Peppa Pig and Dungeons: Merlin attractions open in Shanghai

Merlin Entertainments has opened two new attractions in Shanghai, China: Peppa Pig World of Play and the Shanghai Dungeon.

Peppa Pig World of Play has opened in Shanghai’s LC Mall. It has been built under an exclusive multi-territory licensing agreement with brand owners Entertainment One (eOne). The new themed indoor play centre brings the popular pre-school TV characters to life with family-inclusive activities in ten themed play areas.

Peppa Pig is one of the world’s leading pre-school IPs with more than 1,000 licencees across 60 countries. The TV programme is aired in 180 territories in 40 different languages, and both China and the US are key markets. Merlin will open four more Peppa Pig attractions in the new year.

The Shanghai Dungeon is based within Mosaic Mall on Nanjing Road. The attraction takes visitors back in time for a multi-sensory experience of the city’s dark history. The experience combines authentic and atmospheric themed sets with live actors. Cutting edge technology also allows visitors to see, hear, and smell ten legends of Shanghai’s colourful past.

Designing the attraction had an additional challenge, as mentioning ghosts or historical killers was off-limits due to Chinese censorship laws.

Speaking to FT, Merlin CEO Nick Varney said: “The authorities here have a different approach. There can’t be any real history, there can’t be any blood and gore, there can’t be any ritual humiliation of anybody in the audience. That took away nearly all the main brand platforms of the dungeon.”

Merlin is developing in Shanghai. They have opened Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre and Changfeng Ocean World in the city.

Varney said: “China is a critical market because of its size and growth and because the Chinese consumer is really focused on experiences, and we’re good at experiences.”

Merlin’s Q3 results revealed organic revenue growth that was fuelled by a bounceback from Resort Theme Parks, but midway growth was flat. It is hoped that new midway openings will show benefit in the new year.

In August, Nick Varney talked to Blooloop about a wide range of issues. These included China, Merlin’s continued international growth, belugas and the challenges of creating successful attractions

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