Disney vows legal action to stop rival using famous characters

More tensions as Chinese Wanda aims to unseat Disney dominance

Snow White is among the Disney characters which appeared at the opening of rival Chinese theme park. Photograph: iStock

Snow White is among the Disney characters which appeared at the opening of rival Chinese theme park. Photograph: iStock

 

Walt Disney has said it’s prepared to take action to protect its intellectual property rights after performers dressed as Snow White and Captain America, as well as stuffed animals that resembled Kung Fu Panda, were featured at Dalian Wanda’s new theme park in China.

“We vigorously protect our intellectual property and will take action to address infringement,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

The characters, which resembled the Disney ones, were on display at a Wanda theme park over the weekend.

“Our characters and stories have delighted generations, these illegal and substandard imitations unfortunately disappoint all who expect more.”

Billionaire Wang Jianlin on Saturday officially opened the Wanda City park in Nanchang, the first of his conglomerate’s 15 planned theme park and entertainment projects in China that it hopes will help it unseat Disney as the world’s largest tourism operator.

Just over a week ago, Wang publicly challenged the Californian company, saying that Disney’s “one tiger is no match for a pack of wolves.”

“The non-Wanda characters were operated by individual stores within Wanda Mall. They do not represent Wanda,” the company said in an earlier statement.

The Wanda Cultural Tourism City, spanning 2 square kilometres (200 hectares) in south-eastern Jiangxi province features a theme park, a movie park, an aquarium, hotels and retail stores.

Wanda expects the complex to attract 10 million people a year.

- Bloomberg