Look: A Sneak Peek at Shanghai Disneyland

Theme Parks

With just 100 days to go until the official opening on June 16, Shanghai Disneyland has unveiled a countdown clock on its own website as well as new photos of some of the park’s main attractions.

An actual island has been built for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction for the Treasure Cove area, while the lightcycles from Tron have been turned into a roller coaster in Tomorrowland.

Disney’s plans to design Shanghai Disney with “distinct Chinese characteristics” has become also more clear. One of the park’s attractions is the “Garden of the Twelve Friends” in which the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac have been embodied by 12 animal characters from various Disney franchises. For example, the Year of the Rat is personified by Remy from Ratatouille, the Year of the Pig is represented by Hamm from Toy Story, and the Year of the Tiger has Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.

Chinese elements can be seen elsewhere in the park’s design, such as putting Toy Story characters Woody and Jessie on traditional Chinese paper kites, originally from Shandong.

In addition to having the world’s tallest Storybook Castle, Shanghai Disneyland will also feature the world premiere of the Mandarin-language version of The Lion King.

Meanwhile, at the same time anticipation for the new Disneyland in Shanghai continues to build, revenues at China’s other Disneyland, in Hong Kong, continue to fall. A report last month showed revenue for Hong Kong Disneyland fell by HK$148 million ($19 million) for the 2015 fiscal year ending October. At the same time, last year marked a 9.3 percent decrease in visitors to Hong Kong Disneyland, while the numbers of mainland visitors dropped by 23 percent.

Calls for Hong Kong Disneyland to expand with a “second theme park” have been raised as a way to stay competitive with the new Shanghai Disneyland. Other suggestions include having the park adopt Mandarin as a way to make mainland visitors feel more at home.

But while its peers seem to be losing momentum, Shanghai Disneyland is picking up steam with so much force it is resulting in changes to other sectors. After last year’s crackdown on Disney-related copyright infringement, Shanghai has decided to continue to further reform of intellectual property rights protection to such an extent that it hopes to become an IP hub for the Asia-Pacific region.

Tickets for Shanghai Disneyland go on sale March 28.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor