Early peek at Shanghai Disneyland reveals Garden of the Twelve Friends, intricate details inching toward 2015 opening

in Disney, Entertainment, Shanghai Disneyland

Today a few new details have been revealed about the mostly secret Shanghai Disneyland currently under construction overseas. The unique theme park will shed the now conventional layout that began when Disneyland first opened in Anaheim, California, largely doing away with the hub-and-spoke design in favor of a more free flowing garden area in front of the iconic castle.

Now Disney has offered a first look at one of the elements contributing to this new layout, an area called the “Garden of the Twelve Friends,” part of the Gardens of Imagination that replaces the hub. The area is sponsored by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and will use Disney characters and ornate mosaics to represent the twelve Chinese Zodiac characters.

The whole garden will encompass 11 acres including rows of peach trees.

Little else is known about Shanghai Disneyland outside of this area. At the 2011 D23 Expo, it was revealed that Storybook Castle will be the name of the fantasy-filled structure at the center of the park and will include a Disney first – a ride inside.

Now Disney has also released new overall artwork of the castle forecourt and gardens, showing just a hint of surrounding areas.

Though the details are still vague, it’s easy to see the Garden of the Twelve Friends at the center of this image with a carousel below that and what appears to be a Dumbo attraction to the left. At the bottom of the image also appears to be the end of the Shanghai Disneyland equivalent of Main Street USA, culminating in a building that looks a whole lot like the Carthay Circle Theater, currently represented as a storefront at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and restaurant at Disney California Adventure.

But it’s clear this is not a traditional Main Street, with a couple of side paths running parallel to the “main street” in the middle, all leading to a lake-and-bridge approach to the castle.

The park broke ground on April 11, 2011 with a lavish ceremony:

Shanghai Disneyland is scheduled to open by the end of 2015 and will surely be a stunning sight to see.

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