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Is Shanghai Disney Resort Appealing to Right Crowd?

(CRI Online)    10:18, June 04, 2016

Sun Li, Lang Lang and Yao Ming are introduced as Shanghai Disney Resort's Honorary Ambassadors on March 28, 2016 in Shanghai. [Photo: Xinhua.com]

Another two weeks before the official opening of a new location in Shanghai, Disney Resort is fighting an uphill battle to turn the tide of public opinion.

Since the start of a trial operation in the middle of May, negative comments have sprouted across the Internet concerning the lofty cost of commodities and services at the resort.

For each individual tourist, a three-day visit could cost as much as 2,280 yuan, or 350 US dollars, according to Ctrip, one of China's leading providers of travel services.

The price may look somewhat high to ordinary Chinese tourists who in 2015 made an average disposable annual income of nearly 3,340 US dollars, but falls within acceptable margin to attract tourists from developed countries.

The friendly pricing policy might just provide the right incentive for Aretha from North Berwick, Maine, USA.

"A big hurdle would be getting across the ocean to China, so it will have to be a huge incentive for me to get all the way over there, so I'm not just gonna go to Florida or California."

However other foreign tourists, like Stephanie from Pennsylvania, would like to see something typically Chinese at the resort.

"Maybe with a little Chinese flare, probably more of the traditional stuff. I really like Chinese history, I like to see their culture and tradition integrated with the Disneyland theme."

To meet such demands, Disney CEO Robert Iger recommended shows directed by Chinese artists, food with oriental flavors and signboards designed in Mandarin first and translated into other languages.

There is also the Garden of Imagination that features Chinese Zodiac animals but in the forms of classic Disney characters.

The Florida-based company is hoping such Chinese characteristics will help them attract tourists from Europe and other parts of the world, but Shannon from Baltimore says she needs to learn about it first.

"I had no idea because I don't even know how much it will cost, I have no idea. I would like to see a brochures or little trailers of what the park is gonna be like, the features, stuff like that."

Perhaps many of the challenges the company is facing can be approached with improved public relation strategies.

But their PR division is showing some reservation in dealing with media, has just declined a request for interview with China Radio International.

The reluctance to engage the media makes the company looks vulnerable especially when Chinese competitors are challenging their financial prospects going forward. Established Chinese real estate and entertainment mogul Wang Jinlin has expressed his aim to prevent Disney from being profitable in China over the next 10 to 20 years.

How soon Disney will recover the 5 billion investments in Shanghai is yet to be seen, but knowing whom to appeal to certainly won't hurt their business.


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Editor:Kong Defang,Bianji)

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