I'm not excited enough about a smoggy park with only four original rides (and the snubbing of DL standard rides) to include it on my tourist agenda. Yo ho! Yo ho! A Hong Kong Disneyland life for me!
Ah... I'm pretty sure HKDL has two original rides.
Unless you count their versions of Jungle Cruise (maybe), Small World (sorta) and Autopia (Not really) as unique.
No this will absolutely not effect SDL. Weather happens, smog happens. Unless it happens 24/7 (which it doesn't in Shanghai) it really won't make a blip. Tokyo shut down for a month following their earthquake and still pulled awesome yearly numbers. Paris gets snowed on and their Disneyland (albeit not WDS for very different reasons) pulls very strong numbers.
Having just spent another month and half in China, I'd like to weigh in on this whole smog issue.
In a nutshell: Yes, it's a problem. No, it will not cause SDL to fail.
I stay in Beijing, which is hands-down far more polluted than Shanghai, and yes, the smog can be terrible. On some days, you could barel see the Forbidden City from across the street from Tiananmen Square.
However, when it is not smoggy, it is ridiculously clear with bright blue skies without a cloud in the sky.
Shanghai wasn't as smoggy, but it certainly was more rainy than Beijing. I don't doubt the news that it has become pretty bad lately, but since the park will be far from the Huanpu River/Bund area, I doubt that the smog will be as bad as there or as big of a deal as is being suggested.
I studied abroad in the city next door, Nanjing. While it was difficult to see the sun some days, it was not as bad as I thought it would be. One of my teachers said that it was probably healthier to study in Nanjing versus Beijing because there is less pollution. I do not know if two hours makes a difference, but I think Shanghai has a similar climate even if the pollution level is a bit higher.
Its too bad DisCorp didn't move forward with Texas Disney. Would have avoided the Smog dilemma all together. Great article at Yesterland. I could imagine it having the largest Frontier land of all Magic Kingdoms. Unfortunately that will never happen....