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Shanghai Disneyland Online

Overnight, Shanghai Disneyland went live with their new website, with this more flattering rendering of the proposed new castle. Named “Storybook Castle” according to the site, it will be “the most interactive Disney castle yet, complete with entertainment, dining and performance spaces.” No doubt there will be plenty of opportunities to meet and dine with princesses; this will surely benefit from all the planning done for similar proposed attractions in Florida’s Fantasyland.

Bob Iger’s focus on technology will obviously feature heavily in this new park; according to Disney, Shanghai Disneyland “will take advantage of advances in technology to place Guests in exciting worlds where they can be part of the action like never before” and “the park will take full advantage of advances in virtual technology as well as new gaming and ride systems that will fully immerse our guests in our attractions.” This could mean something truly new and exciting, if the art of placemaking in the real world doesn’t get overlooked in the rush for “NextGen” street cred.

Other details gleaned from the website include the fact that the two hotels Disney plans to build – one value and one deluxe – will total 1,220 rooms, and will surround a 100-acre lake alongside “other outdoor recreation facilities, and parking and transportation hubs.” A 300,000 square foot retail location, similar to Anaheim’s Downtown Disney, will sit adjacent to the theme park.

The promise that “classic Disney characters and storytelling will blend with Chinese customs and celebrations to create a unique experience for guests in Shanghai” hints again at the cultural mandate Disney has received for this park. I continue to wonder what, exactly, they have in mind to achieve this goal. My vote is for an area themed to 1930s Shanghai, a la Indiana Jones. It will probably be quite a while before we start seeing finished designs, and how Disney plans on ensuring that “Shanghai Disney Resort will have something for everyone – thrilling adventures, lush gardens where guests can relax together and enriching interactive experiences, all with the world-class guest service that Disney is known for around the globe.”

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3 comments to Shanghai Disneyland Online

  • I kind of shudder at the word “interactive”, as it brings to mind images of Turtle Talk, Laugh Floor, and other shows where the main attraction takes place on a projection screen.

    Nice to hear they’re considering an Epcot out there, though.

  • RO93461

    I’ve always thought the Castle itself has been lost potential in a Disney park. Sleeping Beauty Castle at DL is a big letdown. It’s an icon with a walkthru and a gift shop. DLP is a better example. The notion of making the castle bigger and doing lots of things inside is a great payoff to an icon, so I’m looking forward to what they will do. If it’s “meet and greets”, that makes sense as the Princesses live there. Get them off the streets. The art looks better too.

  • Oh, I agree completely. That’s one reason I was so wowed when DLP opened – the castle was actually used! It had a dungeon! You mention Disneyland, but at least that has a walkthrough – Walt Disney World doesn’t have an attraction at all! In fact, since Tokyo had the Mystery Tour (which I will forever mourn that I missed out on), WDW was the *only* castle without some kind of attraction. Bummer.

    I love the idea of making a castle a “real” castle – something that has actual internal space. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the illusion aspect of it – WDI is so good at making things look more spacious via forced perspective, in this case they’ll have a much larger volume of space that they’ll need to cloak!

    And it does make sense to have the princess M&Gs inside. It’s weird at WDW to have Cindy out in a tent somewhere when she has that big ol’ castle across the way.

    I hate that I’m immediately wary about “interactivity” these days, but like Mike says above, it conjures too many images of flatscreens everywhere. Maybe they’ll come up with something really amazing when given the opportunity of a blank slate with an entirely new park!

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