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Merlin Entertainments announce 2025 opening for Legoland Shanghai Resort in China  

Merlin Entertainments announce 2025 opening for Legoland Shanghai Resort in China  
January 7, 2024

Global attractions giant, Merlin Entertainments, has announced the new Legoland Shanghai Resort will debut in China in 2025 with the US$1.4 billion resort anticipated to welcome three to five million visitors per year.

Situated in Fengjing, Jinshan District of Shanghai, LEGOLAND Shanghai Resort stands as the Yangtze River Delta’s first family-centric, international IP-based resort and hotel destination, tailored for families with children from two to 12.

According to China Daily, the announcement was posted on the official website of the Shanghai Jinshan district government on Thursday.

LEGOLAND® Shanghai Resort announced in September 2023 the completion of piling and the start of its main construction, marking a new milestone for the project as the project progresses.

Comprising a LEGOLAND theme park and a themed hotel, LEGOLAND® Shanghai Resort theme park will consist of eight themed areas covering most of the signature and popular attractions and rides of LEGOLAND Parks around the world, which include LEGOLAND CREATIVE WORLD, BRICK STREET, BRICKTOPIA, LEGO® CITY, LEGO® FRIENDS, LEGO® MONKIE KID, LEGO® NINJAGO® World and LEGO® CASTLE, creating a diversified and immersive theme park experience for both local families and tourists. The project has been incorporated into Shanghai’s 14th Five-Year Plan Outline, featuring prominently in the city’s major initiatives and the roster of significant foreign investment projects.

Merlin Entertainments unveiled an exclusive preview of Legoland Shanghai Resort back in November 2023 at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), revealing the first exciting features of the family-focused international IP-based resort.

In a demonstration of how international theme park excellence combines with local culture throughout the park, LEGOLAND® Shanghai Resort unveiled a Fengjing Water Town Model, which will be stationed in the themed area of the park's MINILAND. MINILAND is the heart of every LEGOLAND® Park, and the design of MINILAND at LEGOLAND Shanghai Resort is a tribute to landmarks and unique local life scenes.

Merlin’s global Master Model Builders and dedicated Merlin Magic Making teams have collaborated to create the Fengjing Water Town Model, which is made from 36,000 LEGO Bricks, and serves as a tribute to the park’s geographic location, interweaving regional architectural elements and the cultural tapestry of Jiangnan.

John Jakobsen, Chief Operating Officer of Legoland Resorts, said at CIIE that China represents a key pillar of Merlin Entertainments' growth strategy and noted “at the China International Import Expo, we are excited to unveil the amazing architecture of the Yangtze River Delta region in LEGO form, in our brand new MINILAND for LEGOLAND Shanghai. With the esteemed LEGO brand at the forefront and the invaluable support of the local government and Shanghai-based partner, we are excited about transforming LEGOLAND Shanghai Resort into a cultural tourism landmark.”

Visitors to CIIE also had the opportunity to virtually experience the park’s classic Dragon Coaster, one of the most popular rides in LEGOLAND Parks. Officials from the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism and Jinshan District Government, executives from LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Shanghai Resort, as well as shareholder representatives were all present, adding to the significance of the unveiling ceremony, and the excitement of what’s still to come for Merlin Entertainments’ first LEGOLAND Park in China.

Jakobsen added that over the next decade, China will be a strategic growth market supporting the growth of Merlin Entertainments, which has been operating 13 attractions in the country in the last 18 years.

Siegfried Boerst, Managing Director of Legoland Resorts in China shared “At LEGOLAND Shanghai Resort, we hope to maintain the core authentic experience and standards of global LEGOLAND parks while ensuring that we integrate Chinese traditional culture, Shanghai local features and Jiangnan water town elements, to provide a unique international yet localized immersive experience for visitors from all over the world.

“The Shanghai Resort will serve as a much-needed family centric, internationally recognised destination in the region, and we believe these incredible creations such as the new MINILAND will enhance the enjoyment of both children and adults of all ages, making their visit truly unforgettable.”

China is the second largest themed entertainment market in the world, and its impressive growth is set to continue. Three Legoland resorts are currently under construction, including Shenzhen Legoland Resort in Guangdong province and another in Sichuan province.

As experts in location-based attractions, and with 13 other Chinese attractions including four LEGOLAND® Discovery Centres, five Madame Tussauds, SEA LIFE aquariums, The Dungeons, and Peppa Pig World of Play, Merlin Entertainments has a deep understanding of Chinese consumer needs and is at the forefront of emerging trends, including immersive experiences with brands families love, learning through play, and the fusion of culture and creativity.

China Daily reports that the Lego-themed park projects align with the growing toy business in China, complementing toy maker Lego Group's expansion with more than 460 branded stores in over 120 cities across the country.

Meanwhile, a tourism boom has fuelled the theme park market in China.

In 2022, about 80 theme parks in the country saw their revenue grow 15.3% to 15.4 billion yuan, with 75.7 million visits, according to a report on the nation's theme park industry published by the Institute for Theme Park Studies in China.

Shanghai Disney Resort, Universal Beijing Resort and Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park rank as the top three in revenue. The number of parks is on the rise, according to the report.

The influx of international investments such as Disney's newly added Frozen-themed land in Hong Kong and Zootopia-based attraction in Shanghai last year, has highlighted the industry's momentum.

In 2023, Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland posted strong performances, driving Disney's park and experiences business, according to the financial results of The Walt Disney Co.

Images. Credit Merlin Entertainments

About the author

Karen Sweaney

Co-founder and Editor, Australasian Leisure Management

Artist, geoscientist and specialist writer on the leisure industry, Karen Sweaney is Editor and co-founder of Australasian Leisure Management.

Based in Sydney, Australia, her specific areas of interest include the arts, entertainment, the environment, fitness, tourism and wellness.

She has degrees in Fine Arts from the University of Sydney and Geological Oceanography from UNSW.

Read more from this author

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