Disney magic finally comes to Shanghai as Disneyland opens its doors to the public
After years of construction and a whopping 5.5 billion dollars in investment, Disneyland is now officially open to all in Shanghai, China, where the new Disney Resort comes with Disney's tallest fairy-tale castle in the world, along with brand new rides, two theme-hotels, and of course, a shopping district.
Just yesterday in Shanghai, tens of thousands of visitors waited in the rain for hours for the gates to open at Disneyland, after years of rumors and then more years of construction once it became official. Once inside the world-famous theme park, visitors witnessed the opening ceremony, where congratulatory letters written by both President Obama and Xi Jinping were read out loud to visitors, followed by a speech by Disney's CEO Bob Iger and a kids' choir's rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star." After the song, Sleeping Beauty, Donald Duck, and the biggest star of them all, Mickey Mouse, came on stage and danced to the delight of the thousands watching.
The Chinese Disneyland is not an exact copy of the one in the United States. Sure, Disneyland has parks in other international cities, and they are all somewhat catered to the local culture, but none as much as in Shanghai. According to Iger, "We didn't just build Disneyland in China, we built China's Disneyland." For example, the entrance of the park is called "Mickey Avenue" instead of "Main Street USA." Even the resort's "Garden of the Twelve Friends" uses characters like Remy from Ratatouille and Tigger from Winnie the Pooh as animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Additionally, Chinese acrobats are a big part of the park's Tarzan production. Of course, all of this makes perfect sense. At at time when Disney's other parks in Tokyo, Paris, and Hong Kong are not doing so well in terms of attracting visitors, officials are hoping that this new uniquely Chinese Disneyland will bring in 15 to 50 million visitors a year, which will make it the most visited theme park in the world.
If only Walt Disney could have seen all this, how happy he would have been.