Sunday, January 29, 2017

Shanghai Disneyland MEGA UPDATE: Thrillography's Asian Persuasion Tour 2017 Trip Report - Part I

Ni hao! And happy Lunar New Year! :}

Welcome to "Thrillography's Asian Persuasion Tour 2017"! As you might've gathered, the Thrillography dart has landed on the Far East once again! For the next two weeks we'll be enjoying the magical thrills (both Disney and otherwise) of Shanghai and Tokyo!

Shanghai was home base for this trip (with a nice big chunk of Tokyo in the middle). The whole adventure is bookended with a pair of 2-day visits to the brand new Shanghai Disneyland Resort, and in the interest of convenience and substance, I've decided to put all four Shanghai Disney days together into one MEGA UPDATE (the first two days didn't lead to very good pictures; day three had amazing weather and day four had the fireworks.)

Say hello to the fam! My cousin Veronica, my auntie Kathy, and my cousin Kaitlin (who you may remember as my host for Thrillography's first visit to Asia in 2015).

We made it! We're really here!

My fifth Walt Disney Resort: Shanghai Disneyland.

It's quite lovely. :}

First ride of the trip: Voyage to the Crystal Grotto!

Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is located in the center of Shanghai's Fantasyland loop. It's a Jungle Cruise-style ride with an it's a small world feel.

Opulent recreations of classic Disney moments take the place of wild animals, corny banter, and "the back side of water."

Like the Hong Kong park, Shanghai Disney tackles the challenge of introducing an enormous new audience to hundreds of new characters at once.

Parades, shows, and rides like Voyage to the Crystal Grotto expedite the process of getting to know some of Disney's most loved personalities...

...and flowers too, apparently...?

While scenes from Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin are virtually required on a ride like this, scenes like this one from Fanstasia were a nice surprise. 

The Tangled scene is a focal point of the ride; we'll take a closer look at it on a nighttime Voyage to the Crystal Grotto later. :}

Your cruise continues into a grotto beneath the midway of Fantasyland. Inside the grotto is this amazing crystal! Who would have thought? :}

Here, have a visual aid. 
Time for lunch!

Like the U.S. parks, Shanghai Disney has a Pinocchio restaurant in Fantasyland that has pizza and more. :}

Kaitlin went the traditional route with margarita pizza; I opted for the more adventurous peking duck pizza. 

Shanghai is full of delicious, unique food. Pork Mickey buns and read bean paste Minnie buns are a crowd favorite! 

Next to Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is a massive Alice in Wonderland maze.

Shanghai shares status with Paris for having an Alice maze, but the two mazes couldn't be more dissimilar. 

While the Paris maze is themed to the 1952 animated Alice, Shanghai's is themed to the live action film franchise. 

In case it wasn't already obvious, the park has provided an oversized bust of Helena Bonham Carter's Red Queen. 

Like the Alice maze, ShangDiz's Pirates of the Caribbean is based on the live action film franchise. 

It's the only ride in the park's Treasure Cove area, however the enormous queue and ride building make up about half the area's space. 

Simply put, Treasure Cove and its one ride outperform every other area of any Disney park. This area and its Pirates ride are that good.

I can say with confidence at this point that Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is Disney's greatest ride. I was not ready.

(if you're looking for a ride analysis/spoilers, you're not going to find them here. I can, however, tell you where to find them. Later.)

Not to be outdone by Pirates, Tron also makes a compelling argument for top-attraction status.

More on Tron later. Better pictures, too. :}

Instead of Main Street U.S.A., Shanghai Disneyland features the short-but-sweet Mickey Avenue. The park's enormous hub makes for a smaller entry midway, but it all looks great!

Many of the shops are "owned" by Disney characters, like this bakery owned by Rémy from Ratatouille.

The park went to great lengths to make sure the entire restaurant is rodent-accessible. 

Delicious carbs! 

Mango cheesecake topped with toasted lemon merengue, blueberries, and lemon French macaron. A perfect end to a perfect first day. :}

To exit Shanghai Disneyland you can backtrack through Mickey Avenue or you can walk through Disneytown, which is Shanghai's version of Downtown Disney.

