Back in 2006, Disney's annual report included an illustration for a "concept for a new Disney theme park" that many interpreted as a representation of Shanghai Disneyland. The image showed a central lake surrounded by a mermaid lagoon, an "Indiana Jones"-style temple, a roller coaster and a European village beneath a fairytale castle on a hill, according to Progress City.
For the last several years, insiders with insight into Disney's creative plans have reported on elements reportedly included in the Shanghai park:
* Versions of Disney's well-known Space Mountain and It's a Small World rides, as well as a Tomorrowland-themed land, would be included in the Shanghai park, according to the New York Times.
* The extravagantly designed Adventureland and Frontierland areas of the park will have a lush Tokyo DisneySea look while the rest of the Shanghai park will have an international EPCOT-style feel, according to Blue Sky Disney.
Blue Sky Disney also reports Shanghai Disneyland will include an indoor Tron lightcycle coaster, a dinosaur-themed Lost World River Rapids water ride, a Pirates of the Caribbean stunt show, a Seven Dwarfs mine train coaster and new twists on the classic Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh attractions.
* Characters from newer Disney and Pixar films will populate the park, according to Jim Hill Media: "Woody, Jessie and Bullseye will ride herd on Frontierland while Shanghai Disneyland's Autopia will serve as the centerpiece of a brand-new 'Cars'-themed part of this park. I'm told that Captain Jack Sparrow will stagger around a Pirates-centric version of Adventureland while Rapunzel & her tower will ... well, tower over Fantasyland."
* An exhaustive examination of available Shanghai Disney maps, models and artwork by Theme Park Concepts finds a thatched-roof Lion King restaurant, a Black Pearl pirate ship anchored in Adventureland and a Wonderland-themed labyrinth in Fantasyland.
But as anybody who has followed Disney knows, the "Blue Sky" creative phase is an ever changing process filled with varied and vested interests. As a result, curious bystanders are often left asking the same questions as the knowledgeable decision-makers:
* Will Shanghai Disneyland include classic attractions such as the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise and Splash Mountain?
* Will any long-rumored but perpetually-shelved E-Ticket attractions surface in Shanghai?
* Will Marvel characters finally make their Disney theme park debut in Shanghai?
* Will Disney introduce any Chinese mythological stories besides its roster of European fairy tales?
* Will princesses, pixies, pirates and Pixar properties push older Disney characters to the sidelines?