Work to construct the main facilities and attractions at Shanghai Disneyland will begin in April 2012, ahead of the park's planned opening in 2015.
Shanghai Daily reports that the installation of key supporting infrastructure will be completed in March, allowing work on the theme park itself to commence. A number of hotels and an entertainment and shopping district will also form part of the first phase of construction.
The investors in Shanghai Disneyland are aiming to attract more than 7 million visitors during its first year of operations, although some commentators have forecast that the resort could ultimately pull in as many as 15 million guests every year. This is expected to be supported by the huge population of the Yangtze River Delta.
The Shangai Disneyland Resort is set to host one of the most unique Disney parks built to date. It will be the first "Magic Kingdom-style" park not to feature a Main Street, USA at its entrance. Instead, it will include an 11-acre entry area featuring water elements, trees and costumed characters. However, some traditional features such as a Dumbo The Flying Elephant ride and a carousel do appear in concept artwork.
As with its previous overseas resorts in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong, Disney has secured a local partner to help fund the Shanghai resort. It is set to be majority-owned by the Chinese government, which will take a 57% stake. The resort will be Disney's fourth outside of the US, after Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.