Ignite the Magical Dream Inside Your Heart
On March 18, 2016, I boarded a plane to move to China. 57 days later, I got to play inside of Disney's brand new theme park and resort in Shanghai. On the bottom of cast members name tags, written in Chinese characters is 'Ignite the Magical Dream Inside Your Heart' and 'Authentically Disney, Distinctly Chinese'. No statements could be truer for this park. They managed to take the Disney that I am so familiar with and love, and transform it into a magnificent park for an entirely new culture to enjoy.
I started my day by traveling with my local friend and his family. They had never been to a Disney park before and his 4 year old nephew was so excited to see Mickey and Frozen. He may not have known all the characters, but that didn't stop him from lighting up eery time he saw someone new. I was able to sit in Avenue M Arcade (the Mickey Avenue merchandise location) and introduce him to every one of Mickey's friends and Princesses. No matter where you go in this park, you feel the excitement and anticipation beaming from guests, ready to embark on this new theme park experience as they adventure free from expectations.
Following Disney tradition, the park is separated into six lands: Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove, and Adventure Isle. Every single land has so much detail and attention given to it. Entertainment, dining, attractions, and merchandise are all unique to the land that it is located in. To go into what each land provides would take far too long. So here are just some highlights.
Walking into the Gardens of Imagination, you get to come upon the castle. And this castle absolutely magnificent. It represents all of Disney's princesses and is topped with a golden peony (my favorite flower, but also China's national flower). Every day, Golden Fairytale Fanfare performs upon the castle stage. Showcasing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Frozen, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Brave. The entire show is absolutely astounding and the costumes are out of this world. But to me, what really stood out and showcased how innovative this park can be is Angus, Merida's horse. It is an actual puppet that she literally rides around the stage. Due to being in awe of the whole thing, I did not get any good pictures but I'm telling you, it's amazing.
By now, many of you have probably already seen the video for Pirates of the Caribbean - Battle for the Sunken Treasure. In person, it is 100 times better. No matter where I looked there was something new to see. I kept turning to my friends next to me trying to figure out what was actually there and what were just projections. It felt as though I was being taken on a tour through the movie set and more. I believe that the amount of detail and technology in that attractions truly shows the potential of theme park attractions for the Walt Disney Company.
I was there from park open to park close, and still was not able to do everything. But this week, I get to go back and bring Josh with me! There will be more details, photos, and conversation to come.