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Disney banks on new Chinese theme park

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 01:42

Disney has been showing off its newest theme park in Shanghai one day before its grand opening. Its CEO hailed it as China's Disneyland rather than just Disneyland in China. But as Kate King reports, the day was tarnished by a tragic alligator attack on a two-year-old boy at Walt Disney World in Florida.

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Disney's betting 5 and a half billion dollars on China... but is it a case of reinventing the wheel? The new Shanghai Disney boasts the Magic Kingdom's tallest fairytale castle and its longest musical parade, filled, of course, with many of its familiar characters. There in lies the problem, in the living rooms of many Chinese homes, there's no sign of Micky and friends. But Disney's CEO insists this park has more of a local feel. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DISNEY'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOB IGER, SAYING "We didn't just build Disneyland in China, we built China's Disneyland. We want the people who visit here to feel welcome and comfortable here. They have a sense that this is their park." For Chinese families, that means children can understand Disney's fairytales in their own language. The company estimates there are 330 million people within a three hour radius of Shanghai who can afford to come to the park. But whether they choose to, is another story. Disney is facing competition from developers building Chinese parks based on homegrown cartoon characters. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DISNEY'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BOB IGER, SAYING: "We're all really thinking about what we are going to do next because with seven square kilometres of land to work with, we have plenty of room to grow with more lands and attractions and more authentically Disney distinctly Chinese experiences." It's clear Disney has a plan, but Thursday's official opening has already been tarnished. An investigation's underways at Walt Disney World Orlando - after an alligator dragged a two year old boy into a lagoon. Disney said it's devastated by the tragedy.

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Disney banks on new Chinese theme park

Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 01:42