Shanghai Disneyland is Walt Disney's newest amusement park. The park is located in Pudong, Shanghai and opened on June 16, 2016. The project was approved by the Chinese government in 2009 and construction began on April 8, 2011. After five long years of waiting, the park finally opened! And safe to say, it was as enchanting as any other Disney theme park out there (so enchanting in fact that tickets for the opening day sold out in a number of mere minutes). Without further ado, check out the pictures below and learn more about Disney's latest theme park!
15 "Today still feels like a dream"
I'm sure it does feel like a dream, Jessica! After years and years of hearing about this deal, the park was finally ready to be open. The Chinese government approved the resort in November 2009. It then took another year until Walt Disney had signed an agreement with the Shanghai Shendi Group who owned the landed on which Disney wanted to build the park. After signing this deal, it was agreed that the park would open in 2015. However, this obviously did not happen. Due to unforeseen construction hold ups and budgeting issues, the park was not ready for opening until 2016. At a cost of $5.5 billion, it's no wonder the park took so long to be built. For that kind of money, I would want everything perfect before the grand opening! When the day finally came, I'm sure all of the staff (like Jessica), were hugely excited and relieved.
14 Here is a map of the park
Shanghai Disneyland is made up of six "lands" that you can see on the map above. That being said, Shanghai Disneyland differs in a few key ways from the other Disney parks in existence. One of them is that it the geographic area of the park is designed differently. For example, Shanghai Disneyland does not have a steam train railroad running around the exterior of the park, nor does it have Frontierland, a land that was previously included in all other Disney parks. Other lands that are typical of Disney parks like Adventureland and Main Street U.S.A were redesigned for Shanghai Disneyland. At the Shanghai park, these lands are called Adventure Isle and Mickey Avenue. Finally, the Magic Kingdom-esque building (known as The Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disney) has an underground boat ride, which no other Disney castle features.
13 Check out Shanghai Disney's Treasure Cove
Treasure Cove is one of the six lands that make up Shanghai Disneyland. It is meant to replicate an 18th century Spanish port town in the Caribbean. But, of course, because everything at Disney is connected to a Disney film, Treasure Cove is not just any old Caribbean port. No sir, Treasure Cove is supposed to be an island that was captured by Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. This land's main attraction is the "Pirates of the Caribbean - Battle for the Sunken Treasure" ride that takes park-goers in magnetically propelled boats through the water where they will see animatronic re-creations of their favourite Pirates characters. Be sure to enjoy the battle between Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones!
12 The Enchanted Storybook Castle
Shanghai Disneyland's very own "Magic Kingdom," The Enchanted Storybook Castle took over three years to complete. It is by the far the most stunning attraction at the park (and most certainly what everyone will be taking pictures in front of). Part of Fantasyland, the castle has a clear Disney princesses theme and is dedicated to the Disney classics, like Cinderella and Snow White. The Enchanted Storybook Castle is the largest castle in any Disney theme park. It is so large in fact that it contains a Royal Banquet Hall restaurant, a boutique store, and the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto ride. This ride is a boat ride located underneath the castle that takes guests past scenes from famous Disney films including Aladdin, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Fantasia, and The Little Mermaid.
11 Check out the Enchanted Storybook Castle at night
Lit up in all its glory, the Enchanted Storybook Castle is truly a sight to behold. The mix of pink, purple, and blue lights are mesmerizing and would make any child think this is the most magical place on earth. Making your way through the park, you cross the bridge on the right side. Once you enter the park, you walk down Mickey Avenue which takes you right to the Enchanted Storybook Castle (part of Fantasyland). If the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto ride doesn't interest you, Fantasyland offers several other rides. They include the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and For the First Time in Forever: Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. And if rides make you a little queasy, there is a hedge-maze attraction called the Alice in Wonderland Maze.
10 The park had a huge parade to celebrate its grand opening
Featuring everyone's favourite Chinese Disney princess, Mulan, Shanghai Disneyland's grand opening parade looked pretty damn amazing. This parade (and the others to follow) took the route of Mickey's Storybook Express, the longest parade route of any Disney park to date. As per usual, the parade featured a Disney-themed musical soundtrack and a plethora of colourful performers. Just take a look at the float above. Mulan is atop her opulent horse with a myriad of Chinese cultural symbols behind her. It is truly opulent. Other floats included one of the Genie from Aladdin with Nick and Judy from Disney's most recent film, Zootopia, waving at the crowds from below. Safe to say the crowd was pretty excited to see Mickey's Storybook Express parade go by!
9 The park also has a new TRON-themed ride
TRON fans, rejoice! Shanghai Disneyland features a brand new ride inspired by TRON. The ride is called TRON Lightcycle Power Run and is a steel roller coaster. Unlike your average steel roller coaster, however, the TRON Lightcycle Power Run takes riders inside a colour-shifting canopy. Essentially, the guests are taken on a ride through the grid from TRON. The ride is part of Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland park. And in line with how unbelievably cool the TRON Lightcycle Power Run looks in the picture above, Tomorrowland as a whole does not disappoint. Unlike the Tomorrowland parks of other Disney amusement parks, Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disney looks majorly futuristic and does not feature the traditional Space Mountain. Rather, TRON Lightcycle Power Run takes the spot of Space Mountain.
