In the Spring of 2016 a hashtag started trending in the Disney community, #ThanksShanghai. The hashtag appeared to be placing the blame for cutbacks and reduced spending at the U.S. Disney Parks on the Shanghai Disney project.
While #ThanksShanghai continued to represent the frustrations of some, for others it grew to become a tongue-in-cheek expression of discontent for any decision, whether Disney related or not.
The ThanksShanghai site is a blog containing stories, musings, observations and lessons I learned while working as a manager at Shanghai Disneyland during the pre-opening, opening and sustainment phases, as well as my time working at Walt Disney World; a combined span of 13 years. In addition to my time with Disney, I have spent almost a third of my life (over 10 years) living in Chinese speaking territories: Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. I speak Mandarin, have a master’s degree in anthropology and have taught college courses on Chinese culture and Disney.
While Disney fans sincerely need to #ThankShanghai for recent investment announced by the Walt Disney Company at U.S. parks, I #ThankShanghai for allowing me to fulfill a dream and learn some lessons along the way. I hope by sharing these stories readers will be entertained, gain knowledge and insight about the Shanghai Disney project, Chinese culture, being a leader and running an operation in China.