Closer look at Enchanted Storybook Castle with ride, restaurant, shows in biggest-ever theme park castle for Shanghai Disneyland

in Disney, Shanghai Disneyland, Theme Parks

It’s been just over three years since Disney first revealed Enchanted Storybook Castle as the centerpiece of Shanghai Disneyland. Since then, details about this under-construction theme park have been slowly revealed.

Set to open in late 2015, Shanghai Disneyland will include an area called the Garden of the Twelve Friends and an entire land based on Pirates of the Caribbean.

Now, in a recent presentation for the 2014 BIM Awards, Walt Disney Imagineering has unveiled thorough details of their architectural design work that has been created for Shanghai’s Enchanted Storybook Castle – the biggest theme park castle Disney has ever developed.

Enchanted Storybook Castle will include a grand staircase, restaurant, areas for an outdoor stage show with fountains, theatrical lighting, and fireworks, salon, store, garden, character areas, and two attractions, one walk-through and the other a boat ride. Its 196.8 foot height will make it even taller than Cinderella Castle.

A glimpse at Enchanted Storybook Castle was offered at the 2011 D23 Expo, when its boat ride was first announced, as seen in the video below.

Video: Shanghai Disneyland Enchanted Storybook Castle virtual fly-through

But the magic of the completed structure will hide the incredible amount of work that was put into its creation.

Designing all of these experiences to fit inside a beautiful outer shell is no easy task, one that Imagineers have taken great pride in completing. The presentation detailed how each discipline worked together to create the final construction plans, the complexity of which is obvious in this cross-section of the castle plans:

Each phase of construction has been modeled in 3D using Building Information Modeling (BIM), stages of which are seen below.

The recent construction photo below gives those 3D renderings a reality check, showing just how much real-life work is required to build such a massive undertaking.

When completed, Enchanted Storybook Castle will feature multiple floors that guests can explore to encounter all of the experiences listed above, from attractions to shops to dining. It will all fit together seamlessly – a fantasy castle made real.

To ensure the technical design work flows well with the artistic design, Imagineers have employed use of the DISH – their Digital Immersive Showroom that allows them to explore an environment virtually before building it.

Though the specifics of what exactly will be featured in the boat ride, walk-through attraction, dining, and other experiences are not announced yet, it’s clear that Disney has developed the most advanced and most incredible theme park castle to date, another of many elements that will certainly separate Shanghai Disneyland from all other Disneyland-style parks in the world.

Until those details are announced, a few concept renderings are all that’s available to showcase the beauty of how this construction project will appear when finished late next year.


  1. Natalie

    OMG!!! I cant put into words how amazing that looks!!! Its definatly going to be something spectacular that only Disney could pull off. I would love to see it for real, with my own eyes one day!

    1. LarryC

      Want to see more…here is a link to the Shanghai Disney Resort website:


  2. Victoriaa

    Why can’t they do this in america. Man that looks like it will be very very awesome.

    There is probably little chance or room for them to extend cinderella castle in the magic kingdom.

    I kinda wish in disney world they would build a castle looking hotel and then have rooms based off of each princess and prince. I think a palace/castle hotel could look really pretty.

    1. Could you imagine the outrage if Disney announced that they were tearing down Cinderella castle to build something like this? Considering the Dwarves coaster took five years to complete, it would likely be at least five to build a new castle in the middle of a working park. Five years of no icon in photos, something people dream about. As much as I wish Walt Disney World really was the flagship resort for Disney, that honor will almost always go to whatever is newest.

      Anyway, gives me an excuse to add a trip to Shanghai to my Disney resort bucket list! 🙂

  3. Chaz

    Guys . . . I’m moving to Shanghai.

  4. Jessica

    Incredible so wish I could be apart of making it a reality but can’t wait to go and visit everything when its finished. Once again Disney have made true magic. Well done guys!

  5. Since1976

    One of the things that surprises some guests when they first visit Walt Disney World is how small Cinderella Castle is once you get up close to it (“Wait til you see Sleeping Beauty Castle in Anaheim,” I tell them).

    Shanghai’s castle is going to make all the other castles look tiny.

