Shanghai Disneyland Welcomes 10 Million Guests in Its First Eleven Months

As part of its celebration of China’s National Tourism Day, Shanghai Disney Resort has announced that Shanghai Disneyland recently welcomed its 10 millionth guest – and in just 11 months! That makes Shanghai Disneyland the most popular theme park opening ever in China.

“We’re thrilled to see millions of people from across China embrace Shanghai Disney Resort,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Their reaction has been everything we’d hoped for and, thanks to their enthusiasm, this incredible resort is exceeding our expectations across the board. It’s a fantastic success that gives us even more reason to be excited about the future of Disney in China.”

It’s hard to believe Shanghai Disney Resort is already about to celebrate its first anniversary, but today the resort also announced plans for a special month-long celebration leading up to an unforgettable magical moment at Enchanted Storybook Castle on June 16.

 

Shanghai Disney Sees Nearly 6 Million Guests in 7 Months

Shanghai Disneyland received close to 6 million visitors in the first seven months of it opening in mid-June, Fan Xiping, chairman of Shanghai Shendi Group, Disney’s Chinese partner, said Monday.

Fan, who is also a member of the standing committee of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said 5.6 million people had visited Shanghai Disneyland by Dec. 31, 2016.

Eighty percent of the visitors said they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their visits, according to a third party survey.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel reported up to 90 percent occupancy. The first-ever Mandarin production of “The Lion King” was staged over 220 times, making it the most-run Broadway musical in the Chinese mainland.

“Both sides from China and the US are satisfied with the park’s performance,” Fan said. “We’ll work together to improve our operational and service standards, to deliver exceptional service to visitors from all over the world.”

Previously, Walt Disney, in its 2016 fiscal year report, said that Shanghai Disneyland received 4 million visitors in its first four months of operation.

Shanghai Disneyland Breaks Ground on Toy Story Land

Just four months after its launch, Shanghai Disneyland has already broken ground on an expansion. Construction of Toy Story Land, the park’s seventh themed area, is now underway, the Walt Disney Co. said in a statement Thursday.

Based on the hit Pixar franchise featuring the characters Woody and Buzz Lightyear, the new attraction is expected to open in 2018. Neither Disney nor its Chinese partner, the Shanghai Shendi Group, which holds majority control, shared how much would be invested in the expansion.

But Disney offered that the addition should be taken as a sign of the company’s confidence in the growing demand for themed entertainment in China.

Earlier this week, a new study projected that the Chinese theme-park industry was on track to surpass that of the U.S. in the next few years. By 2020, ticket sales at Chinese theme parks will surge to $12 billion from $4.6 billion last year, according to a joint report by market research firm Euromonitor International and World Travel Market.

Theme park revenue in the U.S., meanwhile, is expected to inch upwards to $9 billion in 2020 from $8 billion in 2015, the researchers said.

Shanghai Disney Resort Nears 1 Million Visitors

Disney chief executive Robert Iger said nearly a million people have visited the entertainment giant’s theme park opened less than a month ago in mainland China.

“It would be safe to assume almost a million people have experienced the park,” Iger said during an on-stage chat at a Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado.

Visitors to the park are staying longer than expected each day and showing fondness for Chinese barbecued pork with rice, cheeseburgers and turkey legs, according to Iger.

“We are introducing turkey legs to China,” Iger quipped. “Which I thought was a mistake, but we are selling 3,000 a day.”

Each turkey leg, sourced from Poland, costs more than $8 US.

Disney set the entrance fee at 499 yuan ($76) during peak periods and 370 yuan ($56) for other times, in a country where the average monthly disposable income is just $278.

Disney opened the massive Shanghai theme park to the public in mid-June, hoping to win over communist-ruled China’s growing middle class with the ultimate American cultural export.

The Shanghai resort is the US company’s sixth in the world and the first in mainland China — there is already one in Hong Kong.

Disney tailored park attractions for China and left out some American trademark features, such as Main Street USA.

“I very much wanted to avoid being called a cultural imperialist,” Iger said of work that went into tuning the Disney park for Shanghai.

Disney said its philosophy is to integrate local elements throughout, from the Chinse food on the menu to the attractions — even the Disney castle is topped with a traditional peony flower.

