Taken from CriEnglish.com Size Matters: City Crushed by Smaller Disneyland Plan
In its fervent bid to become a global financial center, China's largest city thinks big and engages in gigantic projects.
People in Shanghai must now contend with a massive disappointment.
When the proposal to build a Disneyland park was approved earlier this month, people in Shanghai embraced the prospect of the world's biggest Mickey Mouse playground. Instead, the latest plan would make it the world's smallest Disneyland Park.
In a brief note, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) mandated an area of 116 hectares in Pudong New Area in eastern Shanghai for the project. It is a far cry from the 400 hectares widely reported by the media.
Unsurprisingly, Shanghai people are disappointed.
"I cannot believe this," exclaimed Yu Weihua, an employee with China Travel Service. "It's almost one-tenth the size of the Disney World in Orlando in America. It's even going to be smaller than the one in Hong Kong after the expansion."
To be precise, Tokyo's Disney Resort covers 201 hectares, nearly twice the proposed site in Shanghai. Hong Kong's park, the smallest in the world, takes up 126 hectares.
While city folks lament the loss of bragging rights, the villagers in the vicinity of the proposed site are also upset. The smaller-than-expected site could mean that many will lose out on claiming relocation compensation.
The compensation is not small change. A plot of land close to the proposed site of the project was sold at a hotly contested auction for 1.19 billion yuan ($174 million), or a princely sum of 14,000 yuan per sq m, close to the average land price of 17,000 yuan in urban districts.
All is not lost yet. Tiffany Huang, communications officer of the Shanghai-based Walt Disney Co of China, said she just heard the news of the NDRC decision.
But, she added, "I don't think it's final," stating that no firm agreement between the Shanghai government and Disney has been concluded yet.
"It is too early to comment based on current information," Huang said.
According to the NDRC's notice, apart from the theme park, the Chuansha plot will also include a parking lot, public utilities and supporting areas.
"The area of 116 hectares is just the core part, and just like Hong Kong, which has been expanding its Disneyland since December, there will also be an expansion around the core area to accompany the growing number of visitors," said Wang Dawu, professor with Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, who viewed the news optimistically.