  6. DSNEY33

    After just returning from Hong Kong and spending a few days at HKDL I do look forward to this. However, for those who have never been to China, brush up on the cultural behaviors. If you have issues with line pushers / jumpers then good luck! It does make sense that the castle will be the largest one. That fits with the Chinese govt mantra of progress and honor. Most likely part of the final deal. One final thought, note that the sky will never look that nice. Let’s hope this changes. There have been stretches of weeks where I did not see the sun.

    1. Ian

      Yes! – the culture will play a huge role here. As I read each word and looked at the pictures, I couldn’t help but think of how *different* a Disney experience this will be given that it is in mainland China. I’ve also spent time in HKDL (and plenty of time in HK) and this is … going to be very interesting. I’m not particularly sure I’ll ever visit for this reason…

  7. Mr Tour

    Now if Disney can just get rid of the air pollution and make the sky blue…

    1. David

      Agreed. Having lived in Shanghai for several years, I can attest to the air pollution problems. There won’t be much to see most of the year.

  8. DisneyFan

    This looks AMAZING! Cant wait to see the final result 😛

  9. Jeff Lynch

    It’s filthy in China. And they people there spit on the ground and use the bathroom on the streets openly. It’s pretty vile.

    Supposedly, Disneyland Shanghai is being priced so that the lower classes in China can’t afford it. They want only the wealthy to be able to go, which means that they are trying to keep out the people who spit and pee everywhere. But, it’s Chinese culture to push and shove and not obey signs. In HK Disneyland, they let little boys climb on anything they want, ignoring signs saying “keep off”. The little girls are treated like garbage if they are brought along at all. It is all about the little boys and cherishing them and letting them do as they please.

    Expect a lot of very spoiled little Chinese boys running wild in this place with grandparents indulging them. Disney is going to make a fortune off this place, especially with merchandise catered to the little boys. I don’t think the princesses will be big here but anything for little boys will be.

    Things in China also go wrong a lot. Lots of buildings collapse due to shoddy construction, trains derail etc. So much corruption that taints everything. Wonder the impact that will have on Disney.

  10. Michael

    Looks a lot like the beast castle JA! and in Orlando they gave us the CRAPY new fantacyland, so sad Disney, your biggest money making park and you give it your worst, took for ever to make and is nothing special, hopefully the new train will make it better, but I doubt it will be as good as what Universal is making with the new HP, I guess Disney won’t worry as long as the people come in like crazy but sooner or later magic kingdom will see a change in attendance, 50% of my friends don’t even like to go to MK anymore, HP blew our minds, I saw the new attraction in Hong Kong and now this amazing ride and castle and to us….. the CRAPY new fantacyland, I wish beast restaurant could look like this, or at least like the movie, pleaseeee Disney your just loosing it there, bring Mystic Manor and Radiator Springs to Orlando because is starting to look old

    to epcot? please bring back a newer faster version of horizons

    by the way, the castle looks great, but I guess is to late to ask for a castle like that

  11. Amy

    It looks good but I always wondered why they are building a third disney theme park in Asia. Why not bring another park to Europe. Spain, Cyprus, Turkey? Also it bugs me just a bit that China will be getting the best disney castle. Because I always thought that if one of them was going to get the biggest attention it would be Florida because it’s the biggest and most popular.
    But as long as it doesn’t fail…….. I’m good with that.

  12. Chris H.

    Fellow Disneyphiles-

    I have been quite excited to see this castle being a disney fan, but even more, a castle effectionado in both real life and at the parks.

    I am actually glad we DON”T have this one in WDW. I find it disappointing, even though it’s probably perfect and appropriate for a Chinese disney. To me, it looks all too much like an oversized, 5-story box with a bunch of gouche “castle-esque” ornamentation stuck onto it.
    If someone told me it was some oligarch’s uninspired, tasteless, “McMansion” to the nth power. I would not be stunned. The palpable sense if whimsy the WDW castle achieves–and eternally inspires–is fully absent. The wide-eyed, sentimental beauty of Disneyland was never part of this place’s influences and it has none of that. But it seems to me all those negative descriptions I mentioned, will profoundly appeal to the Chinese, based on how their culture seems to be evolving. Possibly the Imagineeers HAVE hit their mark! It’s just not the mark we put up!


  13. Chris H.

    Let me say this…it looks a lot more Chambord than Neuschwanstein.
    I think that sums it up for castle-o-philes!


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