Image via Disney Parks Blog
When Shanghai Disneyland (SDL) opened back in June it was very evident that certain lands weren't ready to open, namely Toy Story Land. Disney took the half-built land
and used it as more of a passageway and small seating area. Now, with those opening day crowds dying down, Disney has announced
it will move forward with this Toy Story Land.
The Toy Story Land concept is one that has proven popular at other Disney resorts. Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney Studios Paris both saw the first iteration of the concept. Disneyland in Anaheim has an equivalent land, though there it's themed to ‘A Bug's Life.' All three of these lands feature ‘off-the-shelf' carnival-style rides, known as flat rides, with basic theming and low-cost decorations scattered around.
There's some indication that the new Shanghai version of Toy Story Land will be more like Orlando's version that is currently under construction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Here, the land will feature the popular Toy Story Mania ride, already opened at DHS, but with a new entrance on the opposite side of the attraction building. A highly detailed tea cup-style spinner themed to the Toy Story claw machine aliens is the only "flat ride" in the Orlando version. A multi-launch family-friendly roller coaster, themed to Slinky Dog, is the central focus of the new land. Various live entertainment and meet-and-greets fill it out.
In the official announcement of the new Shanghai version, Disney made sure that the "authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese" theme that underscores the entire Shanghai resort was front and center. The announcement also mentioned that this Toy Story Land will be an "experience guests can only have in Mainland China." Just how original will this new land be though is the question yet to be answered. Every indication points to the Shanghai land being closer in style to the Orlando version than the Hong Kong and Paris version due to the higher budget and the mention that this was an only in Mainland China experience. That would mean fewer flat rides, which fill Chinese malls, theme parks and entertainment centers, and more original rides. A family thrill ride, similar to the Slinky Dog Spin in Honk Kong Paris, is highly likely based on previous construction. The official announcement confirmed three attractions and a meet-and-greet experience.
There have been rumors
prior to the June opening of SDL that this new Toy Story Land would include two off-the-shelf rides, both also featured in the Hong Kong version, and a show. Supposedly leaked images
of early SDL maps do show a large show building of some sort towards the back of the land, possibly where a Toy Story Mania ride would be housed.
The Shanghai Disney Resort is also home to the only Toy Story themed hotel in the world. But there's some indication that even with this popular hotel the resort, and especially the Shanghai Disneyland park itself, may be underperforming
. It is difficult to confirm due to Disney not publishing their attendance numbers and China having such heavy control on all media in the country. Fan Xiping, chairman of the Shanghai Shendi Group, Disney’s Chinese government partner, confirmed to the South China Morning Post
that the Toy Story Land was part of an "accelerated expansion plan" but didn't indicate if lackluster attendance is what caused this acceleration.
Unlike in Orlando, we do have a rough opening time for the Shanghai Toy Story Land; 2018 (or roughly the same time as rumors put Orlando's version opening).