Theme Park Insider

Shanghai Disneyland celebrates its first birthday

June 16, 2017, 11:25 AM · Shanghai Disneyland celebrated its first birthday today, wrapping up a wildly successful first year in which the park welcomed more than 11 million visitors and won a slew of industry awards.

A huge crowd packed Shanghai Disneyland to celebrate its anniversary, though, to be fair, crowds have been filling this park relatively consistently since it opened.

The TEA/AECOM Theme Index attendance report credited Shanghai Disneyland with 5.6 million visitors for its partial year of operation in 2016, placing the park just outside the world' s top 20 theme parks for attendance. But 11 million annual visitors would place Shanghai Disneyland comfortably in the top 10, just ahead of two the Walt Disney World parks and the Universal Orlando parks. Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom remains the world's most popular theme park, drawing more than 20 million visitors in 2016, according to TEA/AECOM.

Shanghai Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure won our Theme Park Insider Award for Best New Attraction last year, and the park also won honors from the Themed Entertainment Association and IAAPA.

Theme Park Insider writer Renata Primavera covered the park's opening day for us last year, and a few months later, Laurie Niles visited the park and filed a two-part trip report, with video.

Theme Park Insider's trip reports from Shanghai Disneyland:

At the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando last fall, the Imagineers behind the Shanghai Disneyland project talked about how they helped create Disney's most technologically advanced park to date.

Behind the scenes:

Shanghai Disneyland already has announced its first expansion project — a Toy Story land, to open next year.

Ready to visit?

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Replies (11)

June 16, 2017 at 11:30 AM · Congrats to Shanghai! I hope someday American Disney parks experience this kind of success. Maybe it's time to bring back Eisner?
June 16, 2017 at 11:46 AM · Good for them, deserve it for the Pirates ride alone.
June 16, 2017 at 12:51 PM · @Barry

"Maybe it's time to bring back Eisner?"

So Disney can pay him $40 million a year while investments in the parks languish?

Eisner is a large part of the reason why Disney has had to spend billions on their American theme parks in the past few years and will continue to spend billions in the next several years just to bring the non-Disneyland parks up to Universal Studios standards!

June 16, 2017 at 3:21 PM · Barry Zuckerhorn is right. If Bob Iger hadn't wasted billions on Shanghai and MyMagic+, Pandora Land would have opened years ago, Star Wars Land would have opened years ago, Disney would not have trashed Twilight Zone to build a Guardians ride, and California Adventure would now have both Twilight Zone and a Guardians of the Galaxy ride.

Bob Iger has been a plague for Disney fans. Eisner was greedy, but at least he had taste. Iger and Chapek don't have a creative bone in their bean-counting bodies. How long can the Imagineers prop up the cancerous corpse that is Disney corporate?

June 16, 2017 at 6:01 PM · I wrote a review about my Grand Opening experience, too! Whaaa!!! :(
**see profile**

Yes, Shanghai Disneyland was a blast. And the Pirates ride is truly an experience to never forget! I hope to return some day, though I've only been to Shanghai once, and that was specifically for SDL.

I would not argue against bringing Pirates to America. Ditto for TRON, though it was kind of forgettable.

June 17, 2017 at 7:14 AM · You're forgetting that Eisner would not have bought Pixar. Eisner refused to pay the $4 Billion that the company is worth. Then what makes you think he'll buy Marvel and Star Wars. What makes you think Eisner will license Avatar. Actually, we don't know. DCA was Eisner's project. Cars Land saved DCA, but Pixar would not be owned by Disney if Eisner was in charge. I highly doubt Disney will build Star Wars Land if Eisner comes back. Eisner's relationship with George Lucas was so bad, Lucas refused to work with him. An update to Star Tours never happened when Eisner was there.

Eisner no longer believes in big attractions. This is Fantasy that Eisner is better than Iger. Iger has done amazing things for Disney. I don't get the complaining. Look at Hong Kong Disneyland, another Eisner mistake. Looks as bad as California Adventure.

June 17, 2017 at 9:46 AM · I remember before Shanghai opened, many people at some Disney fan sites were forecasting doom and gloom. They said the park would open with a lot of rides not yet ready, that the food was too expensive, that people wouldn't pay so much for Disney. I am relieved that it is such a huge success, Disney just has to do something to fix Hong Kong Disneyland.
June 18, 2017 at 11:36 PM · Thank goodness Shanghai DL is successful. If it wasn't, that would probably prompt another round of cost-cutting.

P.S.: Why on earth is anyone talking about Eisner now? He's beyond irrelevant, and the way he looted the parks in his last years was a disgrace.

June 18, 2017 at 9:24 AM · Shanghai Disneyland is a failure. It's the most expensive park that Disney has ever built and it welcomed only 11 million guests (46% less than Magic Kingdom; 40% less than Disneyland Anaheim; and 34% less than Tokyo Disneyland).

Shanghai Disneyland is brand new; no Disneyland park outside of China has added an E-ticket attraction in the last 20 years, and these old parks are still clobbering the brand new China parks that feature the latest and greatest attractions that Disney has built anywhere in the world.

Bob Iger's reign at Disney over the last five years has been a complete fiasco. The point isn't whether Iger was better than Eisner's last 10 years. It's whether he's the best man to lead Disney today. Based on the disasters of Shanghai Disney, Disney NextGen and the failure to adapt to cable cord-cutting quick enough, Bob Iger is clearly not the right man to lead Disney anymore; and neither is his handpicked mini-me Bob Chapek. The Bob's need to go. The sooner, the better.

June 19, 2017 at 1:24 AM · Awesome park and I think the best magic kingdom ever created, but is Shanghai so successful? High attendance doesn't necessarily mean high profits especiallly in a country with an $8,000 average income per year. Disneyland Paris is the highest attended park in Europe and struggles to be profitable (and that's in one of the wealthiest regions on earth). Will they develop a large repeat visit fan base like Disneyland and Tokyo Disney resort or will attendance diminish once the novelty wears out? They had a great first year but it's a little early to declare success I think. We shall see.
June 21, 2017 at 3:21 PM · If Shangai Disneyland is a failure, what can we say about Hong Kong Disneyland that in ten years never got nearly 11 million visitors? It's fun how some Disney Theme Parks fans are still oblivious of the fact that this company is much more than just theme parks and Eisner tried to shutdown the animation studios twice, and he was the guy that created Paris Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland, both resorts still struggling to survive. And let's not forget that Roy E. Disney himself overthrown eisner because he turning Disney into a "soulless company". With Iger at least Disney's Animation and Movie Studios are successful again.

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