Disney to open first mainland China resort in Shanghai in June

Image: Shanghai Disney Resort

NBC News:

China‘s very own Happiest Place on Earth will be enchanting visitors as soon as this summer.

The Shanghai Disney Resort is slated to throw open the doors of its Magic Kingdom on June 16, becoming the first Disney destination on mainland China and the third in Asia following Tokyo Disneyland‘s debut in 1983 and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opening in 2005.

The estimated $5.5 billion resort is a joint venture between Disney and Shanghai Shendi Group, a state-owned enterprise that is holding 57 percent of the project.

The resort reflects Disney’s legendary storytelling along with China’s rich culture, and showcases some of the most creative and innovative experiences we’ve ever created,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to showing it to the world and sharing it with the people of China for generations to come.”

Disney is hoping to capitalize on China’s massive economic growth in recent years, although forecasts this year have sent the world’s second-largest economy into a tailspin.

The new resort broke ground in 2011 and will encompass more than 960 acres. It will include an Enchanted Storybook Castle, being billed as the largest, most technologically advanced of Disney’s fabled castles.

The park will also be home to different themes, and include Marvel and Star Wars characters owned as part of Disney’s other properties.

The hidden, scientifically accurate backstory of Tokyo Disney Sea’s volcano

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RocketNews 24:

Tokyo Disney Resort, as anyone can tell you, is a land of magic and whimsy. As we’ve shown before, it’s also somewhere you can experience the pinnacle of attentive service, whether you’re an inattentive motorist or a lost cat. But did you know that in addition to all that, Tokyo Disney Sea is actually a place that you can enjoy for its subtle yet precise depictions of natural science?

It’s true, as explained by one Japanese Twitter user who’s uncovered and documented the geological principles behind one of the park’s most iconic features.

It’s safe to say Twitter user Shohei Nanri’s inquisitive mind works a little differently than most people’s. On a recent trip to Disney Sea, Nanri decided to search for ways to enjoy the park not as a star-struck animation fan, but as a scientist. He wasted no time, noticing that the globe in the center of the fountain outside the ticket booth has no tilt to its access.

View image on Twitter

But while that’s a miss in the scientific accuracy department, things quickly improved once inside the park itself. First stopping by the knowledge-themed Fortress Exploration complex, Nanri observed the castle’s Foucault pendulum, which knocks over a series of pins during the day due to the rotation of the earth.

View image on Twitter

And while he’s not sure if Disney’s Imagineers planned it or not, Nanri found a waterfall in the walkway linking the Mermaid Lagoon and Mysterious Island Sections of the park (directly opposite the gyoza dog concession stand) where the light refracts into a rainbow at precisely 12 noon on sunny days.

View image on Twitter

But where things start to get really interesting is inside Mysterious Island, the design of which is, ironically, remarkably sensible if you know the science behind it.

View image on Twitter

The most dynamic feature of the area is Mount Prometheus, a constantly smoldering volcano that soars some 51 meters (167.3 feet) above guests’ heads. Much as Cinderella’s Castle is the symbol of Tokyo Disneyland, Mount Prometheus is the first image that comes to mind for many when they think of Disney Sea. Its non-Japanese name isn’t just a quick way to add a bit of worldly flair, though.

As Nanri explains, the lava of most Japanese volcanoes is highly viscous, so once its destructive path is halted, it tends to harden into symmetrical masses. But take a look at the volcanic runoff at Disney Sea.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Those ropy, coiled formations are the product of a low-viscosity lava flow, closer to the pahoehoe style seen in other countries than Japan’s indigenous a’a lava flows. As such, it stand to reason that Mount Prometheus isn’t a Japanese volcano, and therefore it wouldn’t make sense for it to have a Japanese name.

But that’s just the start of the tale Disney Sea’s lava has to tell. Looking at the map, we can see that following an eruption, some of Mount Prometheus’ lava would flow towards the shoreline that separates it from the Mediterranean Harbor.

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The molten rock would cool as it travelled, and Nanri explains that once it did, it could solidify in hexagonal columns, which is exactly what you can see near the waterfront.

View image on Twitter

That’s not the only effect an eruption would have on the surrounding landscape, though. The entrances to both of Mysterious Island’s rides, Journey to the Center of the Earthand 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, owe the look of their entrances and line-up areas to the nearby volcanic activity.

▼ Locations of Journey to the Center of the Earth (1) and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (2)

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Let’s start with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where parkgoers hop aboard a vessel and become part of Captain Nemo’s crew of explorers.

