• Where’s Snow White? Some of the seven dwarves greet visitors during a trial run of Shanghai Disney Resort on June 11 in Shanghai, China.

Where’s Snow White? Some of the seven dwarves greet visitors during a trial run of Shanghai Disney Resort on June 11 in Shanghai, China. (Photo : Getty Images)

“It was a wonderful experience and I’ll spend money and time in [the] future to visit it again.”

Those were the words of retired worker Chen Lanying quoted by the South China Morning Post regarding a visit to Shanghai Disney Resort earlier this month.

The 963-acre park opened its gate to the public on May 8, way before the scheduled grand opening on June 16, for a six-week trial run.

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Arguably enough, who would not feel wonderful to set foot in, according to the resort’s website, “a never-before-seen world of wonder?”

Shanghai Disney offers, among many others, six themed lands, two resort hotels and, towering above them all, “the tallest, biggest and most interactive of all Disney castles the world over.”

Paying for 499 yuan for the park ticket for adults (375 yuan for children and seniors) could be all worth it then, not only for Chen but perhaps also for the thousand others who already trooped the place during its trial operations.

There is but one major concern: the long hours of lining up.

Imagine some two to four hours of waiting, according to SCMP.

A Boon for Hong Kong Disney?

“I think it’s a good choice to go to Hong Kong,” said Cheng Xiaojing, an office assistant, to SCMP.

According to Cheng, her friend waited in line for three hours to experience the Soaring Over The Horizon ride at the resort’s Adventure Isle only to be told that it malfunctioned.

A polling group called Horizon conducted an online survey through a mobile app regarding the matter, reported SCMP.

The survey result revealed that 94 percent of visitors expressed unwillingness to fall in line for more than an hour.

After their visit to Shanghai Disney, 50 percent of those who took the survey said that over the next six months, they would not visit any Disneyland.

Thirty percent, on the other hand, said that instead of another visit, they would opt for its counterparts, either in Hong Kong or Tokyo, Japan.

When Shanghai Disney begins its full operation, Reuters said that such “could dent” the earnings of its Hong Kong counterpart.

“Authentically Disney, Distinctively Chinese”

That is how the management behind the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort promotes the “most technologically innovative theme park” on its website.

For one, the acclaimed musical “Lion King” will be presented in Mandarin.

On May 8 alone, the park received some 30,000 people. Management anticipates 15 million visitors every year, reported Bloomberg.

But according to Li Jin, an analyst from Hubei-based Chang Jiang Securities Company, the number of annual visitors could reach up to 50 million, with the park raking in 24 billion to 40 billion yuan yearly.

The dizzying income projections tell something significant about the country.

“For China, it’s another indication that it’s moving from a developing economy to a developed one and is a major world power,” said Elliott N. Weiss, an Oliver Wight Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia in the U.S.