Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated the opening of the world’s first Zootopia–themed land at Shanghai Disneyland with a spectacular event befitting a mammalian destination where anyone can be anything. Based on the hugely successful Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Zootopia, the land is a celebration of new heights reached in storytelling made possible only through Disney’s groundbreaking innovation and creativity.
Zootopia opened in grand fashion with an outdoor ceremony in front of its iconic skyline inside Shanghai Disneyland. The ceremony was attended by Shanghai city officials, senior leadership from The Walt Disney Company, the Shanghai Shendi Group, Shanghai Disney Resort and invited guests.
“For 100 years, The Walt Disney Company has been entertaining, thrilling, and inspiring audiences and fans through exceptional storytelling that transcends generations and geographies,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. “Our popular Zootopia film continues to delight fans across the globe, especially in China, and we’re excited to give guests at Shanghai Disney Resort the chance to interact with the stories and characters they love in innovative new ways when they visit this spectacular new land.”
“Storytelling is what we do best… and our cast and Walt Disney Imagineers excel at bringing favorite stories to life in a way only Disney can,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Experiences. “Zootopia is a place where the outside world falls away as you enter an immersive, story-driven environment brimming with rich detail and fun everywhere you look.”
“We thank all the creative, design, construction and development teams of this new project who have worked together for years to create this incredible new land,” said Yang Jinsong, Chairman of Shanghai Shendi Group. “Thank you for the guidance and support from the government departments at all levels for the project’s development and operational preparations. The spirit of partnership is our most valuable asset developed since the signing of the Shanghai Disney Project more than ten years ago.”
As the giant Zootopitron came to life displaying “Grand Opening of Zootopia,” all guests officially became Zootopia’s newest “residents.” A group made up of citizens of Zootopia, led by Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, joined the celebration and welcomed the new “residents,” inviting them to enjoy their day and to “try everything.”
At a media sharing session after the opening ceremony, Duke Weaselton, the smart-mouthed weasel, made a surprise appearance when Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Experiences shared the vision and mission of the company with media guests from across China and around the world. Duke represents the cutting edge technology adopted by Walt Disney Imagineering to bring familiar Disney stories and characters to life.
In the evening, a star-studded Mane Street Photo Moment saw a distinguished group of community contributors, athletes, artists, writers, designers, singers, and performers arrive at the opening ceremony. In addition to celebrities, highly respected and revered guests from multiple industries were also present. The guests were dressed as various animals that represented their unique and diverse personalities, echoing the theme of the celebration.
To commemorate this milestone moment, a grand celebration was held as night fell in front of the Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland. Celebrating with park guests, this special moment was an occasion to thank those who were instrumental in bringing Zootopia to life, including members of the local government, partners, community, guests, as well as cast members, Disney Animation artists and Imagineers. As the intro to the theme song of the land, “Try Everything” began to play, Disney singers and dancers, accompanied by enthusiastic citizens of Zootopia, as well as a number of celebrity guests entered the stage. Together, the performers and audience sang the beloved anthem in unison, as the castle lit up with beautiful projections and magnificent fireworks exploded in the sky.
Zootopia marks the second major expansion of Shanghai Disney Resort since its grand opening in 2016, and the eighth themed land inside Shanghai Disneyland. Spanning years of development, cast members and Imagineers from around the globe, along with artists from Walt Disney Animation Studios, collaborated to build this dynamic city that immerses guests in a holistic experience at every touchpoint. Zootopia will transport guests to a living, breathing mammalian metropolis as soon as they set “paw” on Mane Street. While staying true to the style of Zootopia, the new themed land also features distinct local cultural influences, even including some Shanghai-inspired surprises to tell instantly recognizable stories that resonate with guests and fans in China. A new generation of Audio-Animatronics technology throughout the land, as well as the cutting-edge trackless ride system adopted by Zootopia: Hot Pursuit, enhances the ability to surprise and delight guests of all ages.
The Walt Disney Company has a rich 100-year legacy of incredible storytelling, as shown in the highly popular film Zootopia. In China, the film broke box office records to become the country’s highest-grossing imported animated feature film of all time, a title that it still holds as of press time. The new land is a wonderful example of the opportunities Disney has to bring new stories to life in immersive ways all around the world. Starting tomorrow, guests visiting Zootopia will be able to enjoy one-of-its-kind new experiences that seamlessly blend Disney’s signature storytelling and creativity with groundbreaking, state-of-the-art technology. Featuring an exciting new attraction, innovative entertainment, merchandise as well as food and beverage offerings, guests will find even more reasons to visit Shanghai Disney Resort time and time again.