Walt Disney Company
Opening Spring/Summer 2016
Park News - (1/12/15) A variety of articles have been appearing over the past week or so claiming that work on the new Shanghai Disneyland park has been moving slowly. Of course there is steel and huge structures going up all over the site, so it is hard to say that things are progressing "slowly"... I think it's more just the general public not being as aware of how these kind of projects go up. As someone who has had the good fortune and pleasure to walk through a theme park or major attraction site while under construction, I think anyone "in the know" would agree that things always seem to move at a snails pace for quite some time visually for most of the timetable. When building a single attraction, they seem to almost magically come together and transform before your eyes on an almost daily basis during the final weeks. Building an entire park however.. I think this final transformation into the near-finished product takes longer, and you'll see it happen once area at a time throughout the park, rather than everywhere at once.
What is interesting in the artwork of Treasure Cove is that it shows off two large buildings. On the left, the bigger of the two, you would assume to be for the ride, especially with the the giant pirate flag on the top, which kind of gives it all away, right? But not so fast… look closely at the building to the right and you’ll see what looksl ike the Pirates of the Caribbean logo on banner flying over the entrance. In fact, Luke and the Temple of Fun have zoomed into the artwork and verified that it is the ride logo on the right building, as well as seeking out other attractions in the area like the Explorer Canoes, Shipwreck Shores, and likely restaurant and shopping areas as well. But what of the rumored Stunt Show? Could it be housed inside the bigger structure?
That said, I reported back in December myself that we had heard various delays and complications in the process would cause the park to open in mid 2016, and any hope of a December 8th, 2015 opening are completely out the window. From what I've heard, and I've heard this over the years from other industry professionals, building anything major in China can be a bit tricky, and is the primary cause of the delay problems. Chinese contractors can be a bit shady at time, and are known to sometimes cut a corner or two when they think no one is watching to either save a buck or meet a promised timetable. (For a good example of this, check out this article about a pair of 15-story apartment buildings built side-by-side to house Shanghai Disney construction workers, which are now leaning against one another) Fortunately Disney management is watching and they have no patience for shenanigans like this, and caught onto a few things early on that were not built to their satisfaction and had them rebuilt the right way. So... there will be a delay to the timetable, but it will be built correctly.
This is also an interesting thing to consider when thinking about all those OTHER theme parks we've heard about which have opened across China over the last several years. During a very revealing conversation I had with someone who knows a bit about the business and who has traveled to see many of these new Chinese theme parks. In addition to having a different set of construction standards in China compared to what we have in the US, the attitude towards the amusement park industry is also very different in China compared to the rest of the world. For most in China, working at a theme park is just about the job... they have no passion for the industry... they are simply assigned a job to do and do it. The same is said of those who build the parks, as well as those put in a position to run them. To paraphrase my source, "I've never seen one who was happy with their job. They all look so miserable."
I was told that many of these parks were simply not built to last... they were built quickly, to get them open as functional as quickly as possible... and then those responsible, their job complete, walked away and on to a new project. Those left behind are there to "run" the parks, but there is no clear plan (or budget) in place in many cases to maintain the parks, let alone deal with any major repairs or problems as they come up over the coming years.
Obviously this will not be the case with Shanghai Disneyland when it opens, and for those wondering this is absolutely not the case in Hong Kong at all, which was ruled under the British crown for long enough that they are worlds apart from the rest of China when it comes to taking pride in their parks, maintenance and operations. But for the rest of China... the next 5-10 years may be very telling as some big Chinese parks that opened in the last few years may suddenly find themselves looking very tarnished and rundown by comparison to Shanghai Disney. At that point those parks will either have to step up, or could be forced to close-down if they are run into the ground.
In the meantime, a collection of new onsite construction pictures from Shanghai Disneyland have been posted to ThemeparX showing off what looks like a roof structure going over the outdoor portion of the Tron coaster, the topping out of the Roaring Rapids mountain and more.
(12/11/14) According to Chinese news, Shanghai is seeking permission from the nations central government to offer foreign tourists visiting from overseas a special tax refund on purchases if they spend at least 500 yuan (equal to $80 US) made while visiting as an incentive to draw in more tourism. Currently there is an existing tax refund for guests visiting Hainan who get back 11% on purchases of at least 800 yuan and Shanghai hopes to offer an even better deal.
(12/9/14) Disney and More has posted our first great look at the Roaring Rapids Mountain ride at Shanghai Disneyland. It’s a very large structure, which will hold the rapids ride and the rumored dinosaur animatronics, which will likely have both indoor and outdoor sections.
(12/4/14) The latest report from Disney & More claims that they believe a copy of Mystic Manor could open at Shanghai Disneyland as early as 2018. Looking closely at the new birds eye view of the park released last month, I too noticed a faint building in the background that had a Mystic Manor style look to it as well and wondered the same thing.
Like Disney & More, I also agree that the more “western” theme of a Haunted Mansion style attraction wouldn’t fit in as well with Chinese culture, while the more supernatural themed concept of a cursed / enchanted object causing havoc in the house just fits right into existing asian culture so much better. Could be a copy of Mystic Manor was one of these new additions to the park’s budget we read about earlier this year?
(12/3/14) The latest buzz from Screamscape sources is that Shanghai Disneyland currently isn’t expected to open until sometime between late Spring and mid Summer 2016 at this point. As always, the timetable could slip forward or back still this far our, but so far it has only been slipping behind.
(11/19/14) Disney and More breaks down your expectations for the new Shanghai Disneyland park into more reality sized bites, to help avoid any disappointment, for as big as the new park looks, the number of attractions will still be limited with only 7 new ride experiences.
(11/17/14) Disney & More has obtained a higher resolution image of the latest Shanghai Disneyland birds-eye view art, and has zoomed in and labeled the various park attractions for us. Just click on it to make it big enough to read the labels.
(11/14/14) New concept art of Shanghai Disneyland as well as some new construction pictures from the park have been posted to Disney & More and ThemeparX. Check it out!
(10/28/14) Disney has given us our first close up look at the Shanghai Disneyland castle under construction in the background of this picture featuring Brooklyn Nets basketball player, Brook Lopez, taking a tour of the construction site while visiting Shanghai.
(9/24/14) Shanghai Disneyland has announced that they have signed a deal with Shanghai General Motors for the resort that will see Chevrolet listed as the “official car” of the Shanghai Disney Resort as well as a brand presence in association with “a large-scale iconic attraction at Shanghai Disneyland”. “In addition, Shanghai Disney Resort and Shanghai General Motors will collaborate on the creation of a stand-alone attraction featuring Chevrolet within the theme park for resort guests to enjoy.”
(8/13/14) A few new close-up photos from the Shanghai Disneyland construction site can be found at ThemeparX this week.
(7/24/14) Disney & More has posted some new concept artwork that shows off a little of the inside, and a more detailed look at the outside of the two Shanghai Disneyland Resort Hotels, which also shows off a bit more of the park in the background.
(7/2/14) The Theme Park Guy is back, fresh from a trip to check out the Shanghai Disneyland construction area with some wondrous new pictures you will want to see. The park is growing quickly, so much that it looks almost like a massive new city under construction on the horizon from the homes of the nearby citizens. From here you can see exactly how the Tron themed Light Cycle coaster will offer both indoor and outdoor thrills. There are also brown coaster tracks sitting in a staging area nearby that I can only assume are for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. A huge concrete structure is also rising, which will likely be home to the park’s dino themed river rapids adventure ride. Plus we get our first look at the first on-site resort hotel structure, rumored to have a Toy Story theme.
(6/16/14) New images of the Tron themed coaster at Shanghai Disneyland have been posted to Disney & More. On a related note, you may remember the new aerial pictures and reports (HERE) claiming that there would be an outdoor portion to the ride’s layout and comparing it to my previous layout drawing of the coaster (see below) , you can see exactly where this will go.
Riders will blast outside at the end of the launch tunnel, where they will rise up to the highest portion of the ride before leaning over into a banked right turn and plunge down towards the ground at the bottom, turn again quickly to the left and rise up once again and enter into the show building once again for the rest of the ride experience that will feature a number of twisted turns and track cross-over points before returning to the station.
(6/13/14) A few new pictures of Shanghai Disneyland, as seen in the distance from a moving MagLev train, can be found at ThemeparX.
(6/4/14) A closer look at the previous Disney & More report on the new Shanghai Disneyland aerial photos reveals something interesting about the new Tron coaster in Tomorrowland. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all, but apparently what seems to be the circular track that leads to the launch track will be outdoors, leaving only the main portion of the ride through the world of tron indoors.
