Rising in the East: Disney Rehearses Chinese Consumers at a Glocalized Shanghai Disneyland
In the years of planning and constructing Shanghai Disneyland (SDL), Disney executives practiced glocalization, repeating the mantra “authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.” In this chapter Laura MacDonald examines how this mantra manifests in the musical stage performances found in the SDL theme park. In The Lion King and in the park’s other live shows, Chinese culture such as the Monkey King and acrobats have been incorporated, while other aspects of the entertainment experience remain American. MacDonald considers localizations in the park’s live performances, casting, and marketing and evaluates the strategy behind the cross-cultural collaboration that Broadway musical theatre represents at SDL. Chinese consumers are themselves products of glocalization—the process of creating products and services for a global market that are simultaneously global and local. SDL facilitates that very process of grooming consumers for the global marketplace, developing the Chinese appetite for the broad menu of Disney brands, while reinforcing the distinctions and pleasures of local Chinese culture.
KeywordsDisneyland China Glocalization Musical theatre The Lion King
Funding support for some of the research in this essay was provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council International Placement Scheme at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, and by the University of Portsmouth.
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