Could Shanghai’s Disneyland Be Cooler Than Walt Disney World?


Treasure Cove is coming to Disneyland in Shanghai. (Photo: Disney)

The folks at Disney are on a roll lately — renovating, building, and generally making their parks even happier places on Earth. Orlando’s Magic Kingdom is getting a makeover of its main plaza, and EPCOT will soon see the arrival of the Frozen attraction in the Norway section (RIP troll flume). But it’s Shanghai’s Disneyland that’s really getting all the love.

Set for a grand opening in spring of 2016, the park will pack in a lot of new attractions and features not seen before in any other Disney destination.

The lay of this Disneyland will be similar to what Mickey fans are familiar with: six themed areas that include Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland. And because it’s Disney, there will be shopping at the creatively named Disneytown (because, you shop in a town, and ride roller coasters in a land, obvs), home to the largest gift shop and a theater showcasing the first-ever Mandarin production of The Lion King.

Related: 14 Hidden Things to Look for at Disneyland

All the icons of the brand will be accounted for too—Storybook Castle, the Dwarfs’ Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and a Toy Story-themed hotel, to name a few. But Shanghai Disneyland, a joint venture of Disney and its partner Shanghai Shendi Group, is getting several things that no other Disney parks have.


Disney chairman and CEO, Bob Iger unveiled new, exciting details on Shanghai Disney Resort, the area’s first Disney destination. (Photo: Disney)

For one, the Storybook Castle will be the tallest and most interactive, and it will represent all the Disney princesses not just Cinderella (or Elsa, if you believed the April Fool’s joke that they were changing the name to Elsa’s Ice Palace).

For another, this edition of Tomorrowland will have an original design and new attractions “to celebrate the hope, optimism and potential of the future, created especially for the people of China,” as the press release explains. Orlando couldn’t compete with that if it tried.

Related: Smackdown: Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland


Want to explore the unknown? Visit Adventure Isle. (Photo: Disney)

Other firsts in Shanghai’s park include Adventure Isle (featuring a giant reptile creature), TRON Lightcycle Power Run, the Garden of the Twelve Friends (where zodiac animals are reimagined as Disney and Pixar characters), and Treasure Cove — the only entirely pirate-themed land at a Disney park.

After ogling some of the renderings released this week, Shanghai Disneyland seems like it could end up being the most exciting of all the Mickey Mouse parks.

The only thing that would be make it the happiest? Free flights.

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