2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 20162017 | 2018

Preview - June 2016

Shanghai Disneyland Opens as a Disney Park Like No Other

by Keith Miller

As the official opening date of Shanghai DISNEY RESORT fast approaches, excitement grows about the details of this first Disney resort in mainland China. At nearly 1,000 acres and with an opening-day investment of $5.5 billion, the resort includes many classic attractions and other features that have become synonymous with Disney resorts around the world. But it also boasts numerous elements never before seen at a Disney park, including many that are distinctly Chinese.

Opening June 16, 2016, Shanghai Disneyland comprises six themed lands: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove, and Fantasyland. It also includes two hotels; a retail, dining, and entertainment district; and Wishing Star Park.

The park experience starts with Mickey Avenue, which is the first main entry to a Disney park based on the personalities of Mickey Mouse and his pals. Here guests can get hugs from and photos with popular Disney characters.

The largest of the six lands is Fantasy­land. Inspired by Disney’s animated films, it is home to the “Enchanted Storybook Castle,” which the company says is the tallest, largest, and most interactive castle at any Disney theme park. Guests can experience elements of famous Disney stories on “Voyage to the Crystal Grotto,” fly over London on “Peter Pan’s Flight,” or catch a coaster ride in and out of tunnels on “Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.”

Gardens of Imagination celebrates the wonders of nature and imagination in fanciful gardens. “Garden of the Twelve Friends” celebrates the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac via depictions of famous Disney•Pixar characters. Guests can ride on “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” or take a spin on the “Fantasia Carousel.” Entertainment includes castle stage shows and “Ignite the Dream—A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light.”

Adventure Isle is an area of the park that’s all about active movement in a newly discovered lost world replete with hidden treasures. Visitors experience a thrilling raft adventure on “Roaring Rapids” where they discover the dominion of a huge mysterious creature; they can also cut their own swath through “Camp Discovery,” or travel around the world on “Soaring Over the Horizon.”

The first pirate-themed land ever in a Disney park is Treasure Cove, where guests join in on the escapades of Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. The area’s top attraction is “Pirates of the Caribbean—Battle for the Sunken Treasure,” which turns a boat ride into an adventure featuring cutting-edge innovations in animation, animatronics, set design, and multimedia.

Finally, there’s Tomorrowland, where Disney says guests “will go to infinity and beyond” on “Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.” A huge color-shifting canopy will attract guests to “TRON Lightcycle Power Run,” a coaster-style ride where visitors board a train of two-wheeled “lightcycles.”

The park also features areas dedicated exclusively to two of Disney’s most popular franchises. Marvel Universe and Star Wars Launch Bay offer guests the opportunity to meet famous characters from those respective worlds, and immerse themselves in exhibits about the movies.

Guests wanting to stay on property have a choice of two hotels—the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel. Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is an elegant Art Nouveau resort, while the Toy Story Hotel is inspired by all the toys from the Disney•Pixar series of animated Toy Story films.

Aside from the six lands and two hotels, Disney says its creative team has conducted extensive research about Chinese culture to tailor every detail of Disneytown, the shopping, entertainment, and dining district adjacent to Shanghai Disneyland, which will eventually feature nearly 50 tenants. Murals, graphics, story artwork, and architectural enhancements will feature classic and contemporary Chinese and Shanghai elements. The massive World of Disney Store offers 3,600 square meters of Disney-related merchandise; it’s located in a nostalgic “railroad roundhouse” building that honors Walt Disney’s love of trains.

Near Disneytown is Wishing Star Park, which covers almost 100 acres and includes Wishing Star Lake and a 2.5-kilometer walking path featuring many beautiful gardens.

This is merely a taste of what Shanghai Disney Resort is promising. Funworld will be on hand for the property’s grand opening and will offer extensive coverage in the August 2016 issue.

Shanghai Disneyland Packed with Firsts

Shanghai Disneyland is home to several “firsts” that have never appeared at any other Disney park, according to Walt Disney Parks & Resorts:

•    Adventure Isle, featuring an ancient legend about a native tribe and a giant reptilian creature

•    “Voyage to the Crystal Grotto,” a dark water ride that goes underneath Enchanted Story Book Castle

•    An original design for Tomorrowland featuring new attractions created especially for the people of China

•    Star Wars Launch Bay and Marvel Universe, two new experiences created especially for Shanghai Disneyland

•    “TRON Lightcycle Power Run,” with a twisting track featuring high speeds and views of Shanghai Disneyland via bicycle-style ride vehicles

•    Garden of Twelve Friends, where animals of the Chinese zodiac are re-imagined as Disney and Pixar characters

•    Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land at a Disney park