I guess I’d have to see just what kind of theme they are going for here… but on the surface taking the guests through a queue (themed I assume) and loading them into a coaster themed to look like a LightCycle, but only to then break the theme by going out into the “real world” seems crazy to me. It is hard to judge without knowing all the details… so we’ll have to wait and see just what it is they are going for here.
(6/3/14) Disney & More and taken advantage of newly updated Google Earth aerial views of the Shanghai Disneyland construction site and taking the time to label and point out the various attraction sites, where identifiable.
(5/1/14) A few more satellite pictures taken of the Shanghai Disneyland construction site back in January can be found over at ThemeParx, as well as a ground level view of the Pirates of the Caribbean building structure.
(4/30/14) Interesting times for Shanghai Disneyland, as it seems the Walt Disney Company and their partners are is now ready to invest an additional $800 million into the new Chinese theme park resort in order to “increase the number of rides operating on opening day.” Apparently the money will be used to add all new offerings to Disney’s newest theme park, and is not being used to cover any budget overruns from the previously plans under construction already.
(4/15/14) An interesting document that goes over the architecture involved with the design and building of the new Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland has been posted to the AIA KnowledgeNet site, all packed up nice and neat in a 10 MB PDF file.
(3/24/14) ThemeParx has posted an incredible exclusive, new Satellite images taken of the Shanghai Disneyland Resort property dated from January 2014 that you will not find anywhere else. In the close ups you can even make out some of the flume layout for Pirates of the Caribbean,
(3/20/14) Disney has announced a few more details about the new Pirates themed land that will be a highlight area of the new Shanghai Disneyland park. It will be called Treasure Cove and will he anchored by one of the park’s most ambitious E-Ticket rides, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Sunken Treasure. This will be the first “Pirates” themed rides that will be entirely themed from the start on the Pirates movie series and characters, featuring Captain Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. While the ride may resemble a traditional Pirates style ride at first, it will be full of all brand new technology developed just for this new experience.
A great picture showing the massive ride/show building already under construction in Shanghai can also be found at the Disney Parks Blog.
(2/28/14) I have to say that I’m a bit shocked… but Shanghai Disney announced the signing of a new strategic alliance with PepsiCo and Tingyi Holding Corp. to become the primary beverage supplier to the Shanghai Disney Resort area. The alliance will allow guests to drink Pepsi and “Master Kong” beverages during their visit.
So just in case you didn’t quite get it… Shanghai Disneyland will be the only Disney park on the planet to serve Pepsi, as all the rest have been serving nothing but Coke for decades. Through to be accurate, I believe Disneyland in California served both Coke and Pepsi for the first decade or so.
(2/27/14) Disney & More has posted several new incredible pictures of the Tron Lightcycle coaster under construction in Shanghai Disneyland. It should be interesting to see if the finished product matches up with the rumored layout we first posted back in 2012.
(2/2/14) Darth Vader gets in on the Chinese New Year action in this latest YouTube video from the Star Wars channel, which you can see below. For much of last year we saw several videos of Darth Vader and a pair of Stormtroopers exploring Japan as a sort of viral promotion for Tokyo Disneyland’s new Star Tours 2 attraction. With plans to add a Star Wars mini-land and Star Tours ride in Hong Kong Disneyland replaced by the Iron Man Experience instead, it does make me wonder if Disney has any plans in the works to bring a Star Wars land or Star Tours attraction to the new Shanghai park as a Phase 2 addition.
Currently the US release Date for Star Wars 7 is set for December 2015, and a release date for China would seem likely to follow in the following 3-6 months. If done right, Disney could possibly match the opening of a Phase 2 Star Tours attraction with the the same general window that Star Wars 7 could open in China’s theaters. Just something to think about...
On a lighter note, check out the second video below it for a little non-Disney made Star Wars humor... because who doesn’t love to watch Stormtroopers dance... and twerk?!
(1/30/14) We have none other than Michael Eisner to thank for our latest sneak peek at a major new attraction under construction at Shanghai Disneyland. Eisner was on site in Shanghai a few weeks ago and posted a few pictures to his Instagram of himself standing in front of the big black coaster supports for the Tron Lightcycles Power Run coaster, now very much under construction. Check it out here.
(1/28/14) Want to earn free tickets to visit Shanghai Disneyland when it opens? According to Disney & More a new deal struck between the park and China Eastern Airlines will offer free park admission to Shanghai Disneyland passengers who travel to Shanghai on the airline once the park is open. Just something to keep in mind when the time comes.
In the meantime Shanghai Disneyland has confirmed that their first two hotels at the Shanghai Resort topped off last Wednesday. Disney & More also reports that the first vertical steel sections for the park’s “mountain” attraction (aka: Roaring Rapids) were also put into place last week. Once complete, this mountain structure will be the second tallest structure in the Shanghai Disney Resort after the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
(12/24/13) The latest update to Disney & More reports that the size of the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone will be bigger than what was initially planned, and will now feature a total size of nearly 25 square Kilometers around the Shanghai Disneyland resort core area.
While we’re talking about Shanghai Disneyland, the park has released a press statement celebrating a construction milestone, the “topping out” of the first building at the park. They didn’t name exactly what the building is, but described it as “The building occupies a key location near the resort's central lake and will host a variety of dining and entertainment options for Guests while offering stunning views of both the lake and Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle.” According to Disney & More this is the first building going up for ‘Disney Town”, the Shanghai resort’s version of a Downtown Disney style area, containing the retail, dining and entertainment area just outside the park.
(12/9/13) Bad news for Shanghai Disneyland this week as Disney & More reports that construction on the new theme park resort has come to a screeching halt this week due to severe smog levels in Shanghai. City authorities warn that visibility has dropped down to a few meters, ordering all schools to keep students indoors at all times as well as pulling 30% of all government vehicles off the roadways, banning public fireworks displays as well as sporting events. Just take a look at the shocking pictures shot in the city this week and you’ll see why this is not only a major problem, but makes you wonder what will happen on days like this when the park is finally open?
In other news Shanghai Disneyland has announced a corporate partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and announced that the area that once was called the Garden of Imagination will now be called the “Garden of the Twelve Friends”, themed after the twelve Chinese zodiac characters, located as an 11-acre green space in the center of the park, right in front of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
(12/5/13) Disney & More goes over a few more details for Shanghai Disneyland and how the park’s attraction slate has developed so far. They also make a point I forgot to mention… that the listed Stitch Encounter attraction is NOT the one from Walt Disney World. This would be the digital character interaction attraction as seen at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, inspired by same Turtle Talk with Crush concept from Epcot. They also believe that the rumored dinosaur theming is still in place for the Roaring Rapids ride and that Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue may be an entirely new dark ride experience and not another clone of the shoot-em up Buzz rides we’ve seen open elsewhere.
(12/4/13) Regarding the “missing” name of the Fantasyland boat ride under the castle, I’m told it was on the list, just not marked off as a ride. It will be called Voyage to the Crystal Grotto.
(11/29/13) When the list of attractions for Shanghai Disney was leaked earlier this week, I had thought that a few items sounded like they were missing from the list of attractions. For example… the much talked about new Fantasyland boat ride that is supposed to depart from under the castle itself did not seem to be on the list. So was it cut, delayed as a phase 2 item, or simply just overlooked when creating the list?
While I’m not sure of the fate of this particular attraction itself yet, I’ve heard from many sources that the list is fairly accurate and legit… but they also say that there are a couple of things few things not included in the list that will come to light later.
(11/26/13) The WDW Magic forums have come up with a fantastic find… a complete list of the names to be used for the lands, gift shops, food stands, restaurants and rides for Shanghai Disneyland. You can make the jump to see the complete list of everything, but I’ll break down the list of major attractions by land for you:
Adventure Isle – Roaring Rapids, Soaring Over the Horizon, Camp Discovery Challenge Trail
Fantasyland – Hunny Pot Spin, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland Maze, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Fantasia Carousel
Tomorrowland – Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, Jet Packs, Tron Lightcycles Power Run, Stitch Encounter
Toy Story Land – Rex’s Racers, Slinky Dog Spin
Treasure Cove – Explorer Canoes, Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for the Sunken Treasure
Make the jump over to the WDW Magic forums to see the rest.
(11/4/13) Luke and the Temple of Fun has an interesting update this week as the Shanghai Metro has published artwork for six different themed proposals to see how the Chinese people think that the Shanghai Disneyland subway station building should be designed, both interior and exterior. There are some amazing looking concepts out there… so make the jump and see which one you like best compared to how the people of China are voting.
(10/18/13) Disney & More reports that Shanghai Disneyland celebrated a construction milestone on Thursday with the installation of the first steel column, marking the official start of Vertical Construction on the new theme park. Make the jump to see the pictures and even a video of the ceremony.
