> The doors to Mainland China's first Magic Kingdom are finally open. Almost 20 years after Disney first scouted this piece of land outside Shanghai. It's a $5.5 billion bed on China's rising middle class. Disney's biggest overseas investment ever.
m Anita Lee outside Shanghai's Disneyland. So far, the response has been enthusiastic.
Even before the grand opening today, over a million people had already visited on special invitation only tours, or just to take photos from outside the gates. And when today's tickets went on sale for the grand opening, they sold out within hours. But Disney's bet isn't risk free. First of all, tickets can cost up to $75 and for most people in China, that's expensive.
Local media estimates a weekend in the park with hotel could cost a family more than an average household's monthly income. And then there's the cultural differences, one local survey says the people most interested in visiting aren't kids. They're more like low income adults in their forties. China insisted that Disney cater to the crowd here by making some big changes to the original plans.
So it's putting features that appeal to older visitors like more rides for adults, and putting some local culture for those who might not yet to be sold on Mickey Mouse. That means attractions like a Chinese style Wandering Moon Teahouse, a Chinese zodiac themed garden and a Tarzan musical featuring Chinese acrobats.
Finally, Disney has local competition to worry about. Thousands of local themed parks are in the works. And they're likely to deliver up local culture at much cheaper prices. Meanwhile, Disney is optimistic. Announcing it's already adding features to it's largest park overseas. The battle over hearts and wallets has just begun.