Disney could start construction work on its Shanghai Disneyland project as early as November, according to a report from China.
The China Business News quoted an unnamed source as saying that talks between Disney and the Chinese government are "in the final stages", with a November start date being possible. Even if talks conclude earlier than expected, no construction can take place until after the World Expo ends on October 31, with the government banning major works in order to improve air quality during the event.
The AFP quotes a Disney spokeswoman as saying that talk of a conclusion to the talks between the company and the government is premature. The spokeswoman said: ""Final discussions between Disney and the Shanghai government are not yet complete, and detailed negotiations to produce a final deal will continue for a number of months."
Disney and its Chinese partners received the go-ahead to pursue the Shanghai project in November last year. At the time, the company said that the park was unlikely to be operating before 2014, although the mayor of Shanghai has since suggested that an opening date in 2015 or 2016 is more realistic.
Shanghai Disneyland will initially occupy 286 acres of land in the Pudong area, making it 24 acres smaller than the region's other Disney resort, Hong Kong Disneyland. The Shanghai resort had initially been expected to be nearly 3 times larger - sparking concern over how the Hong Kong park would be able to compete. However, Disney is likely to follow its standard practice of gradual expansion at Shanghai.
The Disney project has attracted its share of controversy over the last few months, with attention being focused on the Chinese governments plans to relocate residents living on the proposed site. A recent article in the Washington Post highlighted the plight of one family who are set to lose their home when Disney move into the area.
Shanghai Disneyland will be Disney's fourth resort outside of the US, after Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.