Five weeks ago Disney Parks opened their latest theme park and resort, Shanghai Disneyland, their first in China. Like all Disney projects, the design, the technological innovations, the art and attractions of the park are wonderfully detailed and visually captivating.
Shanghai Disneyland Attractions and Art
Shanghai Disneyland is now officially open and has achieved the company’s goal of creating a theme park that is authentically Disney yet distinctly Chinese. By integrating Chinese elements that signify harmony, prosperity and purity of heart and mind, Disney simultaneously provides unique experiences that thrill the imagination and honor the culture’s heritage.
Shanghai Disney Resort
Shanghai Disney Resort consists of Shanghai Disneyland, with six themed lands, as well as Disneytown, two world-class resort hotels, Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel, and the Wishing Star Park recreational area. As the first Disney resort in Mainland China, Shanghai Disney Resort incorporates the relentless innovation and famous creativity of Disney in a truly magical and one-of-a-kind travel destination that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.
Here’s a look at the new park’s themed lands, the posters, attractions and rides. Many are Disney firsts in terms of technological innovations thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering.
Fantasyland is the largest of all the lands in Shanghai Disneyland and home to the majestic Enchanted Storybook Castle. Guests will notice many Chinese symbols in the castle artistry, including dragons with pearls, dragonflies, traditional Chinese patterns in the rotunda and sections of the floor, jade columns and gargoyles modeled after the Chinese Zodiac.
The Enchanted Castle is the largest in all the Disney parks and features a golden peony, the flower of China, finial atop its tallest spire.
“It’s not about a single part or piece, it’s about all of it blending together,” said Ali Rubenstein, executive producer and creative director of the castle. “Aside from the finials — one of them has a peony, the flower of China, with a burst of Disney stars below it signifying the partnership between Disney and China, and another finial that had peonies and magnolias and Chinese clouds and other design elements.
“There’s a jade carving of the castle … there are some jade columns around the castle, architectural details,” Rubenstein said. “And there are also the gargoyles on the castle, and that’s a very traditional European piece of architecture, but we used the Chinese zodiac as inspiration for the gargoyles.”
Inside the castle magnificent mosaics depict all four seasons through the tales of Tiana, Merida, Rapunzel, Elsa and Anna. The first Disneyland castle to feature ALL the Disney princesses also has an illuminated marquee with motifs inspired by Belle, Cinderella and Snow White.
The “Once Upon a Time” Adventure
In another innovative first, guests can interact with an animated version of Snow White as they stroll through scenes of her story. Passing through a “Magic Mirror” portal and into this wonderful fairy tale, guests meet Snow White’s friends, witness the evil deeds of her enemies, and share her dreams through immersive, interactive technology and state-of-the- art special effects.
This “Once Upon a Time” Adventure has special meaning to China since Snow White was introduced as a Disney princess in Shanghai in 1938, with the premiere of the animated motion picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The castle overlooks a storybook village and an enchanted forest where exciting attractions, such as the Peter Pan ride, immerse guests in beloved stories.
Peter Pan’s Flight utilizes a new suspended ride system in addition to special effects and digital media which allow families to experience the thrill of soaring over Never Land in a pirate ship like never before.
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is the only attraction in any Disney park on which guests ride through the park’s castle. In the attraction’s climactic scene, state-of-the-art projection mapping and scenic illusions bring the magic of the crystal to life before guests’ eyes.
Fountains and sculptures line the water’s edge, celebrating classic tales like “Mulan,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Fantasia,” “Tangled,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.”
At the journey’s end, guests glide beneath Enchanted Storybook Castle an underground chamber in which magical crystals come to life, covering the walls with moving light and color.
The Alice in Wonderland Maze
Designed especially for Shanghai Disneyland, the Alice in Wonderland Maze is the first attraction at a Disney park themed to Tim Burton’s live-action film “Alice in Wonderland.”
Illustrations for the Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland Maze at the park:
In the experience, guests will choose their own path as they wind through Wonderland in a maze of sculpted hedges, stone garden walls, giant flowers and whimsical sculptures on their way to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.
Along the way, they may encounter the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit and sculptures of characters, including the tyrannical Red Queen.
