It feels like each day hold amazing Disney history! And on this day, June 16th, 2016, Shanghai Disneyland officially opened to the public.
Authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese. © Disney
The Walt Disney Company announced plans for a resort and park in Shanghai in 2010 with a plan to open in 2015. While the initial cost was estimated at $3.7 billion, it ended up adding up to $5.5 billion. The company expressed that they wanted the resort to be “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese,” and so they worked to incorporate Chinese cultural elements into the park, like such as the Gardens of Imagination. This is a central hub, in front on the towering castle, that features twelve Disney characters, each representing the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac.
Who else could be the mascot for the Year of the Dragon? | © D23
The areas of the park include three original lands: Mickey Avenue (the equivalent to Main Street U.S.A.,) the previously mentioned Gardens of Imagination, and Treasure Cove (themed after the film, Pirates of the Caribbean). The park also includes the more standard lands of Disney: Fantasyland, Adventure Isle (a counterpoint to Adventureland,) Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Toy Story Land.
Captain Jack fights off British soldiers in this high energy stunt show. | © Disney
Fun Facts about Shanghai Disneyland!
The parks castle, called the Storybook Castle, is the tallest Disney castle ever built standing at 197 feet. That’s a full 120 feet taller than Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in Anaheim! It is also the first to represent all of the Disney Princesses, and is home to a walk through attraction, a boat ride, a stage for live performances, a restaurant, and a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.
Disney found that Chinese guests preferred live entertainment over roller coasters or more thrilling rides, so the park is packed full of these experiences! They include a Jack Sparrow themed stunt show, a production of Beauty and the Beast in Mandarin, a Frozen sing-a-long, and a Tarzan acrobatics show.
Snow White sings on the castle stage during a performance of Golden Fairytale Fanfare | © Disney
Many elements and attractions that are considered staples in other Disney parks were dropped to give the park a more ‘Chinese’ feel versus an ‘Americana’ one. This includes Main Street U.S.A., modeled after Walt’s Hometown. They also passed over an attraction featuring the Toy Story Green Army Men, which could bring to mind the American military, and the iconic It’s a Small World, to avoid any criticism of cultural imperialism.
Mickey’s Storybook Express, the train themed parade that winds its way through the park every day, features Mulan in her soldier garb, riding her horse, Khan, and accompanied by drummers. This float is the heaviest parade float in the world, estimated at about 36,000 pounds.
The park has begun construction on an all new land based on the film Zootopia! It will bring a new attraction, entertainment, and food offerings.
Shanghai’s Storybook Castle stands 120 feet taller than the original Anaheim castle. | © Disney
Have you visited Disney’s newest, and most vibrant, park? Let us know in the comments below what you thought of it!