Shanghai Disney Resort today celebrated the topping out of the resort’s iconic central attraction and new landmark of Shanghai, the Enchanted Storybook Castle, with the installation of a remarkable golden finial atop the tallest of the castle’s eight towers. The topping out, witnessed by Bob Iger, chairman and CEO and Tom Staggs, chief operating officer of The Walt Disney Company, marks a significant construction milestone in the resort’s development and a major step forward towards the opening of the resort, scheduled for the spring of 2016.
Designed to be a dramatic landmark seen from throughout Shanghai Disney Resort, the Enchanted Storybook Castle will be located at the heart of the theme park and will be the tallest, largest, and most complex Disney castle ever built, complete with immersive attractions, dining, shopping and spectacular entertainment. A magnificent winding staircase in the middle of the castle will lead guests on a “Once Upon a Time Adventure”, providing an unparalleled and memorable experience unique to Shanghai Disneyland. The Enchanted Storybook Castle will also be the first Disney castle not dedicated to one princess, but instead will represent all the princesses from Disney’s rich and timeless heritage.
Today’s installation of the golden finial, proudly made in Shanghai, marks the completion of the tallest point of the castle. While the castle has an authentic Disney Magic Kingdom design, it also includes a special Chinese element in addition to its large scale: The finial installed today is topped with a golden peony — the flower of China — placed atop a cascade of Disney stars shooting out toward the heavens from the central spire, evoking the optimism that, with belief and a little magic, dreams really can come true. This finial joins another larger golden finial, installed recently on a separate tower of the castle which includes other unique Chinese elements including traditional Chinese cloud patterns, peonies and lotuses. This finial also features Magnolia flowers, representing Shanghai, and a Disney crown symbolizing Disney’s princesses.
The castle is also a showcase of technology and creativity, from the innovative application of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Digital Immersive Showroom (DISH) technology in its design to the themed finishing touches. Walt Disney Imagineering was recently recognized by the American Institute of Architects for the use of technology that enabled global collaboration during the castle construction process.
The Walt Disney Imagineering Shanghai team has worked collaboratively with Chinese partners to bring new design and construction techniques in building the Enchanted Storybook Castle. The team worked with the general contractor managing the construction of the castle, Shanghai Construction Group to create the special golden finial installed today, symbolizing the perfect partnership of Disney global standards and Chinese expertise. Local construction workers were able to learn special new skills and practice techniques for the castle in a themed finishes training center in the resort built specifically to cultivate local talent.