Friday, February 18, 2011
First Shanghaî Disneyland concept-art - and why Disney don't want you to see too clearly this awaited theme park
Yesterday, Tom Staggs did his presentation on the future of Disney parks and resorts at the Walt Disney company's 2011 investor's conference and the first Shanghaî Disneyland concept-art was shown to the attendees. Since then, the whole Disney fans blogosphere is buzzing about it, trying to see more clearly in the artwork...in vain as this Shanghaî Disneyland bird's eye view is almost "undecipherable" if you're not a WDI Imagineer!
Still, we're going to try to guess what is what in this first artwork, but it's true that it's the first time that i see a WDI project bird's eye view so difficult to understand. If we take, for instance, the one released for Animal Kingdom - picture below - at least it was possible to see clearly the different lands, where was the entrance, the different buildings, etc... In this SDL concept-art it's not the case and there is a good reason why Disney don't want us to see too clearly the SDL project and i will tell you why in a few seconds.
But first, let's try to see more clearly in the artwork - just for the pleasure to guess as there is big chances that i might be wrong! The picture on the top and below has been enlarged by me - so click to see them in big size - and although the original definition was not sharp enough here is what we can see: on the bottom right i think we have an avenue leading to the park's entrance where SDL guests should find a fountain before entering the park. Always on the bottom right, right before this avenue we can see what looks like giant flowers/mushrooms... Could it be a kind of SDL "Downtown Disney" or like DLP's Disney Village?
Let's come back to the park where a Mickey's face silhouette seems to be located at the entrance... The SDL castle, although not clearly visible, is on the artwork, right under - as usual - the fireworks. Obviously there is a lot of water in this park - which is good - and on the land on the right we can see a kind of mountain with what seems to be a big drop. Did they put in SDL the new Pirates of Caribbean version designed by Tim Delaney which was first envisioned for HKDL? Also, no train track seems to be visible on the artwork. Would it mean that SDL will not have a train going around the park?
Many questions remains to be answered and the best is probably to don't try to find in this artwork the usual iconic attractions like Space Mountain, Big Thunder, etc...which doesn't mean they are not include in the project but from what we know WDI Imagineers designed a park really different than what we've ever seen before. For instance, as it was revealed by an Imagineer during the D23 members private visit of WDI last December "there will be no Main Street" in this park. So, don't waste your time to try to find it on the artwork.
Let's talk now about the reason why Disney don't want us to see too clearly how will look this awaited theme park. Well, you see, it's not to YOU, Disney fan, that Disney wants to hide details of Shanghaî Disneyland, it's to some other people. From what i've been told what Disney REALLY wants to avoid by all means is to see SDL original concepts copied in others chineses theme parks before SDL opening. The truth is that Disney's biggest fear is to see cheap copy of SDL great ideas being built in cheap chinese theme parks. This is why you can't see clearly the castle on the artwork, and i'm curious to see if they will show it more clearly during the official presentation expected early April...not sure, though.
And you know what? I think they're right to be afraid of that. Considering how important in China the SDL project is, there is no doubt that some might want to use some of SDL concepts to make money out of it before SDL opening. As a matter of fact it happened in Tokyo when a park inspired by Disney concepts opened one year before Tokyo Disneyland opening - not sure that this park is still existing now...
Although i have the greater respect for chinese civilisation we all know how they can be good to copy almost anything and how nothing stops chineses to copy a concept when there is a lot of money to make out of it. And sometime they do very good copies! In this case i doubt that anyone will put the amount of money that Disney will put in SDL concepts but even a cheap version of them would be very destructive for the whole SDL project.
For all these reasons i'm afraid we might have to wait a bit more before Disney releases more detailed Shanghaî Disneyland artwork. Until then, the little game of what-is-what on this SDL concept-art will continue for all Disney fans!
All artwork: copyright Disney