Shanghai Disneyland opens with hopes cash will rain down

SHANGHAI — Walt Disney Co. opened Shanghai Disneyland, its first theme park in mainland China, with a lavish celebration Thursday featuring Communist Party leaders, a children’s choir, Sleeping Beauty and other Disney characters.

A vice premier joined Disney CEO Bob Iger in cutting the grand opening’s red ribbon, showing the ruling party’s support for the $5.5 billion investment in promoting tourism at a time of slowing economic growth. They read letters of congratulations from the Chinese and American presidents, Xi Jinping and Barack Obama.

“This is one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Co.,” Iger said after the choir sang. Later, actors dressed as Sleeping Beauty, Donald Duck and other Disney characters danced on stage.

The festive sentiment was tempered by news from Florida that an alligator killed a 2-year-old boy at Disney’s flagship Walt Disney World. The boy drowned after the animal dragged him into a lagoon on Tuesday.

The company hopes Shanghai Disneyland will burnish the brand behind “Frozen” in the world’s most populous film market and help revive Disney’s struggling international theme park business.

Analysts expect Shanghai Disneyland to become the world’s most-visited theme park, attracting at least 15 million and as many as 50 million guests a year. By contrast, Walt Disney World drew 19.3 million people in 2014.

Speaking as a light rain fell, Vice Premier Wang Yang quipped, “I would like to call this a rain of U.S. dollars or of renminbi,” the Chinese currency.

Wang, a member of the ruling party’s Politiburo, described the park as an example of Sino-U.S. “practical cooperation” and “people to people exchanges.”

Despite slower growth, China’s economy still is one of the world’s best-performing and tourism spending is rising.

Shanghai represents a market of 300 million people living within three hours of the park by car or train in one of China’s most affluent regions. China’s bullet train network can draw in areas further afield.

YouGov, a market research firm, said 44 percent of people it surveyed in China in May said they plan to visit Shanghai Disneyland within a year. It said 80 percent plan to take family members.

“I think it’s really lively here and every girl can realize her dream of becoming a princess,” said Gong Haiyan, a visitor from western China’s Sichuan province.

Wang Lei, 34, said she liked the park, despite long waits for some things.

“I’m sure I will go again, maybe again and again,” said Wang, a buyer for a Shanghai food chain. “I’ll bring my kids and relatives from my hometown.”

Chinese are not cutting back on tourism despite the weak economy, said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research in Shanghai.

“They are still spending on experiences and on their kids,” Rein said. “It’s going to be a huge success. Everybody in China who has a kid or a grandkid is going to want to go to Shanghai Disney.”

Disney’s opening follows a decade of negotiations, five years of construction and weeks of testing. Iger said more than 1 million visitors already have tried out its rides, shops, restaurants and two hotels.

Global brands like Disney are rushing to create products for Chinese tastes.

The company added China-themed elements and put the emphasis on popular characters at the Shanghai park, while downplaying its American identity. At the entrance, instead of “Main Street USA,” it’s “Mickey Avenue.”

Near its iconic Storybook Castle, Disney created a “Garden of the Twelve Friends” using characters such as Remy from “Ratatouille” and Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” as animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Disney says the Wandering Moon Teahouse, modeled on a building in eastern China, is the only Chinese-style structure in any of its parks.

The park should generate some $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion a year in revenue, according to Drexel Hamilton analyst Tony Wible. However, Disney’s state-owned Chinese partner, the Shanghai Shendi (Group) Co. Ltd., which owns 57 percent of the 7.5-square-kilometer (2.9-square-mile) park, will get the lion’s share.

Disney’s international parks in Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo haven’t made a profit in six of the past 10 years, Wible figures. So the main advantage of the huge park may be promotion of the brand and merchandise.

Disney has many inexperienced but ambitious competitors in China.

The country’s biggest developer, Wanda Group, opened a 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) entertainment complex in the southern city of Nanchang in May and said it plans more. It bought Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment in January, and Wanda founder Wang Jianlin, Asia’s second-richest businessman, said he hopes to surpass Disney as the biggest global tourism company by 2020,

China is a challenging environment in other ways, with official controls on business activities and on taking profits out of the country. Live shows such as Disney’s “Lion King” musical must be approved by Chinese censors.

