Asia’s first Smurfs-themed park will open in Shanghai in the fourth quarter of this year and bring one of the worlds most recognized characters to Chinese-citizens, both young and old.
The Smurfs is a Belgian comic franchise centered on a colony of small, blue, human-like creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest. The Smurfs was first created and introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (the pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958, wherein they were known as Les Schtroumpfs.
There are more than 100 Smurf characters, and their names are based on adjectives that emphasize their characteristics, such as "Jokey Smurf", who likes to play practical jokes on his fellow smurfs. "Smurfette" was the first female Smurf to be introduced in the series. The Smurfs wear Phrygian caps, which came to represent freedom during the modern era.
The Smurfs franchise began as a comic book and newspaper series that has expanded into advertising, films, TV series, ice capades, video games, theme parks, and dolls. They were introduced to China in 1986 via a namesake cartoon series and soon became a household name know by both children and adults.
The Smurfs theme park will be part of Shanghai’s Dream City project in Shanghai. The park will be approximately 20,000 square meters in total space and will have four themed zones: The Forest, Smurfs Village, The Outdoors and Gargamel’s House.
Visitors to the park will be able to enjoy 20+ attractions and experiences including the augmented reality Gargamel Experience, climbing courses, coaster rides and Smurf Golf.
According to Yannick Maes, one of the parks designers, “We want the visitor to be completely immersed into the life of the Smurfs and get the feeling they are part of the Smurfs family. By adapting the light and by using projections, we will mimic different times of the day and different weather conditions.”
A part of the Smurf theme park
Throughout the year, the designs within the park will be change to reflect seasonal events and festivals. These will include such offerings as Chinese Smurf Year, Smurfy Halloween and The Smurfs Berry Festival.
UNICEF Ambassadors – The Smurfs
In line with the “17 Global Goals For Sustainable Development” that have been established by the United Nations and UNICEF, the Smurfs and ‘Team Smurfs’ ambassadors for these goals will be integrated into the theme park. “We have integrated these goals throughout the park in a non-intrusive and playful way on interactive screens and in park-wide quests,” says Maes. “Both children and their parents can learn about these goals and are invited to become a member of Team Smurfs.”