Disney executives speaking at the 2014 China International Travel Mart (CITM) in Shanghai this month finally provided some details about the company’s highly anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort.
Slated to open by the end of next year, the project will feature a theme park, two hotels and a sprawling shopping district, Disney officials revealed.
A week prior to CITM, in the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts, “Shanghai Disneyland represents our best international growth initiative in a long time, and it’s rising from the ground as we speak in a pretty compelling way, because of its size and the innovation and the breadth of its quality.”
The resort’s centerpiece will be Shanghai Disneyland, a Magic Kingdom-style theme park complete with six themed lands, including Treasure Cove, the first-ever pirates-themed land in a Disney park, as well as an Enchanted Storybook Castle.
The entrance to the park will be an 11-acre green space that will serve as a backdrop for cultural celebrations and festivals.
A fact sheet about the resort states, “Shanghai Disneyland will include signature Disney experiences that guests around the world know and love as well as many exciting new elements tailored specifically for the people of China.”
The two hotel properties will be the 420-room Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, which will have an elegant art nouveau feel, and the 800-room Toy Story Hotel, inspired by the Disney/Pixar Toy Story films.
Near Shanghai Disneyland there will be a 495,000-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment district called Disneytown, which will not require admission for entrance.
It will feature a lake-shore area surrounded by waterfront dining; a Marketplace showcasing Disney merchandise; Spice Alley, site of a variety of Asian culinary establishments; and Broadway Plaza, which will be home to the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, an art deco venue that will host the global premiere of the Mandarin version of the hit musical “The Lion King.”
Iger said that Disney would announce the exact opening date for the Shanghai Disney Resort, the company’s sixth theme park and resort, sometime in early 2015.
Currently, growth in Disney’s parks and resorts division is being realized primarily from its domestic properties, with the RFID bracelet-driven MyMagic+ program at Walt Disney World in Florida driving positive results, Disney executives said during the year-end earnings call. Those results helped offset softness at Disneyland Paris.
On the earnings call, Disney CFO Jay Rasulo told analysts, “The early returns we’re seeing from MyMagic+ are encouraging. During the fourth quarter, MyMagic+ had a positive contribution to the year-over-year increase in the segment’s operating income.”
In fact, Rasulo said, the anticipated future gains that Disney expects from the MyMagic+ project will help offset the incremental costs for the ongoing construction of the Shanghai Disney Resort.
Parks and resorts’ revenue for Disney’s fiscal fourth quarter grew 7%, to $4 billion, and segment operating income increased 20%, to $687 million. For the full year, parks and resorts’ revenue was up 7%, to $15.1 billion, and operating income was up 20%, to $2.7 billion.