Disney paradise comes to Shanghai

A mass of gleeful visitors descended on Shanghai Disneyland as the new haven for fans of all things Disney opened in the city’s Pudong district.

The new attraction, the first resort from Walt Disney Co. to be located on mainland China, drew tens of thousands of delighted punters to the the 963-acre theme park and many more to the 123-acre Wishing Well Park when it opened to the general public for the first time.

CEO of Walt Disney Co, Bob Iger, was joined by Chinese politicians in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially declare the park open for business (alongside, of course, Sleeping Beauty and a host of other Disney characters).

Among the festivities in honour of the inaugural day was a choir’s rendition of a Chinese arrangement of the song “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

Shanghai Disneyland has six themed lands (Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland), all of which surround the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

For this new venture on mainland China, Disney has added a number of local touches: a “Garden of the Twelve Friends” uses characters such as Remy from “Ratatouille” and Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” as animals of the Chinese Zodiac.

Occupying a four square kilometre site in China’s most populated city, the $5.5 billion project is the US media giant’s largest outside the U.S.

And Disney fans elsewhere in China may also soon be able to experience the joy of Disneyland for themselves closer to home: it is rumoured that Chongqing and Chengdu would also be interested in becoming home to further Disneyland resorts.