On June 16, 2016, the newest Disney theme park will open, making it the franchise's first theme park in mainland China and the company's sixth resort overall. While Shanghai Disneyland will have the same feel as the other Disney parks—a castle, specific themed lands, on-property resort hotels—there’s are a few big differences and new attractions that can only be found at the Shanghai gate. Here’s what we know so far.
1. IT WILL BE DISNEY'S SECOND LARGEST THEME PARK.
It terms of acreage, the theme park will be second only to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, which spans more than 25,000 acres. Shanghai Disneyland is a grand total of 963 acres, including nearly 100 acres of gardens, parks, and lakes.
2. GRAVES HAD TO BE MOVED TO BUILD THE THEME PARK.
If you think you see a specter in the park, don’t assume it’s part of the Haunted Mansion ride. More than 1200 graves had to be relocated in order to make way for the new park. To help pay for new burial spots, the municipal government offered financial compensation to families of the deceased.
3. ITS ENCHANTED STORYBOOK CASTLE WILL BE THE TALLEST IN ANY DISNEY PARK.
It’s also the first castle that won't be home to just one royal tenant, but instead “will represent all the princesses from Disney’s rich and timeless heritage,” according to Disney. The highest point of the castle is topped with a golden peony, China’s national flower. Inside, guests can participate in a walk-through attraction called “Once Upon A Time Adventure” that takes them through some of the most beloved stories.
4. IT WILL BE THE FIRST DISNEY PARK TO INCORPORATE A PIRATE-THEMED LAND.
Yo-ho, yo-ho, it’s a pirate’s life for Shanghai. With the massive success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, it’s really no surprise that Disney has chosen its Shanghai park to introduce Treasure Cove, the first land that is exclusively pirate-themed. The area will include a Pirates of the Caribbean ride, of course, but will also have “Explorer Canoes,” a walk-through pirate ship, and an eatery called “Barbossa’s Bounty.”
5. THERE WILL BE A GARDEN INSPIRED BY THE CHINESE ZODIAC.
“The Garden of the Twelve Friends” will be part of an 11-acre collection of gardens and attractions located at the center of the park. It will feature a grove of peach trees and mosaic tiles representing a Disney character that corresponds with each of the zodiac animals. Here’s the lineup:
The Rat: Rémy from Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille (2007).
The Ox: Babe The Blue Ox from the short film Paul Bunyan (1958).
The Tiger: Tigger from Winnie The Pooh.
The Rabbit: Thumper from Bambi.
The Dragon: Mushu from Mulan.
The Snake: Kaa from The Jungle Book.
The Horse: Maximus from Tangled.
The Sheep: Jolly Holiday Lambs from Mary Poppins.
The Monkey: Abu from Aladdin.
The Rooster: Allan-A-Dale from Robin Hood.
The Dog: Pluto from various Disney shorts.
The Pig: Hamm from the Disney•Pixar Toy Story films.
6. IT WILL BE THE ONLY PARK TO HAVE A TRON RIDE.
If you’ve always wanted to ride a Lightcycle, get thyself to Shanghai Disneyland, where you can experience the new Lightcycle Rollercoaster. Here’s a brief preview, with bonus Baymax at the end:
7. GUESTS CAN STAY AT A TOY STORY-THEMED HOTEL.
Themed hotels are not a new concept for Disney resorts, but this 800-room building will be the first to exclusively feature Buzz, Woody, and all of their Toy Story pals. It won't be the only option for on-property lodging. The grounds will also be home to Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, which will include 420 rooms and feature an Art Nouveau theme.
8. THERE'S GOING TO BE A MARVEL PRESENCE ...
A guest experience in the Tomorrowland section of the park will allow guests to embark upon a “multimedia mission” in the Marvel Universe. They’ll get up close with some of their favorite superheroes and even try their hand at drawing them.
9. ... AND A STAR WARS PRESENCE AS WELL.
Though it won’t be as aggressive as the stateside Star Wars Land expansion, the Force will definitely be felt at Shanghai Disneyland. Luke, Leia, Kylo Ren, and all of their Sith and Jedi pals will be available for meet-and-greets; guests will also get to view props and memorabilia and immerse themselves in set pieces.
10. THE ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT WILL BE CALLED "DISNEYTOWN."
Like the other Disney resorts, Shanghai Disneyland will include a themed shopping area. Called “Disneytown,” the district will feature shopping, dining, and the first-ever Mandarin production of The Lion King on Broadway.