Disney Around The World
by Renee Wright
[originally published in Square Dancing Today]
With the debut in 2005 of the
Hong Kong Disneyland, Disney brings its total number of
major theme parks to eleven, not counting the various waterparks,
cruise ships and entertainment zones.
And then there are the private
islands, the golf courses, the Disney Institute, various
themed Disney resorts, The Wide World of Sports, even Disney
Vacation Club timeshares, in locales as far-flung as Vero
Beach and Hilton Head.
All in all, it's a comprehensive,
globe-encircling empire, but it's not everywhere the same.
The Imagineers, using the rich
archives of Disney cartoons and films, have created unique parks
suited to each location.
In Paris, native son Jules
Verne hosts a Disneyland that includes a retrospective
of the work of the French sculptor who crafted the Statue of
Mulan, no doubt, will
be on hand to welcome guests to the Hong Kong Disneyland.
The Japanese especially love
Celebrating its 20th anniversary
in 2003, Tokyo Disneyland welcomed over 260 million guests
during its first two decades.
More than a few of them came
to get married, Disney-style.
You can tie the knot at any Disney
resort, but the Japanese parks offer some of the most elaborate
- Brides dress like a Disney
princess, in gowns based on Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella,
- Rings arrive at the altar in
a pumpkin coach-shaped case.
- Mickey and Minnie
will even witness the ceremony or perform at the reception.
Tokyo's other themepark, DisneySea,
dedicated to Mother Earth, the Water Planet, is one of
the most unique parks created by the Imagineers.
Aboard vintage steamers, guests
tour seven ports-of-call, including:
- Lost River Delta, recreating
the 1930s in the Caribbean,
- the Arabian Coast, land
of Sinbad the Sailor, and
- Port Discovery, the
marina of the future where you fly into the eye of a storm.
On the American waterfront,
the New York familiar to 19th-century immigrants cozies up to
a New England fishing village.
Ariel hosts Mermaid
Lagoon where kids of all ages can ride flying fish, sand crabs,
jellyfish, and swirling kelp cups.
Most elaborate of all is Mediterranean
Harbor, where gondolas ferry guests in the shadow of Mount
Even the food sold at the parks
is not wholly homogenized.
Although the Golden Arches franchise
follows Disney to the most distant climes, unusual dishes, often
a weird mixture of fast food and foreign culture, are offered
In Tokyo, for instance, you can
- sea-salt ice cream,
- salmon porridge
- banana calzone.
What's New in 2005
A ROYAL CINDERELLABRATION
Walt Disney World Resort in Lake
Buena Vista, Fla., celebrates 50 years of Disney theme parks
around the globe with "Cinderellabration." The show, imported
from Tokyo Disneyland, picks up the story of Cinderella
after the royal wedding depicted in the classic Disney animated
feature, Cinderella, bringing to life the coronation
of Cinderella and the festive celebration that follows. (Photo
© 2004. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY)
"LUCKY" AT DISNEY'S ANIMAL
the dinosaur, a breakthrough in Audio-Animatronics® technology
from Walt Disney Imagineering, makes tracks at Disney's
Animal Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. beginning May,
2005. The gentle creature, a walking figure that can move freely
and independently and interact with guests, has wowed crowds
during testing periods at Disney's California Adventure
in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo © 2004. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY)
weddings are a "dream come true" at Walt Disney World Resort
in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. More than 2,300 couples exchange vows
yearly at various locations throughout the Vacation Kingdom.
(Photo © 2004. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY)
LOVE KNOWS NO DEPTHS!
Eric swims to his sweetheart Ariel in "Voyage of
the Little Mermaid" at the Disney-MGM Studios in a show
featuring characters and music from the Academy Award-winning
film. (Photo © 2004. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY)
FAIREST ONE OF ALL
Meredith Bell of Pearland, Texas finds the Disney heroine costume
to make her dreams come true at one of the many stores around
the Disney Universe. (Photo © 2004. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY)
A lifetime of vacations could
not take you to every corner of the World of the Mouse.
Browse the Disney websites, accessed through Disney
Online, for a virtual tour of the possibilities.