D23’s publication Disney twenty-three‘s Summer 2016 issue dedicates many pages to Shanghai Disney Resort, featuring interviews and experiences that help Disney fans know more about this latest Disney endeavor. Though many have already heard Bob Iger’s statement – “This became our guiding principle: To build a resort that is ‘authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese'” – the issue reveals many interesting aspects of the park that we were previously unaware of, and of course they only make our excitement to visit that much greater.
The overarching concept “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese” is subtle throughout the resort.
“At first, we thought, ‘Oh we need to put very Chinese things in here and very Disney things in there,” says executive producer Doris Woodward in the publication. “But it’s not necessarily that exclusive or extreme. [What’s distinctly Chinese] could be manifested in terms of color, texture, numbers, or the way food is expressed.”
Disneytown is a great example of this concept: at the head of the shopping, dining, and entertainment center are 7 Mickey Mouse statues inspired by Vinlymation dolls and crafted in an ancient form of Chinese glass art called Liuli, each representing a different part of the Chinese family. “We created this concept that takes Vinylmation, which is very contemporary and recognizable, and combined it with this classic, 1,000-year-old, glass technique,” says Woodward of the statues.
Another example can be seen in the way the peony flower, a symbol of China, makes an appearance in the resort’s hotels: a 7 foot wide glass peony sits in the middle of a Shanghai Disneyland Hotel fountain, bearing Disney fairies in its petals. “One element is Chinese and the other is Disney, yet they’re extremely connected,” comments Woodward.
The resort focuses on bringing people into the world of Disney stories.
Some of the posters, for example, are specifically made to give people the impression of already being within the land. “The Adventure Isle poster,” comments Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Larry Davis in this issue, “represents the classic approach of putting the viewers into the attraction as if they are experiencing, firsthand, the excitement and mysteries of discovering this exciting new land. Highlighted are the Roaring Rapids attraction in the foreground and the Challenge Trails overhead. Guests have multiple options to explore and traverse this land, and that is nicely represented in the poster.”
The idea of being in the middle of the stories carries on in Shanghai Disney Resort’s Toy Story Hotel, which features architectural designs like a large and iconic toy ball at the entrance to make guests feel like they’re in the toys’ world.
China has added a brand new stop on the Shanghai Metro Station: the Disney Resort Station.
This station, just a 10 minute walk from Shanghai Disneyland, already welcomed more than 8,000 visitors by 5 p.m. on its first working day. The station captures the idea of “authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese,” with two almost 10 foot tall sculptures of Mickey and Minnie Mouse that incorporate traditional Chinese paper cutting. These sculptures are located right in the center of the station, which, with about 430,000 square feet, is about four or five times bigger than ordinary facilities.
Bob Iger is really, really excited about this new park.
“Looking out across the vast landscape of Shanghai Disney Resort, I find it impossible not to connect Walt’s ambitious vision with the spectacular destination we’re creating. I think he’d be proud of what we’ve built…”
Bob Iger’s words in the opening letter of the summer 2016 edition of Disney twenty-three echo his excitement for Shanghai Disney Resort. Disney’s Chairman and C.E.O. has been with the project all the way – from first standing on the building site 17 years ago, to making announcements about the concepts and ideas, to finally standing on stage during the grand opening to welcome everyone, just as Walt Disney welcomed everyone to Disneyland 61 years ago.
His excitement only makes us even more interested in sharing his joy – look at him going from introducing a small scale model of the park to finally riding that TRON Lightcycle! It’s natural that Iger looks forward to seeing how this park turns out, and many Disney fans are right beside him, wishing the best for this new Disney fan’s paradise.
Check out the latest issue of D23’s Disney twenty-three to learn even more about the Shanghai Disney Resort, and sign up here to receive even more of the latest Disney news!
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