8 And a Stitch Encounter
Also part of Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland park, Shanghai Disneyland has a ride called the Stitch Encounter (pictured above). The Stitch Encounter is an interactive show that includes real-time live interaction between an audience and Stitch. Thanks to a combination of real-time animation and digital puppetry, it is possible for Stitch to have completely unscripted interactions with his audience. Pretty cool, no? Other rides in Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland include Star Wars Launch Bay and Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.
7 Of course, it wouldn't be Disney without at least one Mickey sighting
All dressed up, Mickey was of course present at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland. This beloved mouse is as iconic as it gets for the Disney franchise. Showing their true love of Mickey Mouse, Shanghai Disneyland includes a part of the park known as Mickey Avenue. Mickey Avenue is one of the six "lands" that make up the amusement park. In fact, Mickey Avenue is the entrance to the park! Similar in style to Main Street U.S.A in the other Disney theme parks, Mickey Avenue is inspired by classic disney characters like Donald Duck, Chip 'n' Dale, Minnie Mouse, and of course, Mickey Mouse himself. A few newer Disney characters are also featured from the films Ratatouille, Lady and the Tramp, and The Three Caballeros.
6 Mickey did a quick costume change
Looking traditional in this Chinese-inspired outfit, Mickey was there to pose with fans all day long at the Shanghai Disneyland grand opening. After all, entrance to the park isn't exactly cheap so it's only fair that everyone gets to meet the most famous Disney character in history. An adult ticket to the park costs $75 on weekends and $60 on weekdays, while a child's ticket to the park will cost $60 on weekends and $45 on weekdays. This can be pretty steep to some. According to the International Business Times, "a two-day weekend ticket for two adults and one child comes close to China’s average urban monthly wage." That seems extremely problematic to me, but perhaps they will bring the prices down in time. Although if tickets continue to sell out the way they did for the opening day, Disney may not feel there's any reason to reducing the ticket price...
5 Other Disney characters were on hand as well, just take a look at Rapunzel
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Sure, Mickey is great, but if I'm being honest, people really go to Disney for the princesses. Here is Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled looking like utter perfection at the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland. If you didn't catch her in Mickey's Storybook Express parade, then you can mostly likely find Rapunzel walking around Fantasyland (you know, next to the Enchanted Storybook Castle where all princesses like to hang out). If princesses aren't your thing, however, you can head on over to Adventure Isle. One of the new lands at Shanghai Disneyland, Adventure Isle centres on a mysterious world full of treasure. This land features the following rides: Roaring Rapid, Soaring Over the Horizon, and Tarzan: Call of the Jungle.
4 Disney wouldn't be Disney without tons of Mickey-themed balloons
These balloons are simply magnificent. If only there were enough to re-create the infamous house from Up. Regardless, the grand opening seemed to be a hugely festive occasion. I'm sure it was absolute paradise for Disney lovers (especially the young ones). If you're planning on heading to Shanghai Disneyland with a young child, you'll have to remember to spend some time at the Gardens of Imagination. One of the six parks, the Gardens of Imagination is a dream like park perfect for kids. It features 11 acres of beautiful Chinese gardens, and tame attractions like Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Fantasia Carousel, and a stage show called Ignite the Dream: A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light.
3 And food shaped like Disney characters
Ok, but seriously though that Mickey Mouse-shaped pizza looks delicious. If I can expect all the food to be this cute, I need to book a ticket immediately. Just like other Disney themed parks, Shanghai Disneyland has no shortage of character-themed foods and restaurants. The park boasts an array of eateries in each of its "lands." If you're in Fantasyland, be sure to check out the Pinocchio Village Kitchen or the Tangled Tree Tavern. If you've made your way to Mickey's Avenue by that point, Remy's Patisserie is the place to be. And if you're in Treasure Cove, remember to grab a bite to eat at Barbossa's Bounty or The Snackin' Kraken.
2 Other disney theme parks were also super excited about Shanghai Disneyland's grand opening
In honour of Shanghai Disneyland's official opening on June 16th, Disney theme parks around the world held mini celebrations of their own. Just check out the picture above taken at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Mulan looks stunning next to everyone's favourite Disney dragon, Mushu. Sadly, there is no Mulan-themed ride at Shanghai Disneyland, but rest assured characters from the film are sure to be featured at every Mickey's Storybrook Express parade. To get over your sadness about the lack of a Mulan ride in Shanghai, I would recommend cheering yourself up with some classic Winnie the Pooh. Shanghai Disneyland features two Pooh-themed rides. The first is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and the second is the Hunny Pot Spin ride (think spinning teacups).
1 If you're heading over to Shanghai in the near future, Shanghai Disneyland is not to be missed
How can you resist seeing the biggest Disney castle in existence? Answer: You can't. Be sure to book your ticket in advance as the park is likely going to be pretty popular for the next few months. I mean considering the grand opening day sold out despite the rain is kind of amazing in itself. Just like all other Disney theme parks, there is a Disney resort surrounding the park, so you can make a week out of it if you really wanted to. The Shanghai Disney Resort is comprised of the Disneyland park, an entertainment district known as Disneytown that boasts retail shopping and dining, two themed hotels (one of which is a Toy Story Hotel - if you don't stay in the Toy Story Hotel you're doing it wrong), and a lake.
Enjoy Shanghai Disneyland!