They came into the Shanghai Disneyland unannounced. No fanfare. No entourage.
The Disney family – relatives of brothers Walt and Roy – stayed at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. They went through the park like the rest of the world whose relatives hadn't launched a worldwide phenomenon.
They were only noticed when they used their credit cards or when they introduced themselves.
“The people we met were very excited to see an actual Disney,” said Roy P. Disney, who is Walt's grand nephew and grandson of Roy O. Disney. “Our joy is seeing the audience enjoy themselves. In China, so far, in every ride the audience is cheering.”
I met Sheri Disney, Roy P.'s wife, walking to the bus stop. She was with the Disney family nanny/friend, Karina Reyes. Their hands were full of Disney shopping bags. Sheri said this was her family's first trip to China.
Roy has been to five Disney park openings, beginning in Florida in 1971.
“Before this (Shanghai), Tokyo Disney Seas was the most elaborate,” Roy P. said. “This park is extensive, expansive and beautiful.”
Could Walt and Roy ever have conceived of Shanghai Disneyland?
“Disneyland was built at the height of the Cold War, and we could barely afford to build that park,” Roy P. said. “The thought of building another park was not on their minds.
“But Walt was a storyteller and believed that a smile and joy are universal values and a universal language. Walt and Roy would have relished the opportunity to share those values with as many people as possible. They would have been very happy.”
Roy P. Disney worked for his grandfather's company for more than 10 years, but he no longer works there. He didn't have anything to do with the planning of the new park.
“Bob Iger is an incredible and forward-thinking leader and has done truly an amazing job in bringing this place to fruition,” Roy P. said.
The worst part about Shanghai Disneyland, father and son said, was that they could not stay longer.
Source: OC Register
Banner Photo Credit: Disney