View image on Twitter

You might notice the sunken body of water is surrounded by craggy rock formations. How come? Because, as Nanri explains, it’s a crater lake formed by a steam explosion, which explains why you can still see some sort of gas fizzing to the surface of the water in the above photo.

However, the scientific significance is deepest, appropriately, at Journey to the Center of the Earth.

View image on Twitter

Given the theme of the attraction, it’s no surprise that the entrance leads guests through a cave. This isn’t just any cave, though. Coming back once again to that low-viscosity lava, the thinner consistency means that even as the top layer of the flow comes into contact with the air, cools, and hardens, the lower layers can stay in motion, in the process forming a tunnel just like the ones the line for the ride snakes through.

View image on Twitter

In the case of repeated eruptions, the next lava flow would come through and melt away the hardened rock, making the cavity larger and also creating the shelf-like ripples on its walls.

Of course, while this is the scientific way in which the tunnel would form, it’s still not a controlled, entirely stable method. A lack of structural integrity in spots is to be expected, which accounts for the skylight-like openings that can be occasionally seen overhead.

Finally, Nanri leaves us with one last example of attention to minute details.

View image on Twitter

Looking up at those streaks of discoloration, you might think it’s just accumulated grime, or maybe water staining. It’s neither, though, according to Anri, who points out that this is what would happen as the sulfur deposits which melted in the lava flow later recrystallize.

Tokyo Disneyland Hotel set to enchant guests with new character themed rooms


RocketNews 24:

We all know that the people at Disney are masters of enchantment and magic. Well, it seems they’ve done it again, this time putting their formidable powers of imagination to full use to renovate part of their rooms at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel. For the first time since its opening in 2008, rooms at the iconic hotel have been redone and were opened to the public this week. As you might expect, the new rooms indeed look magical, worthy of the Disney reputation for turning fantasy into reality. So, let’s take a look at the lovely rooms designed to make guests feel like they’ve stepped into a Disney story!

Of the 706 rooms in the hotel, 182 have been renovated into new, character-themed rooms, and we have to say the pictures they’ve released are enough to get you feeling giddy and excited, even if you’re not a little girl obsessed with all things Disney.

Here are the three types of character rooms that opened at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel on February 14:

Disney’s Tinker Bell Room

The beautiful world of Pixie Hollow from the film Tinker Bell is recreated in these lushly colored rooms. The decor featuring the large flowers and plants of Tinker Bell’s home in Neverland just might make you believe in fairies again!



Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Room

These rooms are based on Disney’s classic Alice in Wonderland film. The playful and sometimes twisted themes of the movie are evident in the interior and furniture that feature well-known motifs such as the Queen of Hearts, the Card Soldiers and of course, the Cheshire Cat.

ディズニーふしぎの国のアリスルーム (2)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Room

Disney’s beloved musical film Beauty and the Beast serves as the theme for these rooms. The interior design brings to mind some of the memorable moments from the film, including the scene where the Beast shows Belle his magnificent library and also the famous dance scene in the ballroom. Other familiar characters from the castle also appear as design motifs.



ディズニー美女と野獣ルーム(ベッド) (2)


Don’t the rooms look amazing? We can totally understand if Disney fans are dying to stay in these new character rooms.

Ah, we almost forgot! There’s one more room that’s scheduled to open on March 18, the Disney’s Cinderella Room. Although Disney didn’t have any actual photos of the room in their press release, they did have an illustration showing the lovely blue interior decorated in the color of Cinderella’s ball gown. You’re bound to feel as special as a guest at the castle ball in this room, and the best part is that the magic won’t go away at the stroke of midnight!

▼An illustration of how the Cinderella Room is expected to lookCinderella Room

Naturally, these splendid rooms come at a price: the 47 Tinker Bell Rooms and 63 Alice in Wonderland Rooms, both approximately 40 square meters (323 square feet) in size, are available at prices between 45,200 yen and 75,000 yen  (US$380-$631) per night; the 52 Beauty and the Beast rooms between 51-61 square meters (549-657 square feet) in size are priced from 52,400 yen to 84,300 yen ($441-$710) per night; and the 20 Cinderella Rooms, 71 square meters (764 square feet), will cost from 56,900 yen to 97,600 yen ($479-$822) per night, with prices depending on the dates and number of people staying.

Guests can make reservations up to six months before their expected date of stay. Regardless of the prices, Disneyland hotel rooms are notoriously difficult to book, due to  extremely high demand, and we expect that the competition to get reservations for these new characters rooms will be fierce.

