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China's New Disneyland Will Have Blue Skies Thanks to the Closure of 153 Nearby Factories

They're putting the park in a city that's not known for great air.

by Mike Pearl
Sep 10 2015, 4:45pm

Disneyland California. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Disneyland California. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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It's a sad fact that China's air isn't great, but come next year it will be a bit cleaner thanks to the opening of a new Disneyland park in Shanghai.

4,400 people die every day from breathing China's poisonous air, and just about everyone who has visited The Bund, an ostensibly scenic district, in the past decade or so has been disappointed to find that the sky in the area looks like something that came out of the vagina of the wizard lady from Game of Thrones.

That won't be happening at Shanghai Disneyland Park when visitors arrive toward the end of 2016. That's not because China's huge shift toward renewable energy is working already. It's just that the Shanghai Municipal Commission has taken a look at the specific factories neighboring the theme park and resort, and decided to shutter 153 of them (link is to a Chinese news site).

Shanghai Disneyland Park—not to be confused with Hong Kong Disneyland, which has been open for almost ten years—is still under construction at the moment in an unassuming residential and industrial suburb of Kangqiao, which itself is in the bustling eastern Shanghai district of Pudong.

According to The New York Times, the Shanghai Park is nothing like its tiny sibling in Hong Kong. Construction in the Kangqiao suburb involves putting up six theme park subsections, a pair of hotels, a theater described as "Broadway-style," and a castle that Disney is calling their "tallest, largest and most interactive castle" ever.

Disney only owns 43 percent of the new park. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a company called Shanghai Shendi Group is the majority owner, with 57 percent. Disney nonetheless claims that visitors will experience a "truly magical place that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese."

Early visitors to the park will probably have to deal with gray skies, though, since its doors are expected to open in spring of 2016, and the last of the 153 factory smokestacks won't be corked until the end of that year.

The factories being closed were described by the Shanghai Municipal Commission as "high pollution, high energy consumption" facilities, which they claim are on their way out anyway. They say this is just part of an effort to "improve the city's image, even without the Disney project."

The number of paying visitors expected in the first year is about 20 million.

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