Walt Disney Company
Opened June 16, 2016
Resort News - (3/10/2023) According to a press release the Shanghai Disney Resort is extending the run of their “AVATAR: EXPLORE PANDORA” immersive experience until June 24, 2023 due to popular demand. The popular exhibit opened back in September 2022, but has enjoyed the huge popularity alongside the box-office success of the new Avatar: The Way of Water blockbuster film.
Since the guests to the Shanghai Disney Resort seem to be enjoying this temporary AVATAR themed exhibit so much, it makes me wonder if plans are under way to bring a permanent AVATAR themed land to the park, not unlike the one built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida.
(12/10/2022) It has been a rough few weeks over at Shanghai Disneyland, being forced to close down, reopen and then close yet again in such a short period of time. According to the official park website Shanghai Disneyland was just able to reopen to guests once again on December 8th, resuming full theme park operations. Due to the frequent status changes, I’d recommend checking with the website before trying to visit the park to determine the current station and what the current COVID restriction and proof of health requirements are in place at any given time.
(9/20/22) Shanghai Disneyland will soon open a new temporary exhibit attraction in Tomorrowland called AVATAR: Explore Pandora. I’m not quite sure where in Tomorrowland this will be located, but the limited-run attraction will open to guests on Sept. 22 and run for at least six months (ending sometime in March 2023), unless they opt to extend it. The exhibit will be a unique walk-through attraction bringing the sights and sounds of the alien world featured in the AVATAR films to life, ending with a preview of the new AVATAR: The Way of Water film.
If this sounds familiar… it should as CityNeon / Victory Hill just announced an almost identical sounding project that will soon open soon in Singapore at Gardens by the Bay called “AVATAR: The Experience”. While Disney is obviously taking credit for the new attraction coming into their Shanghai theme park, they did sign a deal in 2020 with Cityneon / Victory Hill to work with James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment as well as Disney Location-Based Experiences group to create exactly these kind of attractions throughout the world going forward.
It is great to see Disney finding a great way to bring the world of AVATAR to life once again, as other than the land built at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, we haven’t seen any more Avatar themed activity within the company’s theme parks until now. Instead they’ve been more focused on bringing the Star Wars and Avengers Campus lands to life so far. With several Avatar movie sequels hitting the theaters over the next several years to come, you can perhaps think of this as an Avatar themed version of the Star Wars: Launch Bay attractions that opened in the US several years ahead of the building of the Galaxy’s Edge lands. With that in mind, this very well could be a test to see if Shanghai market would enjoy having their own Pandora/ / Avatar themed land added to the theme park in the future.
???? - Zootopia / New Land - (3/20/23) An awesome aerial photo (and new ground level photos) posted to Twitter shows off the current state of the new Zootopia themed land under construction at Shanghai Disneyland. While technically the area will be a dedicated “land”, as you can see the area is built to contain a single, but very large dark ride attraction experience.
(9/10/22) New models and artwork of various upcoming ride vehicles are supposed to be on display at D23 this week. These are said to include posters and ride vehicles from the three new Fantasy Springs attractions at Tokyo DisneySea but also a detailed model of the police car themed vehicle guests will ride in on the new Zootopia attraction at Shanghai Disneyland. If you scroll to the bottom of the linked article above, they’ve got a great picture of what appears to be a 10-passenger open-top squad-car vehicle, with guests seated in two rows of 5.
(6/19/21) Shanghai Disneyland is making progress on their new Zootopia themed attraction area. Imaginineering posted a couple of images to their IG account which you can see below, showing off a massive 3-story-tall polar bear animatronic being designed for the attraction, as well as the planting of the first tree into the landscape in front of the attraction.
On a related note, a new park map style image was discovered online posted briefly by an Imagineer before being removed. Thankfully a reader managed to grab the image and send it our way. Of note in the image was the addition of the Zootopia land to the park in the upper right corner, showing off the facade of tall buildings standing in front of the larger attraction building.
While not a lot is known about the attraction itself, the general rumor is that it may end up being a trackless vehicle style dark ride like Ratatouille (DLP), Mystic Manor (HKDL) or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (DL and WDW). Of course, these days, pretty much every new Disney dark ride being produced is going trackless, so that’s to be expected.
(12/31/20) ThemeParkPortal is back with another Zootopia construction update from Shanghai Disneyland. They’ve got some good pictures of the building framework structures already in place for the new land, estimated to be about 3 stories tall. A promotional photo was taken at the park as the final piece of the roof structure was said to be put into place, which appears to be on the round building in front of the main attraction building. They compare the site to the concept artwork and you can see how the exterior rotunda will likely look once the land is finished.
