May 8, 2021

Unseen Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland may be "China's Disney park" (instead of "Disney's China park"- I mean we all know who really runs the show in this country known for flexing its muscles), and therefore, it's unique and filled with touches of design that reflect a particularly Eastern design aesthetic, but there's just something so corporate feeling about it. Is it just me? 

In contrast to the mainland China park, the other Asian parks, Tokyo Disneysea, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland seem warm, approachable, human, and filled with Disney charm and the cultural touch points. This isn't an insult to Imagineering as I'm sure much of the decisions had to be approved by the government. And we all know that Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is the star attraction and worthy of the price of admission for good reason!

Shanghai's Mickey Avenue may be the exception to this corporate feel. It's one part Toontown and one part Fantasyland, but it seems to work as the entry street replacing what would normally be Main Street U.S.A.

The concept art promises a sense of lightness and innocence. The reality may meet these expectations, but in all honesty, Shanghai is last on my list to visit, so I probably am not going to see it for myself if ever. Even Disney's tiniest Magic Kingdom in Hong Hong holds more appeal. 

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)


A. said...

I visited Shanghai Disney when it opened and I was a bit underwhelmed for often subtle reasons which shows to me how important the details are. Obvious factors were the fairly sullen staff and poor castle design, and the Chinese garden was unimpressive, I also went on a fairly smoggy day. It's not terrible, just lacking a lot of the 'magic'. The Tron ride for me was the highlight.

Mark said...

That is what I am sensing from afar.
Thank you for reading!