Shanghaî Disneyland announced today their first corporate partnership with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - ICBC - and released new renderings for what was called "Garden of Imagination" and apparently will now be called "Garden of the Twelve Friends", a land where will be celebrated the twelve chinese zodiac characters.
Located inside a beautiful 11-acre green space at the center of the park and in front of the Enchanted Storybook Castle the "Garden of the Twelve Friends" will be a "land" in itself and it's where SDL guests will find the Dumbo ride and the Fantasia Carousel ride and it will be undoubtedly the land of the park that will pay the most tribute - visually speaking - to chinese culture - the famous "distinctly chinese" in Bob Iger's quote. It will also include a grove of peach trees which for sure will be very photogenic with the castle in the backdrop.
Now, let's have a closer look at the new rendering above. You'll see on the bottom the end of Mickey's Avenue, SDL kind-of "Main Street" where guests will find shops and restaurants inside a series of buildings of different architectural style from around the world but related to Disney history or Disney movies.
If you enlarge the picture you can see at the center left a Carthay Circle Theater which will directly face the castle. Considering that the Carthay and Shanghaî Disneyland castle have both distinctive but diametrically opposed architectural styles i'm curious to see how this will work. To tell the truth, i'm not sure that this mix of different styles - not to mention others buildings with different architectures on the left and right, also facing the castle - will work fine, sounds a bit to me like Epcot's World Showcase facing Cinderella Castle... But i give them the benefit of the doubt, i suppose that SDL Imagineers know what they are doing, right?
As i told you this "Garden of the Twelve Friends" will pay tribute to the chinese zodiac, and it will include twelve mosaic murals with Disney or Pixar characters to represent each zodiac sign characters. SDL Imagineers work with Chinese artisans to create the “Garden of the Twelve Friends” and on the picture below you can see Remy the rat who will be perfect for the "rat" zodiac sign.
As part of the agreement in the new partnership, ICBC will of course have exclusive integrated brand presence in the “Garden of the Twelve Friends” and Mike Crawford, General Manager of Shanghai Disney Resort said “Our Imagineers here in Shanghai are fast at work designing and developing this unique attraction in Shanghai Disneyland, and this is the perfect symbol of how we are designing with the Chinese guest in mind, but with a link to Disney characters and storytelling”.
Pictures: copyright Disney - Shendi