If you plan on taking a future trip to what will be Disney’s newest theme park, the massive Shanghai Disneyland currently under construction in the eponymous Chinese city of 24 million residents-you might be surprised with what was left out of Disney’s newest creation. There isn’t a Main Street U.S.A. (Walt Disney’s homage to his hometown of Marceline Missouri), missing as well are perennial stateside favorites such as the Jungle Cruise and Space Mountain. But you will find is a line-up of original attractions that are sure to win the hearts of visitors in the decades to come.
The centerpiece of Shanghai Disneyland is the looming Enchanted Storybook Castle, the largest and tallest castle every constructed for a Disney theme park, behind which is situated the bulk of an entirely new Fantasyland attraction, the Enchanted Storybook boat ride, which will twist through a series of manmade rivers, and underneath the massive castle itself for the ride’s finale.
But what story will this attraction, described as an “anchor” for this park’s Fantasyland, tell? Given that the Enchanted Storybook Castle is marketed as a home for “all” the Disney princesses, it is likely that the boat ride behind the castle will feature a number of Disney princesses in a outdoor environment. And with river ways approaching the length of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, it’s a fair bet that a generous number of show scenes (utilizing animatronic princesses and animals), will be added.
As opposed to automated Disney theme park attractions without a human host, narrated boat rides, such as the Jungle Cruise and the Storybook Land Canal Boat Ride in Disneyland, allow for a personalized interaction between Disney theme park employees, (called castmembers), and the park’s patrons, deferentially referred to as guests. The castmembers themselves “pilot” boats, (which actually run a predetermined course), while interacting with their captive audience. It is rumored that the Enchanted Storybook boats will have a castmember directing the guest’s attention, similar to the Jungle Cruise attraction.
Disneyland’s ever popular Jungle Cruise received a popular holiday make-over last year, the ‘Jingle Cruise’, and one can’t help but wonder if Walt Disney Imagineering, the unit in charge of the creative development of Shanghai Disneyland, is planning seasonal changes for Shanghai Disneyland’s Enchanted Storybook boat ride based on popular Chinese holidays.
Some possible scenes for the outdoor section of the boat ride include an outdoor Rapunzel scene with tower, Sleeping Beauty’s cottage, Belle’s father’s cottage, Jasmine’s Agrabah, Mulan’s firework scene, and perhaps even Anna and Elsa scene from Disney’s biggest animated hit, Frozen. Some indoor portions of the ride, such as those underneath the castle, may use fiber-optic and LED special effects to recreate the magic of the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty, as well as the fairy grandmother from Cinderella.
While other Disney theme parks have castles, none of them has a boat ride underneath their castle, though Disneyland Paris does have an animatronic dragon walk-through exhibit in it’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle’s dungeon, the same dragon which Maleficent transforms into in the classic 1959 Disney animated feature.
One princess not expected to make an appearance in the Enchanted Storybook boat ride is Snow White, who will make an appearance in a nearby attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride.
A sneak peak can be found here:
Personal knowledge of Disney theme parks