Disneytown runs adjacent to the park entrance plaza and Mickey Avenue, connecting at the hub near Tomorrowland.

Shanghai Disneyland lacks a Lion King attraction, but Disneytown is home to the broadway production!

Day 2 of Shanghai Disney starts with a subway ride to the resort! Anyone curious about the park's accessibility will be happy to know that there's plenty of metro signage for anyone trying to access Disney from the greater Shanghai area.

Today is an extremely wet day, which afforded us lots of rides on attractions that normally have insane waits (Soarin', Peter Pan's Flight, Buzz Lightyear, Tron, Winnie the Pooh, etc). 

Jet Packs are open today too! Yesterday they were down for technical problems. Shanghai's high-speed answer to the ubiquitous Rocket Jets ride has a 60+min wait on normal days, but today we walked right on.

Since it was so wet outside we did a few rounds on Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue (Shanghai's updated Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters ride). The blasters have extra strong laser lights, firing feedback, and highly sensitive targets make for better accuracy and less frustration than its predecessors. 

Where Fantasyland meets Tomorrowland is the future home of Toy Story Land, which was planned for the park's opening but delayed for budgetary reasons. Celebration Cafe (closed on my visits despite appearing on the map; perhaps only open on packed days for now) and the adjacent restrooms were completed ahead of Toy Story Land. As you can see, the restrooms hint at the larger-than-life aesthetic of the coming area. 

It was less rainy (and more photogenic) at night, so after putting away the camera for a few hours I got it out again at nightfall.

The inside of Enchanted Storybook Castle is stunning. 

Four gorgeous mosaics decorate the heart of the castle, featuring scenes from modern Disney classics.

In addition to a character restaurant, Meet & Greet, and walk-thru (which I forgot to do. Oops), Enchanted Storybook Castle features the park's obligatory crystal & cut glass shop.

This crystalline castle replica is yours for only 1,800,000 Chinese Yuan (or $261,703.98).

With six months of operation under its belt, Shanghai Disneyland has started to clearance out their extensive collection of Grand Opening merchandise. Lots of great deals!

We got more rides in on this rainy day than any other park day. Since this is primarily a locals park, people just avoid it if the weather is bad (just like Disneyland Anaheim).

The soggy weather made for some neat views of Treasure Cove at night.

The right side of Shanghai Disneyland is a loop consisting of Treasure Cove on top and Adventure Island on the bottom.

This would be our only ride on Soarin' Over the Horizon. It's the park's most popular ride and really not worth more than a 1/2 hr wait to me. Today's wait was 10min. :}

The best thing about Shanghai Soarin' is its indoor queue, which casts an HD projection of a nebula (?) onto the ceiling.

Camp Discovery consists of a large playground, walking trails, and an elaborate series of obstacle courses. None of this can be enjoyed in the rain, however.

Roaring Rapids couldn't be enjoyed rain or shine on our visit this time. 

Keep these queue times in mind when we get to day 3. 

I like having the guest service kiosks throughout the park. This is where guests can go to reserve FastPasses, check show times, talk to cast members, ask questions, and even take a break from the rain. 

A main attraction in the park's hub is the Garden of Twelve Friends: a tribute to Disney characters selected to represent the Chinese Zodiac. All are from feature films (Tigger, Abu, Rémy, Maximus, Hamm, Thumper, Mushu, Kaa, and Mary Poppins' Jolly Holiday Lambs) except for Babe the Blue Ox (from Disney's Paul Bunyan short) and of course, Pluto. 2017, the Year of the Rooster, is represented by Allan-A-Dale from Robin Hood.

A magic castle indeed. :}

Mickey Avenue from the hub center!

Tron and castle. :}


Taking pictures was a constant battle against the rain. Had to dry off the lens and shoot before it got soaked again! The moisture in the air gives the shots a nice dreamy look to them though. :}

Everything here is so aesthetically on point. Even guests services looks like an attraction.

There's just something about lights and wet pavement. :}

Goodnight Shanghai Disney! We'll be back in a week and a half! 

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WHAM-O! Thanks to the miracle of time-travel, we're back to Shanghai Disney for our last two days of the trip! 

