What's new at Shanghai Disney? Here are some highlights from Wednesday's press event in Shanghai, where Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger revealed a massive scale model of the $5.5-billion resort, slated to open next spring.
TRON Lightcycle Power Run. One of the most anticipated new rides, this roller coaster in Tomorrowland will reach top speeds of 100 kilometers, or 60 miles per hour, said Bob Weis, executive vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering. Guests will ride on two-wheeled lightcycles based on the movie series. The indoor-outdoor coaster will be covered in a translucent material that will show the lightcycles as they move through the ride. Riders will travel in teams, with 14 lightcycles launching at once as part of a train.
Details are still scant, but also included in Tomorrowland will be Star Wars Launch Bay, where guests can view props and memorabilia from the most recent film -- which should arrive in theaters just a few months before Shanghai Disney opens -- and "be immersed in the Skywalker story through a state-of-the-art cinematic experience."
A Marvel Universe attraction will offer visitors the chance to "learn to draw some of the characters" and "attend a multimedia mission briefing" in the world of Marvel superheroes. An updated Buzz Lightyear ride and a Jet Packs attraction will round out Tomorrowland.
Treasure Cove. The first pirate-themed land at a Disney park. The highlight will undoubtedly be the Pirates of the Caribbean -- Battle for Sunken Treasure ride, a modernized version of the classic Disneyland boat ride. The new ride will feature boats that can spin, travel sideways and backwards, and "react smartly to their position" to create a more individualized experience.
Those looking for a more placid experience can ride the Explorer Canoes, with the assistance of a captain, or check out a sword-fighting stage show, Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular.
Adventure Isle. Shanghai Disney will have several new "lands" including Adventure Isle, whose centerpiece attraction will be a raft ride called Roaring Rapids. The ride will take guests into a dark cavern where they will discover the secrets of an ancient tribal legend and a "massive, mysterious" reptilian creature called "Q'araq" that looks like a T-Rex and is "almost the size of a bus." The back story of Adventure Isle is said to revolve around "the Arbori people, whose thriving civilization was founded on this isle several thousand years ago" and was discovered by a group of international explorers.
Also featured at Adventure Isle is a new version of the Soarin' Over California flight-simulation ride from California Adventure called Soaring Over the Horizon, with more global scenery including Shanghai's skyline and the Great Wall of China. Camp Discovery, a science and nature-oriented attraction, will feature an elevated ropes course, waterfalls and dig sites. And a Tarzan musical stage show will fuse "theatrics, Chinese acrobatics and a rock concert."
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto. The first ride to take Disney visitors under a castle, it is a boat ride into a "secret underground chamber" with "fountains of light and shimmering pools." The Shanghai Disney castle will be the biggest at any Disney park, and feature all Disney princesses.
The castle itself will feature a walk-through attraction, Once Upon A Time Adventure, with an animated version of Snow White that guests can interact with. The castle will also have a salon for children and a table service restaurant. The castle is situated in Fantasyland, the largest of the six themed lands at Shanghai Disney.
Also included in Fantasyland are a Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, an updated Peter Pan's Flight attraction, an Alice in Wonderland maze inspired by the Tim Burton live-action film version, and a Winnie the Pooh spinning ride, Hunny Pot Spin. A "Frozen" singalong show will capitalize on high interest in that recent property.
And in case you're wondering, yes, you can get your pair of Mouse Ears embroidered with your Chinese name.