(10/16/13) Today we get a look at a more detailed set of plans showing off the “Shopping and Entertainment Area Plan” for Shanghai Disneyland… or in other words, a look at the layout of their version of Downtown Disney. Check it out at Luke & The Temple of Fun.
(10/14/13) A couple of 3D drawings of the Shanghai Disneyland castle have been posted to Luke and the Temple of Fun this week, as seen on a local news site in China.
(10/3/13) TheThemeParkGuy has posted an incredible new update as he explored the perimeter of Shanghai Disneyland under construction. He attempts to view the site from several angles, and even ventures into the ruins of abandoned homes just outside the perimeter of the construction site to give us our first look at the actual park’s construction work taking place. It’s still mostly dirt at this point… but they are planting the seeds for something fantastic.
(9/25/13) A pair of new pieces of artwork showing off the new castle to be built at the center of Shanghai Disneyland have been posted to Disney & More.
(8/13/13) Shanghai Disneyland is going to benefit from a huge loan being issued from the Agriculturual Bank of China, designed to help fund various government controlled ventures and pay for needed improvements in the Shanghai area. The new Disney resort project will benefit from this as well, though the exact sum is not yet known.
(8/8/13) Empire Industries has announced that their Dynamic Structures buisness unit has been awarded an $18 million contract to build a new ride for “a global leader in amusement parks” that will be installed in a park in China over the next 18 months.
Screamscape Translation – The contract has been signed for Dynamic Structures to build the long rumored Soarin’ over the Horizon ride for Shanghai Disneyland.
(7/18/13) Disney and More has mentioned an interesting factoid about Shanghai Disneyland in this week’s report about Disneyland. Near the bottom they reconfirm that Shanghai Disneyland’s Toy Story Land wont have the Green Army Men’s Parachute Drop ride, but instead is listed to have something mentioned as “Round Up attraction”. It isn’t known if this will be some form of live entertainment such as the Woody’s All-American Roundup show going into Disneyland or if this could be some kind of replacement ride for the missing Parachute Drop. Stay tuned.
(5/27/13) Luke and the Temple of Fun is back with a new update on Shanghai Disneyland this week, showing off a look at the official plans for the connection pathway that will run between the park and the public bus and rail station for the new theme park. Of course, if you look closely at the plans, you will also see the overhead layout showing off the actual entrance into the theme park itself as well.
While we’re on the subject, Disney & More also reports that construction has just started on the park’s huge central Enchanted Storybook Castle as the the countdown in now on to get the park open before the end of 2015. Pictures showing off the installation of the first concrete piles for the castle can be found here.
(5/20/13) Disney & More reports that the top secret new version of Soarin’ opening at Shanghai Disneyland in 2015 is expected to be called Soarin’ Over The Horizon, essentially a Global version of the Soarin’ concept featuring famous icons and landcapes from around the world. This same new ride will also come as an update to the existing Soarin’ rides at Epcot in Walt Disney World and to Disney’s California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort.
That said… there may be a slight twist to this entire plan as new details about the upcoming PLANES animated film are slowing comingout. The film, once planned as a direct to DVD spin-off from Pixar’s Cars films was upgraded to a full theatrical feature film release last year. (It is also interesting to note that PLANES is from Walt Disney Animation and not Pixar.) The story behind PLANES involves air races at famous locations all around the world… a storyline that might tie in nicely with this new Soarin’ ride concept as well.
On another front… they also report that the new WDI Twister Ride Patent discovered earlier this month also seems destined to be used with a theme that ties into the Planes movie as well. (Of course, one of our readers also suggested that the Twister Ride system would also be a good one to be used for a Star Wars themed version of ride system… with alternating X-Wings and Tie Fightered themed cars I hope… giving you the ability to try and target the car ahead of you for points.)
(5/14/13) Disney and More has posted some new aerial pictures of the Shanghai Disneyland site. The update also includes a fun Soarin’ style video fly-over the site, aided through the magic of Google Earth.
(5/7/13) Today I’ve got a treat for everyone… an interesting drawing that was sent my way showing off what appears to be a Tron Lightcycle themed version of a Vekoma BoosterBike ride seat. There is no way to know if this is something real or a the creation of a very talented fan, but I think this should give everyone a good idea of what to expect from the Tron coaster in Shanghai Disneyland.
(4/8/13) Luke and the Temple of Fun is back this week, with a look at a grouping of fake rockwork samples discovered in Shanghai near the Disney construction site that may represent the kind of style and coloring that will go into certain areas or attractions in the park.
The first two pieces look like rock formations with moss growing up the lower ends, with one looking to have part of a wooden mine shaft entrance built in, looking very much like you would expect to see in Fantasyland, perhaps with the Seven Dwarves Mine Train coaster.
The third piece features rock a shade of purple… along with some very colorful rock formation on the lower end, painted in what seems to be black-light reactive color shades. I’d guess that this could be something seen inside of the dark rides… perhaps even one of the water ride like Caverns inside Pirates or the yet to be named river rapids ride.
The last piece looks like some water worn down rockwork, with tangled vines or tree roots wrapped around the rockwork… looking very much like it would be right at home in a jungle setting… or wrapped around the park’s Adventure Isle.
(3/12/13) Today I’ve got the unofficial final “land” list to share for Shanghai Disneyland. Yesterday we talked about how the ‘hub’ area will be called Gardens of Imagination, but before you enter the Garden you will pass down Mickey Avenue, the name of the official entryway portion of the park taking the place of Main Street USA. Going left to right around the ‘hub’ will be Tomorrowland (yes, they are keeping the name), Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle. The later two will take the place of a traditional “Adventureland” and as previously discussed there will be no Frontierland in this park either.
I’m still working on narrowing down the list of attractions, but I’m told that everything I mentioned yesteday will be in the park, including an all new version of Soarin’. Tomorrowland will will feature a version of the Astro Orbiter / Rocket Jets ride along with the new Tron coaster and Buzz Lightyear ride. Fantasyland is rumored to have some kind of unique replacement for the traditional Tea Cups style ride, and according to the early rumors the Peter Pan’s Flight ride going into Shanghai will be bigger and better than the previous versions to date. The park will also still feature that rumored River Rapids ride (in the Adventure Isle area I believe)… but the Lost World Dinosaurs theme has been dropped in favor of something entirely new it seems. Oh… and there will be no It’s A Small World in the park either, as they are leaving that one to be unique to Hong Kong Disneyland in the region for now.
(3/11/13) Disney and More takes a close up look at the new image released for Shanghai Disneyland and confirms that the flat ride in the background will be the park’s Dumbo ride. The giant “hub” style area will also be an official new “land” for the park as well, to be called “Gardens of Imagination”. While Dumbo is shown off as the typical single version of Dumbo we all know and grew up with over the years, they report that the Fantasia Carousel will feature an army of custom figures to ride upon, and not typical carousel horses. These will be characters and creatures as seen from a wide variety of Disney animated films. If you look closely, you will also see that a huge Disney style Christmas Tree has been placed in the model as well, reinforcing the fact that Shanghai Disneyland will not have a Main Street USA as the rest of the parks do, but something entirely different and unique. With all the fountains seen in the lake, it also seems like a good bet that the park will put on some kind of nighttime show in this area, probably something along the lines of the Disney Dreams show currently running in Disneyland Paris.
As for the rest of the park… it’s still tough to keep track of which rides the park will get and which staple Disney attractions they may opt out on. So far we have talked about the park getting a unique version of Pirates, we’ve seen the Dumbo and Carousel this week, and I’m still hearing that a copy of Seven Dwarves Mine Train will come to Fantasyland along with Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh dark rides. There will also be a Buzz Lightyear ride as well… though I’m not sure if it will be in the Toy Story Land or part of Shanghai’s version of Tomorrowland… or possibly serve as a bridge between the two. As for the rumored Monsters Inc ride… I’m told that one is not happening. The rumors of a new Soarin’ style ride with an all new ride film are also alive and well, but I’m not 100% sure on that one just yet.
(3/8/13) At a Disney stockholder meeting earlier this week they revealed the first picture of a model built showing off the central hub area of Shanghai Disneyland along with the Enchanted Storybook Castle. The large hub area is 11 acres and consists of a lot of unique landscaping with plenty of trees along pathways over and around a small lake, with the park’s carousel being placed off to the right side of this area, along with another unknown flat ride (Dumbo maybe?) closer to the castle on the left side. So far this matches up with the overhead park layout images we have already seen, along with the “moat” around the front of the castle serving as a barrer to the stage area placed on the opposite shoreline just in front.
