Shanghai Disney Resort has announced that more than 10 million people have visited the park after 11 months of operations, outshining its Hong Kong counterpart which had posted losses for two consecutive years.
The joint-venture US$5.5 billion theme park between Walt Disney and the Shanghai government saw its visitor number beat that of Hong Kong Disneyland, whose park attendance hit 6.1 million in the fiscal year ended October 1, 2016.
“The resort’s rapidly growing popularity and extremely high levels of guest satisfaction add to our confidence in the growing demand for our attraction and entertainment,” said Philippe Gas, general manager of Shanghai Disney Resort.
Walt Disney announced earlier that a new Toy Story Land would be added to the Shanghai resort, which is expected to be operational in 2018.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, the sixth of its kind worldwide, opened in June 2016, amid criticisms about expensive food and long queues for rides inside the park.
In addition, mounting worries about the rivalry between the Shanghai and Hong Kong Disney parks with businesses in Hong Kong Disneyland thwarted by the operation of the Shanghai counterpart, have persisted.
A daily ticket to the Shanghai Disney park, or Magic Kingdom, costs 499 yuan (US$72) for peak times such as holidays and weekends and 370 yuan on other days.
The visitor numbers of 10 million after an 11-month operation beat the forecast of analysts who expected the resort to take a year to hit the 10-million mark.
“The visitor number of 10 million is certainly a good result,” said Professor He Jianmin, director of the tourism management department at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. “But we have to admit that, after all, not all people here are willing or able to spend hundreds of yuan on a visit to the Disney park. It will likely see mild growth in the future despite the rosy performance in the first year.”
Wang Jianlin, China’s richest man and the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, a property-to-entertainment conglomerate, said in May last year that Shanghai Disneyland would struggle due to high prices and bad weather.
The billionaire added that a string of Wanda City theme parks would take on Disney, which would enjoy advantages over the American entertainment giant with lower ticket prices and more Chinese elements in the attractions.
Walt Disney said in early May that the Shanghai resort “has contributed to the operating income growth of the company” for the second quarter ending on April 1.
Shanghai Disney Resort, which is 57 per cent owned by Shendi Group – a state-backed consortium, controlled the number of daily tickets in the first three months after the launch to ensure an effective crowd control.
It mainly targets the estimated 330 million people in the affluent Yangtze River Delta region, who live within a three-hour drive of the project.
Hong Kong Disneyland reported a US$22 million loss for the most recent fiscal year on an 11 per cent drop in attendance, following a loss of US$19 million in fiscal 2015.
Published by “South China Morning Post”