What’s Up with Shanghai Disneyland?

22 Nov

China Daily sez that Shanghai Disneyland is still in the works. Disney does not confirm or deny. Mousevine chimed in yesterday with a reasonable point of view on what to make of the conflicting reports in the press:

I think the real truth of the matter here is that Disney is still leaving its options open as far as opening a second park on the mainland. China is a huge market and Disney has been aggressive in its approach to tap into the Chinese market.

Yet, there is a lot of truth in Disney’s statement that they’re focusing on trying to improve Hong Kong Disneyland. Let’s just hope that they’re not just uttering empty words but will soon take serious action to ensure a “successful operation” of Hong Kong Disneyland.

Now, Disney’s clearly got their hands full in trying to support the struggling Hong Kong Disneyland. Marketwatch reports this week:

Walt Disney Co. . . . said it agreed to waive management fees to support its unprofitable Disneyland park in Hong Kong for two years, and will also defer charging royalties over the same period.

Hong Kong Disneyland, in which the city’s government owns 57% and Walt Disney 43%, has suffered widening losses this year on a fall in attendance and spending by visitors. The park opened in September 2005.

Disney also said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday that Hong Kong Disneyland’s lenders have agreed to remove performance targets linked to a US$284 million commercial loan and a US$129 million revolving credit facility.

The park had earlier faced the threat that the banks would withhold future funding after it twice missed the semiannual targets set by its lenders.

Yesterday I found myself once again daydreaming about a Hong Kong Disneyland trip, and perused their web site to refresh my memory of which rides are operational at this time. I still find it hard to believe they don’t have either a Haunted Mansion or a Pirates of the Caribbean! Broke Hoedown Jr wanted to nix my fantasy trip right then and there. But when I reminded him they’ve got the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, he warmed up to the idea again. And the interactive Stitch Encounter looks kinda cool (yes, I am a heathen, I am rather fond of Stitch).

It certainly would seem like Disney’s already got its hands full, with the major expansions in the works for Disney’s California Adventure (DCA) plus the help needed for Hong Kong Disneyland. But I’m sure there are potential synergies between Hong Kong and Shanghai (despite the geographical and cultural differences), and of course neither of those Parks are or would be managed by the same groups as DCA. I’ll hope the Disney suits make the right call.

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