Shanghai Disney's new attraction draws visitors
A performance marks the opening of Shanghai Disneyland's Zootopia land on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]
Shanghai Disneyland's highly anticipated Zootopia land opened to the public on Wednesday, and is expected to attract visitors from home and abroad while adding sparkle to the recovery of the city's tourism industry, company executives and industry insiders said.
The new themed land and its attractions are based on the 2016 animated film Zootopia made by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Construction work started in December 2019. Zootopia is the eighth themed land at Shanghai Disneyland, according to Shanghai Disney Resort.
Walt Disney Company's CEO Bob Iger said at the opening ceremony on Tuesday afternoon that Zootopia is Shanghai Disneyland's second major expansion and demonstrates the company's unwavering confidence in bringing the Disney experience to the Chinese market.
They chose Zootopia as the theme because of the animated movie's "enduring popularity "among its Chinese fans, he said.
The buzz about Zootopia land's opening is reflected in data from online travel agencies. According to Trip.com Group, China's largest online travel agency, searches for Shanghai Disneyland-related products jumped nearly 20 percent on Monday compared with the previous week. Tour packages for Shanghai Disney Resort between Dec 21 and 23 were sold out on travel portal LY.com on Monday.
Zootopia land has opened at a time when the tourism sector is seeing a rapid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Shanghai received nearly 2.3 million inbound travelers during the first three quarters of the year, while the number for the entire year is expected to exceed 3 million, according to the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism.
The figures also confirm Shanghai's role as the first stop in China for international tourists, said officials from the administration.
Josh D'Amaro, chairman of Disney Experiences, said that Zootopia land will help Shanghai consolidate its role as a major tourist destination and attract more international visitors. Shanghai Disneyland expects to receive a record 13 million visitors in 2023, he added.
Jared Bush, co-writer and co-director of the animated movie Zootopia, visited the new themed land on Monday. He disclosed some of the characters and places featured in the attractions and teased some of the details of the next Zootopia movie, which his team is currently working on.
Jill Estorino, president and managing director of Disney Parks International, said Zootopia has the biggest box office takings of all imported animated movies in China, which is one of the major reasons for making it the new themed land at the park.
Zootopia reaped 1.53 billion yuan ($210 million) in China, according to entertainment services platform Maoyan.
Shanghai Disneyland warned that the ride Zootopia: Hot Pursuit — an all-terrain cruiser powered by a trackless ride system — may not be available to all visitors due to the anticipated high demand and the resort's maximum capacity.
Zheng Zheng contributed to this story.