Shanghai Disneyland Passes 11 Million Visitors in Its First Year

Shanghai Disneyland welcomed more than 11 million guests in its first year of operation, the company said Friday. Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger was on hand Friday in China to celebrate the first anniversary of the Shanghai Disney Resort, which includes the Shanghai Disneyland theme park.

“Shanghai Disney Resort’s first anniversary is cause for great celebration for everyone involved in bringing this spectacular dream to life,” said Iger in a prepared statement.

Built at a cost of $5.5 billion, as a joint venture with the Shanghai municipal government, the park was the first mega-scale location-based entertainment complex built in mainland China by a foreign conglomerate.

A day earlier, the theme park put on a special charity edition of its Mandarin-language version of the “Lion King” stage musical.

In the middle of last month, Disney revealed that the park had attracted 10 million visitors in its first 11 months. That figure, including the winter period, exceeded the estimates of some local forecasters in China.

Though Disney has not publicly offered forecasts for park attendance or visitor spending, its joint venture partner previously suggested that 10-12 million visitors was its target for the first year.

Bob Chapek, head of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, confirmed that. “That figure is much faster than even our most optimistic forecasts,” he said.

Inevitably, the high-profile park has been closely scrutinized by local residents and Chinese media. Criticisms include long waiting times for rides and attractions, and for food that is too pricey.

Chapek responded to such criticism saying that guests are spending longer each day — an average of some nine and a half hours — than expected. “The satisfaction scores that we are getting from our visitors are extraordinarily high. We think more Disney is a great thing.”

Other commentators have pointed to growing competition from other upcoming facilities being built in and around the greater Shanghai area. They include Legoland, Ice World, and Polar Ocean World. Foreign groups Lotte and Six Flags are also building complexes, and a China-Hong Kong-U.S. consortium is to open a leisure, theater and entertainment complex known as the Dream Center.

Shanghai Disneyland is itself already undergoing an expansion. Construction began last November on a new Toy Story Land, the seventh such “land” in the park, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    Chinese Streamer iQIYI Squeezed by Changing Content Context

    Chinese video streaming giant iQIYI saw its losses deepen, in the April to June second quarter of its financial year. The company grew subscriptions, but was hit by rising content costs and lower advertising revenue Its parent company, Chinese search leader, Baidu saw its year on year profits drop, though it recovered from loss in [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Says ‘Many’ Suing Artists’ Masters Were Not Damaged in 2008 Fire

    UPDATED: Late Friday the attorneys representing Soundgarden, Steve Earle and the estates of Tom Petty and Tupac amended their lawsuit against Universal Music Group over damages to their music archives as a result of a 2008 fire. While most of the amended complaint updated details in the original document — adding information about UMG’s alleged [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan,

    Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan, at No Charge in U.S. and U.K.

    Just days after reports emerged that Spotify is aiming to increase the price of its family plan in its home market of Scandinavia, the streaming giant announced an upgrade to the plan — with no price increase in the U.S. and U.K., where it remains at $14.99 and £15, respectively. A rep for the company [...]

  • Untold Stories Film Program

    Robert De Niro's Company Files $6 Million Suit Against Ex-Employee

    Robert De Niro’s company has filed a $6 million lawsuit against a former employee, accusing her of embezzling money and binge-watching Netflix while on the job. Canal Productions, De Niro’s loan-out company, also accuses Chase Robinson of racking up exorbitant hotel and restaurant charges and using millions of De Niro’s frequent flyer miles for her [...]


    Jay-Z Gets Shade From Kaepernick, Support From Cardi B as NFL Fallout Continues

    UPDATED: If anyone expected the drama surrounding Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL to calm down over the weekend, they were mistaken, as controversy and conversation continued to swirl. The situation grew even more intense late Friday when TMZ reported that Jay is looking to acquire a majority interest in an unspecified NFL team, which would [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content