Rain cannot dampen the spirits of those at the happiest place on Earth, especially when today is opening day for Disney’s new Shanghai resort.
After five years of construction and $5.5 billion, the 963-acre park is “one of the proudest and most exciting moments in the history of the Walt Disney Company,” Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger said during the opening ceremony, per the Los Angeles Times.
This is Disney’s sixth park and its fourth overseas (joining Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong). Shanghai Disney is more than 11 times the size of the original Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and its enchanted castle is Disney’s largest and tallest, per USA Today.
The resort includes six themed lands, two hotels, a shopping district, 99 acres of gardens, lakes, and parkland, and, of course, the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Disney hired Chinese architects and designers to create a blend of classic Disney while honoring the Chinese culture.
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang read a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping who said, “by adding to the classic Disney style a stroke of Chinese characteristics, and by blending international standards with best local practices, the resort demonstrates our commitment to cross-cultural cooperation.”
Though the company did not reveal how many guests entered the park on opening day, Disney’s partners, Shanghai Shendi, predict that between 10 and 12 million will visit the park in its first year.