Iger referred to the Shanghai project as a lesson in patience and perseverance, saying nearly 18 years elapsed from when he first stepped on the site for a survey to the day of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The park is the most technologically advanced ever constructed by Disney, Iger said.

Workers broke ground on the project in 2011 and the Shanghai Disney Resort now sprawls over 3.9 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) on the city’s outskirts, with a fairy-tale castle soaring over the horizon.

But the launch of the $5.5 billion resort, representing one of the biggest foreign investments ever in China, comes as growth in the world’s second largest economy slumps to its lowest level in a quarter century.

Still, Disney deemed the world’s most populous country too big to ignore.

There is competition for tourist cash as China builds more theme parks than any other country in the world.

Shanghai Disney Resort Celebrates Historic Grand Opening

Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney resort in Mainland China and the sixth worldwide, celebrated its historic Grand Opening today, culminating one of Disney’s most ambitious projects ever. Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company, celebrated the opening of the one-of-a-kind vacation destination with thousands of distinguished guests, celebrities and Chinese officials.

SHANGHAI (June 16, 2016) – Thousands of invited guests celebrated the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disney Resort today with the help of a flood of Shanghai Disney cast members and Disney character friends. Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company joined Chinese CPC Politburo members Wang Yang, State Council Vice Premier, and Han Zheng, Party Secretary of Shanghai, to officially open the resort’s new theme park, Shanghai Disneyland, at the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle. At the dedication ceremony, six performers wearing enormous, colorful flags represented the six lands of Shanghai Disneyland: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland and Treasure Cove. Shanghai Disney Resort is a world-class family entertainment destination, imagined and created especially for the people of China. The resort consists of Shanghai Disneyland, a theme park with magical experiences for guests of all ages; two richly themed hotels; Disneytown, an international shopping, dining and entertainment district; and Wishing Star Park, a recreational area with peaceful gardens and a glittering lake. Shanghai Disney Resort is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group comprised of two owner companies (Shanghai International Theme Park Company Limited and Shanghai International Theme Park Associated Facilities Company Limited) and a management company (Shanghai International Theme Park and Resort Management Company Limited). (Todd Anderson, photographer)

“The grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort is a celebration of creativity and collaboration, a triumph of imagination and innovation, and a testament to the strong partnership between Disney and China,” Iger said. “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.”

SHANGHAI (June 16, 2016) Magical moments came to life today during the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disneyland. Hundreds of cast members welcomed Opening Day guests to the new theme park. Shanghai Disney Resort, offers the best of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and was created especially for the people of China, with stories that inspire magical dreams, experiences that create emotional connections and places where friends and families can come together to create memories that last forever. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

Honoring the Disney-Chinese partnership that created this resort, Iger and Chinese officials cut a red-and-gold ribbon to dedicate Shanghai Disneyland, the resort’s magnificent theme park. Joining Iger were Wang Yang, CPC Politburo Member and State Council Vice Premier, and Han Zheng, CPC Politburo Member and Party Secretary of Shanghai. Iger also shared a greeting similar to the one Walt Disney said on opening day for the original Disneyland, in 1955: “To all who come to this happy place, welcome.”

SHANGHAI (June 16, 2016) Magical moments came to life today during the Grand Opening of Shanghai Disneyland. Hundreds of cast members welcomed Opening Day guests to the new theme park. Shanghai Disney Resort, offers the best of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and was created especially for the people of China, with stories that inspire magical dreams, experiences that create emotional connections and places where friends and families can come together to create memories that last forever. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

The Grand Opening ceremony marked the moment with music, pageantry and a stream of Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse and Snow White to Baymax and Jack Sparrow, in front of the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle. A multi-generational choir performed a unique version of the Disney song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” arranged in a Chinese style to reflect the balance of Disney magic and China’s cultural spirit at Shanghai Disney Resort. The ceremony also featured six performers holding enormous, brightly colored fans to represent the six lands of Shanghai Disneyland.

Following the official dedications, tens of thousands of guests entered Shanghai Disneyland on its Grand Opening day to explore world-class attractions and live entertainment spectaculars­—many being offered for the first time in a Disney theme park. The three-day Grand Opening event also included two red-carpet occasions: Tuesday’s premiere of the first Mandarin production of THE LION KING, now showing at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, and Wednesday’s gala concert with celebrity performers at Evergreen Playhouse in Shanghai Disneyland.

