Shanghai Disneyland is currently scheduled to open in June of this year, and it will be the first mainland China Disney resort. Right now, the gigantic park is hoping for that opening, but some financial issues and delays may cause that to be pushed back a bit. Well, reports are now coming out that the amount of money being spent to build Shanghai Disneyland are causing financial issues at domestic parks, Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
An unconfirmed report from WDWNT states that Shanghai Disneyland is so far over budget and behind schedule that money is most likely going to come from cost-cutting measures at the domestic theme parks.
The report states that Disneyland Resort in California has seen a 20 percent cut in labor costs as of the beginning of February. Those cuts came from non-profit locations that include entertainment, custodial, attractions, guest relations, and numerous others.
In Florida, Walt Disney World has seen similar cuts in the past couple of weeks, as other locations are also seeing downsizing. Some of those locations include the following.
- Walt Disney World Resort hotel curbside greeters
- Character meet-and-greets (Three at Epcot, one at Magic Kingdom so far)
- Front desk and concierge Cast Members will only be offered 32 hours a week instead of 40
There are reportedly other locations that will also begin to see cutbacks, but a full list is not yet known. Disney has made no official announcement or statement on these proposed cuts, but some of them have already happened and taken place.
At Walt Disney World, it’s also being said that some entertainment will be temporarily cut, as well. Magic Kingdom will only have one Main Street Electrical Parade throughout the month of March. There will only be one showing of Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until Easter week, and this is typically a busy time of year, with Spring Breaks and the holiday.
Magic Kingdom will soon see Lady Tremaine’s meet-and-greet come to an end. At Epcot, Chip and Dale, Princess Aurora, and Winnie the Pooh all had their meet-and-greet locations end a few days ago. Some of them are expected back later this year, but that has yet to be confirmed.
It seems more and more like Shanghai Disneyland is going to continue to require more and more money to be completed. That money is going to have to come from somewhere, and right now it appears as if the domestic Disney Parks will feel the brunt of it.
Owners to Invest $800 Million More in Shanghai Disneyland https://t.co/P2arVCa6xv
— Chuck Mirarchi (@DisneyJournal) February 16, 2016
That report from the L.A. Times came in April of 2014, when much of Shanghai Disneyland still was not even built yet. The huge Disney Resort is using that $800 million to increase the number of rides and attractions operating on opening day, which Disney still hopes is June 16, 2016.
As all of this is taking place, Bloomberg reports that Hong Kong Disneyland has shown a loss of $19 million for the fiscal year that ended in early October, 2015. It is the first loss in four years for the theme park.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Hong Kong Disneyland had shown its first year of profit after seven straight years of losses.
The problems that have come about from Shanghai Disneyland are apparently having the losses felt over in the United States. Cast Members on the lower end of the pay scale for Walt Disney World and Disneyland may not just see their hours reduced, but positions may be cut completely.
In the meantime, Disney does have a number of projects going on that will be revealed in the following years.
- Pandora: Avatar-themed land opening in 2017
- Disney Springs completion in 2016
- Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Opening TBD
- Star Wars-themed land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland – Opening TBD
- “Frozen Ever After” attraction and Anna & Elsa meet-and-greet at Epcot – Opening Spring 2016
- Expansion of ESPN Wide World of Sports: Cheerleading Venue — Mid-2017
Again, some signs of the budget cuts have already started showing at the two domestic Disney Parks, but Disney has not officially confirmed the reasoning.
Reports of the budget cuts coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World do have some backing as changes are already starting to be seen. It is not totally confirmed and known if the delays and budget increase for Shanghai Disneyland is indeed to blame, but the two may end up being connected.
[Image by Danny Cox]