Disney’s DisneyLife direct-to-consumer online movie and book offering was closed in April, five months after opening, amid a Chinese regulatory review.

In the Shanghai park, Disney needs its Chinese partner’s approval to change restaurant prices and other management details.

“They are hamstrung in a lot of areas,” said Rein. But still, he said, Shanghai Disneyland “is far above anything else in China.”

One big risk is that the park will prove so popular potential visitors may be put off by the crowds.

Jin Yasi, a 33-year-old housewife from Wuhan, came with her husband and their two daughters, aged 6 and 3, dressed as Elsa from “Frozen” and as Snow White. Jin said she has visited Hong Kong Disneyland, the company’s first park in Greater China, three times.

“The castle is definitely great,” Jin said. But after waiting an hour to get through a security check, she said, “I think they should offer better service.”

ad-high_impact_4
News
President Donald Trump speaks at White House ceremony for French president
President Donald Trump speaks during a welcome ceremony for French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at White House ceremony
President Emmanuel Macron speaks at Tuesday ceremony welcoming the French leader and his wife to the White House. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Toronto Attack Suspect Charged in Van Attack
Toronto Attack Suspect Charged in Van Attack According to the Associated Press, 25-year-old Alek Minassian was charged with 10 counts of 1st degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder. Minassian appeared in court Tuesday morning after mowing down and killing 10 people in a rented van Monday in downtown Toronto. 15 others were also injured in the attack. Authorities have not announced a motive. “As was indicated last night by our public security minister, at this time we have no reason to suspect that there is any national security element to this attack, but obviously the investigations continue.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
9 Dead and at Least 16 Injured as Van Hits Pedestrians in Toronto
9 Dead and at Least 16 Injured as Van Hits Pedestrians in Toronto The driver of the van is now in custody after climbing the curb and plowing through crowds of people. Witnesses describe a scene of chaos as the trail stretched about one mile before coming to a stop. Witness, via CTV Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made initial statements after learning of the incident. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
High School Senior Wins Writing Scholarship
Kye "Kai" Catarata was presented with a $1,000 scholarship at the Las Vegas Writer's Conference Saturday at the Tuscany Suites and Casino.
It's a Boy! Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Third Child
It's a Boy! Duchess of Cambridge Gives Birth to Third Child Kensington Palace announced that Prince William and Princess Kate traveled by car to the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in central London Monday. The child was born at 11:01 a.m. local time, weighing 8lbs 7oz. Her Royal Highness and her child are both doing well. Kensington Palace The new addition will be fifth in line to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II's sixth great-grandchild and third grandchild of Charles, Prince of Wales. Catherine and Harry married in 2011 and have two other children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, who turns 3 next month.
Dr. Abbatangelo: Professor, Pageant Queen and Animal Dentist
Dr. Tina M. Abbatangelo, a professor of clinical practice at UNLV dentist school spends her free time and money traveling across the country to help treat exotic animals.
Joseph Otting, U.S. comptroller of the currency during an interview with RJ
Joseph Otting, U.S. comptroller of the currency during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Otting oversees all national banks, credit unions, mutual savings banks, coops and the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks in the United States. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Paris Wade discusses about his “Liberty Writers” website
Paris Wade, who made national headlines for operating a fake news website and boasts about getting President Donald Trump elected in 2016, speaks during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Wade is running for Nevada Assembly. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers.
Las Vegas Metro police and Henderson police officers ride their bikes during the Vegas Team's last practice rides in preparation for the Police Unity Tour from New Jersey to Washington D.C. to commemorate fallen officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review Journal @bizutesfaye
UNLV students walk out of class on national walkout day
UNLV students and supporters chanted, marched and rallied on national walkout day Friday, April 20 on the 19th anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Captain Sasha Larkin Discusses Challenges, Progress in North West
Captain Sasha Larkin, of Metro's Northwest Area Command, discusses what issues face the northwest valley's residents and what police are doing to address them.
