Disney fans get peek at Shanghai park, 'Avatar' attraction

Disney fans get peek at Shanghai park, 'Avatar' attraction
Part of the unveiled scale model of the future Shanghai Disneyland is seen during a news conference, in Shanghai, July 15, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

ANAHEIM, United States - Plans for a new theme park in Shanghai and a Florida attraction inspired by the blockbuster film "Avatar" stole the show Friday at the kick-off of a convention for fans of all things Disney.

While the Shanghai Disneyland Park is only due to open next year, visitors of the D23 Expo got an early tease of what to expect - Chinese lanterns, traditional tea house-themed restaurants, Disney characters cast as the signs of the Chinese Zodiac and Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed land in a Disney park.

The park is the second to open in the vast greater China market, after one in Hong Kong.

Other attractions at the park focused on the world of science fiction and futuristic technology will specifically target teenagers and adults - specifically, Tomorrowland, which will feature a "TRON" coaster-style ride.

"We want to give something for everyone in the traditional Chinese family that is essentially a child, two parents and four grandparents, but in Shanghai there is also a vibrant young adult audience," Bob Weis, executive vice president of Walt Disney Imagineering, told AFP.

Fans will have to wait until 2017 for the new Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, an attraction based on James Cameron's hit film.

Fans will be able to go to Pandora, the mythical world depicted in the film, where they will see floating mountains or even fly on "banshees" - alien creatures used by the Na'vi.

The three-day D23 expo at the convention centre in Anaheim, California - home to the original Disneyland park - has drawn Disney fans and media representatives from around the globe.

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