Shanghai Disney theme park in the works

$3.59 billion site could open as early as 2014

Disney said Friday that it is going to submit a plan to build a new theme park in China in a joint venture with the Shanghai government.

The family entertainment giant released a statement confirming its plans at about the same time as the Wall Street Journal released a story on its Web site that said Disney was working with Shanghai to build a $3.59 billion park to open as early as 2014.

A Disney spokesman declined comment on the Journal story.

"Discussions have been ongoing about the feasibility of a theme park project in China," said Leslie Goodman, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, in the statement.

"As part of this lengthy process, we worked on a joint application report with the Shanghai government which will be submitted to the central government for review. No deal has been signed, no project has been approved."

Disney shares closed down 59 cents, or 2.6%, at $22.31.

The Journal said Disney planned to take a 43% stake in Shanghai Disneyland, while a holding company owned by the local government would own 57%, citing unnamed sources.

The first phase of the project, on about 1.5 square kilometers near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport, would include a theme park, plus a hotel and shopping development and would be built over six years, the paper said.