I’ve been meaning to share this information with you for awhile, now, but I’m just now getting around to it.
During the past semester, I had the privilege of listening to two guest speakers who are involved in the Shanghai Disneyland project.
The first spoke to my PRTM class. His name escapes me, but he is in charge of International Relations for the Walt Disney Company. He worked on the Tokyo Disneyland project, and he’s currently working on Shanghai. The class was disappointed in his presentation because he didn’t really talk about Disney, but about the diversity of China and how difficult it was to get Disney to allow them to build a park. This park has been in the making for over ten years before they even allowed them to break ground. The negotiation was difficult because in China, it is impolite to say no, so they’ll say yes when they really mean no, and then deny that they said yes later, no matter what paperwork you show them with their signature.
As for the more interesting things, since Mandarin is the language spoken in Shanghai, all employees will speak Mandarin. This park is going to be structured for the Chinese guests and not so much for foreign visitors… so it might be rather challenging for an English-speaker to visit, but more so for people who only speak Spanish or French or any other language besides Mandarin and English.
One of the students in my class asked how are they going to get a Cinderella that speaks Mandarin. He responded, “Good question. Cinderella has to look like Cinderella, but she needs to be able to communicate with the guests.” :huh: It was as if he’d never considered that before… maybe that’s just not his area of expertise. But isn’t Cinderella speaking Mandarin a little out of character? For those of you who have been to other International parks, do the face characters speak French or Japanese?
The second speaker was part of my architecture school’s lecture series. Chad Oppenheim has an architecture firm in Miami. He designed Michael Bay’s (director of the Transformer movies) house in Los Angeles, as well as many condos in Miami, hotels in Las Vegas… so many cool buildings!
Anyway, his firm is currently working on a new Disney hotel in Shanghai. It is a Pixar-themed hotel and includes an Incredibles Island. He showed us some renderings, but they weren’t very detailed. As with everything Disney, it’s still kind of a secret.