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NEWS - VIPs get new look in Shanghai, Inside Out, Zootopia, Spring around the world, and much more!
DisneyDan  Sunday, March 20, 2016 11:09:26 AM
Hello everyone,

The past week or two has seen a surprising amount of character news come out the Disney parks worldwide, so I have my usual round-up of everything, complete with sources!

Let's start at Disney's newest resort, set to open on 16th June this year, Shanghai Disneyland. The Xinhua English News reported online the other day that, I quote,

"Classic Disney characters are getting a Chinese re-styling for Shanghai Disneyland, with Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck set to appear as old Shanghai stereotypes when the park opens in three months.

Of the 7,000 souvenirs ready to debut at Shanghai Disneyland's opening on June 16, at least half were tailored exclusively for the park, said sources there on Saturday.

Minnie will be dressed like a typical Shanghai beauty in the 1920s and 1930s, wearing a pink Chinese jacket and red embroidered silk sandals.

"The dressing style was typical of ladies whose portraits appeared on calendars in every household 80 to 90 years ago," said Gu Zhengwei, director of Shanghai Disney Resort's commodity department.

In Shanghai, Mickey will be a young man wearing a top hat and holding a stick, while Donald will appear as a middle-aged Shanghai man, good-natured but aloof."


Obviously nothing is certain until the park opens, but I think it is interesting that, at least from this article, it sounds as though these costumes will be their "standard" dress in Shanghai, rather than the classic outfits we are used to seeing them in at the other parks. It's always nice to see new costumes for the characters in shows and parades, and we look forward to meeting them there!

Whilst I was on that article I clicked around the site and found something posted a couple of months ago that I don't believe anyone else has picked up on, that I thought was really interesting. Again, I quote,

"Shanghai Disneyland will feature favorite Disney characters from Snow White to Luke Skywalker, under an entertainment program announced for the upcoming park on Wednesday.

The stories of classic Disney princesses will be staged in the site's signature Enchanted Storybook Castle, said Matt Almas, the company's creative executive.

Visitors will learn to draw Marvel characters and interact with the heroes and villains of the Star Wars universe in sci-fi zone Tomorrowland.

Chinese elements will also be incorporated, Almas said.

The final carriage of Mickey's Storybook Express, a train running through the park, will be dedicated to Mulan, an animated movie depicting a female war hero of ancient China. Each carriage will be based on a different Disney film.

The Lion King musical will be performed in Chinese at the park's theater. Visitors will also join Donald Duck and Chip'n'Dale to practice traditional Chinese martial art Tai Chi."


We already knew about the castle show, so that doesn't sound too surprising, and the same for the being able to "interact" (think meet) the Star Wars and Marvel characters. What is interesting though is the information about the parade, Mickey's Storybook Express. We have heard so very little about this parade so far, that it is interesting to hear something about it, and that it will include Mulan. The other interesting statement is the one about learning Tai Chi with Donald, Chip and Dale. This is the first time we have given any kind of information about smaller, potential "pop-up" entertainment around the park - everything so far has been very much focussed on the larger stage productions. It's nice to see that this new park will have random park atmosphere entertainment, too. It should be noted that the Lion King show that they mention is actually the broadway style show, and is located outside the park at an additional cost.

Moving across the country to Hong Kong Disneyland, where spring season has started. This year Mickey and friends are appearing in some unique outfits, that while don't scream spring to me, they are really cute and offer something different to guests visiting the park. I don't have any photos of my own to share, but a tag search on Instagram shows up some pretty decent images, as I discovered. Hong Kong Disneyland are also continuing to up their character offerings across the park with the recent addition of Princess Sofia and Baymax. You can learn more about the spring season and the new character greetings, here on the official HKDL page.

Across the East China Sea, in Japan the immensely popular show, Big Band Beat, at Tokyo DisneySea has held its last weekend of performances. The newly reimagined show for the 15th anniversary of the park will open on the 15th April 2016, along with the new Crystal Wishes Journey show at Mediterranean Harbor and The Year of Wishes Greeting Drive at American Waterfront on the same day. Across the resort at Tokyo Disneyland, the new Polynesian Terrace dinner show that replaces Mickey and Minnie's Polynesian Paradise, opens tomorrow. The show will be presented up to four times daily, and is expected to feature Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale and Clarice.

Heading east to Disneyland in California, and it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that the Super Hero HQ in Tomorrowland would be closing. Saturday 2nd April will be the last day to meet Spider-Man, Thor and Captain America at the building. However, Captain America and Spider-Man will be moving over to Disney California Adventure the very next day, Sunday 3rd April. Along similar superhero lines, the Parks Blog also announced that the former Avengers half marathon weekend at Disneyland will now become the Super Hero half marathon, and will expand its offerings to include for the first time Dr Strange. Though the blog doesn't specifically say who will appear, it does say there will be "surprises" and that Dr Strange would "host", which makes it sound very likely that Dr Strange will make his first ever Disney Parks appearance! The marathon event will be held from 10th through 13th November 2016, with registration opening on 12th April 2016.

Obviously we still have a week until Easter, but it currently looks as though, much to our sadness, that spring will not be retuning to Disneyland Resort this year. We really loved the offerings the past couple of years, with a several month long celebration featuring the VIPs in special outfits and special greetings with the Disney bunnies, including Roger Rabbit. Perhaps they will surprise us next week with something, but at the moment it doesn't look likely, sadly.

I had previously posted here on the blog about the arrival of Nick and Judy from Disney's latest smash hit, Zootopia. It had been announced on the Parks Blog that they would appear for greetings at Disney California Adventure and in Move It! Shake It! at the Magic Kingdom. While that hasn't changed, we now have a clearer idea on timeframe. Shawn Slater later confirmed in the comments that Nick and Judy would be around until at least June at DCA, and while there is no firm date on their start in DCA, they would start appearing in MISICI at the Magic Kingdom from next weekend (Easter). Disney entertainment schedules typically start on a Sunday, which means that Saturday will be the last day for the current format. It is expected, though not officially confirmed, that Stitch and Genie would be the ones replaced by Nick and Judy. Saturday is also expected to be Marie's last day in Town Square, with Stitch replacing her the following day possibly at the front of the park (although Tomorrowland is just a good a location for him, of course).

There are just two weeks left now for Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, with its last day being Saturday 2nd April. There is still no confirmation as to when the new show, Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire, will begin.

It was also finally announced, much to everyone's huge relief, that Joy and Sadness from last year's hit PIXAR movie Inside Out start greeting guests at the Epcot Character Spot from early April. While there is still no firm date yet (Shawn Slater's comment son the Parks Blog even say as much), it is such a welcome addition - if a little late. Shawn also confirmed that there would be no FastPass+ offered for the new experience.

Across the ocean at Disneyland Paris spring season officially started there, with their ever expanding seasonal offerings, including Minnie's Spring Train which for the first time, though rather sporadically, has included the Cheshire Cat! He appeared for the press launch last week, and has made a couple of further appearances since, giving hope to fans that he will become more of a permanent fixture in the park. An Instagram search shows up some good pictures of him, if you're interested.

Finally for today, the Parks Blog confirmed that the popular Star wars Days at Sea will return to select Disney Cruise Line sailings in 2017.

Ok, that's it for today! If you haven't already, be sure to check out my latest trip report, which can be found in the blog list on the side panel.

Have a great week everyone,

Dan.

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