(3/4/13) Disney conducted a fireworks test on the future Shanghai Disneyland site, which surprisingly prompted complaints from the nearby neighbors. What was surprising wasn’t the complaints about the noise levels as you might expect, but this was more of a complaint about how the fireworks show might contribute to the already over-polluted air quality in the area. According to the write up at Disney & More this week, while traditional fireworks do contribute a slight amount of pollution to the air, the short duration (15-20 minutes) of the typical Disney fireworks show in comparison with China’s major sources of air-pollution seem to show that a nightly Disney fireworks show would have minimal impact. Also in Disney’s favor is Disney’s use of an air-launched system for some of their pyro, which eliminates need for the dirty burning propellant/fuel portion of a traditional firework.
(2/6/13) Disney and More has updated yesterday’s article about why certain American elements wont be in Shanghai Disneyland after getting some feedback from someone who had been involved with some of the park’s design.
For example, while there wont be a Frontierland / Westernland in the park when it opens, WDI did design one for it, and it could be added later on. The anti American Railroad feeling many assumed the Chinese to have, it turns out, is mostly false as few of the Chinese people of today are even aware that some Chinese labor was used to build some of the old American railroad systems. China in general just does not have any kind of fondness for old west style locomotives being used for transportation. Click here to read the update and letter from the insider at the bottom of the article.
(2/5/13) While we’ve known for some time now that Shanghai Disneyland would not have a railroad line circling around the park, nor a Frontierland as the Chinese do not have a romantic cultural relationship with the American Old West time period, Disney and More also points out that the park will also not have a Main Street USA.
While the later was known, there was a time where Main Street was to have been replaced by a more Toon Town style version of Main Street where the shops would be themed and owned by various Disney characters. Now it seems like there will be no such place either, as anything that could be deemed as too American in culture has been excluded from the park’s design. (There will be some kind of main gate plaza area to be sure, but it will be very different than what we’ve seen built in any other Magic Kingdom to date.)
Tomorrowland… or whatever they end up calling it with have an entirely different look and feel than anything we have seen elsewhere at a Disney park, with the Tron Light Cycle coaster standing in as a replacement for a Space Mountain. With Frontierland out, there will be no Big Thunder Mountain either.
Adventureland and a themed Pirates Cove style area will fit into the theme of the new park and Fantasyland is expected to have a heavy European theme to it. Disney and More also pointed out an interesting item of note… that while Shanghai Disneyland will have a Toy Story Land, it will not be themed like the rest, and have no sign of the Green Army Men characters, nor will it have the Green Army Men themed Parachute Drop ride. Again… there was no interest in including anything themed like an American Army Base into this new park.
(1/29/13) A few items of note for Shanghai Disneyland this week. That “production center” that was announced the other day apparently was one of those “lost in translation” kind of things, as what they are really working on is the official preview center for the new theme park and resort to open in mid-2013. Construction on the site is going well it seems, as the last word indicates that they are on track for a mid to late 2015 opening and not the early 2016 as some feared. Still… there is a long way to go on this project, so it is far too early to make full predictions just yet.
One more little item… remember that Monsters Inc dark ride schematic that was discovered in a new Disney patent application? I’m hearing news now that this may not be for Shanghai at all… but rather could be a new attraction on the way to Hong Kong Disneyland that could open before the Shanghai park does. Make the jump to read more.
(1/28/13) According to this article, Shanghai Disneyland will not only feature a theme park, but a full production center that will the first of it’s type in the region. The production center is expected to be open in mid 2013.
Meanwhile Disney & More shows off a bit more about the look of the Toy Story themed hotel.
(1/2/13) Luke and the Temple of Fun show off some newly released plans for Shanghai Disneyland, this time showing off property around the large lake marked either for Hotels and or “future development” sites which seems to indicate that there will be a pathway / boardwalk around the lake, along with docks for boat transportation options.
Backing out to take a wider view of the entire property and merging the various plans in this update, you can get a better picture of how the lake, park and hotels will be placed, as well as a large piece of property nearby to the right of the Shanghai Disneyland park that would be the perfect size and location for the eventual second theme park.
(12/10/12) The Shanghai news reports that an exclusive 9km extension of Metro Line 11 will be added by 2015 to add service into the Shanghai Disneyland Resort that will be themed with Disney characters and built to be semi-underground. The project has been given full approval by the government.
(12/4/12) Disney and More mentioned in their update on Test Track at Epcot, what I had been thinking, but decided not to say last night. Much like now the new Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction at the Hollywood Studios park is seen as lifesized “Proof of Concept” for some new technology intended for the Pirates ride going into Shanghai Disneyland, the obvious Tron inspired comparisons with the new version of Test Track is also very likely to be intentional. Think of it as a giant sandbox experiment for Disney Imagineers to test out just the right way to take park guests into the world of Tron, which is the themed of a rumored Tron Light Cycle coaster heading to Shanghai Disneyland in place of a Space Mountain. Given the videos I’ve seen so far, I think they’ve managed to capture the look of Tron perfectly within Test Track.
(11/26/12) Disney and More has some interesting thoughts about how the new Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction at the Studios may have links to the future new Pirates ride destined for Shanghai Disneyland. We’ve already discussed the permits found for the new unique ride hardware that seems to be for this new Shanghai attraction, but this takes a bit deeper into how this ride may handle the various show scenes, which were said to rely more on projected effects and have very few animatronic figures.
Meanwhile Luke & the Temple of Fun have also posted some new Shanghai developments, as layout plans showing off the Shopping / Dining Area next to the park (another Downtown Disney I suppose) have surfaced.
(10/23/12) The latest update to the Disney and More Blog shows off some actual close up pictures of construction work taking place at Shanghai Disneyland. Anyone know a bit more about what we’re looking at under construction?
In other Shanghai Disneyland news, Luke and the Temple of Fun have noticed that the layout Screamscape posted last week for the new Seven Dwarves coaster in Walt Disney World, can also clearly be seen in the Fantasyland layout map of Shanghai Disneyland as well, confirming the long running rumor that the attraction will make an appearance in China shortly after it opens in the US.
(11/17/12) Screamscape has obtained what I believe to be the layout for the Tron Light Cycle themed coaster going into Shanghai Disneyland. This will feature a series of up to nine Tron themed Vekoma Motorbike coaster trains, each of which will hold only 14 riders per train. To make up for this low capacity, the ride will use a double sided station, with each side track able to hold two trains at once. Once dispatched the bikes will roll around a tight corner and into the launch position to prepare to enter the Game Grid.
While it is a necessary evil in exchange for being able to handle up to nine trains at once, you can see that the track layout will feature a total of 3 mid-course trim/block brakes as the trains perform an endless series of helix spirals and run back towards each other again and again before emptying back out into the brake run and into the station. All said and done the ride will have feature just over 3050 feet of track and hit a top speed in the 45-50 mph range.
(9/25/12) Luke and the Temple of Fun is back this week with a new report on the released plans for the Shanghai Disneyland public transportation station. They also found a list of stats that mentions that the theme park itself, including the non-public service areas, will be 225 acres.
(8/27/12) According to Disney and More, Shanghai Disneyland may delay their opening until 2016, rather than rush for a 2015 opening. The exact reason for the sudden delay is not known, though some suspect that the land which was previously used for rice fields may be more time to settle and dry out.
(8/24/12) Luke and the Temple of Fun has outdid themselves today, as they took the layout plan of the rumored Toy Story themed hotel building and tried to visualize it in a 3D rendering program, showing off a rough basic idea of what the hotel could look like when built.
(8/22/12) Luke and the Temple of Fun is back again with another quick update showing off the collection of Shanghai Disneyland artwork that has been released so far, including photos of a park model on display at D23 last year that actually had the exact same hotel building shapes.
(8/21/12) Today we have an update from a new site… LukeandtheTempleofFun, who have a bit of a scoop this week on the official plans for the first two hotels planned for Shanghai Disneyland, as well a as resort map showing off the locations of these hotels compared to the park itself.
(8/1/12) Disney and More pokes around those Shanghai Disneyland images that were leaked out last week. Remember that strange double sided theater building I mentioned behind the Lost World rapids ride mountain? They believe that this could be a new version of Soarin’, with an Adventureland theme of course, and it does match up size and shape-wise very well with the Soarin’ building at Epcot.
Plus there have bee rumored ever since they started talking about building Shanghai Disneyland about shooting an all new Soarin’ ride film for China that could eventually be sent out as a new adventure to the California and Florida versions of the ride.
(7/30/12) The Theme Park Guy has provided us with an all new look at the Shanghai Disneyland site, through a few pictures taken on the construction site as well as some aerial footage that was shot by a news team flying by. The site appears to have been cleared and prepped and is just awaiting work on the actual park to begin. Check it out.
