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Shanghai Disneyland Deal Signed

Although property preparation has been underway for a few months now, no official deal had been signed with the governments of China and Shanghai. That changed after the Shanghai Expo finished. A deal has now been signed for a new 8 square mile resort area with a 1.5 square mile theme park zone.

A few details have begun to leak out about the development. It will be a tourism destination (duh), feature low carbon impact construction, and will be a “Magic Kingdom-style” park. That style is the keyword there. I think they’re deliberately leaving themselves a lot of leeway to make some changes to the concept of what we know as a Magic Kingdom park. I hear we could see some of the first concept art in the next few months.

While I understand why the Disney company is working on growing a relationship with China, they’re the biggest dog on the block, having Disney, so long an icon of Americana, working so close with the authoritarian, democracy movement suppressing, and human right violating regime still gives me the willies. I know the goal is to get in with the people of China and hope that the regime changes slowly over time. Yet, there are giant democracies with huge and growing middle classes without Disney development (Brazil, India spring to mind) that would welcome a Disney themepark, and Disney wouldn’t have to get their hands dirty with China. It’s particularly ironic given Walt’s strong anti-communism position.

Shanghai Disneyland is currently scheduled to open in 2014.

9 thoughts on “Shanghai Disneyland Deal Signed”

  1. I just have to say that it’s easy to criticize China from outside of China. Living in China (as I do) offers a different point of view, and considering the way politics in the United States work at the moment, it’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. China is a good country and shouldn’t be criticized as a whole based upon the decisions made by the government (the United States is the same way). I understand your resistance to a Disney park based in China, but there are well over a billion good people in this country who deserve to enjoy something like this and would never get the opportunity to see it elsewhere. Let’s celebrate a bit of magic being brought to a country that needs it!
    Just my two cents. I enjoy the blog!

  2. To the previous commenter, I have to say that while we have our problems, they are not that bad. I mean at least basic human rights (i.e. being able to have as many kids as you want) are not violated here. Yes, our politics are not great all of the time, but we are still the greatest nation on this planet and will continue to be such as long as we elect responsible and good leaders. The choice is up to us to decide though and that too is a basic right. We don’t decide for you what you will do for a living, that is a choice, there are many basic human rights issues. In addition, you are probably not allowed to speak out against your country, which we can do, but I chose no to do so, as we are a great country.

    As for the article:
    I agree that I really don’t think that the China move is good for Disney or it’s image in the short run; however, they may be of the thinking that if they can get in there, they can help make changes to the government that will be favorable to them (which ultimately would be eliminating the human rights violations and such). So, in the long run it may prove to be better than we think, but I would have preferred other locations as well.

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  4. Chris Wade, the US cannot call itself the greatest nation on Earth while it continues to engage in torture. Look beyond the borders – there are other places out there that are also great, and their greatness does not diminish the US. To believe otherwise is to remain provincial and jingoistic.

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