China’s Harbin Ice Festival Has Been Disney-fied

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I wrote a post back in January about the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China – some pictures from Boston Globe’s The Big Picture surfaced, and it’s a colorful wonder of night and light.

Disney bought the rights to it.  So now when you go to the festival, you’ll be inundated with Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and all of Disney’s other creations.

I read a few articles about this – apparently tickets have doubled to $15 dollars – but they’re still getting 3,000 visits a day, and Disney has started checking the designs to make sure they fit in with Disney’s vision.  I’m not sure what to say about that – given that some of the Chinese art I have seen in my life has been among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.  Let’s hope that the designers at Disney feel that the art is “Disneyable.”  As for the original Chinese art, anyone wanting to see some of the original Chinese ice sculptures, people will have to go outside the city to see one of the smaller, government-run festivals.

There’s one thing being preserved, at least.  From the New York Times article:

Mr. Qi has preserved one trademark feature of the festival. The annual ice sculpture contest was still held, with 30 sculptures by teams from 12 countries, and none had anything to do with Disney. Mongolian artists created a giant lizard with a glistening tongue, while a Japanese team presented a doe and a baby deer leaping in midair. (No, it is not Bambi.)

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Thanks, NYT and PSFK!