When you emerge from Disney subway station, turn left at "Wonder Street" and stroll along the banks of Wishing Star Lake towards the Mediterranean-style buildings of Disney Town, with its friendly staff waving their giant Mickey Mouse hands, you could be forgiven for wondering if you are really in the People's Republic of China. That's where the media's recently been filled with government warnings about the dangerous influence of Western values on the nation's young people. But the combination of the capitalist West's most famous dream merchants and the ideologues of the Chinese Communist Party was always going to involve some suspension of belief. The ultimate test of that combination comes Thursday, June 16, as the 5.5 billion Shanghai Disneyland -- the Walt Disney Co.'s sixth theme park worldwide and mainland China's first foreign-invested theme park -- opens to the public. What Disney calls the "biggest magic kingdom park ever made" is also a significant leap of faith for the company.
Tickets were sold out within hours of going on sale at midnight on Monday, Bloomberg reported Monday. A girl buys tickets of the Shanghai Disney Resort on Chinese online shopping site Taobao.com in Shanghai, China, 28 March 2016. People who don't mind missing out on the big opening extravaganza can still get tickets for the days leading up to Sep. 30, which are priced between 370 yuan ( 56) and 499 yuan ( 76). SEE ALSO: Happy Birthday, Disneyland: Inside Walt's relationship with the Happiest Place on Earth Disney had said in earlier local reports that the pre-sale was arranged in order to give the park time to plan for and manage crowds on opening day and deal with counterfeit tickets. This is Disney's first theme park in mainland China -- Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005.
An original map of the first Disneyland park has fetched £555,838 ($708,000) at an auction in California. The 1953 drawing was used by Walt Disney to secure funding, after his own studio refused to fund the site. The artist's impression was given to an employee, and remained out of public view for more than 60 years. The map was personally annotated by the creator of Mickey Mouse, and reveals a picture of Walt Disney's vision for the theme park, built in 1955. The hand-coloured map was drawn in two days with input from Disney and artist Herb Ryman.
Walt Disney has announced it will lay off 28,000 employees, mostly at its US theme parks. Disney cited the parks' limited visitor capacity and uncertainty about how long the coronavirus pandemic would last as reasons for the layoffs. The company's theme parks have taken a major hit from the pandemic. Disney shut all its parks earlier this year as the virus spread, but only Disneyland in California remains closed. "We have made the very difficult decision to begin the process of reducing our workforce at our Parks, Experiences and Products segment at all levels," Josh D'Amaro, chairman of the parks unit, said in a statement.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on FoxNews.com. Open or not, going to Disneyland or Disney World is still up to the parents. Theme parks across the country are starting to reopen, while others are still gathering data and formulating plans to keep guests safe and healthy. Based on a new survey, not all parents are ready for the park to reopen.