Tokyo, Paris, now Shanghai: Small world for Disney parks

HONG KONG – Walt Disney Co.’s new $5.5 billion Shanghai theme park, which officially opened Thursday as the company’s sixth resort. Here’s a look at Disney’s parks around the world:


The original Disneyland opened in 1955. Company founder Walt Disney oversaw its construction in Anaheim, California, on a 65-hectare (160-acre) orange farm. The park’s original four themed areas — Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland — were later joined by Critter Country and New Orleans Square. A Star Wars-themed expansion is underway.


Disneyworld, the company’s flagship resort, was built on former swampland south of Orlando as an alternative to the West Coast park. Its 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) are home to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom theme parks. Disneyworld has rolled out new technology for visitors, who use wireless wristbands as admission passes and hotel room keys, and smartphone apps to order food.


Tokyo Disneyland, the company’s first park outside the United States, opened in 1983, about 10 kilometres (six miles) east of downtown on Tokyo Bay. Both it and DisneySea, which opened in 2001, are owned by Japan’s Oriental Land Co., which pays licensing fees to Disney. The nearly 200-hectare (500-acre) park is expanding to include a new Scandinavian-themed area for DisneySea with attractions based on the hit movie “Frozen.”


Disney brought its vision of Americana to France with the opening of Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park in 1992. To please France, French is the main language for the park, which includes French and European-themed attractions. Mickey and Donald retained their names, but Goofy is called Dingo and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are Blanche Neige et Les Sept Nains. The 1,780-hectare (4,400 acre) park, 32 kilometres (20 miles) east of Paris, has performed disappointingly. Its publicly listed operator, Euro Disney, took a 1 billion-euro (then-$1.3 billion) bailout in 2015 from Disney, which in return got a controlling stake.


Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005 and has been faulted for a lack of big ticket attractions and small size, at less than 121 hectares (300 acres). One time, the park shut its gates because it was full, turning away hundreds of mainland Chinese and Taiwanese ticket holders, some of whom tried to force their way in. Hong Kong’s government owns 53 per cent of the park, which didn’t turn a profit until 2012 and sank back into the red last year. A $465 million expansion including an Iron Man-themed area is set to open later this year.

SHANGHAI: Analysts expect Shanghai Disneyland to become the world’s most-visited theme park, attracting up to 50 million guests a year. The 390-hectare (963-acre) facility is 57 per cent owned by government-backed Shanghai Shendi Group. It is designed to appeal to Chinese visitors with such highlights as teahouse and a “Garden of the Twelve Friends,” with characters like Remy from “Ratatouille” and Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” as animals of the Chinese Zodiac.