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Robb & Elissa in Asia - 2016!


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I can't decide if I like the Shanghai Disneyland hotel or not, it looks really nice but something about it just doesn't feel like a typical Disney hotel. Again this is strictly my perception from behind a computer from a few thousand miles away but I can't really describe it. Pictures of it kind of remind me more of a cruise ship than a deluxe resort property.

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Wonderful photos! I actually felt like I was 'up there' - looking straight down from the top of the Shanghai Tower. It gave me a poignant chill, remembering that similar feeling I first had when taking friends to Windows on the World at the Twin Towers. The rivers winding below the Shanghai Tower had that same feel of NYC's Hudson River and East River flowing way, way below us.

 

Thanks for sharing such magnificent shots! Enjoy your holiday!

 

Alice

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FYI - Please do not take our photos from our Twitter feed and re-post them to this trip report. This is our trip report to write, not anyone else's. Please be patient and we will post the photos when we are ready to do the next installment of our report. It's great if you guys want to follow along live on our socials, but please wait for us to post the pics to this thread when are ready to.

 

Thanks for your understanding.

 

--Robb

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I can't decide if I like the Shanghai Disneyland hotel or not, it looks really nice but something about it just doesn't feel like a typical Disney hotel. Again this is strictly my perception from behind a computer from a few thousand miles away but I can't really describe it. Pictures of it kind of remind me more of a cruise ship than a deluxe resort property.

 

 

does this mean you think it is missing "the opening act" ?

 

 

I actually think the "antisepticness" of it (to use that term incorrectly). . .adds to the charm. I like that it's SO different than what you'd see in the States. . .I'd just imagine more "bustle" around a lobby in the USA.

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^haha stop it with all that opening act nonsense. I guess I'm just comparing it in my mind to the Disneyland Hotels in Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, and I get that Shanghai didn't go with the typical Victorian theme and opted for the more European style art nouveau but the exterior just doesn't seems nearly as interesting. Again this is all based on pictures from a thousand miles away so maybe it feels different in person.

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So we have just spent two days at Shanghai Disneyland. If you have followed along on our Twitter feed you will notice that we have been quite impressed with a lot of what the park has to offer. But it's not a perfect park. Let me explain...

 

First, I think it's important that I talk a bit about China first and what it's like for a "Western" tourist coming to the country. And I know that it's important to be respectful of other cultures because not everyone is the same as ours, and I *DO* respect it, but that doesn't always mean I have to *LIKE* it. If you've familiar with France, you'll know what I mean by when I say the Chinese can sometimes be difficult people to interact with. They don't have the same personal space bubble that we are used to, their demeanor comes off a lot more brash, they often are very snippy with each other to the point of being rude, and some of the challenges of visiting China, for example the "great firewall", people peeing in public even in the middle of ride queues (yes we saw this several times), etc, are present in every day life. And that makes even a theme park visit to be more frustrating than you would like it.

 

Our first day at the park, the place was PACKED. I mean, seriously freaking packed with 165 min waits for some attractions. While we were able to get Fast Passes and didn't have to wait for a lot of attraction and managed to get quite a few rides in that day, it wasn't without some extreme frustrations that come with visiting China. There was a lot of pushing, shoving, yelling and screaming from both guests and cast members, many situations to each other, and overall the level of stress and frustration was high. The park on Monday was like, and if you have ever been to Orlando during certain times of the year you'll know what I mean by this, like being in a park with 50,000 Brazilian tour groups. Let's just say it was a struggle to have a hassle-free day and the annoyances from minor to serious are real.

 

Now, that all being said, our next day, the park was practically empty! And it was AWESOME! While there were still some of the "China" frustrations, it was much less and we really did have a fantastic day! Now I get that ANY park in the world will have a certain level of frustration on a very busy day, but in China, there are layers that just make it a lot worse. Overall, Shanghai Disneyland does suffer from the same issues Disneyland Paris has where that it's a FANTASTIC, BEAUTIFUL, CREATIVELY IMPRESSIVE park, but suffers from clientele and some operational issues, mostly due to the location in which the park is built.

 

That being said... OMG! What a FANTASTIC park! I'll post lots of photos below (this report will most likely be in two parts so please be patient) but WOW the park is just amazing. Their two stand-out attractions, Pirates and Tron are two of the best Disney rides I've ever been on! They are right up there with the likes of Tower of Terror, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Pooh's Hunny Hunt, Space Mountain, Test Track, Phantom Manor, Indiana Jones, etc. Absolutely INSTANT CLASSICS!

 

And they have a solid line-up of attractions behind those two: Buzz Lightyear and Peter Pan are easily the best of those attractions ever built, and of course Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Soarin' are also very popular attractions in the park as well.

