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4 Attractions We’d Like to See from the Studio Ghibli Theme Park

A nature stage show in Mononoke Village

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Image: Studio Ghibli

Of the 19 feature films in Studio Ghibli’s oeuvre to date, Princess Mononoke might have the most powerfully-delivered message of all. It approaches the inherent conflict and need for balance between nature and humankind with nuance and gravity, promoting the idea that both sides need to actively work together to achieve harmony.

In 2023, Mononoke Village will be constructed in some part of Ghibli Park. Renderings of the area suggest that the main portion of the land will be occupied by Irontown, with a smaller forest area surrounding it. Given the film’s persistent themes of preservation and harmony, it may be fitting to arrange a kind of stage show (think the Royal Storytelling Theatre in Disneyland’s Fantasy Faire or the Tale of the Lion King in Disney California Adventure) recreating the story of Princess Mononoke—boar gods, kodama and all.

Spirited Away food stalls throughout the Great Ghibli Warehouse

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We can all agree that the fate that befell Chihiro’s parents in Spirited Away—transforming into ravenous, indiscriminate hogs—is unlike anything we’d prefer to experience while at Ghibli Park. But before their mad descent into gluttony, the food they were chowing down on… looked pretty good. Although there’s sure to be plenty of places to grab a bite at the park, it would be interesting to see the studio recreate some of their films’ more iconic eateries and dishes. And going to town on roast chicken, onigri, Taiwanese sausages, pastries, king mushrooms, and meat dumplings may not be the worst way to pay homage to Studio Ghibli’s most successful film to date—just as long as guests remember to practice the moderation that Chihiro’s parents clearly lacked.

A Catbus (or two) in the Dondoko Forest

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Image: Studio Ghibli

So far, all reports have alluded to the fact that Studio Ghibli isn’t too keen on crafting rides for their new park; at least, not the kind of rides that would require serious acreage and the destruction of any natural barriers or plants. However, it would feel a little peculiar to step into such a carefully-curated Ghibli universe without seeing the familiar grin of the giant Catbus as it bounds through Dondoko Forest. Even if a proper attraction is out of reach for the studio, several smaller Catbus-shaped vehicles might move through the pathways surrounding Satsuki and Mei’s house—maybe something akin to the small-scale cars, fire engines, trolleys, and buses found crawling along Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A. And if Totoro himself just so happened to be standing by the road for an impromptu meet-and-greet, well, we certainly wouldn’t complain.

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We’ll be waiting on pins and needles to find out what kind of surprises Hayao Miyazaki, his son Goro, and the studio’s top executives have in store when Ghibli Park opens in 2022. It’s possible, too, that characters and architectural elements from the studio’s two forthcoming films might be featured in the park as well. What are you hoping to see from Studio Ghibli’s new project?

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