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Hong Kong Disneyland castle

New reports suggest that Shanghai Disneyland will open in 2015, with the operator of the Tokyo Disney Resort denying any involvement with the project.

Construction on Shanghai Disneyland is set to begin in May, according to a local report. The new resort is due to open to the public in 2015, although it is likely that Disney will follow the pattern at its other resorts and continue to expand it in subsequent years. When supporting facilities are taken into account, the total cost to the Chinese government of the project will be greater than that of the recent World Expo, at some $9.8 billion.

Officials say that work has already begun to build some elements of the resort, including access roads and a central lake that will cost some $41.5 million. The entire resort is set to be surrounded by a 60-metre-wide river, which will be around 10 kilometers in length.

The Oriental Land Company, the firm that operates the Tokyo Disney Resort, has denied earlier reports that it will be involved in operating the Shanghai park. The company's director of PR, Hiroshi Suzuki, told China Daily: "We have approached neither Walt Disney Co nor the Shanghai municipal government about jointly running the Shanghai Disneyland theme park."

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.

The resort will be Disney's fourth outside of the US, after Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.

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