Walt Disney Co finally opened its first theme park located in China prompting thousands of enthusiasts gathered to see Mickey Mouse and friends to rush through the gates and storm the tallest castle, ride Roaring Rapids or visit Treasure Cove.
The largest Disney overseas investment reached $5.5 billion to open the doors of this park, betting on the middle class in China and the booming market for domestic tourism.
Disney, based in the U.S., is hoping to offset an otherwise sluggish business in international theme parks that are better known as being cash burning parks like Euro Disney.
Bob Iger the CEO of Walt Disney Company said opening the gates to the new Shanghai Park was one of his most exciting and proudest moments in the history of the company.
He said that why at the official ceremony for the ribbon cutting on Thursday, where officials from the Chinese government stood with him.
Iger as well as Wang Yang the Vice Premier of China read the letters of support from U.S. President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping.
However, not all went as planned up to this point.
The opening gala had been planned to include fireworks, dance and live music, but was rained out on Wednesday evening, while at the Orlando, Florida Disney Park a young boy was killed by an alligator.
Disney however sees China as its best and biggest opportunity since the land was purchased by Walt Disney in the 1960s and built what now is Walt Disney World, the most visited theme park in the world.
Main Street was replaced for the Shanghai park with Mickey Avenue to lessen the feel of it being Americana while the attractions inside the park included a Wandering Moon teahouse in Chinese style, a garden that is Chinese Zodiac-themed and a musical featuring Tarzan with Chinese acrobats.
Disney has estimated that more than 330 million people, located within a radius of three hours of the city of Shanghai can afford to visit the park.
The iconic company in the U.S. already is expanding the site in Shanghai to keep visitors keen on visiting for the first time or returning again, in a country where the competition will certainly be fierce thanks to an array of theme parks at the local level.
Shanghai Disney might also help to lure additional people to see its hit movies like Captain America and Zootopia, which are amongst the top grossing movies this year in China.
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