Shanghai Disneyland draws 11 million visitors in debut year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 2:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 June, 2017, 2:56pm

Attendance at Shanghai Disneyland exceeded expectations during its debut year, attracting nearly double the number of visitors compared to its mature counterpart in Hong Kong, according to Walt Disney data.

The number of visitors to the US$5.5 billion theme park reached 11 million earlier this week, several days before its one-year anniversary on Friday, according to Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts.

Watch: Shanghai Disneyland beats estimate with 11 million visitors

It was “a milestone we achieved much faster than even our most ambitious expectations”, Chapek told reporters on Friday. “We were extraordinarily encouraged by the unbelievable result.”

The full-year number beat an earlier estimate of 10 million visitors in the first 12 months by Shenwan Hongyuan Securities.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Disney theme park reported 6.1 million visitors in the financial year to October 1.

Shanghai Disney Resort, Walt Disney’s sixth of its kind worldwide, officially opened on June 16, 2016.

In November, just four months after the official opening, Walt Disney announced plans to expand its Shanghai resort by adding a seventh theme area. Toy Story Land is expected to be operational in 2018.

Chapek said the high satisfaction score the company collected from its Chinese clients “served the right precursor” for future developments, without disclosing details of its expansion plans.

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The company said last year that the construction of Toy Story Land was a sign of its confidence in the growing consumer demand for themed entertainment in China, buoyed by the early success of the Shanghai theme park.

The resort includes Disneyland, two themed hotels and related shopping and entertainment complexes on a site covering four square kilometres in Shanghai’s Chuansha township. It has a further 3 sq km available for expansion.

Shanghai Disney Resort, 57 per cent owned by state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group and 43 per cent by Walt Disney, received a fresh capital injection of US$800 million in April 2014 as the two parties agreed to boost total investment to US$5.5 billion in an effort to broaden the number of attractions.

Walt Disney owns 70 per cent of the resort’s management company while Shendi holds the rest.

Shanghai Disney Resort is targeted at people living in the Yangtze River Delta region, the mainland’s most affluent area.