After just one year of operations, Walt Disney’s Shanghai theme park is already close to breaking even – an achievement that none of company’s resorts have been able to achieve in the last three decades.
The Shanghai development, Disney’s first in mainland China and its largest foreign investment, throws the Burbank, California-based giant into the race to dominate the country’s $204 billion media and entertainment industry.
According to information provided by Disney the park logged more than 11 million visitors earlier this week. The first year’s operations have been extraordinary and the prospects are looking great. In China, there’s potential for Disney to build a second park in the long run, the company said, adding that it would focus on the Shanghai resort first. A Toy Story themed land opening is planned for next year.
Half the resort’s visitors are from Shanghai and adjacent areas, with the remainder coming from other Chinese cities, Iger said. Park attendance is higher than expected, with “extremely high” occupancy rates at its hotel. The food and beverage business, as well as merchandising, has faced some challenges.
The resort’s attendance for the 12 months after its opening puts it in the top seven of theme parks worldwide, ahead of Disney’s Hong Kong and Paris parks but behind its most popular parks in Florida, California and Japan.
Tokyo Disneyland logged 16.5 million visitors last year, while the company’s most popular park, Magic Kingdom in Florida boasted more than 20 million visitors, according to data from the Themed Entertainment Association and consulting firm Aecom. It is also China’s most-visited park, ahead of rival Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Hengqin, which saw 7.5 million visitors in 2016, according to the data.
Disney’s international parks, with the exception of the Tokyo resorts, which it does not own or operate, have struggled with attendance. The Hong Kong park clocked 6.1 million visitors in fiscal 2016, a 11 per cent decline from a year earlier, and it reported a second consecutive year of net loss. Disney said this week that it would delist Euro Disney S.C.A after 27 years as an independent company. Still, profit for its parks and resorts segment grew 9 percent to $3.3 billion for fiscal 2016.