The park was PACKED on ShangDiz day 3, but LOOK AT THE WEATHER! 

Shanghai is the only Disney resort without a train. It does, however, have this very train-station-y clock tower to give the entrance the right feel.

Ahh. Finally some blue skies for this amazing castle/


The name of the game today is TRON!

I can't get enough of this ride. Obviously. Look at it. Nobody can get enough.

But if you're asking yourself what the Tron experience is like, picture this:

Queuing for the ride begins here, where access to lockers follow a wait in the Tron entry plaza.

Lockers meet the entrance, exit, and gift shop of Tron (similar to Universal's set-up for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey). This is the first Disney ride to ever require lockers, and I think using the Shanghai park as the guinea pig for fine-tuning the locker process was smart. Smaller personal articles, such as phones, wallets, keys, and glasses can be placed in a secure cubby between the handlebars of your lightcycle.

The standby, single rider, and FastPass queues are then accessible once all bags have been stowed (so no nice-camera pictures from inside the ride).

Here's a little video of the launch sequence, though. :}

Tron's quadruple station (two loading, two unloading) means a train in the launch bay roughly every 30 seconds! From here you make a big U-turn before the fleet of lightcycles enter Tron's indoor 2nd half (more on that later).

Like EPCOT's TestTrack, your Tron experience ends with a Chevy-sponsored activity area.

Tron has a lot going on. We'll be back this evening for a nighttime photo-sesh, during which we'll dive deeper into what makes this ride so exceptional.

For now, just take it all in. It's a lot to process.

Shanghai's Tomorrowland is so different from all the others, but it nails what Tomorrowland is supposed to be: truly futuristic and uniquely awe-inspriring.  

Remember the closed Celebration Cafe and the blank Toy Story Land bathroom? That corner of the park is also the start of the parade route, which makes it the perfect place to stand for Mickey's Storybook Express! Things first kick off with the Chevy-sponsored grand marshal family of the day.

Here they come! If you're wondering, that big blue box is Tron.

I've seen more parades than the average non-castmember. Always happy to see something different and clever; this train-themed parade is just that. Love the costume design already!

Daisy is FEELING that locomotion life.

Who's driving the train with Dumbo?

It's Donald! He's steadily gaining on Daisy in an attempt to run her over. He's got such a temper.

Speaking of ill-tempered, this pic kinda looks like Grumpy is staring angrily at a shopping cart full of groceries. 

Here comes the Toy Story squad!

You can tell Asia loves Toy Story. Shanghai has this massive Toy Story parade sequence, a Toy Story hotel (one of two hotels for the resort, the other being the Disneyland Hotel, of course), the updated Buzz Lightyear ride, and the new Toy Story Land coming next year.

The Toy Story Land will be similar to Hong Kong's, although the rumor is that the RC Racer Coaster will be rethemed to Rex somehow.


Here comes the Tangled brigade!

These warriors look to have some Rockettes-calibur aspirations.

Yeah! Get it Rapunzel!

Maximus is over it. I don't see what he's got to complain about; he's got his own spot in the Garden of Twelve Friends! Mickey doesn't even have that!

In China, keeping people out of the parade is a contact sport. Cast members spring out from the shadows to keep back the crowds. 

Here's something different! A colony of pelicans. 

"Hey guys. I have this crazy idea for a float."

Jellyfish couture. Alexander McQueen would be proud.

This parade actually had some of the best costume design I've seen for a daytime Disney parade. I love when there's lots of individual outfits on the scene!

This guy's got a pretty sweet job. Slip into a wet suit and drive this little buggy around!

You knew it was coming! Frozen is here!

Everyone looks so happy!

Except for Kristoph, who wasn't invited to the parade, apparently.




The caboose of the Storybook Express is the "everyone else" department. All of the popular characters that don't have their own float are here bringing up the rear.

Look! It's Nick and Judy! I am SO READY for a Zootopia float, aren't you?

Other members of the Shangai "everyone else" club include Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Stitch, Marie, and the Incredibles.

Oh! And Pinocchio. :}

Alright! Time for more Fantasyland.

