Employees wave to tourists in the Shanghai Disneyland at the Shanghai Disney Resort in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 16 June 2016.
In a rain-dampened ceremony attended by Chinese dignitaries, the Walt Disney Company on Thursday (16 June 2016) opened its $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort, a theme park and hotel complex that represents a hard-fought victory in China for the singularly American entertainment conglomerate. "Our dream comes true," a beaming Robert A. Iger, Disney's chief executive, said in Mandarin at the ceremony's start. The park, Disney's first on the Chinese mainland, was held up as nothing less than a historic symbol of United States-China relations. Mr. Iger read aloud a letter sent by President Obama that heralded the resort as capturing "the promise of our bilateral relationship." In a letter of his own, China's president, Xi Jinping, called the project, which took nearly two years of bruising negotiations to realize, a sign of China's "commitment to cross-cultural cooperation and our innovation mentality in the new era."