Opening Date for Shanghai Disneyland Still Undecided, Says City Mayor

Shanghai Skyline H 2014

While construction will be "basically finished" this year, the opening date for mainland China's first Disneyland is currently under discussion.

The launch date of mainland China's first Disney resort in the country's financial hub Shanghai is still under discussion, the city's mayor Yang Xiong told local media, but construction on Disney's first park on the Chinese mainland will be basically finished this year.

The Wall Street Journal cited sources close to the $4.75 billion project saying the opening had been pushed back to the first half of 2016. No comment was available from The Walt Disney Co., although when Disney chairman and CEO Robert Iger spoke of the project in October, the launch date still seemed to be 2015.

Yang said the government was examining ways to properly manage the large number of tourists expected to visit the park, which is Disney's sixth resort destination worldwide.

Sensitivity about crowd control is high in Shanghai after a New Year's Eve stampede on the historic Bund waterfront, which left 36 people dead.

After years of speculation, Shanghai announced in 2009 that it would host the Disneyland theme park in the city's Pudong district, once a desolate farmland area and now home to the gleaming skyscrapers of the city's financial center. The Disneyland project is being constructed in several phases since building began in 2011, and is eventually expected to be bigger than Hong Kong Disneyland.

The Shanghai development will be managed by a joint venture between the local government's Shanghai Shengdi company, which will own 57 percent of the project, and Disney, which controls the remaining 43 percent.

The park is expected to contain many Chinese elements to woo local visitors, including the "Garden of 12 Friends," based on the 12 animal signs of Chinese horoscope.

Last month, the China Daily reported how the project seemed to be progressing slowly.