Shanghai Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh ride is a clone of the Orlando version; it's not as impressive as the exclusive Tokyo Pooh ride (very excited to talk about that one later), but Shanghai is unique in having a 100 Acre Wood subsection of Fantasyland. 

100 Acre Goods is like the next generation of Anaheim's Pooh Corner: tons of special Winnie the Pooh goods to buy and lots of little things to see!

Bordering the 100 Acre Wood is Seven Dwarf Mine Train's climactic 2nd half.

The midway continues between Winnie the Pooh and Seven Dwarfs and the ends abruptly. It's clear that the midway will eventually continue around the coaster and meet back around the other side.

Someday guests will have a 360º view of Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride, just like in Orlando.

For now, overflow queue spills into the inlet between Seven Dwarfs and Pirates of the Caribbean where the midway loop will eventually connect. As you can see, the overflow queue space is necessary right now.

The parade has passed through the hub and now continues into Treasure Cove. :}

Did I mention the Mulan float has fire?

Fire makes everything better. :}

Random castle shot.

Let's take a daytime look at the east loop of the park. :}

It was at this point in the trip it occurred to me that there's no FastPass for Pirates. Only standby and single rider; a very classic approach. A lack of FastPass makes this ride's 2+ hr wait today even more impressive; that's a LOT of people on standby.

The award for "Best Restaurant Name" goes to...


*thunderous applause*

Treasure Cove has two large ships in its harbor. One is considerably more seaworthy than the other.

If you ask me what all of the most impressive theme parks in the world have in common, I'm going to say "great dark rides and a large body of water."

I should've gone into the big restaurant to take pictures of Pirates from inside, but that idea slipped through the cracks along with my intentions of doing the castle walk-thru.

Tron and Pirates seem like the obvious contenders for the resort's most outrageous line, but Snorin' Over the Horizon trumps them both.

The Adventure Isle Meet & Greet is an interesting mix of animal characters.

Each of Shanghai Disney's lands are extremely well-rounded. It's not often you go to a park where each area has a signature ride, a full-scale show venue, a character Meet & Greet, a large walk-thru attraction, AND a midway entertainment act.

Yeah. Here's that Snorin' line I was telling you about.

Let's check out Camp Discovery!

Shanghai Disney is the only resort with just one "mountain"; in this case, it's the large waterfall that composes parts of the Adventure Challenge Trails and Roaring Rapids.

The area is quite elaborate (and pretty much a note-for-note reincarnation of Dollywood's failed Adventure Mountain attraction).

There's a much more elaborate story being told with this attraction, but size-wise and even layout-wise it's basically Adventure Mountain. It gave me serious déjà vu!

Even the kiddie activity areas in the shadow of the ropes courses is shades of the Dollywood version.

There are three unique courses, each starting in the center of the attraction. Each course goes out, does a vertical U-turn, and returns to the center of the attraction at a higher elevation (exactly like Dollywood).

The course closest to the main midway has this circumnavigate-a-rock obstacle (just like Dollywood's). The course adjacent to the entrance of the attraction threads the water fall (just like Dollywood's). The course furthest from the main midway is the highest and backs up to the park perimeter (just like Dollywood's. Are you noticing a trend here?)

To the right of Camp Discovery is what can be seen of Roaring Rapids. It re-opened shortly after this visit, but based on the POVs I've seen I can tell why it closed so soon after its debut; definitely could use a few more elements of interest. 

It's the best of times and the worst of times at Adventure Isle. It has the park's most popular attraction, its most troubled attraction, and probably the most polarizing attraction.

A major flaw with the Adventure Challenge Trails is that they petrify children. No less than 4 obstacles I crossed were experiencing traffic jams caused by tearful children frozen in fear. It's certainly popular (I waited over an hour), but so was Dollywood's. There's no telling if Shanghai Disney is going to hold onto this one for the long haul.

I would've probably enjoyed the canoe ride to a degree, but honestly I'm not here to wait in line for 75 minutes just to get a scenic upper-body workout.

Yes, that is a live crocodile. He belongs to Roaring Rapids. 