(7/27/12) This video is a bit on the old side, but it does give up a peek at the workings inside the Shanghai Disneyland castle, as well as what to expect from the themed areas that surround it. The basic layout and pathways do match up with the park layout we posted last week, and at one point the structure become transparent and you can see the loading area of the Storybook Boat ride under the castle.
(7/24/12) Disney and More has a new report on Shanghai Disneyland, as well as a few extra little things that they noticed in the park layout image we posted last week, so check it out. It’s also interesting that they have compared the idea of a water based Pirate stunt show in the bay to the infamous one that used to take night nightly in Las Vegas at the Treasure Island casino. An interesting factoid on the Treasure Island show you may not know… but legendary Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr, through his own independent company, designed the technical systems that allowed the pirate ships in Vegas battle and sink. I’d love to see something like this done in Shanghai as well.
(7/18/12) Today I’m happy to present our first look at what appears to be the layout of Shanghai Disneyland. There is no way to know if this is a current layout or just a peek at an older idea since retired, but it does give us a look idea at the overall layout of the park and major E-Tickets to be included. This image has been quietly making the rounds at a few of the European Disney fan sites and has been sent on to me along with a slightly enhanced version that is focused on the park itself.
Main Street USA will be replaced by Mickey Avenue, which was previously rumored to be a new version of Main Street USA, if it were taken over by Mickey and friends who all run their own shops.
The central “hub” appears to be much larger in scale in this park and seems to be labeled as “Gardens of Imagination”, though I can’t quite make out that last word very clearly. There is an interesting body of water placed in the lower left corner of the hub. Things get more interesting if you look up at the castle area itself. Instead of a drawbridge into the castle, guests will have to walk around the edge of a large water moat to gain access to the castle. In front of the castle on either side you can also see a section of tiered walkways, which would be a perfect viewing area for whatever nighttime spectacular they have planned for the park. If I had to guess, we could be seeing something similar to the Disney Dreams show that opened at Disneyland Paris this year, which incorporates fireworks, water fountains and projection mapping on the castle. Along the upper left side of the hub appears to be some kind of flat ride as well as a long pathway going back to a show building of some kind. (Perhaps a Mickey Meet & Greet building?)
Over to the right of the hub you can clearly see the entrance pathway to Adventureland near the front of the park, and what appears to be a Pirate Cove themed area just behind it. Here we can clearly see the long rumored river rapids ride, that was thought to be volcano themed and involve a Lost World style dinosaur encounter. The layout of the rapids in the art appears to be very similar layout to Grizzly River Run at California Adventure. Beyond the Lost River ride there appears to be some kind of twin-theater show building as well. There also appears to be a river with boats it in across the pathway, but as far as I’ve heard, the park is not expected to have a Jungle Cruise, so I’m not sure what may be going in here.
This river leaves into the main body of water that serves as the shoreline for Pirates Cove, which is home to a massive attraction building structure that surely must be for the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride based on the film series. There are also rumors about a Pirate themed stunt show, which I’m guessing could very well be performed on the lake itself with Pirate ships.
The backside of the park is home to a very large version of Fantasyland. The right side appears to be home to this park’s version of the Seven Dwarves Mine coaster, along with two medium sized buildings along the back that could be for attractions or perhaps a very large themed restaurant, but there are also a ton of smaller buildings in between as well. To the left of the castle is another series of medium sized structures and I’m guessing at least one may be an attraction. In the center of Fantasyland lies another body of water where a small river twists and turns through various forest scenes, which I assume may be that rumored new indoor/outdoor boat ride. In the upper left, just outside the boundary of Fantasyland is a small area clearly labeled as Toy Story Playland. Expect Toy Story Land to end up with most of the same attractions we’ve seen before in Hong Kong, along with a few classic Fantasyland flat rides nearby as well.
Finally in the front left side of the park, kind of off to the side a bit, lies Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland looks to be a bit on the small side in my opinion, and I can only see one large attraction building along with two smaller buildings, one of which is also likely to house some kind of attraction, like Buzz Lightyear. The big building will likely be home to the Tron Light Cycle coaster. I’d expect a few outdoor flat rides like an Astro Orbiter or something here as well. From the looks of things, I don’t see any sign of a Star Tours ride or anything to do with Indiana Jones, so I’m expecting Shanghai could be a Lucas free Disney Resort.
Speaking of Disney Resorts… I’m hearing that there are two major hotels expected to be up and running when the park opens. One will be a major 5-Star hotel experience that may look like a cross between the Disneyland Paris Hotel and the Grand Floridian. The other will be a 4-Star Resort that will be given a Toy Story theme.
(7/16/12) Some new insight into the design of Shanghai Disneyland can be found in this article. It claims that park’s central castle will not only be the biggest of all the Disney castles, but instead of being themed as the home to a single princess, it will be designed as the home to all of Disney’s princess characters. It also confirms that many of the park’s attractions will be unique to the Shanghai park. They list a late 2015 opening timeline for the park, two themed hotels, dining and entertainment venues, the lake and transportation hubs.
(7/11/12) The Theme Park Guy has ventured back into Shanghai and posted new construction pictures from the future site of Shanghai Disneyland. While there isn’t a lot of new official park construction to look at, the site is quickly being transformed into a more modern landscape, complete with giant wide new roads to accomidate the traffic needs of the future.
(6/15/12) Visit TheThemeParkGuy to take a peek at some interesting Google Earth pictures showing off some before and after looks at how Shanghai Disneyland is already development and changing all around the construction site and areas that formerly had large buildings have now been cleared.
(5/29/12) In case we need to be reminded just why Disney has been so secretive and reserved about showing off any detailed concept artwork for Shanghai Disneyland, it is simply because they don’t want to have any aspect of the park copied at another Chinese park before they can open the gates. As such… Disney and More reports that we may very well not see any major details disclosed about the park before 2015.
Why? Well, it may be best to show you a very scary Chinese made knock-off of It’s A Small World that opened at Suzhou Amusement Land not too long ago. A shocking video shot by our friends at Theme Park Review pretty much lays it all on the line for you, as they enter the queue only to appear as if they have entered the Small World ride from Walt Disney World.
The figures inside are a little less colorful, and certainly lack the movement of the Disney versions, and the lacking theatrical lighting used inside makes some of the figures look like undead zombies. But just listen, and they’ve even ripped off the Small World song too. Crazy… no wonder Disney isn’t ready to confirm any major details about what is going into the Shanghai park just yet.
(5/21/12) Remember that last rumor about the all new version of Pirates of the Caribbean being planned for Shanghai Disneyland? You know… the one where they would use of magnetic LIMs underwater to not only control the speed of the boats, but give them the ability to make the boats move backwards as if pushed by an otherworldly force?
Well, that rumor just took another big step towards reality this week, with the discovery of a new Disney technology patent filed just last year for an “Amusement Park Ride With Underwater-Controlled Boats”. According to the patent, the technology would allow for “a boat ride with precise speed and orientation control.” The technology gets even more interesting than I had imagined, as describes the boats having two independent bogies (front and back) that are “operable to independently propel, with linear motors, the front and rear bogies at the same or differing first and second velocities by applying a magnetic force to reaction plates on the bogies. The track assembly includes a joined section and a divided section, which includes a primary track on which the front bogie travels and a secondary track, spaced apart from the primary track, on which the rear bogie travels. The boat may be rotated to any orientation in the divided track section.”
Translation: Not only can the boats move forward and back, but the back of the boat will be on a second “track”, allowing for the back to speed up faster than the front, thus spinning the boat AROUND. Even better… the patent exposes another interesting use for this technology on the 4th page where it shows the boat turning sideways to rotate around a central “show scene” like the hands on a clock. If this looks familiar, this very same concept was used in a few rides at Epcot, such as the original Journey Into Imagination dark ride (where you were introduced to Dreamfinder) and is still in use today at the summit of Spaceship Earth where all the cars rotate to view the projection on the domed ceiling.
This actually ties into another common and generally assumed fact… that this new version of Pirates will be themed entirely to the film series and not themed around the concepts and scenes from the previous rides. The Chinese culture was not raised over the last few decades to have a general knowledge of what to expect from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean rides, but is aware of the new feature film series. This brings to light another popular rumor claiming that this new version of the ride may heavily favor projection based show scenes rather than rely on animatronics. After all, why spend the money to make a Captain Jack animatronic figure try to lip sync to a soundtrack when you can just film Johnny Depp himself performing as Captain Jack?
