Disney’s Shanghai Park to Occupy 2.7 Square-Mile Tourist Zone

Walt Disney Co.’s theme park in Shanghai will be built in a 7 square-kilometer (2.7 square-mile) area that the city has designated as a tourist destination, according to a draft blueprint of the project.

The first phase of the government project covers 3.9 square kilometers which includes a theme park, hotels, car parks, a lake and commuter stations, according to the plan, on which the government is seeking public opinion. The municipality will extend two subway lines connecting to the site, according to the blueprint posted on the city government’s website yesterday.

The project’s first phase will cost 24.5 billion yuan ($3.7 billion), Mayor Han Zheng said on March 6. The Disneyland theme park in Shanghai, the first in mainland China for the Burbank, California-based company, is expected to attract 7.3 million visitors a year when it opens in 2015 in the Pudong area, the city government said in a statement on March 3.

Disney won’t comment “until the regulatory approval process is complete,” Alannah Hall-Smith, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the world’s biggest theme-park company, said in an e-mailed statement. A person who answered the phone at the media department of Shanghai’s Urban Planning, Land and Resources Administration Bureau, who would only give his surname as Xu, declined to comment.

Water will be a prominent feature of Shanghai Disneyland, which will feature three theme parks -- “Magic Kingdom,” “Epcot” and “Animal Kingdom” -- according to the March 3 government statement. “Large-scale” construction could start as early as May, it said.

Disney, which won government approval for a theme park in 2009, signed a contract in November with state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group Co. to build the facility.

Shanghai started building infrastructure for Disney’s first park on the Chinese mainland last year, Jiang Shujie, deputy director of the city’s construction and transport commission said on Jan.7.

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