Welp. The Pirates situation hasn't improved. 

That means it's Frozen Sing-A-Long time! Loved this show, even in Cantonese. 

It's almost nighttime. Know what that means? :}

Back to Tron. :}

A feast for the senses in the daytime, Tron somehow becomes even more remarkable at nightfall. A wave of Daft Punk onboard audio reciprocates for one's ears the ride's impeccable bright sights and physical sensations.    

The ride's captivating canopy cruise is only the half of it. What my camera can't show you is the amazing expanse of the Tron Arena – a battlefield of epic proportions. 

Let's discuss the indoor coaster aspect for a moment; it's hard not to look at Tron in the context of Space Mountain (it is the classic Tomorrowland coaster's sequel of sorts). Tron Arena truly elevates the standard of indoor roller coasters: disco ball stars and suspended cosmic bodies are exchanged for a veritable assault of polished chrome, glowing glass, synchronized HD imagery, and gates made of light. 

The other obvious comparison is Disney's pair of Rock N' Roller Coasters, from which Tron is a direct technical descendant. While Space Mountain changed the industry by pioneering the modern indoor coaster, the Rock N' Roller Coasters didn't have the same ripple effect (or the same thematic prowess); if anything, they themselves were ripples of Premier Ride's LIM coasters and the innovative but underpowered Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris. 

Motorbike roller coasters, magnetic launches, synchronized theming, and all of Tron's other talents are not new technology; what's new and special about Tron is the way it was executed. While Space Mountain's atmospheric tricks are simple and Rock 'N Roller Coaster's premise is somewhat forced (did the world ever really need "Steven Tyler: The Ride"?), Tron is neither of these things. Instead, it is the ultimate pipe-dream ride; a concept so ideal and perfect that it practically developed itself. It's a perfect marriage of intellectual property and technology. 

I have never seen either Tron film. I was, however, able to gather the ride's premise after a few rounds: you're team blue, pitted against team orange. The goal of your team's lightcycles passing through the light gates first is no mere game; you lose, you die. Wonderfully morbid, isn't it? :}

I would love nothing more than to see this ride come to Walt Disney World, but it wouldn't be a smooth process. If being forced to put everything in a locker isn't enough to deter the average American Disney-er, having to straddle a lightcycle that clamps you in at the lower back would send more than a few guests into hysterics. 

I personally could do without the doggy-style seating on Tron. Fortunately, Disney is aware of this (and, more importantly, aware of people that may not be physically capable of straddling a light cycle).

Take a gander at this little video I shot with my phone. See the rear car of the train? It has traditional, non-doggy-style seating for guests who cannot or prefer not to straddle a lightcycle. If this ride were to come stateside, I think "normal" seating would need to play a bigger role. Maybe even designated trains / queues for standard seating?

Seating arrangement concerns aside, Tron Lightcycle Power Run can't be beat. If it comes to Orlando, I'll be first in line. 

Tomorrowland may seem all about Tron (which isn't untrue depending on who you ask), but rides aside there's plenty to enjoy here. I'm partial to this lights-and-music synchronized fountain. :} 

Nighttime castle. <3

Who's up for an after-hours Voyage to the Crystal Grotto?

Crystal Grotto is a completely different experience at night. 

The set pieces are definitely elevated by being illuminated.

Get it, Genie! 

Yes, the Tangled scene definitely needs to be seen at night.

Not technically part of the ride, but not a bad view either.


Day 3 is coming to a close! Time to make our way back through Mickey Avenue.

We're gonna do it one last time tomorrow!

We must see the firework show. :}

Shanghai Disney has a very nice metro station.

Our last Shanghai day starts in Treasure Island! I decided to wait in the 70min single rider line for Pirates, but fortunately it only took about 30. Remember that enormous empty queue from day 1? Here it is totally full!

After a ride on Pirates, I decided to take in a viewing of the Pirates show! The queue for  the show is almost as long and detailed as the one for the ride!

I heard good things about this show, though I won't be able to understand much of the story. lol

The show takes place in two halves. The pre-show is in this ornate lobby.

Comic misadventures abound!

Here's the stage for the main show.

