Four Surprises About Disney's New Theme Park in Shanghai

Disney CEO Bob Iger opened up about the park, set to open in 2016.

July 14, 2015, 9:40 PM

— -- The first Disney theme park in mainland China isn’t scheduled to open until next spring, but the company’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger opened up about some differences between the new park and its predecessors.

Iger described how much of the planning process was devoted to determining the correct balance between building "something that's authentically Disney but distinctly Chinese," he told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff.

Here are four ways that Disney Shanghai will be different than its international counterparts.

A New Ride

Without giving away too many details, Iger said that there would be a new ride called "Adventure Isle," a raft attraction.

"It doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world, so what we've done here is we've blended Disney with China with originality and innovation," he said.

No More Main Street

Though the well-known feature serves as a hub of traffic in many of the other Disney theme parks, Iger said that it was something that the development team didn’t think would cross over as well with Chinese audiences.

"We eliminated Main Street -- Main St which started at Disneyland and was designed after Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline -- we didn’t think would resonate here, even though we brought it to Paris and we brought it to Tokyo and we put it in Florida," Iger said.

Translating Traditions

Rather than basing their work in English and translating it after, the team of Imagineers tasked with developing the park started all of their work in Mandarin, which served as the park’s primary language.

"I know that seems like a given but we started everything that we described, with all the iconography and all the nomenclature and all the storytelling, was started in Mandarin and translated into English so that we could work with it and we can understand it and that's a big difference," he said.

A New World in the Castle

The Cinderella castle that serves as an iconic backdrop in each of the parks is going to be so much more than that in Shanghai.

The "rather large" castle will house a restaurant and an attraction inside it’s walls, and there will be a boat ride beneath the castle as well as a "huge stage" in front that will host twice-daily shows.

"In essence, there’s a lot that’s different," Iger said.

Disney is the parent company of ABC.

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