Still, we have to admit the rooms offer a great opportunity to enjoy a break from reality and feel like you’re living in the world of your favorite Disney movie, and that, we guess, is an experience you can’t put a price on.

What turned Tokyo Disneyland into the Loneliest Place on Earth last weekend?

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RocketNews 24:


Back in March, we took a look at a list of days when Tokyo Disneyland could be expected to be the least crowded. Most of these predictions were based on avoiding peak travel times, vacation periods, and three-day weekends, but one day last week Tokyo Disneyland was practically deserted.

This came as kind of a shock, since Japan is right in the middle of summer vacation, but ironically, that was part of the reason so few people showed up, giving those who did almost free rein of the park.

While a lot of people like to exaggerate how crowded Japan is, the mass of visitors that floods Tokyo Disneyland is no joke. On particularly packed days, it’s not unusual to wait two hours or more for the most popular attractions, and even during the week, veteran park-goers say to expect 60-minute lines.


So it’s a little weird to see Tokyo Disneyland, which often looks like this…

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look like this.

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It’s not like everything was closed for maintenance, either. These photos of the Happiest Place on Earth at its emptiest, shared on July 27 by Twitter user Ikusaotome ni Natta Tofu-chan, show that not only was Splash Mountain running, the wait was a ridiculously short five minutes.


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We’re not even sure it took that long to get into Space Mountain, and ostensibly the lines were equally short to purchase munchies such as Disneyland’s new Little Green Man custard buns.


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So what gives? Did the health department rule that, whether he wears pants or not, the presence of beloved mascot/giant rodent Mickey Mouse is a health code violation? Did the giant disembodied head of Toy Story’s Woody go berserk and just devour everybody?


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Actually, the reason Disneyland had so few visitors was because of the brutally hot weather last weekend. Worse, Japan had been enjoying an unusually mild summer until recently, so as the temperature soared past 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), a day out in the sunshine started sounding far less appealing.

Still, given the devotion of Disney’s Japanese fans, it’s surprising to see the park so empty. In light of this observation, we’re proposing that scientists officially recognize 35 degrees as the melting point of cuteness, or at least the temperature where Japan’s love of cuteness is outstripped by its aversion to spending the day surrounded by profusely sweating strangers.


Projection mapping coming to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland

Projection mapping is coming to Cinderella’s Castle at Tokyo Disneyland. Although the theme park’s Once Upon a Time projection mapping show’s first performance hasn’t been held yet, Tokyo Disney Resort has released test footage to whet fans’ appetite for the real thing.

The visuals seen in the video were created using a 1/30 scale mockup of Cinderella’s Castle, which serves as the symbol of Tokyo Disneyland, much as it does at Florida’s Magic Kingdom.

Framed as a story being told by Beauty and the Beast’s sentient teapot Mrs. Potts to her son, Chip, Disney says visitors can look forward to seeing appearances by characters from Alice in Wonderland. In the footage available we can spot the White Rabbit, late as usual, scurrying about his business, as well as the ramparts of the castle being covered in the playing card motif featured in the 1951 film.


Hong Kong Disneyland hits its stride and readies for Macau rivals

Bloomberg Businessweek:

Hong Kong Disneyland Hits Its Stride, Readies for Macau Rivals

Hong Kong Disneyland is finally on a roll. After years of disappointing results, Disney’s first foray into Greater China earned HK$242 million ($31 million) in the year ending in September, the company announced yesterday. That profit came on revenue of HK$4.9 billion, 15 percent more than 2012.

Last year was the second consecutive year in the black for Hong Kong Disneyland, a joint venture between Walt Disney and the Hong Kong government. Hong Kong began in 2005 as the smallest of Disney’s parks, and dedicated Magic Kingdom fans expressed disappointment with the limited number of attractions. When the park opened, for instance, it was missing Autopia and It’s a Small World, two Disneyland classics. Disney has since made amends, launching those attractions as well as three new lands: Toy Story Land, with Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and pals;Grizzly Gulch, anchored by a Wild West-themed roller coaster; and Mystic Point, featuring a haunted mansion that’s not very scary. (Alas, there seems to be little demand for one of my old Disneyland favorites, the Enchanted Tiki Room.)

Even with the expansion, which increased total park size by about one-fourth, Hong Kong Disneyland remains smaller than Disney resorts in California, Florida, Japan, and France. With Disney scheduled to open Shanghai Disneyland next year, the southern Chinese park has plans to keep growing. Next up and scheduled to open in 2016 is Iron Man Experience, a ride based on the Marvel superhero popularized by Robert Downey Jr. in the hit Disney movies. Hong Kong Disneyland also wants to add a third hotel because occupancy rates have grown from 70 percent in 2009 to 94 percent last year. If Hong Kong’s legislature approves the proposal, the new hotel will open in 2017, increasing room capacity by 75 percent, to 1,750.

