Shanghai Disneyland is expanding with a new themed area, the seventh at the park, now under construction.
Toy Story Land, based on hit animation franchise Toy Story, is expected to open in 2018 and construction has already started, Walt Disney announced on Thursday.
The new area is the Shanghai park’s first expansion project since it opened earlier this year.
Coming just four months after its opening in June, the expansion indicates Disneyland’s early success in the Chinese market, the company said in a statement.
The new area will feature the backyard of Andy, the boy featured the movies, and include three new attractions and a themed character greeting area, it said.
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“We couldn’t be more pleased with Shanghai Disneyland’s first four months of operation and couldn’t be more excited about our future in mainland China,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.
The Shanghai Disney Resort, the sixth in the world which includes Shanghai Disneyland and two themed hotels, covers four square kilometres in Shanghai’s Chuansha township.
An additional 3 sq km was available for expansion, the company’s chairman Bob Iger said at the official opening in June.
The resort is the only one that has a Toy Story-themed resort hotel.
About seven people million were expected to visit the park this year, according to an earlier projection by the investment bank UBS.
Hong Kong Disneyland attracted 6.8 million visitors in the last financial year.
Fan Xiping, the chairman of Shanghai Shendi Group, Disney’s Shanghai government partner, said: “Since its opening in June this year, Shanghai Disneyland’s operation has run smoothly and our guests have been very enthusiastic.
“The newly announced Toy Story Land is part of the accelerated expansion plan for the first phase of the theme park. Both shareholders will continue to launch more new experiences to meet the needs of our guests from China and all over the world.”
Disney has declined to reveal the number of people who have visited its Shanghai theme park.
He Jianmin, a director at the tourism management department at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said according to information he had collected, an average of about 30,000 people had visited the park each day in the past few months.
He was optimistic about the park’s profitability due to the company’s high quality intellectual property rights and product and its geographical advantage. More than 210 million people live in the Yangtze River Delta, the country’s most affluent area, and their demand for entertainment is growing quickly.
“There’s great potential for this market that can be shared by both domestic and overseas theme park developers. There’s no problem with demand. The problem lies in the quality of what people are offered,” said He.
The key to theme parks profitability lay in their ability to make money in other ways rather than simply relying on ticket sales, according to a report by the property firm Colliers International released in August.
Additional income from hotels, restaurants, shopping and other recreational facilities were important factors, it said.
Major companies like Disney were more able to reap these benefits due to their intellectual property rights for numerous cartoon characters accumulated over many years, which allowed scope to sell souvenirs, clothing and other merchandise, the report said.