As Disney prepares to officially open its first theme park in mainland China on Thursday, hundreds of members of the press and VIP guests descended upon the company's Shanghai resort Tuesday for final previews of the massive 5.5-billion complex. Disney isn't saying how many guests it expects to entertain in the first year, though outside analysts have put the number at 10 million to 12 million, with up to 30 million a year if Disney expands onto adjoining parcels. Capturing the vast nature of the Shanghai park -- Disney's largest investment to date outside of the United States -- is hard to do in both words and pictures, but the Mouse House's masters of publicity have prepared a raft of statistics that aim to illustrate just how huge the development is. Take our quiz to see if you've got a grasp on the dimensions of Disney's newest theme park.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney park in mainland China, is scheduled to open on June 16, but tourists apparently can't wait another month to do what tourists often do – behave badly. Disney Town, located adjacent to the park, opened to the public on Monday – China's Labor Day – and, according to the South China Morning Post, the behavior of visitors left a lot to be desired. Visitors to the park were seen defacing Disney property, disposing of trash anywhere they wanted and walking through landscaped areas. One person decided to become the park's first graffiti artist, albeit not an imaginative one, scrawling "was here traveling" along the side of a lamppost. Numerous tourists ignored signs warning them to stay off the grass and to stay out of the flowerbeds.
Under dark skies and light showers, Walt Disney Co. officially threw wide the gates of its most expensive international resort to mostly orderly crowds, creating a beachhead for the popular entertainment company in the most populous nation. During a colorful opening ceremony attended by Chinese dignitaries, Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger called the opening of the nearly 1,000-acre, 5.5-billion Shanghai Disney Resort "one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Company." Iger also read a letter from President Obama, who said the park "captures the promise" of the bilateral relationship between the U.S. and China. To shine some sunlight on the day, senior Chinese official Wang Yang told Iger that the rain is an auspicious sign of dollars and renminbi to come. The first wave of park visitors hurried through the gates, toting umbrellas or wearing rain slickers.
Two weeks after Walt Disney Co. launched a bailout of struggling Euro Disney, another international Disney resort revealed that its financial woes grew last year. Hong Kong Disneyland reported a second consecutive annual loss on an 11% drop in attendance and a 7% decline in revenue. The $22-million loss for the fiscal year ended Oct. 1, compared to a $19-million loss in fiscal 2015. The company attributed the slump to a softening tourism market and an unfavorable comparison to the previous fiscal year, which was a week longer. Park attendance fell to 6.1 million in the most recent fiscal year.