Just kidding. THIS is the stage for the show. The first stage set gives way to this about half way through.

The stunts and choreography for this show are amazing. Incredible stage design.

The climax of the show literally takes place in "the eye of the storm", where the actors fly around with the help of this amazing skydiving fan. Cirque du Soleil-quality stuff here, folks.

After the show you can go meet the man himself!

This mess of people is the line for Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. Good thing I have FastPass!

Love this little map in the queue. Orlando doesn't have this for some reason.

Weather's not as nice today as it was yesterday, but that means shorter lines (later in the day, anyway).

Kudos to the landscapers for Seven Dwarfs (and the rest of the park for that matter) for bringing in so many mature trees. You can't make a forest out of saplings!

This ride makes me giddy. I know it's barely long enough to qualify as a non-kiddy coaster, but I just love it. My adoration for Arrow Suspended Coasters seeps into this ride's swinging car loveliness. 

Into the mine we go!

I can't believe I actually got a decent shot inside the mine. 

Heigh-Ho! Heigh-Ho! It's off to work we go!

<3 Castle + Tron <3

The people are ducking cuz it's raining. 

Back to the station!

It's not Dopey and Snow dancing in the house, but it's cute. 

Snow is the prettiest princess in all of Shanghai Disneyland! Wouldn't you agree. ;}

She seems so familiar. Like I know her from somewhere!

Here we are making a video for my family back home!

It's our first time meeting but I feel like I've known her my whole life. :} ;}

Here's something we haven't done yet! It's Pooh's Hunny Pot Spin!

Because of its proximity to Tokyo Disney, a lot of care has gone into making Shanghai Disney as different as possible from the Japan report. Similarities between the parks threaten to cannibalize the success of each, so pretty much every possible opportunity to differentiate the parks was taken: everything from the major Pirates upgrade and unique roller coasters to simply turning the Mad Tea Party into an additional Winnie the Pooh ride to help flesh out the 100 Acre Wood area. 

Tokyo may have the better Winnie the Pooh dark ride, but does Tokyo have Hunny Pot Spin?? NOOO! You can only ride it in Shanghai. :}

While Shanghai Disney and Hong Kong Disney technically share a country, you won't find a lot of crossing between the parks' unique audiences. In Hong Kong you'll find a mix of Tokyo and Shanghai similarities, plus plenty of its own special charm. 

These recent visits to the other Asian Disney parks have really made me want visit Hong Kong Disney again! They've already added some great, unique attractions since my visit two years ago! Iron Man Experience, anyone??

I see you, Dopey!

It's almost time for the fireworks! A green tea cupcake will keep me entertained in the mean time. :}

Strange thing: Shanghai Disney is a Pepsi park! Who woulda thunk it?

Alright alright alright! Time for the "Ignite the Dream" nighttime spectacular! Let's see what this castle can do!

Tinkerbell do ya thing!!


Disney is not far from the airport, but apparently they can still do VERY HIGH fireworks.

Lots of laser love in this show too!



Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!


Yo ho! Yo ho! 


We pillage and plunder and rifle and loot!

Drink up me 'earties, yo ho!

My favorite part of Paris's Disney Dreams show is also found here (Genie's "Never had a Friend Like Me"), but my favorite part of this show is the amazing Mulan sequence! 









This show is full of surprises!

Like balloons!

And BB-8!

Pretty much every Disney variety show has a Frozen bit, but Ignite the Dream's Frozen sequence takes the cake!

Of course we have "Let it Go".

Conceal don't feel, the past is in the past, cold never bothered me anyway, etc.

And then Anna shows up and gets her heart frozen by Elsa.

Sadness :{

But then Anna saves Elsa from Hans! She breaks the curse!

Happiness :}

Then they have the closing music from Frozen and everyone is crying.

(ok maybe It's just me crying)

There's nothing left to do after Frozen except bring the show to a close!

Things wrap up with a nice montage of characters that don't have their own sequence in the show (similar to the parade).

Time to pull out all the stops!

Now that's a finale.

The park was open for another 2 hrs after the show, but the place cleared out!

