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December 11, 2015

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Adventure Isle ventures into undiscovered Disney territory

ADVENTURE Isle, a place found only at Shanghai Disneyland, will be filled with fresh stories, thrilling new rides and original characters when the theme park opens next year. Bringing this new land to life was also a journey of discovery for its creators.

“Our idea is to take our guests to someplace completely unknown and completely exotic, so we created this world that has never been discovered before,” said Stan Dodd, an executive producer and creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering Shanghai, who has been with Disney for 28 years.

For visitors, the mysterious Adventure Isle turns back the clock to the early 1930s, when, as the storyline goes, a group of international explorers known as the League of Adventurers discovered the island and its nature-loving inhabitants, the Arbori people.

“For us, the challenge was really about how to be as innovative as possible with the Adventure Isle story and create something that is completely new,” explained Dodd, who worked with a team of talented Imagineers and local artisans to bring the story to life.

Roaring Rapids, a rafting ride, will take guests on a white-knuckle adventure through the heart of Adventure Isle. Along their journey, guests will learn the undiscovered secrets of an ancient tribal legend and encounter the giant reptile Q’aráq, the protector of the island.

“We get to come face-to-face with Q’aráq,” explains Dodd. “A living, breathing and spitting Q’aráq. Right on top of us!”

Meanwhile, Camp Discovery is a place where adventurers of all ages and abilities can explore waterfalls, ruins and dig sites in search of ancient relics. Visitors can delve into natural wonders and ancient legends, trek past waterfalls and discover tribal ruins in an elevated ropes course created specifically for this land. With its network of scenic paths and ropes courses leading to the same attractions, no one is excluded from the adventure or the area’s beauty.

“This is one of the coolest things we’ve done in a Disney park,” the creative director said.

Also among the highlights is “Tarzan: Call of the Jungle,” an original stage spectacle starring Tarzan and his friends. “Call of the Jungle” fuses theatrics, Chinese acrobatics and rock music into a show that will be performed daily at the Storyhouse Stage.

At Soaring Over the Horizon, guests can experience what it’s like to fly like a bird over spectacular scenic wonders, including The Great Wall of China. The ride is a re-imagining of a popular attraction at Disney California Adventure, tailored for the people of China, and makes an ideal attraction for the entire family.

After a long day of exploration, guests can relax at the Tribal Table, a festive art-filled restaurant serving up appetizing meals and a full-sensory dining experience. Conceptually, the thoughtfully-designed restaurant was conceived as a gathering place of the Arbori people and is meant to represent the heart and soul of Adventure Isle.

Dodd, who has worked on almost every Disney park around the world, has a special fondness for Adventure Isle at Shanghai Disneyland.

“It’s not that often we get to develop a completely new land,” he said.

To design and build this new land, Dodd works with a diverse team of creative and technical professionals from different fields. This crew includes members from China, North America, Asia and Europe.

“When we’re working on something like a piece of wood or rock, there will be three to five languages flying around. Just imagine how fun it is,” he said. “It’s amazing that people from all around the world, from different cultures, can come together on such details. It’s incredible fascinating and something only Disney can do.”


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