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TPG Contributor Cindy Gossett gives us a sneak peek of what we can expect to see at the new Shanghai Disneyland theme park and its two new on-site hotels, all part of the new Shanghai Disney Resort opening this Thursday. (All photos courtesy of the Shanghai Disney Resort).

Disney fans, rejoice! The sixth Disney Resort — now the second-largest in the world after the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando — opens this Thursday in Shanghai, giving visitors access to a shiny new theme park as well as two new on-site hotels. Here’s a look at what you’ll find.

Shanghai Disneyland

Who’s ready for a trip to Shanghai Disneyland? I know we are!

Many attractions will seem familiar if you’ve visited any of the other Disney parks — but with new twists. Mickey Avenue, for instance, takes the place of Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA and serves as the entrance to the park.

You can meet Pluto along Mickey Avenue, Shanghai Disneyland
You can meet Pluto along Mickey Avenue, Shanghai Disneyland’s answer to Main Street USA.

Like other Disney parks, Shanghai Disneyland will feature an iconic castle that leads to Fantasyland. The new Enchanted Storybook Castle is the largest castle ever built by Disney and will be home to a fine dining restaurant called the Royal Banquet Hall, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique — where kids can be transformed into Disney princesses — and Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, a family-friendly underground boat ride.

The Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland.
The Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland.

While Adventure Isle will be recognizable as Adventureland, this “land” offers a thrilling water rapids ride (opening at a later date) and a challenging ropes course instead of the traditional attractions typically found in this area of the park.

Paddle around Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle thanks to the Explorer Canoes attraction at Shanghai Disneyland.
Paddle around Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle with the Explorer Canoes attraction at Shanghai Disneyland.

Shanghai Disneyland will also feature Tomorrowland, but this time, Space Mountain will be replaced by an indoor roller coaster based on the movie “Tron.”

Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.
Tomorrowland at Shanghai Disneyland.

Treasure Cove is Disney’s first “land” themed entirely on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, including an updated version of the classic Pirates ride in Walt Disney World, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.

The central hub of the park is called the Gardens of Imagination and will feature attractions like the classic Disney Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride, Marvel Universe, a carousel based on the Disney film Fantasia and The Garden of the Twelve Friends, a new attraction starring various Disney and Pixar characters that’s based on the the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac.

The Alice in Wonderland Maze in Fantasyland.
The Alice in Wonderland Maze in Fantasyland.

Disneytown and Wishing Star Park

The Shanghai Disney Resort is also opening a shopping and entertainment complex called Disneytown, similar to Orlando’s Downtown Disney area. In addition to unique Disney shops and restaurants, there will be a theater devoted to a new Mandarin version of the award-winning Broadway musical “The Lion King.”

Disney’s Wishing Star Park is also worth checking out, especially if you need a break from the crowds. Relax in the gardens, take the kids to the Dragonfly Playground, catch beautiful views of Wishing Star Lake or stargaze at the Starlight Amphitheater for the perfect end to a day at the theme park.

Shanghai Disneyland at night.
Shanghai Disneyland at night.

Shanghai Disney Hotels

The Shanghai Disney Resort is also opening two on-site hotels. The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, the smaller and more glamorous of the two, will feature an elegant fountain and a massive three-story lobby. Guests can spend time at the King Triton Pool, a “Little Mermaid”themed indoor pool or the Hakuna Matata Oasis, a “The Lion King”-themed water play area. There’s also complimentary shuttle service to the theme park, Disneytown and Wishing Star Park. Prices start at ¥1650 (about $250) per night in June.

Inside the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.
A peek at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel’s three-story lobby.

The Toy Story Hotel, based on the Disney-Pixar films, is the resort’s larger and more family-friendly hotel option. Painted with a bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds like Andy’s wall in the movies, this hotel will feature many of the toys and games found in his room — you’ll also see signs around the hotel written on Etch-a-Sketch screens.

Toy Story Hotel in Shanghai Disney Resort.
A typical room at the Toy Story Hotel, based on Andy’s room from the Toy Story movies.

There’s a water play area perfect for kids of all ages — and anyone who’s young at heart. Guests can walk to the theme park or get there via complimentary resort shuttle service, which also gives visitors access to Wishing Star Park and Disneytown. Prices start at ¥850 (about $129) per night in June.

Who’s planning to visit Shanghai Disney? Have you been to any of the other international Disney parks yet?

Featured image courtesy of the Shanghai Disney Resort.

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