 

Then there is the overall theming and landscaping. The castle is just ENORMOUS! OMG, it's crazy! The entire castle center area is like an attraction in itself (and it even houses two attractions: the Carousel and Dumbo!) Tomorrowland at night is just an explosion of impressive lighting. I don't think I've quite seen anything like it anywhere. The Pirates and Adventure Isle area also just breathtaking. You totally forget that you are in a theme park!

 

So to sum all this up: Shanghai Disneyland really is the next level, state-of-the-art Disney park with the only real disappointment being the location where it exists and that creating frustrating issues that makes it very difficult for Disney to offer the same high level of quality you are used to, but dammit they are trying as hard as they can!

 

Let's move on to some pictures, shall we? We'll start with part one of this report...

 

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We have just arrived at Shanghai Disneyland!

 

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Once again, Kristen can say she's been to every Disney park in the world!

 

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Going to hit up Pirates first!

 

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Dear Disney - Please replace all old versions of Pirates with Shanghai version. Don't listen to preservationist fanboys. They're insane. THX!

 

Dear Universal... *THIS* is how you do an attraction with screens & spraying water! No silly 3-D glasses required!

 

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Pirates ride system was insane. The ride goes forwards, backwards, sideways, does drops, etc. All while in the water! Was so impressed with this technology.

 

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In the "Never in America" department... the most insane ropes course we've ever seen!

 

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Tron was an absolutely visually stunning ride! Wow! Amazing effects! After my first ride, I thought it was just an "OK" coaster, but it grew on my later and I liked it much more by day two.

 

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Wow! Got a pic of Shanghai Disneyland's castle with blue skies and everything! This blue sky lasted maybe about 30 minutes!

 

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And just like that, the blue skies over are gone. Glad I got those pics when I did!

 

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The Alice maze is super cool! Love the steampunk influence!

 

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Pooh is just like the Orlando version. The world needs more Tokyo Pooh!!!

 

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The interior of the castle at Shanghai Disneyland is beautiful! Love the emphasis on the "modern classic" Disney films!

 

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Tron really had some of the best visuals I've ever seen on a roller coaster. Totally game changing!

 

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Taking a break from Shanghai Disneyland for lunch at The Boathouse in Disneytown!

 

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We are back at the park for more Shanghai Disneyland fun!

 

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Some of the buildings you see to the right and left when you walk into Shanghai Disneyland!

 

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Currently getting lost in the Alice in Wonderland maze...

 

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Soarin' is like crack for these people. This is a short line! lol

 

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Tomorrowland looks amazing at night!

 

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Tron at night stole the show in Tomorrowland! Photo by Hanno

 

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The nighttime castle projection/fireworks show was also impressive! Easily on par with "Once Upon A Time" at Tokyo Disneyland!

 

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Here's a few more pics of the amazing ropes course! Photos by Hanno

 

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Another look at the Tron Light Cycle coaster at Shanghai Disneyland! Photos Hanno

 

Tron at night is pretty impressive, isn't it?

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and we will end part one of this trip report with a POV video of Tron! Enjoy...

 

Click HERE for Day Two of our Shanghai Disneyland photos!

Edited by robbalvey
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I totally forgot there was a Soarin attraction at this park.

 

The castle there is incredible, I can't get enough of that thing. I wish magic Kingdom had a walk through attraction in the castle, that looks like such a simple but unique attraction.

 

Also, why is a version of that ropes course not at Animal Kingdom right now? Stop what you're doing with Avatar and Rivers of Light and get on building that thing, please and thank you .

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Some of our Chinese friends we've met up with the last couple days keep apologizing for the behavior we've witnessed a few times. As with Americans, they're not all poorly behaved but some things are just crazy. Like the Disney security yelling in Mandarin to hurry up when they opened a new security line resulting in people pushing and screaming and falling! One of our Chinese friends couldn't believe they kept telling people to hurry as it's so unsafe and they could have told people to calmly fill in the new line instead. I'll also never understand the peeing in public thing when there are nice restrooms everywhere.

 

I'm sure there are several cultures that feel we're super rude compared to them! (Looking at you Japan and Switzerland!)

 

Oh well, we still had a great time and will certainly be back again!

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I am on on board with swapping out cliff notes magic kingdom version of pirates for the Shanghai one. It looks incredible from start to finish and is a serious contender for worlds best dark ride.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the classic version of Pirates at all so the cliffs notes version is actually my favorite version because it gets it over with quicker. But that being said, this new version, which it's a shame it's impossible to sell how good it is on video, should absolutely replace the classic version. The insane fanboys would freak out at first, but I guarantee you people would soon forget about the "old and busted" Pirates when they see just how good this new ride is!

