Shanghai Disneyland plans Star Wars, Marvel attractions

15 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Disney Unveils Made For China Shanghai Theme Park.

(Reuters) — Walt Disney Co said its new Shanghai Disneyland theme park will include six themed lands, and offer attractions based on the Star Wars and Marvel Universe movie series. “We are building something truly special here in Shanghai that not only showcases the best of Disney’s storytelling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage to create a one-of-a-kind destination that will delight and entertain the people of China for generations to come,” said Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger at a presentation at the Shanghai Expo Centre.Walt Disney Co.’s new park in China will offer Jet Packs, a rafting adventure, rides on a Tron-themed Lightcycle and the largest parade in any of its resorts, all aimed at winning over Chinese customers.Shanghai Disneyland will feature new “Star Wars” and Marvel experiences along with six themed areas that combine classic Disney brands with new ones. Disney, which is developing the $5.5 billion theme park with China’s state-owned Shanghai Shendi Group, said the park has been designed to appeal to Chinese visitors.

After stumbling with the launches of California Adventure in Anaheim in 2001 and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005, the company is out to prove that it has learned from past mistakes such as building less ambitious parks and failing to understand the cultural and culinary habits of its customers. In a major unveiling in China Wednesday (July 15), Disney chief executive Robert Iger gave details about the major areas and attractions that will be at the company’s sixth theme park, scheduled to open next spring. Disney earlier this year delayed the opening of Shangai Disneyland until the first half of 2016 from a scheduled start at the end of 2015 as it expanded plans for the park. A more Chinese theme will be seen in the Garden of the Twelve Friends, where animals of the Chinese zodiac are re-imagined as Disney and Pixar characters.

The complex also includes Disneytown, an international shopping, dining and entertainment district, including the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, home to the first Mandarin production of Disney’s “The Lion King”, and Wishing Star Park, a central point of the resort with gardens, and a lake. “Disneytown… will be tailored to Chinese guests, with familiar experiences, colors, symbols and design integrated into the area, including traditional Shanghai Shikumen architecture,” Disney said. Mickey Avenue: The main entrance to the park, with designs inspired by Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters, as well as meet-and-greets with employees dressed up as them. Gardens of Imagination: rides include Fantasia Carousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, while stage shows include “Ignite the Dream, a Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light” and parade “Mickey’s Storybook Express.” Tomorrowland: technology centric-section includes Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, and TRON Lightcycle Power Run, a coaster-style attraction where guests board a train of two-wheeled Lightcycles. Attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for the Sunken Treasure , transforms a boat ride into a journey with cutting-edge robotics, animation, set design and multimedia.

Now Disney’s superhero and action films do massive business here. “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which was released in China in May, grossed about $240 million here. The world’s largest theme-park operator also will have to deal with increased competition, including a Universal Studios theme park being built in Beijing, and a studio and entertainment center in Shanghai from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

Three employees of companies working on site said extra time was also necessary to remedy construction problems caused by Chinese contractors who cut corners and didn’t meet Disney’s standards. The parks and resorts division is Disney’s second largest, after TV networks, accounting for 31 percent of the company’s $48.8 billion in revenue in the last fiscal year. As a result of accelerating our expansion plans, we decided to target the spring of 2016 for opening.” Gary Goddard, a former Disney Imagineer who runs his own entertainment design firm and has worked extensively in China, said he thinks the delay was a positive sign. “I don’t think Mr. Although the Chinese government remains cautious about “foreign cultural influences,” Disney has managed to gain a substantial foothold in the country.

The company has a chain of language-training centers called Disney English, and last month it opened a flagship Disney store in Shanghai — the largest in the world at 54,000 square feet. Although Shanghai Disney has not disclosed target attendance figures or ticket prices, about 330 million of China’s 1.3 billion people live within a three-hour drive or train ride from Shanghai, a metropolis of 24 million, giving the resort a huge potential audience for years to come. Walt Disney World in Florida, the world’s most-attended theme park, attracted 19 million visitors last year, according to the Themed Entertainment Assn. Although a Chinese-tiled roof for the Enchanted Storybook Castle was rejected in early planning stages, subtle Chinese flourishes are in evidence — the finial is topped with a peony, the national Chinese flower.

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