Walt Disney launched its first Chinese Disneyland in Shanghai on Thursday after a more than five-year wait and US$5.5 billion (AU$7.46 billion) spending.

The theme park, which is “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” is spread over 963 acres and includes two hotels, a lake and the most interactive storybook castle. Disney officially launched the theme park on June 9, a week before it fully opens to the public.

According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, it is the biggest venture the company has ever undertaken in overseas market.

“China represents a great market for the Walt Disney Company because our stories are not only known here but they are universal in appeal, they touch people’s hearts all over the world, no matter what country, no matter what culture, the CNBC quoted Iger as saying.

“So this is, I think a great market for Disney and a growth market as well. Obviously, the size of the market, the number of people is another reason. But this is… the biggest step actually that we’ve ever taken anywhere to grow in a market.”

The Chinese Disneyland blended classic Disney features with Chinese customs and architecture, unlike the ones in Hong Kong and Tokyo which are near carbon copies of the US Disneyland. Iger said that the idea of a Chinese Disneyland in Shanghai is a major push into the Chinese market for the company.

“An immersive park experience the Disney way is something that people will remember for the rest of their lives and that goes a long way in terms of not just creating word of mouth, but in terms of creating people’s interest in, passion for our brand and everything that it stands for and everything that bears its name as a for instance, so it becomes very very important not just in terms of awareness but appreciation,” he said.

The Orange County Register reported that the Shanghai Disneyland Resort is the most expensive and the largest Disney venture till now. The aim is to attract the Chinese middle class which is bigger than America’s middle class.