Shanghai Disneyland – Garden of the Twelve Friends

The “Garden of the Twelve Friends” is located at the center of Shanghai Disneyland. It’s part of the “Gardens of Imagination” and offers a place to relax under the cherry trees and enjoy stunning views of the “Enchanted Storybook Castle”.

It features ample seating space, adorable water features and is particularly lovely at dusk. The garden wall is adorned with twelve colorful mosaic vignettes featuring the signs of the Chinese Zodiac depicted by corresponding Disney and Pixar characters.

The murals consist of thousands of little glass tiles. They were handmade by Chinese artists and craftsmen. Although the murals are stunningly beautiful, it might be hard for foreign visitors to grasp why this is such a special place for locals. This requires a deeper understanding of the Chinese Zodiac and its impact on society.

The Chinese Zodiac consists of twelve animal signs. The Zodiac animals were chosen because they are related to the daily lives of ancient Chinese people (ox, horse, sheep / goat, rooster, dog and pig) or because they have lucky meanings (rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and monkey).

The Rat holds the highest rank in the Zodiac. According to Chinese folklore, the order of the animals was determined by a race. The tiny rat won because he rode on the back of an ox. 

A person’s Zodiac sign can be derived from his or her birth year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Since the calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the exact date of the Chinese New Year changes every year. But it will always fall between January 21 and February 20.

  • The Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960.
  • The Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961. 
  • The Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962.
  • The Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963.
  • The Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964.
  • The Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965.
  • The Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966.
  • The Sheep / Goat: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967.
  • The Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968.
  • The Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969.
  • The Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970.
  • The Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971.

The Zodiac was originally used to date the years and as a method of divination. In today’s Chinese society, it’s still used to predict someone’s future. As a matter of fact, Chinese people will always take into account their Zodiac sign when making major life decisions such as finding a suitable life partner or deciding on their next career move!

For example: lucky numbers.

  • The Rat: 2, 3
  • The Ox: 1, 9
  • The Tiger: 1, 3, 4
  • The Rabbit: 3, 4, 9
  • The Dragon: 1, 6, 7
  • The Snake: 2, 8, 9
  • The Horse: 2, 3, 7
  • The Sheep / Goat: 3, 4, 9
  • The Monkey: 1, 7, 8
  • The Rooster: 5, 7, 8
  • The Dog: 3, 4, 9
  • The Pig: 2, 5, 8

Given the huge impact the Zodiac has on people’s lives, Chinese feel strongly connected with their sign. The “Garden of the Twelve Friends” at Shanghai Disneyland offers locals the opportunity to discover which Disney or Pixar Character symbolizes their sign of the Chinese Zodiac, snap a photo with it and share their experience with friends on local social media (like the popular WeChat).

The Rat represented by Rémy from “Ratatouille”.

The Ox represented by Babe the Blue Ox from the animated musical short film “Paul Bunyan”.

The Tiger represented by Tigger from “Winnie The Pooh”.

The Rabbit represented by Thumper from “Bambie”.

The Dragon represented by Mushu from “Mulan”.

The Snake represented by Kaa from “The Jungle Book”.

The Horse represented by Maximus from “Tangled”.

The Sheep / Goat represented by Jolly Holiday Lambs from “Mary Poppins”.

The Monkey represented by Abu from “Aladdin”.

The Rooster represented by Allan-A-Dale from “Robin Hood”.

The Dog represented by Pluto.

The Pig represented by Hamm from the “Toy Story” films.

The “Garden of the Twelve Friends” is a lovely example of how classic Disney storytelling is blended with traditional Chinese culture at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Together with the innovative design and attraction concepts, it makes Shanghai Disneyland an exciting topic to write about. So, do keep an eye on this website for more information about this amazing place!

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