Who’s Responsible for Disney Parks Growth Explosion? Thanks Shanghai

For those of you who have been living under a rock, Disney recently announced a seemingly unprecedented laundry list of new attractions and projects coming to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line and beyond. A new Tron coaster and theater at the Magic Kingdom, a new Mickey dark ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a new skyway ride and even a new resort. Epcot alone has announced a new Ratatouille dark ride as well as a new Guardians attraction. As Bob Chapek said at the 2017 D23 conference, the announcements that have been revealed for Epcot are just the tip of the iceberg.

He’s right. There are several more announcements coming for Epcot. Some are not completely fleshed out and some have a more strategic announcement schedule than D23. Still, if you’re not asking this question about all these new projects, you should be: where does the money come from to create all these projects?

Clearly, we all know that Disney parks are pretty expensive.  Therefore Scrooge McDuck just opens those money bins whenever he wishes and poof! Magic money just appears from thin air thanks to a cartoon duck’s kindness. Or does it?


You may recall, in Spring 2016 a hashtag started appearing that seemed to put the blame on any kind of cuts backs Disney was having. Reduced park hours? #ThanksShanghai! Reduced work hours? #ThanksShanghai! Well now it’s Summer 2017 and there are well over a dozen new announcements that were recently made with much more to come.

You know who to thank? Yup. #ThanksShanghai! As Bob Iger stated recently, in roughly one year’s time, the Shanghai Disney Resort has already broken even. This means that Shanghai Disneyland can stand on its own two feet financially and more importantly, the resources used to fund a theme park, two hotels and Disneytown are no longer needed.

Now does that mean that Shanghai Disneyland’s ticket sales are funding the new Tron Coaster at the Magic Kingdom? Not exactly. However, the umbrella that is Disney Parks and Resorts global now has more money freed up for future development that just so happens to go back to parks mostly in the United States at the moment. Regardless of the bumps in the road Shanghai Disneyland has had, and even if you personally don’t think Disney shouldn’t have opened in China in the first place, the park IS a success from an attendance and financial perceptive.

I’ve seen lots of hatred for Shanghai Disneyland on many of the stories I write about the park and I can’t figure out why? Perhaps it’s because people think Disney parks should only be made in America. Maybe it’s a touch of racism towards “foreigners”. Or it could be just a twinge of jealousy that Shanghai Disneyland got a lot of really cool attractions. No matter what your reasons, could you knock it off now? There is a lot of growth coming to Disney Parks in the United States. And even if you’re not excited about that, this also spurs competition so you’ll also see lots of new attractions from Universal, Cedar Fair and Six Flags. The impacts of Shanghai Disneyland will have a ripple effect across the attractions industry. So that means we all benefit. Don’t we?

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