Guests Can Visit Disney California Adventure on June 16 and Celebrate the Opening of Shanghai Disney Resort

Next week brings the official opening of Shanghai Disney Resort in China, and you’re invited to help Disney celebrate this historic occasion at the Disneyland Resort!

On Thursday, June 16, join us in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and enjoy special entertainment and photo opportunities in honor of the opening of our newest world-class Disney destination. The festivities will feature colorful performances by local community groups, along with character appearances by Mulan and Mushu! Some favorite Asian-inspired food & beverage offerings, including pork bao, almond cookies and pot stickers, will also be available for purchase.

Shanghai Disneyland - Mushu

In addition, Disney will be giving away a button commemorating the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort to each guest entering the Disneyland Resort theme parks, while supplies last.

China Unveils Official Stamp to Celebrate Opening of Shanghai Disney Resort

The Grand Opening of Shanghai Disney Resort is just weeks away, and excitement is building throughout China. This week, China Stamp Group unveiled two official Shanghai Disney Resort stamps which they will issue on June 16 – the same day Shanghai Disney Resort welcomes the general public for the first time!

The Shanghai Disney Resort official stamp collection includes two stamps and one souvenir sheet, featuring classic characters and the iconic Enchanted Storybook Castle.

Shanghai - Mickey & Minnie Stamp

The “Mickey and Minnie” stamp shows Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse strolling in their official Shanghai Disney Resort attire. The “Enchanted Storybook Castle” stamp shows the grandeur of the world’s largest and most interactive Disney castle, with Tinker Bell soaring overhead and fireworks lighting the night sky above.

China Eastern Unveils Disney-Themed Plane

In anticipation of the June 16 opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort, China Eastern Airlines has unveiled a plane painted blue and featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse portraits.

China Eastern will decorate two airplanes with Disney elements including the Enchanted Storybook Castle as well as Mickey and Minnie. Other themed planes will be unveiled in the coming years.

China Eastern Airlines is one of its official sponsors of the resort and the sponsor of Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction.

Shanghai Disneyland Opening Day Tickets Sold Out Online in Hours

Tickets for the June 16 opening day of Walt Disney Co.’s new theme park in Shanghai were sold out on its official ticketing website hours after going on sale at midnight on Monday.

Tickets from June 17 to Sept. 30 are still available, ranging in price from 370 yuan ($57) for non-peak periods, to 499 yuan for peak periods, which include the park’s first two weeks, all weekends, and the summer months of July and August.

The 963-acre park, Disney’s sixth worldwide, is three times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland, with non-peak tickets costing about 20 percent less. Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger has called the China resort Disney’s greatest opportunity since Walt Disney himself bought land in central Florida in the 1960s. The company plans to court 330 million Chinese who live within a three-hour train or car trip of Shanghai.

“Relying on the large desire for family-style entertainment and the rising purchasing power of Chinese consumers, Shanghai Disneyland is likely to set off massive consumer demand,” Chang Jiang Securities Co. analyst Li Jin wrote in a note released Monday.

The resort’s revenue is likely to range from 24 billion to 40 billion yuan a year, with up to to 50 million visitors expected annually, according to Li.

Shares of Disney-related companies gained in Shanghai trading today as ticket sales began. Shanghai Construction Group Co., which won a bid for Shanghai Disney park’s site formation project, advanced by as much as the 10 percent daily limit, as did Shanghai Jielong Industry Group Corp.

Hotel rooms at Shanghai Disney Resort were also quickly snapped up.

As of noon on Monday, rooms were fully-booked at the resort’s two on-site hotels, the Toy Story Hotel and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, for the first two weeks of the resort’s opening, according to the booking website.

Rooms at the Toy Story Hotel start at 850 yuan while rooms at the Shanghai Disneyland Resort Hotel are priced at about 2000 yuan.

Shanghai Disney Resort’s ticketing website requires buyers to register their ID numbers upon purchase to prevent ticket scalping. Walt Disney representatives did not reply to e-mailed questions and phone calls seeking comment.

How Disney COO Tom Staggs Sees the Company’s Present—and Future

Staags & Minnie Mouse

Tom Staggs faces the unique challenge of filling a role that the world’s biggest media company has done quite well without for a decade.

