© VCG/VCG via Getty Images
Mike Pomranz
June 22, 2017

When Shanghai Disneyland opens on June 16, the theme park will bring a major dose of American culture to mainland China. But many of the nearly 1 million people who checked out the park during its preview run have already got a taste of Western culture they hadn’t bargained for: ridiculously overpriced theme park food.

Though the opening of the first Disney resort on the Chinese mainland (Hong Kong Disneyland has been open since 2005) has garnered plenty of attention, the Los Angeles Times recently looked at the one thing we all care about: the food. Of course in the US, we’re used to being price gouged—it’s the American way. But in China, where the average annual income hovers around $8,000, most people haven’t had the pleasure of overpaying for cold French fries and the food prices inside have been hard to swallow – in part, because the food itself is hard to swallow.

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A latte in Shanghai Disney, for instance, costs $5. “It costs as much as the coffee in Starbucks, but it tasted far worse than that in Starbucks,” a visitor told the Times. “I’m fine with the pricing system of Starbucks. But for the coffee in Disneyland, it’s just not worth the price.” Another guest echoed the same sentiment when it came to a $14 plate of pork chops. “When we dine out, [around $15] per person is acceptable, but the problem is that with the same amount of money, you can’t have the same good food in Shanghai Disneyland,” she complained.

It’s a feeling Americans can relate to. Most kids who have been to Disneyland remember the space-themed pizzeria Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port. What you may have been too young to realize, however, is the pricing. A slice of Lunar Cheese pizza – a slicecurrently costs $6.99. Looking for something slightly more upscale? Main Street, USA’s Carnation Café serves up things like a Roasted Turkey Sandwich for $13 or a Penne Pasta with Shrimp for $19. For the record, a coffee at the Pizza Port is only $2.99.

“Food in Shanghai Disney is really not cheap,” 24-year-old Shanghai resident Cao Xinting told the Times after she visited on May 7. Spoken like a true American.

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