updated 11/5/2010 3:58:48 PM ET 2010-11-05T19:58:48

Just days after Shanghai wrapped up its role as host to the World Expo, China's commercial capital is setting its sights on another big tourism draw, a long-awaited Disney theme park.

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Walt Disney Co. and the city government agreed Friday on plans for a joint venture to manage the project, expected to cover 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) out of a total 20 square kilometers (nearly 8 square miles) for the entire resort, the city government said Friday in a statement.

The cost is reportedly estimated at 25 billion yuan ($3.6 billion).

Plans call for the theme park to be a "strong international tourism resort," with a pleasant, low-carbon environment, the city said. A joint venture between local companies and Disney will be responsible for construction, management and operation of the Disneyland theme park, it said without giving any details about ownership or investment.

Some residents were long ago moved off farmland in Chuansha, a part of Pudong district near the city's main international airport, to make way for the park.

Disney issued a statement confirming its discussions with the Shanghai government.

"We can confirm the statement from the Shanghai government that we have taken another step forward in the approval process," it said.

But the company said it was still awaiting final approval of the joint venture by the central government and completion of necessary procedures.

"We will not have any further comment at this time," it said.

The six-month-long World Expo, which ended Sunday, drew a record 72 million visitors, mostly Chinese tourists. That event was the culmination of a construction frenzy that gave the city of more than 20 million nearly a dozen new subway lines, new highways, airport upgrades and other modern facilities.

With the Disneyland project due to start, the city appears likely to resume its building boom.

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The agreement Friday came exactly a year after China's national planning agency approved the plans for the park — a major step toward getting the project started.

The park will give Shanghai, the mainland's main financial and commercial center, a new showcase. While the city is one of China's most modern and affluent, it has relatively few big historic landmarks compared with ancient capitals like Beijing and Xi'an.

Disney has said the Shanghai resort will include a "Magic Kingdom-style theme park with characteristics tailored to the Shanghai region."

Disney has been expanding its presence in mainland China after opening a theme park in Hong Kong in 2005. That venue, which has suffered from disappointing attendance, is in the midst of an expansion as it maneuvers to compete with the future theme park in Shanghai.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: Disney around the World

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  1. Feast for a Beast

    The Beast welcomes guests to his castle in the Magic Kingdom, where Be Our Guest Restaurant will serve French-inspired cuisine for quick-service lunch and table-service dinner. Part of the newly-revamped Fantasyland, the stylish restaurant will have its grand opening on Dec. 6, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Dumbo's pre-flight deck

    Waiting in line for Dumbo the Flying Elephant is as much of an event as the ride itself. As guests arrive, they'll receive a circus ticket pager that will virtually hold their place in line and notify them when it's their turn to board the attraction, leaving them free to explore the interactive wonders inside the big top while they wait to take to the skies. Dumbo the Flying Elephant is part of the expansion project which nearly doubles the size of Fantasyland, a multiyear project that will have its grand opening on Dec. 6, 2012 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Ali Nasser / Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Luxurious cuisine

    French-inspired cuisine will be highlighted when Be Our Guest Restaurant opens in the New Fantasyland. Furthermore, select wines and beers will be offered to complement the elegantly-themed meals. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Fit for a princess

    Visitors to Disneyland can walk through Sleeping Beauty Castle and see 3-D scenes from the classic film, originally released in 1959. (Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Birthday girl

    Singer Miley Cyrus performs at the "Miley's Sweet 16 Share the Celebration" party at Disneyland in October 2008. (Mario Anzuoni / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Boo!

    The Haunted Mansion, a New Orleans Square attraction, opened Aug. 9, 1969, and is the home of 999 happy haunts. As Disney's website suggests, "Enter...if you dare!" (Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Time for supper

    Ghosts dine inside Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. Disney classifies the ride as gentle but warns that younger children could be frightened by its special effects. (Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. 50 and fabulous

    Fireworks explode over The Sleeping Beauty Castle as part of "Remember ... Dreams Come True," the biggest fireworks display in Disneyland's history. The display took place during the Disneyland 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2005. (Frazer Harrison / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Shiver me timbers!

    Villainous pirate Barbossa is hot on the trail of the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow in Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The classic attraction re-opened following an extensive three-month enhancement and featuring new characters and elements from Walt Disney Pictures' "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. (Scott Brinegar / Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Around the world

    Walt Disney World's It's a Small World ride is a great option for youngsters. Visitors can sing along to the famous tune while visiting countries around the world. Hong Kong Disneyland opened the classic boat ride in 2008 in an attempt to boost sluggish attendance at the theme park. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. My, what big ears you have

    Dumbo the Flying Elephant takes riders over Fantasyland, and lever controls let them fly at their desired altitude. (Disney) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Eating under the sea

    Larger-than-life replicas of prehistoric sea creatures combine with giant aquariums of exotic fish in the lounge area of T-Rex: A Prehistoric Family Adventure, at the Downtown Disney area in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The 600-seat restaurant, operated by Landry's Restaurants, combines table-service dining and retail in an interactive prehistoric environment built around water, fire and ice. (Gene Duncan / Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Mickey hops the pond

    Roy E. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, poses with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto, in front of the Sleeping Beauty castle during a press preview of Euro Disneyland, now called Disneyland Paris, in Marne La Vallee, France. The site opened in 1992. (Eric Feferberg / AFP - Getty Images file) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Dive! Dive!

    The original submarines from the Disneyland Submarine Voyage, a popular attraction for many years at the California theme park, have been extensively refitted for the 21st Century adventure of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. The attraction now takes explorers on an undersea voyage where they'll have close encounters with the fish characters from the Disney-Pixar movie, "Finding Nemo." (Paul Hiffmeyer / Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Fun after dark

    Downtown Disney is a promenade that offers shopping, dining and other activities. The avenue shown here leads to both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. (Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Should've seen it in color

    Crowds are seen walking around the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, Calif., circa 1955. (Archive Photos / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. A visionary's vision

    Walt Disney unveils his plans for Disneyland to a national television audience during the premiere of "Disneyland," the television show, on October 27, 1954. (Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Blank canvas

    Walt Disney purchased 160 acres in Anaheim, originally covered with orange groves, to build his dream of a place where parents and children could have fun -- together. (Disneyland) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Beast's Castle
    Matt Stroshane / Disney
    Above: Slideshow (18) Disney magic
  2. Image: World Expo 2010 - Previews
    Feng Li / Getty Images
    Slideshow (26) Shanghai sights - Shanghai: 'Better city, better life'
  3. Image:
    Yang Guang / AP
    Slideshow (18) Shanghai sights - Around the world at the Shanghai Expo
  4. Image:
    Yang Guang / AP
    Slideshow (18) Welcome to Shanghai - Around the world at the Shanghai Expo
  5. Image: World Expo 2010 - Previews
    Feng Li / Getty Images
    Slideshow (26) Welcome to Shanghai - Shanghai: 'Better city, better life'

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