Walt Disney Co has opened the gates to its first theme park in China, prompting a rush from thousands of gathered Mickey Mouse enthusiasts to be the first to storm Treasure Cove, ride the Roaring Rapids or visit Disney's tallest castle.

Disney's largest overseas investment at $5.5 billion, the park is a bet on China's middle class and booming domestic tourism. The U.S. firm hopes it will offset an otherwise lackluster international theme park business, better known for cash-burning sites such as Euro Disney.

Source: b"Disney's Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger (R) holds a news conference at Shanghai Disney Resort as part of the three-day Grand Opening events in Shanghai, China"

Disney, though, sees China as its biggest opportunity since Walt Disney bought land in Florida in the 1960s for what is now Walt Disney World - the world's most-visited theme park. Disney estimates 330 million people within a three-hour radius of Shanghai will be able to afford to come to the park.

Here is a look at some of the pictures:

Source: b'A woman stands outside a gate in Shanghai Disney Resort during a three-day Grand Opening events in Shanghai, China'

 

Source: b'A man visits Shanghai Disney Resort during a three-day Grand Opening event in Shanghai, China'

 

Source: b'People walk at Shanghai Disney Resort during a three-day Grand Opening event'
Source: b"Visitors dress up as they attend the opening day of the Disney Resort in Shanghai, China, Thursday, June 16, 2016. Walt Disney Co. opened its first theme park in mainland China on Thursday at a ceremony that mixed speeches by Communist Party officials, a Chinese children's choir and actors dressed as Sleeping Beauty and other Disney characters\xc2\xa0"

 

Source: b'People visit Shanghai Disney Resort during a three-day Grand Opening event'

 

Source: b'Policemen guard at Disney Town of Shanghai Disney Resort, during the first part of three-day Grand Opening events'

 

Source: b'A woman holds a Mickey Mouse umbrella as she visits Shanghai Disney Resort during a three-day Grand Opening events'
Source: b'People visit Shanghai Disney Resort as part of the three-day Grand Opening events'

 

(All images sourced from Reuters)