Shanghai Disneyland officials wouldn't say when the park will open or how much it will cost. The company stated in a press release that theShanghai park will include "characteristics tailored to the Shanghai region," but a spokesperson declined to elaborate on what types of rides or attractions might be on offer. The Shanghai government has already reserved an estimated 1,000 acres near Shanghai's international airport in the city's Pudong district. Some speculate that the Chinese government's sudden announcement that Disney could go ahead may be timed to precede U.S. President Barack Obama's first visit to China Nov. 15-18, which will include a stop in Shanghai. "It's a huge investment," says Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group in Shanghai. "By allowing this now, it gives face to Obama and really shows that China and the U.S. need to work together to get out of this financial malaise."
Since mainland Chinese make up a third of visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland, some fear that the Shanghai park will siphon tourists away from the former British colony, which is part of China but has a semi autonomous government (mainland tourists must obtain visas to visit Hong Kong). Since opening four years ago, Hong Kong Disneyland has underperformed due to its small size at 300 acres, it's the smallest of any Disney park as well as high ticket prices and competition from a nimble competitor called Ocean Park.