When he was named chief operating officer of Walt Disney Co. a year ago, he took on a job that was last held in 2005 by Robert Iger, before he was promoted to chief executive. Now Mr. Staggs is the leading internal candidate to succeed Mr. Iger, who has said he will retire in 2018.

A 26-year Disney veteran who before becoming COO most recently served as chairman of the company’s parks and resorts business, Mr. Staggs has remained quite involved with the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, which opens June 16.

He is also significantly involved in planning for the future of television at Disney, a key question for the company since its stock began tumbling last August when Disney said that profit growth for its cable business, led by sports juggernaut ESPN, would be lower than expected.

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Mr. Staggs at his office, across a lobby from Mr. Iger’s, at Disney headquarters in Burbank, Calif. Edited excerpts follow.

The long view in Shanghai

WSJ: Are there specific tasks you have taken on as COO? How have you and Bob Iger divided responsibilities?

MR. STAGGS: It’s basically a dual-report system across all the businesses. Our approach has been somewhat fluid, making sure that separately or together we’re focusing on businesses and projects as need be and to be the most effective we can be.

WSJ: How will you measure success in Shanghai?

MR. STAGGS: We’ll really be looking forward to the initial reception, but at the same time we build these parks for generations. We won’t judge where we are a week out, a month out, or even a year or two out.

Clearly we are planting an important flag for the Disney brand in China. We want to make sure people recognize the quality of what we provide. And hopefully it will be an aspirational kind of experience for people in China the same way it has been aspirational for people here. And therefore it represents the brand in a way that is broader than just that individual park.

WSJ: To what extent are you concerned about the state of the economy in China?

MR. STAGGS: This is a very long-term proposition, so what’s going on in the economy at any given moment is not a big concern for us. We look at the trends over the long term and continue to be as bullish as we’ve ever been in terms of the number of income-qualified people, the prospect for continued growth of the middle class in China, etc.

Focus on television

WSJ: What has been taking a lot of your time outside of the parks business?

MR. STAGGS: I have spent a great deal of time on media networks recently, focusing on the future of television.

WSJ: Is TV moving toward a more direct relationship with consumers? Does that require a change of thinking?

MR. STAGGS: It’s not so much a change of thinking. For the past few years, our business has been leaning toward the brands and products consumers seek a relationship with. There is an increasing opportunity to take advantage of the strength of those brands and to reach consumers more directly.

We just mentioned on our last earnings call, however, that we think for the foreseeable future the bundle of programming is going to be the predominant way people get their television. Some people might view that as a contradiction. It’s not. That bundle can be strong even as we’re taking advantage of opportunities to have direct relationships with consumers.

WSJ: Clearly there are benefits across Disney from owning Marvel or “Star Wars” that few other companies can match. And that may be only more true in the digital world. Is the same true of ESPN, or is that more of a stand-alone business?

MR. STAGGS: One of the things this company does well is nurture and manage high-quality branded franchises. The nice thing is, quite a lot of them are highly interconnected in terms of cycling through many of our businesses.

But as a high-quality branded entertainment franchise, ESPN has real synergies with the rest of what we do and our expertise as a company.

WSJ: What are the most important synergies?

MR. STAGGS: Understanding how to manage a brand is not simple. There’s ESPN The Magazine, on television, radio and digital. Managing all of those touch points is not a simple construct, and it’s something we happen to do well.

By having that scale, we have been able to invest in a technology platform that allows us to publish across all those areas seamlessly. Also, I believe if you look forward as we increasingly establish those direct-to-consumer relationships, that expertise in consumer engagement will be a skill set that’s transferrable around our business, even if you’re not handing off an ESPN consumer to other Disney businesses.

WSJ: As you package Disney content in different ways online, do you see it all going together, or is the Marvel consumer different from the animation consumer and so on?

MR. STAGGS: We find it’s not sliced as finely as your question might imply. People tend to like Disney. They have their favorites, to be sure. Generally, if you’re a big fan of “Frozen,” that leads to a desire to engage the characters, the music and the franchise in other ways.

We want to make sure there are as few barriers to that deeper engagement as possible. That’s one of the tricks in designing the notion of what’s direct-to-consumer, what’s in movie theaters, what’s in [cable] bundles, etc.

From the Wall Street Journalhttp://www.wsj.com/articles/how-disney-coo-tom-staggs-sees-the-companys-presentand-future-1456110344