The Walt Disney Company: Mickey Mouse Visits Shanghai
The strategic and tactical problems of managing the operations function in a service environment can be examined through the context of the Walt Disney Company (DIS) opening Shanghai Disneyland. The company and its investors were excited about the Shanghai opening for a good reason: demographics. The resort would be located in the Pudong district of Shanghai, easily the wealthiest of all of China's districts. A massive 330 million people lived with a three-hour driving radius of the resort site, compared with 19.6 million who lived within the same radius at DIS's most profitable park, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Still, risks remained. Construction complications had delayed the opening almost a year longer than expected and cost overruns and alterations had increased the final price tag of the project. The Chinese economy had also hit a rough patch following the Chinese stock market slump in the summer of 2015. With the world watching, could the classic Disney theme park experience be delivered with the right cultural balance to appeal to its largely Chinese customers? Could DIS get it right?