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Some of our Chinese friends we've met up with the last couple days keep apologizing for the behavior we've witnessed a few times. As with Americans, they're not all poorly behaved but some things are just crazy. Like the Disney security yelling in Mandarin to hurry up when they opened a new security line resulting in people pushing and screaming and falling! One of our Chinese friends couldn't believe they kept telling people to hurry as it's so unsafe and they could have told people to calmly fill in the new line instead. I'll also never understand the peeing in public thing when there are nice restrooms everywhere.

 

I'm sure there are several cultures that feel we're super rude compared to them! (Looking at you Japan and Switzerland!)

 

Oh well, we still had a great time and will certainly be back again!

I feel like this comment is one of the most important to remember. Reading some things about Shanghai has even started to make me feel superior subconsciously before having to take a step back. I always remind myself of my first year working in a park and witnessing a woman push her five year old into a push, telling him to pee. As soon as I saw it, I hurried over and pointed out the bathroom twenty feet away, but she ended up just yelling at me about how I didn't know what it's like to have kids.

 

All that aside, thank you for the great photos of an amazing park (I can't get enough of it), and I'm glad you were able to see past the few frustrating things and not let them ruin your visit. Your Trip Reports "tell it like it is" which is what makes me appreciate them.

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It sounds like Shanghai Disney on a busy day is very similar to the rest of China. I remember the general lack of personal space, lack manners and lack of common courtesy that many Chinese exhibited during my 3 weeks in China. It was not prevalent in upscale areas and the classier retail environments, but once you pulled back the curtain it was everywhere.

 

For those that don't realize there are still two classes of people in China with a great cultural divide between those who grew up in urban versus rural communities. Although many Chinese have moved (or were forced to move) from farms to factories, the new urban families have not quite forgotten and revert back to their their rural ways. During my three weeks in China I talked to the guides quite a bit, and many of them were embarrassed by the uncivilized half of the population that is flooding into urban areas. Many Chinese are still learning how the rest of the civilized world interacts and are a product of their culture. Many don't realize it is inappropriate to relieve yourself whenever you need too, they don't know the concept of waiting patiently (versus pushing), they don't understand the need to provide personal space, and the tonality of the language gives the signal that everyone are always yelling when sometimes they are not. Quite frankly when you are trying to relax on vacation those foibles are annoying and can ruin the magic.

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For those that don't realize there are still two classes of people in China with a great cultural divide between those who grew up in urban versus rural communities. Although many Chinese have moved (or were forced to move) from farms to factories, the new urban families have not quite forgotten and revert back to their their rural ways. During my three weeks in China I talked to the guides quite a bit, and many of them were embarrassed by the uncivilized half of the population that is flooding into urban areas. Many Chinese are still learning how the rest of the civilized world interacts and are a product of their culture. Many don't realize it is inappropriate to relieve yourself whenever you need too, they don't know the concept of waiting patiently (versus pushing), they don't understand the need to provide personal space, and the tonality of the language gives the signal that everyone are always yelling when sometimes they are not. Quite frankly when you are trying to relax on vacation those foibles are annoying and can ruin the magic.

 

This is 100% correct. We had our guide from our first two sightseeing days say the exact same thing to us and at Disney, we had quite a few cast members including management come us to us and try to explain and apologize for some of the Chinese behavior. It's the same thing with a lot of Brazilians I know. While I realize the entire culture doesn't behave like a Brazilian tour group at a theme park, often times my friends I have from Brazil will apologize for those groups because even they know they act horrible. And honestly, there are plenty of awful Americans, too (just go read social media for ten minutes) and I find myself having to apologize for the "Ugly Americans" when we travel abroad. Having to do it even more now thanks to our recent election results. :/

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Just wanted to echo what Robb and Larry have said. Many people from quickly developing nations like China and Brazil are simply not used to "western" ways (for lack of a better way to describe it). They grew up with a rural lifestyle, then all of a sudden development and money came their way and they are still adjusting to joining the "modern" world. Heck, when we were there in 2008, our guide explained how traveling was a luxury that required permits---so many citizens only know what the world is like from their own bubble.

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I really want to ride that new Pirates, it looks amazing, but not sure I can coax my wife away from HKDL for our bi-annual trip. I feel like the only two rides I really want to travel for are Pirates and Tron (and now the ropes thanks to this TR), but she's madly in love with HKDL and it's grown on me over the years ever since Grizzly and Mystic Manor I've enjoyed the line-up a lot more and with the additions coming soon I'm more excited for those than Shanghai's Toy Story Land.

 

She likes HKDL because now we have a very young son we won't get pushed and shoved since it always seems empty. Guessing crowded days at Shanghai are bad, did your Chinese friends say if it's normally more empty like your second day or was that just luck and normally the first day is the normal?

Edited by Garet
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