Monday April 30, 2012
Disney spreading its magic to Shanghai
Made In China
By CHOW HOW BAN
THE Shanghai Disney Resort at Chuansha in the eastern part of the city is scheduled to open at the end of 2015.
The world-famous theme park, the third in Asia after Tokyo and Hong Kong, is one of the most significant development projects which will propel Shanghai’s economy to a new horizon.
Shanghai International Theme Park Co Ltd, a joint venture between the Chinese and American sides, took over the project after the completion of the site formation works last week.
During the groundwork development stage, which was carried out during the course of last year, a total of 4.2 billion cubic metres of water were extracted and 18 million metres of wick drains were laid in an area spanning 1.68 sq km.
The contractors conducted more than 100,000 tests in the area to ensure the quality of the site formation.
Shanghai Disney Resort senior vice-president Howard Brown said the contractors responsible for the foundation work incorporated some of the most advanced technologies to improve the quality of the site and control land erosion and sedimentation.
He was quoted by the local media as saying that the work had been completed on time with record quality and had met domestic and international standards.
City planning authorities said the site was not expected to sink by more than a centimetre for at least 50 years.
In the past three decades, as the city developed into one of the world’s most important financial centres, it faced a subsidence problem.
However, city planners pledged to control average subsidence to within 5mm a year by 2020.
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts president and managing director (Asia) Bill Ernest said the key land parcel handover marked a significant milestone in the development of the Shanghai Disney Resort.
“We are incredibly happy to begin building the resort and to develop this world-class family vacation destination in Shanghai, one of the world’s most vibrant cities,” he said.
The construction of 30 projects will begin in the second half of the year.
These include hotels, a theme park and transportation and entertainment facilities.
Upon its opening by the end of 2015, the resort will cover about 3.9 sq km, with the main theme park, two themed hotels, various dining and entertainment centres, recreational facilities, a man-made lake and transportation hub to be connected via a dedicated metro line.
The total investment for the project is estimated at 24.5 billion yuan (RM11.8bil).
Ernest promised that the resort would feature local flavours, and a special team overseeing the dining aspect would be formed to offer authentic Chinese cuisines.
“We are talking a lot about authentic Disney, unique Chinese. We are really working hard to incorporate it in the overall design story,” he added.
The theme park resort will also arrange various cultural events that celebrate traditional Chinese festivals, such as the Spring Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, in an effort to keep visitors coming back throughout the year.
Walt Disney also vowed to build the park’s signature castle in Shanghai and it would be the biggest and tallest one among all Disney theme parks around the world.
Fan Xiping, president of Shanghai Shendi Group Corp, Walt Disney’s local partner in Shanghai, said about 500 designers and architects had worked intensively on every detail of the theme park to ensure that visitors would have the best experience.
East China Normal University Tourism Department professor Lou Jiajun told China Daily that tens of millions of people would visit the resort annually and their spending would boost the local food and beverage and entertainment industries.