The debut of Walt Disney’s Shanghai theme park, the first in mainland China, is off to an encouraging start as tickets for the resort’s June opening date sold out quickly online.
While tickets for the rest of the summer were still available, Bloomberg reports the official website sold out of tickets for the June 16 opening date hours after they became available. Shanghai Disney Resort, at about 1,000 acres, is double the size of Tokyo Disney and three times larger than the resort in Hong Kong.
Disney (DIS) has already sought to manage expectations by with the investment community by saying Shanghai Disney will result in $300 million in preopening costs this fiscal year but won’t be a profitable venture quite yet. With the park opening in mid June and the company’s fiscal year ending in September, it isn’t enough time to turn a profit. Disney hasn’t made any targets for fiscal 2017 either.
“It’s the biggest park we’ve ever opened on opening day,” CEO Bob Iger told investors during a Deutsche Bank media conference earlier this month. He touted the park’s blending of original Disney intellectual property with Chinese cultural elements.
The park is also strategically positioned to potentially lure the more than 300 million people that live within a 3.5 hour train or car ride to the park, Iger added.
Theme parks are a critical business to the company, generating $16.2 billion in revenue and $3 billion in operating income in the latest fiscal year, the second-largest business segment for Disney after media networks. Both figures have been increasing in recent years, though the resorts haven’t always been star performers. Disneyland Paris has most notably faced struggles, burdened by high debt and some challenges luring visitors.