The Gardens of Imagination
Created especially for Shanghai Disneyland, the Gardens of Imagination celebrates the wonders of nature and the joy of imagination, offering guests a place to leave their everyday life behind to enjoy the variety of unique gardens, take a spin on the Fantasia Carousel, soar on Dumbo the Flying Elephant or explore the sights and sounds of Melody Garden.
The first land inside a Disney park designed as a garden, the Gardens of Imagination is tailored to the Chinese people’s love of gardens. More than 100 species of shrubs and more than 60 species of trees adorn the land’s fifteen acres.
The Mosaics in The Gardens of 12 Friends:
Inside Gardens of Imagination, Garden of the Twelve Friends features 12 larger-than-life mosaic murals, each depicting a Disney or Disney Pixar character who represents a Chinese zodiac animal symbol.
The full list includes:
The Rat: Rémy from Disney Pixar’s “Ratatouille”
The Ox: Babe The Blue Ox from the short film “Paul Bunyan.”
The Tiger: Tigger from “Winnie The Pooh.”
The Rabbit: Thumper from “Bambie.”
The Dragon: Mushu from “Mulan.”
The Snake: Kaa from “The Jungle Book.”
The Horse: Maximus from “Tangled.”
The Sheep: Jolly Holiday Lambs from “Mary Poppins.”
The Monkey: Abu from “Aladdin.”
The Rooster: Allan-A-Dale from “Robin Hood.”
The Dog: Pluto from various Disney shorts.
The Pig: Hamm from the Disney Pixar “Toy Story” films.
Excitement awaits guests in this new land, exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland. Visitors may choose to travel across time and space in Soaring Over the Horizon, or embark on the thrilling rafting adventure Roaring Rapids, straight through the heart of Adventure Isle.
At its center is Roaring Mountain, which legends says echoes with the roars of a mysterious reptilian creature just waiting to be discovered.
Soaring Over the Horizon utilizes high-definition, laser-projected footage shot by a groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind camera system that captured the large-format images from vistas around the globe. The system broadcasts the highest resolution imagery currently in use in the world.
Treasure Cove is the first pirate-themed land ever at a Disney park. Created especially for Shanghai Disneyland, this land immerses guests in a pirate’s life as soon as they arrive.
The land features a mix of architectural styles, along with two giant ships, pirate-themed restaurants and a fun water play area.
The jewel of Treasure Cove is Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, a spectacular attraction that seamlessly blends Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology to take guests on, over and even under the sea on a nautical adventure.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is the most advanced version of this classic Disney attraction to date. It employs a new ride system where the boats are controlled magnetically and can spin or turn and even go backward. The integration of the visual media, with show lighting, sets and audio, make it one of the most complex attractions ever designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, and the latest advances in Disney’s Audio-Animatronics technology brings lifelike realism to the Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones figures featured on the attraction.
In Tomorrowland, guests will be able to experience the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, a new coaster-style attraction where riders board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles for one of the coolest and fastest indoor roller coasters in any Disney theme park.
In 1982, Disney made film-making history with TRON, the first production of its kind to mix live-action with computer-generated visuals and backlit animation. Loved by legions around the world, it went on to inspire video games, comic books, an animated series and the 2010 big-screen sequel, TRON: Legacy.
Instead of a classic spinning rockets attraction, Tomorrowland also features a spinning Jet Packs ride and a new version of Disney’s popular Buzz Lightyear ride will also be included called Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue utilizing new technology different from that of the currently existing versions of the ride located at other Disney parks.
Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue features newly designed Space Cruiser vehicles and a newly enhanced interactive targeting system which is more reactive and allows guests to better understand when their blaster has come into contact with its intended target.
And here are the actual mailing stamps created to commemorate the new theme park:
Disney Dose has a lovely gallery with tons of images of the new park here.
Disney and More has TONS of photos of details from the new theme park here.
A very special thanks to the following sites for the photos and information used in this post:
The Disney Wiki
Inside The Magic
Oh My Disney
Disney and More
Shanghai Disney Resort
Disney Parks Blog
Shanghai Disney Resort News