One reason Disney needs to keep expanding is growing competition in the region. On the other side of the Pearl River Delta, casino operators in Macau want to make the city more than just a gambling destination. They’re eyeing Hengqin, an island next to Macau but on the Guangdong side of the border; it has ample space for the golf courses, theme parks, and other attractions needed if the tiny former Portuguese colony has any chance of becoming the Orlando of China. Galaxy Entertainment, run by Lui Che Woo, Asia’s second richest man, wants to invest HK$10 billion in Hengqin.

A first test of Hengqin’s attractiveness is Chimelong Ocean Resort, a new, Sea World-like park run by a mainland-based theme-park operator called Guangdong Chimelong Group. During the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, the new Chimelong park attracted about half a million visitors with rides, an aquarium, and a circus, according to local government data. The park “may help boost Macau visitors this year and beyond, which would likely benefit casinos,” Bloomberg Industries analysts Tim Craighead and Margaret Huang wrote last week. Many of the Chimelong park visitors were tourists from Guangdong on package tours to Hong Kong and Macau, so the Hengqin park might draw people away from the Magic Kingdom.

Still, Hong Kong Disneyland execs should be rooting for Chimelong to succeed in Hengqin. As Disney has shown in Orlando and Anaheim, the company’s parks can thrive as part of a bigger cluster of family attractions. That’s especially important for Hong Kong Disneyland in the countdown to 2015′s Shanghai Disneyland opening. When a Disney park is operating in the mainland, rather than on the other side of a border crossing, the more reasons Chinese tourists have to skip Shanghai and travel down to Hong Kong, the better.

Check out this link:

Hong Kong Disneyland hits its stride and readies for Macau rivals


Gay wedding at Tokyo Disney Resort inspires manga

RocketNews 24:


Koyuki Higashi creates manga with writer Yuko MasuharaHiyakoi’s Emiko Sugiyama.

Newlywed couple Koyuki Higashi and her bride Hiroko are the first same-sex couple to hold a wedding ceremony at Tokyo’s Disney Resort, although Disney Resort does not currently recognizeDisney Resort. The pair recited their vows last March and after gaining media attention, have inspired a manga titled Lesbian-teki Kekkon Seikatsu (Lesbian Married Life).

Higashi created the manga with writer Yuko Masuhara and artist Emiko Sugiyama (Hiyakoi).



Publisher East Press released the manga on January 17 alongside a separate book, Futari no Mama kara, Kimitachi e, also by Higashi and Masuhara. The novel discusses the couple’s desires to have a child.

Check out this link:

Gay wedding at Tokyo Disney Resort inspires manga


Tokyo Disneyland stopped selling balloons! …And you’ll never guess why

RocketNews 24:

If you were lucky enough to take a trip to Disneyland as a child, you no doubt remember the bouquets of brightly colored balloons that towered over the crowds. And if you asked your mom really nicely and flashed your best set of puppy dog eyes, added in a few “please, oh please, oh please, I’ll be good all day!” you might have been granted an inflated Micky head to bob along with you while you made your way through the happiest place on earth.

If you’re a Japanese kid in November 2012, you will never have the chance to even covet a shiny Disney themed balloon because all traces of them have been wiped out of the park.

What the heck happened?!

Starting from November 21, Tokyo Disneyland suspended all sales of balloons within the park.  The official reason as stated on the Tokyo Disneyland site is because of supply difficulties related to the raw material put into the balloons.

So in other words, they ran out of helium. After a little research, this is actually a serious problem.

Because helium is an inert gas that has extreme melting and boiling points, it is widely used by medical companies and high tech firms (also, at children’s birthday parties and in bored teenagers’ basements). Recently, due to the growth of the manufacturing industry in Asia,demand for helium in the region has skyrocketed. Even though helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, just like balloons in the possession of small children, most of the earth’s helium floats off into space.

In addition, the United States produces 75% of the world’s helium, most of which is located in the Texas panhandle, making it even more expensive for Japanese patrons to get their hands on the prized gas. Because of the high demand for helium and the rapid depletion of helium reserves, the price continues to rise steadily by an average of 6.9% each year.

Tokyo Disneyland: “Where dreams come true.

Not if you’re dreaming of buying a balloon.

Source: ITmedia

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Tokyo Disneyland stopped selling balloons! …And you’ll never guess why