disneyland shanghai 6

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • Watch the entire Shanghai Disneyland grand opening gala…
  • …and the slightly less dynamic resort dedication ceremony.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood teases a new announcement.
  • Watch new video of the Tron Lightcycle Power Run ride in action.
  • Shanghai Disneyland attraction posters are here and they look great.
  • The Disney company grapples with a series of tragedies.
  • A cool look at the man behind the new Tomorrowland.
  • And more!

The Shanghai Disneyland Grand Opening Celebration Gala concluded yesterday and the whole thing has made its way online. The video is in entirely in Chinese, but you don’t need to be a native speaker to enjoy the show, which is nothing short of spectacular. Disney theme parks have always been good at creating enormous spectacles like this, but the combination of their traditional brand of magic/technology with elements of Chinese culture makes this entire presentation unlike any other show you’ve ever seen. It’s genuinely lovely.

The Shanghai Disneyland dedication ceremony is also online and while it does feature a fair bit of dancing and some typical Disney extravagance toward the end, the bulk of it is Disney CEO Bob Iger and representatives from the Chinese government speaking to the assembled crowd of dignitaries and special guests. At one point, a letter from President Barack Obama is read to the crowd. For fans of the theme park industry and those with an interest in the ongoing cross-pollination of various world cultures as China emerges as a priority for American entertainment companies, Iger’s entire spiel is worth watching (the other speeches are translated as well). If you’re just here for the ribbon cutting and a catchy musical revue full of classic Disney characters dancing and carrying large banners representing each “land” in the park, jump to the 25-minute mark of the video.

Since it wouldn’t be a Disney theme park without a dedication plaque, here’s a shot of the one that can be found at Shanghai Disneyland. It’s fairly boilerplate, but it does feature the phrase that has been used time and time again in connection to this park: “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”

Chances are strong that you’ve already seen POV footage from the Tron Lightcycle Power Run roller coaster at Shanghai Disneyland (see above), but ABC News’ Bob Woodruff was able to check out the attraction prior to its opening and there is now footage of him riding the attraction. Even from this angle, the ride looks incredibly impressive. Not as intense as roller coasters you’ll find at other parks, but beautifully themed and visually stunning, with a genuinely unique ride vehicle. You can watch the video right over here.

As a huge fan of the original poster art that was used to advertise classic Disney theme park attractions like The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, the new Shanghai Disneyland poster art that has been popping up online has been making me a little giddy. I love how each major attraction (and even a few special areas) have gotten their own poster and I love how each of them is rendered in its own unique style, capturing the distinctly different flavors that each of them offers. Only time will tell if these will become beloved enough to justify selling reprints in gift shops several decades from now, but they really are wonderful.

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