Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?

Is Shanghai Disney ready for opening? That’s a good question. There are many bloggers who have shared rumors that it’s not going to be ready for opening. I myself have heard insiders at Disney say that they are behind with having to redo certain elements.

The answer as to whether the park is ready is a complicated one, but is answered in part by this new video that has just come out. It is the most current and most thorough aerial video of the park to date. Take a look:

The video at times moves very quickly. Clearly many things look like they are in order. In fact, it almost looks like Disney is making this video when you see the Dumbo spinner running and the rafts going down the rapids. But let’s take a closer look.


Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
Enchanted Storybook Castle. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

This is a beautiful shot, and showcases many wonderful elements. It’s clear that Dumbo will be ready for opening day. The Alice in Wonderland Maze also appears ready for opening, with beautiful landscaping throughout. Beyond we see Gardens of Imagination. Surely the Fantasia Carousel is completed, and while there are a lot of boxes and elements, I imagine this is more about putting in sprinkler lines, shrubbery and flowers. The map says there will be many flowers at the center of this park. I wouldn’t expect them in more than a month before opening. So there is much that is clearly completed.

But then there is the castle. Notice the center pathway extending from the castle. That looks fine, but the other pathways on the left and ride have plywood or some temporary flooring in place. Clearly there are many more lines and fixes to electrical, sewer, plumbing and other needs that will be needed in the castle. This is an active castle with so many elements: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Royal Banquet Hall, Fantasy Faire retail, Disney Princess Meet ‘n’ Greets, and Once Upon a Time Adventure–something akin to Belle’s Enchanted Tales, but with Snow White’s Magic Mirror. Oh! And did we mention two castle shows, but we haven’t yet seen a filled moat? This castle is no facade centerpiece. There’s a lot going on, and I’m sure that there is a lot of tension to get this up and running by day one.

What about the rest of Fantasyland?

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
West side of Fantasyland. From video released by D. Ryan Newark.

On the western half, we have several retail shops and Pinocchio’s Village Kitchen, which is in the front of this photo; it includes an open atrium in the middle of the restaurant. Facade-wise I think these are solid. But looking at the vehicles and equipment in the area back of the house, they are probably still doing a lot to finish up the interiors of these buildings. Beyond this is Peter Pan’s Flight, and I would guess that is running fairly solid. Disney should have that down. Many videos suggest that the Voyage to the Chrystal Grotto is fairly done. Closer images released by others show this to be a real gem of an attraction.

We don’t get an in-depth look at the eastern half of Fantasyland from this video, but there are other videos showing things coming along well. Expect the Frozen show and the Winnie the Pooh area to be ready. I’ve seen many videos showing the Seven Dwarf Mine Ride up and running. That side seems solid.


Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
Entrance to Tomorrowland. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

Take a look at the pathway leading to Tomorrowland. This will also serve as the parade route. I’m sure the Jet Packs spinner ride is done. Above it is expected to be entire carpet beds of flowers, similar to what you see in the Flower & Garden show at Epcot. That will probably be planted a month out. On the far left is the Marvel Super Universe building. It’s more of a temporary type building, but it’s been there awhile, and with what is being planned, it is probably going to make opening.

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
Tomorrowland. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

This is the cleanest looking section of all the sections in the park–or so it seems. The main walkways look fine. The Pepsi E-Stage has work going on it with cranes. But this looks fairly doable. I’m sure the Jet Packs spinner ride is done, and the Imagineering has done enough Buzz Lightyear attractions to be able to do that in their sleep. The oval shaped building in the background is a Star Wars Launch Bay. The exterior seems fine, but I’m sure that there’s a lot of last minute stuff being improvised in just the last months since this concept was first created. That could potentially be a second priority at this later date, but it could also very well open, since it’s not a difficult attraction.

There is a building that is adjacent to the Tron show building that still doesn’t have a completed facade. The rear of this building sits with a 90 degree angle, while the front has a slight swirl. I would assume this building would be the internal queue for Tron. In all of the aerial photos it has been much further behind than any other building in this area. That seems a puzzle for me. I’ve seen photos of Tron running, but not video. I’m assuming it’s running, but that doesn’t mean the entire attraction is ready for opening.


Let’s move toward DisneyTown and Mickey Avenue:

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
DisneyTown. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

This is DisneyTown. Its collection of shops and restaurants encircling a big Walt Disney theater has looked completed for several months. Note the street behind the theater in this photo, and the street behind DisneyTown shown in the photo focusing on the entrance to Tomorrowland. Very clean and appearing quite ready to move into a daily operation. There is some work being done to the restroom down center of this photo, as well as to the buildings on the left in Mickey Avenue, but otherwise, DisneyTown looks great.

This video didn’t show much of Mickey Avenue. As a retail space, that seems further behind compared to DisneyTown. I wouldn’t be surprised if every element wasn’t ready opening day. But I think that it will appear ready on the street.

Adventure Isle:

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
Adventure Isle. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

Up until now there has not been much aerial video on Adventure Isle and Treasure Cove. And in fact, there is practically nothing on Treasure Cove in this video. My guess is that everyone is flying drones from the other side of the park, and thus, having difficulty getting to this end. But we do have some remarkable video for Adventure Isle.

The pathway running up the center of this attraction is also not completed. Again, there is probably a lot of electrical and plumbing going on. While the rafts are clearly doing their thing at the boarding area, the entrance still looks incomplete, as does Tribal Table. If I were going to put something behind in order to get other things open, it would be retail, followed by food and beverage. My guess is that there will be F&B and retail areas still being completed by the time the park reaches park opening.

Is Shanghai Disney Ready For Opening?
Roaring Rapids. From video released by D. Ryan Newkirk.

What’s great about this video is that the mountain appears completed and is so incredibly beautiful. Camp Discovery is supposed to have a temporary bamboo-style look in its bridges and path, but there’s so much of it here as well as tarps and other construction elements, you wonder if this is really ready. Waterfalls have yet to flow down from the top of the mountain, but that may simply be due to construction work in the area. What is clear is that the Roaring Rapids are running–running with many a raft–and it looks spectacular.

Take a note just beyond the mountain. Two attractions are in this area–Tarzan: Call of the Jungle is on the left. Soaring Over the Horizon is to the right. I would imagine both of these attractions will be ready to go on day one.

What about even further out? You see what appears to be a somewhat completed Team Disney building. Who knows how far along that is. What’s certain is that the parking lot isn’t ready. You see all the construction workers parked along the street behind it, to include buses for many. In another shot you will see the guest parking lot. It looks completed, but empty. For whatever reason, construction workers are required to park further out. I’m sure that will change as operational Cast Members start work.

Treasure Cove

And Treasure Cove? There is less video and fewer visuals on Treasure Cove than just about any other area of the park. I’m sure the Eye of the Storm show will probably open okay. Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure would have been ambitious even if it were a conventional Pirates attraction found in the other parks. But this one is going to approach that attraction with a new ride system. I’ve not seen anything on this, and I would imagine it’s probably giving the park more headaches than anything else.

Is Shanghai Disney ready for opening?

Compare this to a few months prior to opening of Disneyland in 1955. Well, this park looks pretty good. But it still has a ways to go. There is a lot of work to be done. And within a month, operations should be taking over to handle training and kitchen prepping, and stocking shelves, and so forth. So there is a lot to do. But one thing for sure, when it’s completed, this will be a spectacular park.

J. Jeff Kober

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