While this new concept is not the same as the more action oriented flume ride version envisioned for Hong Kong Disneyland, I’m hearing that they may opt to keep the same iconic finale scene, which would involve an outdoor Splash Mountain style plunge, with the boats exiting out of the mouth of “Skull Rock” and plunging down through the wreckage of a doomed pirate ship impaled upon the rocky shoreline (standing in for the same visual effect as the Briar Patch on Splash Mountain.) Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Now how can we get one of these here in the US somehow?
(5/4/12) Disney and More talks a bit about why we will probably see a third TRON film hit the theaters in the future, and makes note of something interesting about the Tron ride building in the artwork for Shanghai Disneyland. If you look at it just right… it does almost look like a LightCycle actually.
(5/1/12) We’ve got a few pieces of new concept artwork for Shanghai Disneyland to share this week, thanks to our friends at Disney & More. Notice the huge ‘skull rock’ in the Adventureland side of the park, and on the left side in Tomorrowland, you’ll see the huge building that will house the Tron Lightcycle coaster.
(2/8/12) The latest report from Disney and More has quite a bit to share about the possible attraction lineup we could be seeing at Shanghai Disneyland, which also involves a possibly scaled back “Phase 1” plan, with more attractions left up in the air as possible future expansion space. Please keep in mind that there is a lot of time left before we see this park open and the plans are bound to go through a ton of changes along the way still before the first guests are allowed in through the gates.
From the sound of things currently, Fantasyland may be the most fleshed out land designed for the park. This makes sense as it is also the most likely land to contain the most “off-the-shelf” style attractions installed at other Disney parks. The list implies we can count on seeing classic rides like Dumbo, a Carousel and Peter Pan’s Flight, with the Winnie the Pooh dark ride said to be a close copy of the Florida and Hong Kong versions, and not the Tokyo version. The land is also supposed to feature a copy of the new Seven Dwarves Mine Train ride currently going into Walt Disney World, in addition to the unique “Castle Boat Ride” we’ve talked about previously. Disney and More believes that the Tea Cups ride however may not make the cut.
Adventureland sounds like it will match up quite well with what I’ve also reported lately, and feature the Lost World River Rapids ride as well as a heavy themed pirates area that will be home to a new generation Pirates of the Caribbean ride as well as a possible Pirates themed stunt show. Disney and More believes there may be some kind of walk through attraction named “Sunken Treasure” here as well. (I’ve got to wonder if this may be more of an exportable environment style thing to appeal to the kids much like the Pirate’s Lair built on top of Tom Sawyer’s Island at Disneyland.)
All that is known about the parks other major land, Tomorrowland, is that it will feature that long rumored Tron Lightcycle themed indoor coaster. There is also a desire for an Astro Orbiter, an interactive Stitch Encounter as seen in Hong Kong as well as a possible new Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters style dark ride concept that could have more in common with Toy Story Mania than previous Buzz Lightyear rides.
(1/10/12) While I’m still hearing that not every facet of Shanghai Disneyland has been locked down, I have heard about a very interesting new take on just what the park’s version of Main Street would be like. So far we have seen versions of Main Street installed at both American parks as well as Disneyland Paris and even Hong Kong Disneyland. At Tokyo Disneyland they build World Bazaar instead, but it still has the same look of Main Street USA, just with a canopy covering it all from the rain.
Shanghai Disneyland however will very likely have a unique looking Main Street of it’s own, incorporating all the Disney Characters into the mix. I’ve been told to think of Shanghai’s Main Street as almost a ToonTown style concept, where each retail store front will be themed as if run by a specific character proprietor. (ie: Minnie’s Bowtique, Candy Cauldron, etc…)
(1/4/12) An interesting UCLA-USC panel held back in October all about the “Globalization of Theme Parks” has been posted to YouTube. The panel features Brent Young (Super 78 Studios) and Bob Weis (Exec. VP for Disney Imagineering) amongst others who discuss quite a bit the new focus on theme park development in China. Weis in particular gives some interesting insight on China and Disney’s plans for Shanghai Disneyland.
(1/3/12) Disney and More has posted details about a fan’s work to uncover and create a possible layout map of Shanghai Disneyland and the attractions that may be included. Check it out.
(1/2/12) According to this article, construction on the actual new Shanghai Disneyland park as well as other resort features and hotels will begin this Spring, at a cost of $4.6 billion.
(12/13/11) Disney and More caught an interesting look at a picture showing off what seems to be the layout map of Shanghai Disneyland (partially obscured) in the background of a Christmas Tree themed blog picture. Check it out.
(8/18/11) Blue Sky Disney has posted a great new update bringing everyone up to date on the latest rumors we’ve had out so far about Shanghai Disneyland, as well as dropping a few new ones, like a Pirates themed Stunt Show. Check it out.
(8/15/11) Screamscape sources tell us that while Shanghai Disneyland will have an Adventureland, the new Pirates ride and themed surrounding area will actually become it’s own designated land tentatively called Pirates Cove. Speaking of the unique high-end version of Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s been said again that it will be themed entirely on the movies and not based on the other rides. One juicy detail of the new ride system claims that the mostly slow moving boat ride may include some exciting new technology on-board, that will use a magnetic linear-induction (LIM) system to control the speed of the boats through certain portions of the dark ride. Not only will this “supernatural” force be used to push the boats around, but apparently it may cause the boats to “tailspin” at one point and get pulled “backwards” in another.
(8/12/11) Disney and More has posted a couple of new pieces of art showing off different views of the castle planned for Shanghai Disneyland. They also talk about that water ride we had previously mentioned that will go under the castle, as well as Fantasyland having Peter Pan and Pooh dark rides in addition to the Tea Cups and Carousel and their own version of the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster.
(8/1/11) The Theme Park Guy is back with some new pictures from the construction site of Shanghai Disneyland, though the process is just starting, it’s kind of amazing to see what the general area looks like now, because once Disneyland opens, it will change completely. The interesting thing is that it does appear that they are going ahead with that giant “moat” that will surround the property, as they are hard at work building something that looks like a moat right now.
(7/11/11) Screamscape sources tell us that some new details about Shanghai Disneyland may be part of the Imagineering display at the D23 convention next month, so keep your eyes open. Now… while we’re talking about Shanghai, I’ve heard a few new details about the park’s version of Fantasyland.
Two iconic ‘dark rides’ seen at other Disney parks are said to be planned (for now at least) for Fantasyland. The list includes rides themed to Peter Pan and Winnie The Pooh. No word on which version of Pooh they may base this new ride on, or if Peter Pan will be re-imagined as something new or stick with the classic style. I’ve also been led to believe that a ‘slow flume ride’ will be put in Fantasyland that will run though outdoor scenes (much like the Storybook ride at Disneyland) but also apparently run under the castle itself for some indoor scenes.
(7/1/11) Screamscape sources tell us that the Tron themed coaster planned for Shanghai Disneyland is a fairly solid lock-in project at the moment, though very little is 100% locked in for sure until the final budgets are approved. The coaster will have a Lightcycle theme and use the Vekoma Motobike coaster system… indoors… kicking things off with a high speed launch start and run through an intense but inversion-free layout through the world of Tron.
Meanwhile on the other side of the park, I’ve also been told about a new River Rapids style attraction in the works that has been described as being very similar to Grizzly River Run in California Adventure. But instead of being themed to bears… this one will have dinosaurs and be called the Lost World River Rapids. Sounds very exciting and new. From what I’m told, the Lost World River Rapids is the dark mountain near the front right side of the park (sitting where one would normally expect to see Space Mountain) in the original park aerial concept art image.
Now for those keeping track of the things we wont see in the park, you can add Frontierland up there next to Space Mountain on that list, which isn’t all that surprising as I don’t think the Chinese have any love for the American Western genre. As one might expect, the park also wont have a Main Street, and perhaps the biggest surprise to some is that this will be the first Magic Kingdom park to not have a train making a loop around the park’s perimeter. (Note: Tokyo has a train, but it only makes a loop around Westernland.)
(6/29/11) While we’re still working on hammering out the details of what rides people can expect to see show up in Shanghai Disneyland, I’ve been told that Space Mountain will not be included in that park’s version of Tomorrowland. There has been quite a bit of speculation that the Shanghai version of Tomorrowland would be significantly different than anything we’ve seen built before at a Disney park, which seemed to be backed up by the odd-looking overview look of the land, as well as it’s placement on the left side of the hub instead of placing it on the right side where Tomorrowland normally resides.
I’ve heard from a few people that the main anchor attraction under consideration for this new Tomorrowland concept, which may not even be called Tomorrowland, could be an indoor Tron themed coaster concept. I hope to have more details on this soon.
(6/28/11) The latest rumors indicate that a copy of the new Seven Dwarves mine coaster going into Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park is expected to also go into the new Shanghai Disneyland park as well.
