Hardcore ABBA fans, football fanatics and Disney devotees will all find a persuasive reason to dust off their passports in the near future – and outdoorsy types, art lovers and adventurous foodies won’t be disappointed either.
Be one of the first to see these brand new attractions, all slated to throw open their doors in 2016.
Shanghai Disney Resort, China
Slated to open in spring 2016, Disney’s newest resort – and its first in mainland China – will feature a traditional Magic Kingdom park complete with the largest-yet Enchanted Storybook Castle. Rides and attractions will be scattered around six themed lands, including the pirate-themed Treasure Cove with the high-tech Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle of the Sunken Treasure ride. The Garden of the Twelve Friends at the park’s centre will contain murals of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac depicted as Disney characters.
Just outside the Magic Kingdom, the Disneytown entertainment district will have restaurants, shopping and nightlife, including a theatre showing a Mandarin-language version of The Lion King. Two hotels, the Art Nouveau-style Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel, will accommodate guests in the park (shanghaidisneyresort.com.cn/en/).
Mamma Mia! The Party, Stockholm, Sweden
Take one part restaurant, one part performance, a generous splash of disco, a touch of audience participation and what do you get? A new Mamma Mia!–themed restaurant (mammamiatheparty.com), slated to open in Stockholm’s Gröna Lund amusement park in January 2016. ABBA legend Björn Ulvaeus is behind the new interactive disco-dining experience, a Greek-style taverna where diners tuck into souvlaki while a story unfolds around them. With the chance to take part in the show, and to sing and dance to the hits featured in the world-famous musical, it’s set to be a delicious feast of ABBA fun.
Monnaie de Paris, France
Mid-2016 sees the French capital’s mint (monnaiedeparis.fr) reach the completion of its ‘MetaLmorphoses’ project – a multiphased transformation of its monumental 1.2-hectare site on the Seine’s Left Bank.
Following 2014’s contemporary art exhibitions in the mint’s sumptuous neoclassical building and the 2015 arrival of triple-Michelin-starred chef Guy Savoy’s flagship restaurant, 2016 will unveil the Monnaie de Paris’ previously unseen collections. Along with these will be metalwork and foundry workshop tours, boutiques, Guy Savoy’s MetaLcafé brasserie, and interior streets and a park overlooked by a restored 1690 town house built by Jules Hardouin Mansart, publicly viewable for the first time.
FIFA World Football Museum, Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich is upping its game as it braces itself to welcome the new FIFA World Football Museum, slated to open in spring 2016 and costing a cool Sfr180 million. It’s the moment footie fans have been waiting for with bated breath. Bang in the heart of the city, the 3500-sq-metre whopper of a museum will whisk fans through the history of the game, with a timeline, hall of fame and cinema; recreate stadium fever with a giant football pinball machine; and harbour the world’s biggest collection of football books. Huddled away in the basement is the museum’s very own Mona Lisa: the World Cup Trophy itself.
Surf Snowdonia, Wales
The magical mountains and valleys of Snowdonia are a great place for walkers and adventure sports fans. The natural landscape is increasingly being augmented by impressive manmade facilities – Snowdonia now boasts Europe’s longest zip line and a vast underground trampolining centre. But its most radical attraction will have been freshly opened come 2016: a £12 million, 300m-long artificial surf lagoon that uses local rainwater to produce a consistent, barrelling 2m wave every sixty seconds. It’s a world first, and one that doesn’t just appeal to the hardcore – the wave’s size varies in different parts of the lagoon, and its consistency helps beginners. Surf kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and blobbing are also on offer (surfsnowdonia.co.uk).
National Gallery Singapore
Singapore boasts several world-class museums, but if you only have time to see one in 2016, make it the National Gallery Singapore. Occupying two of central Singapore’s most historical buildings – the former City Hall and Supreme Court – the enormous gallery space, unveiled during the city-state’s 50th birthday celebrations in November 2015, will showcase Southeast Asian art from the 19th century to the present day. After admiring the thousand-odd artworks in the painstakingly restored colonial courtrooms and council chambers, don’t miss the fifth-floor rooftop garden with its superb views across the Padang towards Marina Bay.
BASK, Gili Meno, Indonesia
You might think you’d be more likely to bump into David Hasselhoff at a German karaoke bar, but if you’re headed to Indonesia you might just see him by the pool. For The Hoff is the face of BASK (baskgilimeno.com), a luxury villa-resort development currently under construction on Gili Meno, near Bali. Situated on a private white-sand beach, BASK will boast a world-class restaurant, chic beach club, state-of-the-art spa and its very own underwater sculpture park. Not to mention a star in its midst – the entertainer is said to be eyeing off a three-bedroom ‘Hoff Hideaway’ vacation villa of his own here.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, UAE
In true Gulf style, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is magnificently ambitious on every level. The futuristic, dome-shaped building is an architectural feat in itself, appearing to float above a man-made lake. Permanent collections will represent art throughout the ages, including everything from Chinese Buddhist carvings to Italian oil paintings, while France’s most renowned art institutes are to lend Abu Dhabi 300 additional works – Van Gogh, Monet and da Vinci masterpieces among their number. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s development has involved plenty of controversies. But finally opening in 2016, it has the potential to rival the world’s greatest art museums and be a real cultural game-changer for the Middle East.
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC, USA
On its inauguration the NMAAHC (nmaahc.si.edu) will become America’s first national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, history and culture. The 10-storey space will house artefacts from all over the country and history – from Harriet Tubman’s 1876 hymn book, to a Jim Crow-era segregated railcar, to banners and photographs from the #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations.
The article was first published on www.lonelyplanet.com.