Southwest giving passengers on deadly flight $5,000 for compensation
Passengers on Flight 1380 have been receiving checks as a gesture of goodwill from the airline.
Ellis Island Buys Mt. Charleston Lodge
Ellis Island, which operates a casino, brewery and hotel just off the Strip, purchased the Mt. Charleston Lodge in early April.
LVMPD Arrests Suspect in Sunset Park Shooting
Captain Robert Plummer held a press conference at LVMPD headquarters Thursday to provide updates on the arrest of Anthony J. Wrobel, accused of killing a Venetian executive and wounding one other in a shooting on Sunday.
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story
Two Black Men Arrested at Starbucks Share Their Story Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson sat down with ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ on Thursday and said the Starbucks manager called the police two minutes after they arrived. Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' Donte Robinson, to 'Good Morning America' The men were meeting with a friend for a business meeting at the store’s location at around 3:45 pm on April 12 and declined to make any purchases. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson issued a public apology and vowed to fix the issue by closing 8,000 stores nationwide next month for training on unconscious bias. Both Nelson and Robinson were released without charges after spending hours in jail, and the manager is no longer with the company.
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots
Hero Southwest Pilot Was One of the Navy’s First Female Fighter Pilots Tammie Jo Shults is being called a hero after safely landing the crippled Southwest Flight 1380 in Philadelphia. According to a spokesperson, Shults began her Navy career in 1985 and was one of the first female pilots to “transition to tactical aircraft.” She served for another eight years before moving to the Naval Reserve, retiring completely in 2001 with the rank of Lt. Commander. The Southwest flight, which was headed for Dallas from New York, was forced to make an emergency landing after one of its engines blew. One passenger was killed in the explosion when shrapnel flew through a window. Seven others suffered minor injuries aboard the flight, which carried 149 people. Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News Passenger Peggy Phillips, to NBC News
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Artist, Community Paint Winchester Skate Park
Andrew Schoultz, a Los Angeles-based artist with an upcoming exhibit at UNLV's Barrick Museum, painted the skate park at Winchester Cultural Center on Tuesday.
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
David Copperfield executive producer testifies during the magician's civil trial
A British tourist is suing illusionist David Copperfield saying he was injured during a trick. Chris Kenner, executive producer for illusionist David Copperfield, was on the witness stand all day Tuesday, April 17. Kenner testified that a business manager for the show talked to the man after he fell. Kenner testified that the tourist, Gavin Cox, said he was OK moments after the fall. Cox later told the crew: “Maybe I will have this looked at.” Copperfield is the next witness in line for Cox’s attorneys. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
CCSD Teacher Is a Living Organ Donor
June Monroe speaks about her kidney donation to her brother and advocacy work with the National Kidney Foundation.
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest
Shadow Ridge High School teachers protest. Teachers are upset over many things, including the fact that the district is fighting an arbitration ruling for pay raises. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Clark County commissioners debate getting rid of Henderson, North Las Vegas constables
Clark County commissioners are debating whether to get rid of the Henderson and North Las Vegas constables after RJ's story pointing out questionable spending by the Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing
1 Dead, 7 Injured After Southwest Airlines Flight Makes Emergency Landing Dallas-bound Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 out of New York, which had 143 passengers and a crew of five onboard, landed in Philadelphia on Tuesday. According to NBC10, a female passenger was partially sucked out of a broken window, which was a result of the plane's engine ripping apart. It's not known if the female passenger was the one who died. Emergency personnel met the battered plane upon its landing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the blown engine resulted in a smashed window and a damaged fuselage. Southwest Airlines The FAA said that the NTSB will lead the investigation into what happened.
Single vehicle crash kills man
A man died Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Las Vegas. The crash occurred Tuesday morning on the 1900 block of Pasadena Boulevard, near Lake Mead Boulevard and Mt. Hood Street. Police had few details, but Metro's fatal detail was on the scene investigating.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like