Guests are enjoying the magic of the new Shanghai Disney Resort, but here’s a little secret…so are the animals! As part of the design of the resort, Walt Disney Imagineering created Wishing Star Park, a 100-acre lake with restored wetlands along the shoreline and more than one and a half miles of pathways through open woodlands and shrublands along the lake’s edge.

These diverse habitats provide homes for many different wildlife species that, like our guests, are just beginning to discover Wishing Star Park. The result is a unique greenspace in an otherwise highly developed landscape where guests can connect with the magic of nature.

Wildlife Wednesday: Discovering the magic of nature at Shanghai Disney Resort

To learn more about how Wishing Star Park benefits birds in particular, the Shanghai Disney Resort teamed up with Disney’s Animals, Science, and Environment to create a bird-monitoring program last year. Incredibly, more than 50 species have been discovered thanks to the diversity of habitats at the park. Songbirds flit between trees and shrubs, herons and egrets hunt in the wetland shallows, ducks float on the lake waters and grebes chase down fish for snacks underwater.

Wildlife Wednesday: Discovering the magic of nature at Shanghai Disney Resort

Some of these birds call Wishing Star Park home throughout the year and even raise their families at the park. The Great Crested Grebe (top photo) nested at Wishing Star Park for the first time this year, which is particularly exciting because this wetland bird does not typically breed in the Shanghai region. The stately grebes make a floating nest of water plants for their eggs, then once the chicks hatch, the parents tote their young around on their backs as they swim!

Other species make incredible migratory journeys between wintering and breeding grounds that include a visit to Wishing Star Park. Some are making a quick stop en route to other locales, like the Arctic Warbler that nests in the northern taiga, while others stay throughout the winter, like the flashy Daurian Redstart (the orange bird pictured). But whether their stay is brief or extended, these migratory birds need habitats where they can safely rest and refuel, and Wishing Star Park is just such a place!

Whether seasonal visitors or year-round residents, many of the birds spotted at Wishing Star Park likely discovered the park for the first time in the past year. After all, this is a new park, and trees and shrubs continue to grow to create new habitat for wildlife. That means the best is yet to come as more species, and guests, continue to discover the magic of Wishing Star Park!