One week from today, on 16th June 2016, Disney’s newest Theme Park and Resort – their sixth internationally – will open in Shanghai, on mainland China, with tickets for the opening day festivities well and truly sold out.
When it opens, the Shanghai Disney Resort will include two themed hotels, Disneyland Hotel and their first ever Toy Story Hotel, as well as Disneytown, a shopping, dining and entertainment district comparable to Downtown Disney in Anaheim or the newly branded Disney Springs in Orlando. The district will feature the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, which will house the debut Mandarin production of the Broadway hit The Lion King.
The Disney grounds will also include 500,000 square meters of gardens open to the public, with a “glittering lake” and walking parks, as part of Wishing Star Park. But of course the main attraction will be the theme park – Shanghai Disneyland – which will feature six themed areas: Adventure Isle (their version of Adventureland), Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue (their version of Main Street U.S.A.), Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove (the first ever pirate-themed land at a Disney Park) and Fantasyland, with the Enchanted Storybook Castle as its centrepiece; the largest and most interactive of any of the Disney Parks castles, as well as the first to incorporate “all Disney Princesses”. The park will also feature the longest parade route at any Disney park.
The park is Disney’s fourth in Asia, following their two parks in Tokyo (Disneyland in 1983 and DisneySea in 2001) and their most recent venture, Hong Kong Disneyland, which opened in 2005. It promises to be the most technologically advanced Disney park in operation, with rides like the TRON Lightcycle Power Run (concept art pictured below) among their most anticipated additions, debuting exclusive to the park.
Other rides exclusive to the park include Voyage to the Crystal Grotto – a water ride in Fantasyland that incorporates the Enchanted Storybook Castle – as well as a river rapids ride Roaring Rapids as the centrepiece of Adventure Isle. Meanwhile, the Shanghai exclusive “Gardens of Imagination” area will – alongside housing iconic rides like Dumbo the Flying Elephant – feature Chinese gardens with Disney characters representing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. This is just one of the many features of the park set to reflect local culture, with 70% of the food and drink on site to also be local Chinese cuisine.
Building for the park began in 2011 and though it was met with delays and ended up being over budget, Shanghai will open as the cheapest Disney Park in the world. One-Day tickets start at CN¥ 370 (AUD$75) for adults and CN¥ 280 (AUD$57) for children/elderly, which places it 20% cheaper than its Hong Kong destination. However, it will also be the first Disney Park trial tiered pricing, which has been popular amongst Universal Studios Parks – increasing the price to CN¥ 499 (AUD$100) for Adults and CN¥ 375 (AUD $77) for children/elderly for its more popular periods, including public holidays, the Summer period and its opening two weeks.
A new 9.2 kilometer Metro line will connect visitors to the parks, and rumour has it that as many as two additional parks will be added to the site in future years – similar to the sort of expansion seen at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
For more details on the park, head to their official website.