(6/13/11) According to a report at Coaster-Net, Shanghai Disneyland may revive an old ride concept for the Jungle Cruise once proposed for Hong Kong Disneyland, where the normal slow boat ride will be replaced with a River Rapids ride system, similar to the Grizzly River Run attraction at California Adventure.
(5/30/11) Things set to move right along at the Shanghai Disneyland site it seems. According to the latest post at Disney and More, no less than twelve difference Chinese banks have been involved in the completion of the finance package to build the new $3.8 billion resort project.
(4/22/11) While we still don’t know a lot about just what will be included in Shanghai Disneyland, I have heard that it will include some classic Disney attractions mixed in with some brand-new never before seen attractions. Add in a whole top layer of that rumored “NextGen” goodness all over the place from Day 1 and this could be a very very interesting project that will have ramifications that will trickle down into the rest of the Disney theme parks around the globe.
Thanks to some better version of the concept artwork released so far, we know the park will feature at least three major themed lands… with an amazing new highly detailed version of Adventureland taking over the spot normally reserved for Tomorrowland, just to the right of the castle / hub area. We can see a HUGE pirate fortress to be built here, so it seems a sure thing that the rumored new high concept version of Pirates once proposed for Hong Kong will instead find a home in Shanghai. There is also a good chance than a new version of the Indiana Jones Adventure may find a place in Adventureland as well, as you can make out what looks like a temple structure there as well.
Fantasyland will take up it’s normal location behind the castle, but the exact attraction lineup is a mystery, other than to assume it will feature normal Disney staple flat rides like a Carousel, Dumbo and Tea Cups. If I had to guess, I’d assume a Philharmagic would also fit in here quite nicely, but as for dark rides… it’s anyone’s guess. Though I think we would have to keep an eye on what is taking place in Florida’s Fantasyland rehab and to see what may make the leap to China, like a Little Mermaid dark ride perhaps?
Meanwhile the left side of the park has what can only be the stand-in for Tomorrowland. Odd modern building structures are seen there, plus a large roundish DOME standing in for Space Mountain. With insiders assuring me that Marvel characters will not have a land in Shanghai, this should still be Tomorrowland… but perhaps remained into some new vision entirely. This makes sense in a way as well, as a Tron themed roller coaster ride is also heavily rumored to be in the pipeline awaiting final approval for Shanghai… but only if they believe the film franchise will still be alive and a hot topic by 2016. Meanwhile I’ve got to wonder if the other big Tomorrowland project of today will make an appearance in Shanghai… and I’m talking about Star Tours 3D. I guess we’ll have to wait for it to open next month and see how people react.
(4/13/11) With the official announcement about Shanghai Disneyland out of the way, a slew of other projects to be built in the area surrounding the Disney resort property has also been confirmed. Read more about it over at Disney and More.
(4/12/11) Sources tell us that while the official statement from Disney regarding the timetable for Shanghai Disneyland is “about 5 years”, putting it at 2016, the park could be ready to open by late 2015. It seems that ample additional time was built in to handle any construction delays, as well as for a lengthy test & adjust period ahead of the grand opening.
(4/11/11) You can find more images of the groundbreaking ceremony for Shanghai Disneyland over at the Disney Parks Blog this week, as the work has now begun to open the new park in 5 years time. They’ve even launched the official Shanghai Disney Resort website.
Still, many suspect that Disney and their new Chinese partners are keeping the detailed designs of the park very close to the vest right now. 2016 is a long time away… and we’ve seen what kind of amazing looking theme parks have arrived out of the blue in China already over the last 2-3 years… and clearly they don’t want anyone attempting to copy what they’ve got planned. It has been mentioned that the central castle to be built in this park will be the largest one of them all and that the park itself is indeed estimated to cost about $3.7 billion US dollars.
If you want to go into more detail about the concept artwork released so far, Disney and More had a good write up about it this week.
(4/8/11) I don’t have much in the way of official details yet, but just as I posted tonight’s update, I received a link to this video taken moments ago showing off the official ground breaking ceremony for Shanghai Disneyland.
Check out the video embedded below.
Meanwhile Disney has also updated their official blog to confirm the park here. (CLICK HERE) Few details about the park are confirmed (and more semi-vague artwork shown) but they do confirm it will have two themed hotels, a retail/dining/entertainment venue zone and outdoor recreation areas.
(4/5/11) I teased it last week and now everyone else has picked up on it, but the official groundbreaking event for Shanghai Disneyland is set to take place this Friday. From what I’ve been told, all the big players who are to be involved with the announcement and media events are already in China or currently in-route.
(3/30/11) I’ve heard a quiet rumor suggesting that a major announcement regarding Shanghai Disneyland may take place sometime late next week.
(3/18/11) For anyone still wondering if Disney may drop their new Marvel characters into a new special land at Shanghai Disneyland, I’m told that there are no plans for this on the table right now. While everyone is still curious to see just what Disney may be planning for these characters, China just isn’t the right market to try it out.
(3/17/11) According to one Screamscape contact, the ‘moat’ seen surrounding the Shanghai Disney resort area on that leaked map image will very likely not be built. According to this source, that map image is old and the man-made perimeter river has long since been cut from the plan.
(3/16/11) With all the problems in Japan, which has forced the closure of the Disney Tokyo Resort parks, it’s rumored that the upcoming official announcement showcasing Shanghai Disneyland may be delayed for a little longer.
In other news, check out the latest update at Disney & More to see exactly what that large square ‘moat’ around the entire Shanghai Disneyland Resort area is supposed to visually represent to the Chinese people. It’s an interesting concept for sure, as you will see it looks very similar to the moat around the Forbidden City, making the resort property seem like it’s very own royal kingdom.
(3/9/11) Disney and More has posted a graphic showing off the official resort plan for Disneyland Shanghai Resort layout. The giant central lake, where the hotels will go, parking lots, public transit, roads and, of course, the theme park itself, as well as the large open space left for future expansion. According to the rest of the article, the plan also includes an interesting giant fake river that will surround the entire Disney property like a huge moat.
(3/7/11) According to the latest update at the Disney & More Blog, Shanghai’s mayor has announced that the “approved investment” for phase 1 of the Shanghai Disneyland project, “stands at 24.5 billion yuan”which is $3.7 billion US.
(2/21/11) According to Disney and More the small mountain looking structure in the artwork for Shanghai Disneyland may very well be a new version of Pirates of the Caribbean. The popular theory, which I’ve heard elsewhere as well, is that the modernized version of Pirates, based entirely off the film series and not the old classic ride, that was designed once for Hong Kong Disneyland may very well be built in Shanghai as one of the premier E-Ticket rides.
Back when it was being served up for Hong Kong the ride had been nicknamed, “Splash Pirates” by a few insides, since the ride system would feature a few large thrilling drops along the way as well that were more in line with the drops on Splash Mountain that what you would see on the American “Pirates” attractions. The Hong Kong plans also left room for a Louisiana style swamp themed land next door to the ride, which was said to contain an all new version of a Haunted Mansions style ride experience, but with a story that would tap into the Pirates story as well. Could all this now be part of Disneyland Shanghai? It certainly would fit the bill of serving up something quite a bit different in this latest version of the Magic Kingdom. Plus it would only make sense in a way to tie any new ride version of Pirates into the films series and less into the original ride story, which isn’t as familiar to the Chinese people as the new films would be.
(2/18/11) I’m not entirely certain, but this seems to be an early but vague piece of concept artwork for Shanghai Disneyland (see below). With the official groundbreaking getting closer, a few early rumors about the park itself are starting to come in. Though in every case, it has been pointed out that the design is still pretty fluid, with very few things locked down.
What has been made clear to me however is that this will likely not be your standard Magic Kingdom style park. While it is still expected to have a classic “hub” style layout the “Lands” themselves will likely not be what anyone expects. The plan is for this park to act as a complimentary experience to the Hong Kong park and not a copy, so expect Shanghai Disneyland to offer new lands and new experiences.
That said, about the closest thing I have to a near-guarenteed land would be one designed to make use of Disney’s newest license, the Marvel comics universe. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Marvel Superhero Land take the place of a Tomorrowland. I’ve also got to wonder if the park may still have a Frontierland as one was designed but eventually cut from Hong Kong, but could be brought back for Shanghai. Just some ideas to think about.
(2/7/11) The early word is that Disney may be ready to finally pull back the curtain on Shanghai Disneyland in early to mid April where a official groundbreaking ceremony will take place for the media.
(1/20/11) According to this report a Shanghai official has confirmed that the long term plan for the resort is to open three separate theme parks at the resort. While nothing has been set in stone, they are currently said to be planning them out as their own versions of Epcot and Animal Kingdom, though a lot can change between now and when they start work on them.
