Mainland Chinese have been celebrating the opening of a Disneyland with Chinese characteristics in Shanghai this past week, creating a buzz on mainland social media.
Some of the Chinese elements seen at the theme park seem incongruous, however, and others may be downright embarrassing.
Of course, a gathering place for large numbers of mainlanders wouldn’t be complete without the feces that some parents allow their children to leave behind on the grass and roadside.
Meanwhile, two cheeky journalists from the Los Angeles Times ordered Mickey Mouse caps embroidered with Chinese names on them.
One featured “Liu Xiaobo”, the imprisoned human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the other “Dalai Lama”, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
The journalists received the caps without anyone’s eyebrows being raised and uploaded a selfie on Twitter.
Some other Chinese elements might also seem awkward to foreign visitors – for instance, The Lion King musical performance was infiltrated by a Cultural Revolution song, The Taking of Tiger Mountain.
Monkey King, a beloved character from Chinese mythology, also plays a leading role in the musical.
The monkey and tiger were probably intended to make the story easier for homegrown audiences to relate to, because lions are foreign to China.
In the same vein, the patriotic warrior Mulan ranks higher in the galaxy of female Disney characters than Snow White, who is, after all, a runaway princess.
Perhaps to rehabilitate the character of Snow White, who is a Caucasian in the original Disney animation, at Shanghai Disneyland the role is played by a Chinese actress.
Chloe Chow contributed to this article.
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