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Epcot lake image

The long-term plans for the Shanghai Disney Resort will see three theme parks constructed in total, according to city officials.

Shanghai Daily reports that the claim was made to delegates at the Shanghai People's Congress earlier this week. The news follows the recent discovery that two themed hotels will open along the first park, Shanghai Disneyland, in 2015.

Options under consideration for the two additional parks include versions of Walt Disney World's Epcot and Animal Kingdom, according to the report. Epcot's "World's Fair"-style theme may be seen as a good fit with the Chinese market following the success of World Expo 2010, held in Shanghai.

The deputy director of Pudong New Area government (which administrates the region where the Shanghai Disney Resort will be located) is said to have been hugely impressed by Walt Disney World, which hosts four theme parks, two water parks and a large number of hotels. However, the first phase of construction of the new resort will focus on the Magic Kingdom-style Shanghai Disneyland and a limited range of accommodation.

Shanghai Disneyland will initially occupy 286 acres of land, making it 24 acres smaller than the region's other 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, it is likely that Disney will pursue a policy of gradual expansion in Shanghai, as it has at its other resorts around the world.

Officials have confirmed that a new Metro line will be constructed to transport guests to the Shanghai Disney Resort when it opens. The 9.2 kilometer line is expected to cost over $600 million to construct, with work set to begin in September. With two stops en-route, it will terminate at the underground Disneyland Station.

Construction on Shanghai Disneyland is set to begin in May, with the new resort due to open to the public in 2015. 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 resort will be Disney's fourth outside of the US, after Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. The Shanghai Disneyland park is expected to attract 7.3 million visitors a year.

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