9 Februari 2015

At an eye-watering cost of £3.6billion and spread across almost 1,000 acres of an old farmland, these pictures show Disneyland Shanghai ahead of its grand opening next year.

The highly anticipated theme park will include the world's largest Disney castle called the 'Enchanted Storybook'. 

It will also feature a production of 'The Lion King' in Chinese and a pirate-themed zone based on the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies. 

An artificial mountain will loom over the park, becoming the highest hill in Shanghai's Pudong district, and a 420-room Disneyland Hotel is planned in an 'elegant Art Nouveau style', with another based on the Toy Story films.

As well as the Disney attractions, the park will also have a 'distinctly Chinese' character, namely through a park called the 'Garden of the Twelve Friends'.

Shanghai Disney will also have 12 mosaics that will exhibit the Chinese Zodiac's 12 signs, but with the use of Disney characters.  

It is hoped the park will open to the public in the spring of 2016 and welcome more than seven million visitors a year, eventually rising to 16 million. 

It is built on a farmland in the once rural area of Chuansha, near the city's Pudong International Airport.

Disney's latest venture comes 60 years after its first park was built, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California and it owns five other parks across the world, including one in Paris and Tokyo. 

It was originally due to be transformed in time to open this year, but Disney CEO Bob Iger last week announced a delay.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said last week: 'I was in China the week before last and saw amazing progress. 

'We just topped off our signature Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, and we're nearing completion on iconic features throughout the park, including the largest castle we've ever built, and we're getting ready to start casting the hundreds of performers we'll need to entertain our guests.' 

Shanghai Disney is a joint enterprise between state-owned company Shanghai Shendi Group and Disney with the former holding 57 per cent of the venture and the latter owning the rest.

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