We are currently 19 weeks away from the opening of the latest Disney theme park: Shanghai Disneyland. The park will be the first that Disney has opened in Mainland China (Hong Kong is its own entity of sorts) and the company's sixth "castle park" around the world. Touted as being "authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese," the project has a lot for Disney fans to be excited about. Coincidentally, the park just announced today that Grand Opening tickets will go on sale starting March 28!
In celebration of the park's impending premiere, today we launch a new weekly feature where we'll take an in-depth look at what Shanghai Disneyland will have to offer as well as share some tips for planning your trip to see it all for yourself. To kick things off, we'll take a stroll down Mickey Avenue — the park's fun and vibrant Main Street, U.S.A. equivalent.
Attractions & Entertainment
Similar to Main Street, U.S.A. in Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, Mickey Avenue is home to more entertainment offerings, stores, and restaurants than traditional attractions. Here are the entertainment and attraction currently announced for Mickey Avenue complete with their official descriptions:
Minnie Mouse and Friends Meet and Greet
Official Logline: "Enter the magical realm of Shanghai Disneyland—and see Minnie and other Disney pals come to life!"
My Thoughts: It may be slightly odd that you can't meet Mickey on Mickey Avenue (his meet and greet will be in Garden of Imagination) but you can't go wrong with Minnie "and friends." Hopefully the area will also be populated with some lesser-known characters (as in World Bazaar in Tokyo Disneyland) or maybe the Fab Five and others could rock some exclusive costumes. Even if that doesn't happen, this is still an important aspect of any Disney Park.
Shanghai Disneyland Band
Official Logline: "Get in the swing as this lively ensemble welcomes you to Mickey Avenue with a high-spirited mix of music and fun."
Additional Info: "They’re serious musicians with a silly side—the perfect band for this friendly, bustling location! So whether they’re playing marching band instruments or slide whistles and kazoos, the Shanghai Disneyland Band will keep you smiling as you shop and stroll along Mickey Avenue."
My Thoughts: The Shanghai Disneyland Band promises to be much different from the traditional Disneyland Band. Of course, this only makes sense given the Mickey Avenue theme. While I will try to make it a point to watch at least a couple of minutes of their performance, as a visitor with limited time to enjoy the park, I don't expect that I'll truly be able to appreciate this entertainment on my first trip.
As I said, given the Main Street vibe, Mickey Avenue is home to many shops that could be considered equivalents of what the domestic parks have in their entrance areas. Here's what the lineup looks like:
Avenue M Arcade
Official Logline: "Make your way down to the busiest business in town—and the biggest shop to be found throughout Shanghai Disneyland!"
My Thoughts: Shanghai Disneyland's version of the Emporium will surely be a popular retail spot on opening day. The image provided for the shop seems to have a bit more story than the logline offers, so I fully expect there to be plenty of fun details inside the shop itself. This will definitely be a day two or three stop for me but I anticipate that many Disney fans making the trip for the opening will be sure to grab their limited edition merch here before doing anything else in the park.
Official Logline: "Leave your worries behind at this colorful photo shop where you can preview and purchase moments with family and friends, courtesy of Disney PhotoPass! Create your own personalized souvenirs, or pick from a selection of frames and sundries."
My Thoughts: As I prepared to write this, I was going to say that I'd probably never visit this shop since I tend to buy my PhotoPass images online after the fact. But then I remembered one important detail: I don't live in China. While there may still be an option to mail your photos back to the States, I can't imagine it would be cheap to do. So perhaps I will be stopping by after all.
Official Logline: "Searching for a souvenir to remember your Shanghai Disneyland day? Head to this caboose-themed merchandise cart starring one of the very first residents of Mickey Avenue—and one of Walt Disney’s earliest creations—Oswald the Lucky Rabbit!"
My Thoughts: Admittedly this would have been more exciting had the domestic parks not recently embraced Oswald. That being said, I've seen the Oswald merch at Tokyo Disneyland and, if this is anywhere near as cool, I'll have to break down and actually buy some of it this time.
Official Logline: "Come one, come all! Enter the cheerful childhood home of Minnie Mouse, and watch as sweets are made right before your eyes in a real-life candy kitchen! Then, give in to your heart’s delight with chocolate, cookies and other tasty treats."
My Thoughts: Yes, this the same image as the meet and greets, but I used it again so you could get another look at the confectionery without having to scroll (you're welcome). There's some definite potential for this store to be cool and offer some unique snacks but it could also go the other way and just be more of what we're used to. I guess we'll see.
Whistle Stop Shop
Official Logline: "Chug along to this friendly train station for souvenirs and more. You may even meet Mickey’s best travel buddy, Duffy the Disney Bear!"
My Thoughts: As much as I made fun of Duffy when he came to America, I've actually grown quite fond of the guy. I hope his success in Shanghai is closer to what it is in Japan and not what it was (is?) here at home.
If you're visiting Shanghai Disneyland for the Grand Opening, food may not be your first priority, but it is kind of a necessity. Let's take a look what culinary options Mickey Avenue will offer:
Chip & Dale’s Treehouse Treats
Official Logline: "Hungry for something healthy to eat? Scurry down the street to Chip & Dale’s Treehouse Treats—a corner market where the 2 mischievous chipmunks keep their favorite snacks in store: fresh fruit, juice, yogurt, salad, chips, nuts and more."
My Thoughts: This is listed as "quick service" on the Shanghai Disneyland website, but it seems to just be a kiosk/fruit stand. I guess it's good if you want to just grab a healthy snack to keep you going, but I'm sure you could have found it on your own without a full write up about it.
Official Logline: "Cool off with soft-serve ice cream in a waffle cone or sundae, as brought to you by Donald—the most popular duck in Shanghai Disneyland. In the mood for something warm? Sink your teeth into fresh-made waffles shaped like popular Disney characters!"
My Thoughts: First — "the most popular duck in Shanghai Disneyland?" It's true but is that really necessary? (Sorry, Daisy, Jose, Panchito, etc.) Aside from odd press release choices, every park entrance needs an ice cream stand and this one seems to have a pretty fun theme.
Mickey & Pals Market Café
Official Logline: "Dine inside this quick-service food court where all the residents of Mickey Avenue eat! Pick and choose from 4 unique kitchens, each featuring its own unique style of fare: stews, dim sum, noodles and meaty entrees fresh from the grill."
My Thoughts: After seeing this concept art I assumed I was going to get to try Chinese Mexican food (and not like this). However, dim sum is probably a better way to go. The food court element of this spot makes it very likely that I will be eating here on my trip.
Official Logline: "Follow Remy inside this French-inspired bakery—based on the Disney•Pixar film Ratatouille—and indulge in a few of his favorite creations, each prepared to perfection: baked sweets, savory treats, sandwiches, cookies, cakes, tarts and more."
My Thoughts: OK, technically perhaps it's a little strange that a Pixar property snuck into Mickey Avenue (even stranger when you think of the size difference between mice and rats) but that's just silly. Ultimately, this is a great theme for a bakery shop and I'm sure it will be gorgeous.
And that's it for Mickey Avenue! Be sure to come back next week when we'll take a look at Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland (including the Tron ride!).