Of course, you all see a major city-scape in the background with skyscrapers and such, but that effect will likely be achieved through forced perspective and flat facade work on the attraction building similar to how Disney created the New York and San Francisco skylines originally at the Disney MGM Studios when it opened. (see image below)
(12/29/20) According to an update at ThemeParkPortal, the Shanghai Disney Resort has signed a promotional deal with Skechers, the shoe company. Part of the deal will be themed around the park’s new Zootopia themed area now under construction, where Skechers will create a special themed line of footwear to be called “Shi-Kechers” with a special alternate logo that will be present in the new Zootopia-themed land when it opens.
Skechers has also been involved with the Shanghai Disney Resort for some time, as there is a Skechers store in the disneytown shopping area and they are a sponsor for an annual Disney Run event. As part of the new deal, a new Skechers branded running track will be added to the resort’s Wishing Star Park. Follow the link for more information about the new promotional deal and exclusive merchandise to follow.
(11/18/20) Disney posted an image showing off the progress on a huge attraction building under construction at Shanghai Disneyland right now for the new Zootopia attraction.
(12/13/19) While the themed construction walls have been up inside the park since the Summer, Shanghai Disneyland has now officially confirmed that work is starting on the new Zootopia land at the park. The park’s eighth theme land will be built next to Fantasyland and feature a lot of the film’s popular characters, and while no details about what will be in the land have been released yet, it is expected to feature at least one major attraction.
(1/24/19) BlooLoop reports that Shanghai Disneyland will begin construction later this year on a brand new land at the park that will be themed to the animated film, Zootopia. Disney did not give an expected timeline about when Zootopia would be ready to open, and only mentioned that the land would be home to a major new attraction that will use ‘state-of-the-art technology’ to bring the world to life.
???? - New Roller Coaster - Development - (8/29/21) An interesting post on Twitter was sent my way regarding a possible new roller coaster project in development for Shanghai Disneyland. The image posted is entirely in Chinese, so I really have no idea what it says, but according to the post it is a request to manufacturers to submit bids for a double-launched roller coaster with a track switch.
It’s worth noting that this should not be for the Zootopia attraction that is well under construction at this point, but should be something for the park’s next new attraction after that. So far, we really haven’t heard too many rumors about what may be intended, so anyone else know more?
???? - Future Park Additions - Rumor - (5/12/19) While nothing is set in stone, comments from Bob Iger during an earnings call did indicate that Imagineers were working on ideas to add a Marvel presence to Shanghai Disneyland at some point in the future, and since they have no restrictions on the use of Marvel in China, he expected them to get “very ambitious about what they do with Marvel at Shanghai Disneyland.”
Of course, since we are thinking long term here... if and when a Marvel area arrived, it could be built in as part of a an entire second theme park. As we are seeing now elsewhere, Disney is spending huge on building Star Wars lands, which could easily be an anchor attraction area for an entire second theme park as well.
(8/29/18) While nothing has been decided, the latest update posted to Disney & More claims that officials at Shanghai Disneyland are looking into the idea of adding their own version of Avatar: World of Pandora as a long-term future park expansion project. Yes, long term... meaning if they opt to do it, it probably will be 5 or 6 years before it opens, but it is interesting that they are considering adding a Pandora themed land to the park, rather than jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon.
(6/22/17) In response to comments Bob Iger made a few days ago about the possibility of a second park in China, my own sources have confirmed to Screamscape that work on a second park is indeed already in early development. But to be clear... in development doesn't mean approved to be built. They're just working on ideas and design concepts that will eventually be put together into a final proposal in order to get approval to move forward.
(5/23/16) While Shanghai Disneyland has yet to open to the public, there are many other there already talking about what's next... which Phase 2 projects will we see added to the park over the next decade? (Other than the previously announced Toy Story Land that was to be part of the park's opening lineup at one point, and then pushed back to Phase 2 status, but is now under construction for 2018)
I've got to think Star Wars may be in the works as well somewhere... even if not the entire new Star Wars Land, what about Star Tours? With Hong Kong using the Star Tours ride system for their Iron Man Experience ride opening later this year, putting Star Tours in Shanghai may not be a bad idea before building up to a full blown Star Wars land.
Marvel is the other idea to think about... is Marvel big in China? Big enough to get a Marvel Land, or maybe even just a single Marvel themed ride or coaster? Time will tell.
Other items I've heard mentioned lately include the idea of building a large mountain themed coaster ride with a layout nearly identical to Expedition Everest, but likely with a different theme. There are also rumors of new dark ride concept as well, such as a trackless dark ride themed to the Alice in Wonderland movies. Of course Disney has so many dark rides to choose from that would work in Shanghai, or they could try to copy newer projects tied to films like Frozen, or the new Beauty and the Beast dark ride coming to Tokyo... or perhaps even to build the first Little Mermaid dark ride in Asia instead.
While they will likely wait until the park opens to figure out what to build first, it is certain that new attractions will be on the way fairly quickly as they attempt to build out this new park and fill in whatever gaps are needed.