The latest Disney theme park and resort in Shanghai, China opened this week in a gala spectacular, broadcasting their grand debut on the Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, and each channel’s mobile app. The new Shanghai Disneyland becomes the sixth Disney theme park and resort overall, and the second one in Asia after Hong Kong Disney. It took over five years, $5.5 billion dollars, and an until now unheard of cooperation between the Chinese and American governments for it to happen. You can watch the opening ceremony in the video above.
So what’s the big difference between this park and the Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in California that should cause you Disney-philes to start making travel arrangements? Well, for starters, the castle in Shanghai Disneyland is easily the largest of all the Disney castles. It makes the one on Orlando look like it belongs to one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs, and the one in California like a Barbie Dream Castle.
Unlike Cinderella‘s castle at Disney World, or Sleeping Beauty‘s in Disneyland, the Enchanted Story Book Castle in Shanghai is meant to represent all the Disney princesses, and features the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto—a boat ride, located beneath the castle, that takes guests past scenes from films including Tangled, Aladdin, Mulan, Fantasia, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.
Shanghai doesn’t stray too far from Walt Disney’s original template for Disneyland, however. The new park will feature six themed lands: Mickey Avenue (their version of Main Street USA), Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove, and Tomorrowland. Although several attractions are versions of rides located in the other parks, like an all-new Pirates of the Caribbean, Dumbo’s Flying Elephants, and Peter Pan’s Flight, the new park has several attractions that are unique to Shanghai. Most notable among these is the TRON Lightcycle Power Ride, and an Alice in Wonderland-themed hedge maze.
So what do the American parks have that this fancy new park doesn’t? Well, as of yet, Shanghai Disneyland has no Frontierland, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, or Haunted Mansion… again, at least not yet. Those attractions could always come further down the line as the park expands. And who knows? Maybe Disneyland and Disney World will get that super cool TRON Lightcycle Power Ride someday. What did Jiminy Cricket sing? “When you wish upon a star…”
What do you think of the latest Disney theme park and resort? Already planning a future trip? Let us know down below in the comments.
Featured Image: Walt Disney Company