The Walt Disney Co. and joint-venture partner Shanghai Shendi Group broke ground on Friday on the long-anticipated Shanghai Disney Resort.

Shanghai Shendi Group is a 100% state-owned holding company.

The Chinese government approved the project in November 2009, but Disney has been relatively mum on progress of the proposed park ever since.

The Shanghai Disney Resort will be the second Disney park in China, though its first on the mainland. Hong Kong Disneyland opened on Lantau Island on Sept. 12, 2005.

The initial investment in the 963-acre Shanghai theme park and resort project will be approximately $3.7 billion. An additional $700 million will be invested in other aspects of the resort, including hotels, shopping, dining and entertainment.

Disney holds 43% of the shares in the joint venture, and Shanghai Shendi Group holds the remaining 57%. Financing will be proportional to ownership, according to Disney.

A joint management company will be formed with Disney having a 70% stake and Shanghai Shendi Group having a 30% stake. The management company will be responsible for creating, developing and operating the resort.

"The Shanghai Disney Resort will be both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese," Disney CEO Bob Iger said at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The Shanghai Disney Resort is slated to open in approximately five years in Shanghai's Pudong district. The resort will be home to the Shanghai Disneyland theme park; two themed hotels; a large retail, dining and entertainment venue; recreational facilities; a lake; and parking and transportation hubs.

Shanghai Disneyland will be a Magic Kingdom-style theme park that will feature several themed lands with Disney attractions and experiences, as well as an interactive Disney castle.

A distinctive feature of the park will be 11 acres of green space in the center of the theme park.

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