benefit their wellbeing"

Phuket’s entrepreneurial Somnam family decided they wanted to create a resort with a difference for the island Keemala was the result

Ocean Flower is part of the Five Lagoons development in the Maldives
Architect Koen Olthuis
"I mean flexibility on a larger scale, where cities and urban planners are able to move a complete neighbourhood half a mile"

Architect Koen Olthuis says floating buildings will change the world

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Ban’s emergency paper partition system
Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014
"It is important to respect the characteristics, trademark or tradition of the place"

The post-disaster work of his Voluntary Architects Network

The Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant features 12m-high floor-to-ceiling windows
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

"Come to Euphoria Retreat if you’re looking for a full health-boost, you’ll leave feeling completely rejuvenated"

Wellbeing Escapes and Well Home have partnered to bring you this special offer for the Euphoria Retreat in Greece

The hotel offers guided day trips on a private yacht to explore the local scenery and wildlife
Project architect Humberto Plaza
"You can feel God here. When I first saw the site, it felt like heaven on earth. I fell instantly in love with it "

Designing an eco hotel for the Galapagos Islands that allowed the stunning natural surroundings to take centre stage while minimising its impact on the land presented its own unique set of challenges, Ecuadorian architect Humberto Plaza tells Kathryn Hudson

The 2013 Pritzker jury described Ito as a “creator of timeless buildings”
Toyo Ito was born in Seoul in 1941. He studied architecture at the University of Tokyo
"I have one dream with my work. Architecture should equal nature"

The Pritzker Prize-winner talks about inspiration, battling bureaucracy and the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium saga with Kim Megson

cladkit product news
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Ojmar introduces battery-free electronic locker to cut carbon footprints in health clubs and spas
Ojmar says the batteryless lock is easy to install and features a user-friendly interface
Megan Whitby
Smart lock manufacturer Ojmar has released the OTS20 Batteryless – the first battery-free electronic locker lock on the market. The ...
cladkit product news
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd