First look: Shanghai Disneyland opens its gates after grand opening gala

A young boy has fun with a Goofy mascot at Shanghai Disneyland. Pic: Disney Parks Blog

AFTER months of anticipation, Disney marked its very first theme park in mainland China with a colorful concert and festivities that were broadcast on live television.

The concert included a performance by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, appearances by many Chinese celebrities and communist party officials, as well as musical routines of iconic melodies from Disney’s catalogue.

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Shanghai Disneyland features six theme parks – Mickey Avenue, Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland, Adventure Isle, Treasure Cove and Tomorrowland –  as well as two hotels, a shopping district and 99 acres of gardens, lakes and parkland.

The park – which cost US$5.5 billion to build – is Disney’s biggest international park and features the biggest Disney castle in the world. Visitors can also expect a Frozen show, a Star Wars attraction, and a TRON rollercoaster ride.

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Fans have also been talking about the Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure ride, a state-of-the-art attraction which employs animatronics and projections never before seen on theme park rides. According to theme park expert Stefan Zwanzger, it’s worth flying out to Shanghai if only for this ride.

However, there has been criticism about the high prices of admission tickets. According to the BBC, the cost for a couple and a child would likely be more than the average monthly disposable income in mainland China.

A Chinese girl gets a Disney princess makeover. Pic: AP

A Chinese girl gets a Disney princess makeover. Pic: AP

The exorbitant prices of food inside the park has also been a cause for concern. A burger meal with a drink costs US$11.50, a latte can set visitors back about US$5, and a single dumpling starts from US$1.

Hu Xingdou, professor of economics and China issues at the Beijing Institute of Technology told the Los Angeles Times that Disneyland is a status of luxury and creativity, a sign of “American culture that the poor will die for”.

“People with lower income regard going to Shanghai Disneyland as a dream, so they will seize the opportunity to go the fairy-tale- and American-styled theme park,” he added.

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