I marathoned Tron until they kicked everyone out, naturally. :}

Goodnight Shanghai Disney :}

We hope you enjoyed our in-depth look at Disney's newest resort. :}

Remember that Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Lost Treasure analysis / review we teased earlier? You can find it in California Coaster King's "Worldwide Walt Disney Attractions Top 20", sitting comfortably at the #1 spot (which isn't really a spoiler since I already told you it's literally the best ride ever).

See the other 19 rides that made the list, as chosen and analyzed by yours truly! Find the article: 

CCK's Worldwide Walt Disney Top 20

You'll get a good taste of what to expect when we cover TOKYO DISNEY RESORT here in the coming weeks. ;} 

NEXT TIME! Thrillography's Asian Persuasion Tour continues with a whirlwind tour of Tokyo, where we'll be enjoying, among other things, the city's tallest coaster and the country's oldest coaster. 

See you soon. :}

1 comment:

  1. We made it to Shanghai Disneyland! Had 18-hour layover from 6am to midnight with China Eastern Airlines LAX to Manila flight. Got $300 in Chinese currency at departure airport in USA. Wife has Philippine passport and we couldn’t find out if she could do the transit no-visa so she visited Chinese consulate and paid $30 to get a regular visa. My daughter and I with USA passport needed no visa, and wife’s line was really fast but our no visa one took about 45 minutes.

    Weather report said rain all day so we brought rain suits and changed into them inside the airport terminal, our checked bag did not need to be retrieved, and our carry on suitcase we stored in an airport locker. Then we took a taxi to SDL, and even though I had a print out of the park name in Chinese and picture of Princess castle driver had a little hard time finding where to drop us off. Driver turned around meter so we couldn't see fare and cheated us.

    Upon arrival on weekday walked to security and got through no problem, then waited for park opening. Even with the rain a lot of persons waiting to get in most with no rain gear or just an umbrella. Lady in line started screaming at her baby in a stroller. Presented passport at entrance turnstile to retrieve tickets purchased online. Persons entering ahead of us sprinted full speed off into the park.

    In the park went to Pirates and rode twice within 15 minutes, they use lots of big IMAX type screens which are not as impressive as real animatronics. Next Seven Dwarves single rider wife and I both in around 15 minutes, it is outdoors and rain hits the face, in single line they pair up with another rider I had Chinese young lady close next to me.

    With daughter went on Winnie Pooh and Peter Pan, Pan was better the ride is up in the air. Got Mickey Pizza for lunch, cold and rain and wind started getting to wife also jet lag catching up to us so decided to let go of our plan to reach downtown Shanghai and instead just finish SDL and go back to airport. Many of the persons at start of day without rain gear seemed to have left the park.

    Disney app showing ride wait times didn't work for most of the day on Samsung phone with USA simcard and ATT International data plan, and many internet websites such as Facebook we could not access anytime while in China. We went counterclockwise around park and didn't waste time and energy crossing large park to get fastpasses or for other reasons. Didn't have any pushing or line cutting, didn't see any kids peeing in public or trash on ground, maybe because park lightly attended.

    Went to Stars Wars Launch Bay, that was warm and out of rain. Darth Vader was mean to kids including my baby daughter, he put his fist in her face and next group of kids he just stormed out of the room and they stood there bewildered and disappointed.

    Tron may be the best roller coaster in the world and best ride at any theme park. Sit on like a motorcycle and it accelerates really fast. No wait and there is a single-use two hour locker for no charge to keep your stuff in while on the ride. Jet lag really kicking in got disoriented during ride so couldn’t do it a second time.

    On way out of park walked through Princess Castle noticed persons climbing stairs that wind upwards from the inside, wind blowing through castle too tired and cold to attempt climb. Took taxi back to airport and retrieved luggage from locker. On way to airport noticed lots of very tall apartment buildings looked like stereotype communist terrible place to live.

    We weren’t interested in Soaring, and wished we could have seen some shows and viewed the outdoor sights, but on the plus side we did most of the best rides in a short period of time.

    There is free wifi at the Shanghai airport and had a hard time getting access code finally found it taped to the front of a machine that you are supposed to scan your passport to get code electronically.