Shanghai Disney Resort, the first on the Chinese mainland and the sixth in the world, has opened with a magical ceremony

SHANGHAI (China) – Shanghai Disneyland greeted its visitors in magical ways as the gates of Shanghai Disney Resort opened on 16 June 2016 with a spectacular and lavish ceremony.

Shanghai Disneyland – the first Disney resort in Mainland China and the sixth worldwide – is a theme park like no other with the biggest, tallest castle in any Disney park, the first pirate-themed land and Disney’s most technologically advanced park to date.

The theme park opened with fireworks, a dancing Mickey Mouse, the dignitaries and messages of support from two of the most powerful presidents in the world.

“I hope that Shanghai Disney can provide visitors with safe and premium experiences and become a world-class theme park. I hope it promotes exchanges across cultures of the world,” according to a letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping, read by Vice Premier Wang Yang at the park’s opening ceremony.

“The resort captures the promise of our bilateral relationship,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a letter, which Disney Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger read at the ceremony attended by senior officials including Shanghai’s Communist Party secretary and its mayor.

Shanghai Disneyland boasts the biggest, tallest castle in any Disney park, the first pirate-themed land and Disney’s most technologically advanced park to date. Located in Pudong District, the Shanghai Disney Resort includes the theme park Shanghai Disneyland; two themed hotels; Disneytown, a shopping, dining and entertainment district; and the recreational Wishing Star Park.

With an investment of around 34 billion yuan (about 5.2 billion U. S. dollars), the resort is a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company and Shanghai Shendi Group.

Cartoon characters take cruise at Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2016

Cartoon characters take cruise at Shanghai Disneyland on June 16, 2016

Shanghai resident Wan Wenqiang, her mother and seven-year-old son, were among the first group of visitors. “Visiting Disneyland on the opening day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I just can’t wait to see how they combine Disney with traditional Chinese elements,” she said. “I have visited the resorts in California and Tokyo, and I feel so proud that we can visit Disneyland in our home city now,” she said.

Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, celebrated the opening of the one-of-a-kind vacation destination with thousands of distinguished guests, celebrities and Chinese officials.

“The grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort is a celebration of creativity and collaboration, a triumph of imagination and innovation, and a testament to the strong partnership between Disney and China,” Iger said.

“Together we have created an extraordinary destination, a magical place unique in all the world, where East meets West, the past meets the future, and anything is possible for those who believe. It is our sincere hope that this spectacular place will inspire wonder and create joy for the people of China for generations to come.”

Six themed areas at Shanghai Disneyland

Like its five counterparts in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong, Shanghai Disneyland is sectioned into themed areas.

There’s Adventure Isle, Fantasyland, Gardens of Imagination, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Mickey’s Avenue.
Adventure Isle highlights include Roaring Rapids and Soaring over the Horizon, which uses giant screen projection technology to offer an aerial view of the world.

As at other Disney parks, Fantasyland is targeted at the younger crowd. Attractions include the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland Maze, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Voyage to the Crystal Grotto.

Gardens of Imagination is where you’ll find Marvel Universe, Fantasia Carousel and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. There’s also a Garden of the Twelve Friends featuring Disney and Pixar characters in Chinese Zodiac style.

Photos from the spectacular opening ceremony of Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disney Resort opening ceremony

Shanghai Disney Resort opening ceremony

Night scene of Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai

Night scene of Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai

Mickey and Minnie at the opening ceremony of Shanghai Disney Resort

Mickey and Minnie at the opening ceremony of Shanghai Disney Resort

Alice in Wonderland Maze, a Fantasyland attraction featured at Shanghai Disneyland.

Alice in Wonderland Maze, a Fantasyland attraction featured at Shanghai Disneyland.

Women wearing Mickey Mouse ears watch the opening ceremony at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China

Women wearing Mickey Mouse ears watch the opening ceremony at Shanghai Disney Resort in Shanghai, China

Aerial view of Shanghai Disney Resort in China

Aerial view of Shanghai Disney Resort in China