Shanghai Disneyland construction begins

Construction on a new Disneyland Resort is already underway in Shanghai.

Last week, Disney signed a deal with Shanghai Shendi Group to develop the park. Now the blog Disney and More has posted some of the first pictures of construction activity on the 1.5-square-mile plot where the theme park will be located on the east bank of the Huangpu.

The images show little more than cranes and construction trailers at the site, but they do indicate that the houses and buildings that once stood there have been demolished and cleared away.

The Chinese government relocated the residents this summer – a controversial practice that also happened to make way for Beijing Olympics venues and the World Expo. says 2,000 households were “forcibly evicted” for the Disney project.

Shanghai Disneyland is expected to cost $3.5 billion to build. It’s set to open in 2014. The theme park will be Disney’s fourth outside of the United States, along with theme parks in Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong project – Disney’s other foray into China – has been a disappointment so far. Hong Kong Disneyland reported financial losses last year. The park – currently Disney’s smallest – is undergoing a major expansion, with three new themed lands expected to be completed by 2014.

[Image credit: Flickr user madiko83]