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Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle promises to be the most tricked-out structure ever built at a Disney theme park

Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle promises to be the most tricked-out structure ever built at a Disney theme park

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To honest, there's wasn't a whole lot of really-for-real news that came out of today's Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company in Phoenix, AZ. Chairman and chief executive officer Robert A. Iger spoke with great enthusiasm about the slate of films the Studio would be releasing over the coming year. Iger also told the crowd at the Orpheum Theatre about his recent trip to Walt Disney World, where Disney's big cheese then got to test-drive one of the MagicBands which powers the My Disney Experience program. But beyond that, strictly from a hard news point-of-view, Disney's 2013 Annual Meeting of Shareholder was something of a bust.


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Mind you, after the meeting in Phoenix officially wrapped, Disney Company PR staffers did release a photograph of a model of Shanghai Disneyland. Which gave theme park enthusiasts a better understanding of where various design elements & attractions will be in and around that theme park's Enchanted Storybook Castle.

To be specific, it looks like the Imagineers have spent the past year or so finessing their original site plan for that 11-acre green space at the center of Shanghai Disneyland. Shifting the Dumbo attraction (which used to be lots closer to this theme park retail / entrance corridor) ...


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... back towards the Enchanted Storybook Castle.


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Likewise, based on the success of "World of Color" at Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland Paris' 20th anniversary nighttime spectacular, "Disney Dreams!" ...


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... there are now plans in the works for Shanghai Disneyland to have its own nightly dancing-water-and-lights show ...


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(Please note the jets of water that are leaping out of the Enchanted Storybook Castle's moat in the above concept painting. Here. I'll provide you with a close-up)


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now what's kind of intriguing about this moat area in front of Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle is that -- during the day ...


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... a boat adventure will travel through the exact same expanse of water which houses this fountain show ...


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... before then taking SDL Guests back inside the Castle to experience this attraction's fiber-optic-and-projections filled finale.

Yeah, Shanghai Disneyland's Enchanted Storybook Castle promises to be the most tricked-out structure ever built at  a Disney theme park. Featuring on Opening Day the sorts of special features that the other Disney theme park castles didn't acquire 'til decades after their respective theme parks opened. As Guests enter this genuinely impressive structure ...


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... they'll have the option of going on the Once Upon a Time Adventure, which is a walk-thru experience that takes place on multiple levels inside of Shanghai Disneyland's castle.


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Or they can visit the first ever Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess makeover experience built inside of a Disney theme park castle.


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Mind you, there'll obviously be additional tweaks made to the Enchanted Storybook Castle before Shanghai Disneyland opens in late 2015 (Though the way I hear it, due to some construction delays, this $3 billion theme park and resort may now wind up opening in early 2016), it does look like it's really going to be an impressive addition to The Walt Disney Company's worldwide collection of castles. Though -- if I'd had my druthers -- I really wish that Iger (instead of showing us the Enchanted Storybook Castle) had opted instead to show us a model for that theme park's Pirates of the Caibbean-themed flume ride ...


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... which will be sending Shanghai Disneyland Guests screaming down into an enormous outdoor lagoon located to the right of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.


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From what I've been told by Disney Company insiders, given the huge number of friction pilings that have already been driven into the ground at the Shanghai Disneyland worksite to support the "Pirates of the Caribbean" show building, that structure is among the safest and sturdiest in Mainland China.

Anyway, that was the news (or lack thereof) from today's Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Phoenix, AZ.

Your thoughts?

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  • Impressive. Jim, any idea why the Company's being even more tight-lipped than usual about its plans for SDL? This image and the model that showed up at D23 Expo 11 (where the only thing that could be distinctly made out was the castle) seem to be about it as far as any information out there.

  • Jim, with all due respect to the company, why are they looking to open up yet another park and resort when many of the parks that exist are in dire need of updates that they could use the money for? Yes Disney World's MK just got the expansion, but there's still a lot more that could be done for parks like Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. Also, is it really prudent of the company to open up another park so close to Hong Kong Disneyland? It's only around 700 miles away, and though that seems to be a lot, but Disneyland and Disney World have a distance of 2200 miles apart. Why devote that much money to opening a new park that is so close to an existing location when that money could go to already existing parks?

  • "Or they can visit the first ever Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess makeover experience built inside of a Disney theme park castle"

    What?  The first? There has been a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Cinderella's Castle in Walt Disney World for years.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Look, I'm not the one making this claim, TB. Disney is. Check the Shanghai Disneyland press releases. I think the distinction that Disney is trying to make here that -- rather than shoehorning a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique into what previously had been a relatively tiny bit of retail space inside of Cinderella Castle (Remember that -- back in the day -- this used to be where the King's Gallery Shop, which used to sell Arribras Brother Crystal, was located) -- Enchanted Storybook Castle would have a full-sized Biddidi Boddidi Boutique right from the get-go. That finding the perfect space inside of this structure for a princess makeover shop was something that the Imagineer took into consideration as they were initially designing Shanghai Disneyland's castle, rather than being something that was done years after the fact.

  • To Steve:

    Shanghai Disneyland is about a LOT more than Shanghai Disneyland. It is a foothold into (potentially) the largest market in the world. It also partners Disney with the Chinese government that will allow Disney greater access to their markets (non-Chinese companies have a number of restrictions placed on them).

    Plus Hong Kong and Mainland China are two ENTIRELY different places. Travel between the two (especially from the mainland) is fairly rare. So they are tapping two COMPLETELY different markets. Actually, I suspect that HKDL was Disney's foothold to get to where they REALLY wanted to go and that was to the mainland.

    In addition, from a purely financial position, why should Disney bother? The stateside parks are doing well and are still the highest attended theme parks in the world. HKDL and DLP are struggling financially, but they are also spending large amounts of money to fix those parks and they are starting to see positive changes (HKDL just posted it's first profit).

  • This seems exciting.  Hope Shanghai Disneyland will satisfy Disney lovers who will visit their Disney theme park.

  • @jedited

    Thanks! That was actually really enlightening and those were some great points. I never really thought about how getting onto the mainland would really open Disney up to the entire Chinese market. And as far as from a financial standpoint, I had no idea that HKDL finally turned a profit, and the attendance is never going to dip at any of the US parks (and as they are the only ones I ever go to, I guess I'm just kind of selfish always wanting more haha). Thanks again!

  • jedited: From a financial standpoint, Disney isn't footing the bill for both Shanghai and HKDL. The entities (the Chinese and HK governments) that own the projects are largely financing the projects. Separate agreements of course. Disney owns a minority position of both projects. Whatever it is spending on the projects, it is insignificant in comparison to how Disney is helping the stateside parks. In fact, Disney aims to profit significantly from the project via royalties and management fees without any risk to itself.

    You're also unaware of the travel situation between China and Hong Kong. Chinese tourists are increasing traveling outside of China to foreign countries that include Hong Kong and the United States. You suggest Shanghai DL is for the Chinese. This is probably true, but Hong Kong benefited from 25 million tourists (last year) from China with ugly results (see link).

    www.atimes.com/.../NB09Ad01.html

    I don't believe HKDL is a foothold to get into the Chinese market. It is a matter of timing. From the way HKDL was managed, you cannot predict how the Shanghai project will unfold. The HKDL project was horribly designed and budgeted. It wasn't ambitious. Now, Shanghai is doing it completely different. To gain a foothold in China, Disney needed to get into China, not Hong Kong. That's the way it works.

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