With its giant Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Puck restaurant, you might for a minute mistake the new Shanghai Disney Resort for Anaheim or Orlando, Fla.
But little differences gradually come to light: Squat toilets? Check. “The Lion King” in Mandarin? Check. Eel over rice and Peking duck pizza for lunch? Check and check.
So just how Chinese is Shanghai Disney?
《爱丽丝梦游仙境》是迪士尼的经典作品,因为中国观众更熟悉蒂姆 波顿执导、强尼德普主演的电影版,于是,乐园内的“爱丽丝梦游仙境迷宫”便舍弃了动画版本,反而以电影为蓝本,设计了“疯帽子茶会”和“红皇后花园”。
Chinese mainland has long been seen as a different market – less Westernized, and perhaps more sensitive to matters of cultural imperialism. Even in recent years, Chinese authorities have stressed the need to protect “traditional Chinese culture” amid the rising popularity of Western movies, TV shows, music and clothing.
As the world’s most populous nation, with a burgeoning middle class whose numbers may soon rival that of the entire US population, it’s no wonder that Disney has been handling the issue with the utmost delicacy since reaching a deal for the park in 2009.
Addressing the media Wednesday morning at Shanghai Disney, Iger called his company “invited guests” in China.
“We didn’t just build Disneyland in China; we built China’s Disneyland,” Iger said. “We want the people who visit here to feel welcome and comfortable. To have a sense that this is their park, imagined, designed and created just for them, from the ground up.”
There are further nods to Chinese culture. In front of the Enchanted Storybook Castle, for example, is a walkway that Disney calls the Garden of the 12 Friends, with a dozen mosaics featuring characters like Hamm the pig from “Toy Story” and Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh” representing the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.
“There’s more of a Chinese feel to it than to Hong Kong Disney, that’s for sure,” said Stefan Zwanzger, a German theme park expert who runs the website thethemeparkguy.com. “But again, it's a Disney park with Chinese elements here and there.”
“The castle is not Chinese; Pirates of the Caribbean is not Chinese. The park is not 50% Chinese and 50% American style, it’s 80% Disney and 20% Chinese, or maybe even 90% to 10%, and that's just fine,” Zwanzger added. “Chinese visitors will like it, and so will international travelers.”
The name of each attraction is translated into Chinese, and narration is in Mandarin. And the food is strongly Chinese; resort managers say 70% of the fare on offer is Chinese, with another 20% categorized as Asian. That means it’s easier to find Kung Pao chicken for lunch than, say, a hot dog.