The resort will also feature it’s own special Metro line to get guests into the parks by 2015.
(1/18/11) According to the details listing for this job opening at Disney, they are looking for someone who will be involved with “the design, development, construction, and turnover phases of the two hotels associated with the Shanghai Disney Resort.” So right from the Mouse’s mouth... we now know there will be at least two official Disney Resort Hotels in the Shanghai Disney Resort when it opens.
(1/12/11) Screamscape sources believe that we could see an announcement about Shanghai Disneyland this Spring. The access roads to the property are now slated to be complete by mid April with full construction on the park property to begin in May. They announcement is still being held back while the final terms are being negotiated between Disney and the government regarding budgets and who is paying for what.
(1/11/11) While the Oriental Land Company has come forward to deny the stories about involvement with Shanghai Disneyland, Screamscape sources once again tell us otherwise. I’m told here that the key is to look at the exact working being used by the OLC. For example, here they state that “We have approached neither Walt Disney Co nor the Shanghai municipal government about jointly running the Shanghai Disneyland theme park.”
While this is true… OLC’s reported involvement is not to come in and take it over or manage it for the Shanghai government. Instead OLC is apparently being asked to be involved with the project in more of an advisory role. As they have had the best experience in coming to an understanding between the Walt Disney Company’s western views and transforming it into something that would work in Japanese culture. While there are many cultural difference between Chinese and Japanese, it is felt that the OLC could aid things and help mediate and bridge any gaps between Disney management and the Shanghai government. It is hoped that this could help prevent some of the culture related problems that took place during the start-up of Hong Kong Disneyland.
(1/7/11) According to Disney & More, the Oriental Land Company has now denied the persistant rumors that they may be involved somehow with the Shanghai Disneyland park. According to their director of public relations, the ‘media reports are not true.”
(1/6/11) The latest news reports mention that the major construction for Shanghai Disneyland could start this May. Two main access roads to the site are currently under construction and are expected to be complete by April, which will allow proper access to the main resort site. The article also mentions that a fake 60 wide river will be built, and at 10 km in length, will surround the entire resort site.
(12/7/10) According to this article, the Oriental Land Company is on board to help manage the new Shanghai Disneyland resort.
(11/8/10) Disney has now signed an agreement with Shanghai Shendi Group to build the new Disney park. According to this article, Disney is still awaiting the final green light from China’s central government regarding a few issues before the project will begin to move ahead full steam.
(11/3/10) The Theme Park Guy has returned to Shanghai to check out the site he spied last time that was rumored to be for the new Disneyland park. Turns out the site was right on the money, as the site has now been cleared of buildings as they prepare to begin construction on the new theme park resort.
(10/19/10) According to this article full scale construction on the new Shanghai Disneyland park is expected to begin in November, as soon as the 2010 Shanghai Expo comes to an end.
(10/6/10) Screamscape sources tell us that Shanghai Disneyland may hold an official groundbreaking event sometime before the end of the year if all goes well.
(6/28/10) Disney & More goes into a bit more detail about how the involvement of the Oriental Land Company with the Shanghai park would likely be a good move right now.
(6/24/10) According to Business Week Oriental Land Company, the company who owns and runs the Tokyo Disney Resort, may team up with Disney for the new Shanghai resort project.
(5/31/10) According to the latest post at the Disney And More Blog, the Shanghai Disneyland project is said to be “Ahead of Schedule”.
(4/17/10) The land for the Disneyland Shanghai project will to be transferred over to the project sometime in July. By then 97% of the residents who were once on the property will have been relocated. From there, it will take between 5-6 years to complete the project, putting the opening in 2015 – 2016.
(3/10/10) According to this article, the new Shanghai Disneyland Resort is likely to take 5-6 years to build. This will push the opening date back to somewhere between 2015-2016 according to Shanghai’s Mayor.
(2/10/10) According to this report Shanghai will begin working on the new road system leading into the new Disney theme park area later this year. The new road project has a budget of $23 billion.
(12/15/09) According to this article, Disney expects to get final approval for the new Shanghai Disneyland project, “in a few months.” After that, it will take 5 to 6 years to build the new park and resort complex.
(11/25/09) China’s planning agency has formally approved the plan to build Shanghai Disneyland in the Pudong district, as expected. The article also mentions that China had already started to move farmers off sections of the property months ago in anticipation of the project.
(11/4/09) Disney has confirmed that they have received approval from the Chinese Government for their Project Application Report for the Shanghai Disneyland project in the Pudong district. Approval of the PAR is necessary before Disney will be able to move forward and finalize any agreement to build and operate the park or begin construction. From the sound of things, all that’s left now is the formal announcement to come when the deal is signed.
(10/29/09) Reuters reports that when President Obama visits China next month, there is reason to believe that Disney may be ready to make the official announcement about Shanghai Disneyland. The estimated price tag on this new resort is thought to be in the range of $3.6 billion, and could be ready to open as early as 2013.
(10/22/09) A Screamscape sources tell us that Disney has asked the Imagineers to start studying up the huge collection of Marvel Comics characters and stories. Don’t get your hopes up just yet for any new attractions stateside however, as they tell us that the first Disney park that could get new Marvel based attractions will likely be the new Shanghai park.
(9/3/09) According to the news, Disney and the Chinese government may be very close to finalizing the deal to build a massive new Magic Kingdom park, rumored to four times the size of the Hong Kong park, to Shanghai. The new park could open as early as 2013
(3/29/09) Want to know where Shanghai Disneyland might go? Our traveling friend, The Theme Park Guy, took a trip to China just to take a look around at the site, as well as talking to the locals about it a bit.
(3/12/09) Disney shareholders quizzed management about the new proposed park in Shanghai this week. Iger stated that Disney had “signed off on a framework agreement” with the local area government for the project, and as long as the government was willing to work on it, they were ready to move ahead.
(3/2/09) From what little I’ve heard so far about the proposed Disney park in Shanghai… it’s pretty much a done deal at this point. Right now they’ve just got to wait for the Chinese government to sign all the paperwork to make it all official and the project will become a reality.
(1/12/09) Disney has finally confirmed to the media that they are preparing to submit their plans to build a new theme park resort in China as part of a joint venture with the Shanghai government. It is believed that the $3.6 billion project may be open as early as 2014. Nothing has been signed or approved yet as the project still has to be reviewed and approved by the central Chinese government first. Sounding quite a bit like the basic plan used for Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney is planning on having a 43% ownership stake in the park with the rest owned by the government.
(1/8/09) According to Reuters and Forbes Disney and the Shanghai government have completed their talks and plans on paper and may be set to make an official announcement in the near future. The project still needs final approval from China’s central government however before getting the final green light, but could be open as early as 2013.
(12/5/08) Disney is still denying that they’re close to any deal in Shanghai for a new park, but this article takes a closer look at the site under consideration, which is currently mostly empty farmland and forested areas.
(12/2/08) According to this news report the Chinese government’s economic planning agency has now given their approval for a proposed Shanghai Disneyland Resort theme park project. They claim that Disney officials are coming in for talks later this month that could go a long way towards finalizing this project.
(11/20/08) According to this article the Shanghai government is said to be in the final stages of negotiation with Disney to build a new theme park, with a possible site within a 10 minute drive from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport being eyeballed. The really interesting thing is that to help make the project more friendly to travelers, the government is likely to adopt a “48-hour visa-free” window policy to allow for better access to the park.
(7/17/08) Does Disney have a deal set for a mainland China park after all? According to the latest update at Jim Hill Media they do and will be holding back the announcement until just after the Olympics are over. If all goes well he says the park could open by 2012 in what could be the first Disney park designed from the ground up with a bigger focus on the modern Pixar characters and new attractions based on them. According to the article Adventureland could be heavily themed around the characters of Woody, Bullseye and Jessie, Tomorrowland’s Autopia could be heavily themed to the characters from Cars. Though Adventureland may focus heavily on Capt. Jack and the Pirates while Fantastyland could tie in to the new Rapunzel film, along with her tower.
(6/30/08) According to this news site Disney and the Shanghai government have come to an agreement to build the next Disney park in Pudong and hope to make the big announcement during or just after the Olympic Games this August. According to their sources the resort project would be eight times the size of Hong Kong Disneyland and would follow a different business plan than the park in Hong Kong. The government will provide the land, finance the construction and own the majority stake in the park while Disney will be given Management rights as well as royalties and a percentage of the income, which sounds a bit more like how the Japanese Disney parks are run. If this report is true the park could open as early as 2012 and cost an estimated $5.7 billion US Dollars for the entire resort.