Not only is it the end of another year, but at the end of another decade! In a grand look at what has transpired for Disney in the last ten years (and there was a lot) we begin a countdown of the top stories of the decade with the opening of a certain international park.
Anticipation of Shanghai Disneyland
It is not the only international park, nor will it be the last (most likely). However, Shanghai Disneyland brought some surprise to Disney fans and even the world. There had been another park in the China region built about ten years before it. Tokyo’s resort was not too far from the region either. So, what could Shanghai Disneyland offer that the others couldn’t? Quite a bit as it began to take shape.
Previews brought a lot of speculation since some announcements were made, but not enough to know exactly what would be in the park. There was a clear Tomorrowland with art of a Tron ride. Some kind of Adventureland was going to have a Soarin’ attraction and rapids. But, there was some vagueness as to details of those as well as what else would be contained in the park.
The D23 Expo in 2015 allowed for a large preview center of what was to be expected. All the lands were disclosed and details of rides were as well. These were going to be some of the most sophisticated attractions at Disney parks to date. Tron: Lightcycle Power Run was to be a big roller coaster featured in Tomorrowland and the first full Tron ride in any park. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure would be Pirates on a grand scale with new technology and ride system. An enormous castle with no tie to a specific princess would herald the huge park. In all, it was enough to whet the appetite of any Disney fan.
The grand opening came about in July 2016. This was a great achievement for Imagineers and even Bob Iger, himself. It was the first park that he had opened as the CEO of the company. And this was a park that really showed what synergy in the company could do. A huge celebration was held for the park with guests from around the world. A pyrotechnic display and orchestra gave the proper fanfare for the park to open its gates.
The attractions lived up to expectations and still surprised. Some runaway hits that weren’t well known at first have shown what parks are capable of. Challenge Trails in Adventure Isle is an attraction that many who have experienced say to not miss. Tron has become an instant Disney ride classic (more on that later). Mickey Avenue is a new way to have a Main Street in a castle park, combining the great characters with a classic environment. The park became an instant hit and already began expanding almost immediately.
Shanghai Disneyland Legacy
Why this has become a huge story for the decade is how it has influenced so much of the rest of the parks and Imagineering. It will be the first Disney park with a Zootopia land and attraction, in order to have it be a uniquely Shanghai park and experience. Not long after the success of opening, Hong Kong Disneyland got a bit…well…jealous and asked for refreshment to its lands and even asking to get a new castle! In Walt Disney World, Tron: Lightcylce Power Run has been taking shape in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland since it has been possibly the most popular attraction out of Shanghai. Though not finished within this decade, it is already gaining momentum from having been opened in Shanghai and having many wanting to ride it here in the States.
So, certainly, it is a park that has not only pushed the boundaries of what Disney can do but also has brought upgrades to other parks around the world. It has earned its place as something to consider in this decade of Disney.
Here are some of the past coverage we’ve had with the park: