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Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resort


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Over the last two weeks I had the opportunity to experience my first entirely new Disney theme parks in over a decade... This time for my honeymoon! Over ten years ago I visited Japan for a short term study abroad trip with my high school (one of several). During that trip I was able to experience Tokyo DisneySea (albeit briefly), a theme park that amazed me with its unique offerings and unbroken visual design dripping with detail in every direction. I've long since dreamed of returning to this place (and to Tokyo) and I have always hoped to do so with my eventual wife. Luckily enough about a year and a half ago as we were planning our wedding, she told me that she had an idea for our honeymoon--a trip that would span the Disney Parks of the world. And while we didn't end up planning as broad of a trip this time around, we were able to finagle a two week trip that encompassed 2.5 days at the Shanghai Disney Resort, 4 days at the Tokyo Disney Resort and four additional days to explore various parts of Tokyo. During these two weeks the two of us took roughly 7000 photos that, after lots of time spent whittling down, we've found some worth sharing.

 

This trip report will be broken down by the specific resorts (and our time in Tokyo) and will have multiple installments given the volume of photos. If you've read any of my previous photo trip reports, especially those taken in the Disney parks, my focus is often on the little details found where the normal guests don't look.

 

Diving right in was our start at Shanghai Disneyland and the Shanghai Disney Resort. We opted to stay at the Toy Story Hotel due to the lesser cost and the fact that we didn't plan to be in the hotel much since we wanted to get everything in the park done. The hotel was honestly really nice! The rooms were smaller than the Western standard, but given that it had a comfortable bed, a sizable shower/tub and a safe, that wasn't a concern for us. The theming inside was cute and the amount of theming was equivalent to that of which you'd find in the Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World. The hotel's onsite dining options were all better than expected and the guest service we experienced throughout was definitely a highlight of our time in Shanghai.

 

Moving on to Shanghai Disneyland, it is important to note that this is the first Disney theme park built in over a decade (the last Disney park to open was Walt Disney Studios Park Paris). This park was designed to be "authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese" and it definitely feels like a departure from the previous standards of a castle park. The America-inspired/infused Main Street USA has been swapped for a character-infused Mickey Avenue at the entrance of the park. Adventureland has been replaced with Adventure Isle and Treasure Cove, two unique lands with some of the most unique experiences Disney has ever developed. Fantasyland hosts modern takes on classic attractions with new ride systems and repurposed ones used for new themes. Tomorrowland breaks the mold with a non-traditional coaster experience (one that this particular fan has been drooling over since it was first announced), the best shooting dark ride Disney has ever developed, an abstract approach to the Astro Orbiter and an area design that takes cues from the underrated film of the same name to create a multi-level visual experience unlike anything Disney has done before. The traditional castle has been beefed up, filled with some of the best castle offerings from other parks around the world and plussed with the addition of a unique boat ride that weaves through Fantasyland and underneath the castle.

 

The bottom line is, this park is modern Disney. It is designed to distinguish itself which it does--and then some. A week and a half after I left, I'm still processing all that I saw and experienced.

 

From an experience standpoint, I'm not going to dive deep into some of the less positive things that the park has gotten some publicity form. Some of the things reported have been true. Some of the things reported we didn't experience during our visit. Different cultures handle foreign products and processes differently and while there has been some incompatibility reported, I truly believe that given time, the experience will level out. As a Disney fan, I don't regret visiting the park and I would still recommend it to others like me.

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Our first look at Mickey from inside of the Guest Relations area outside of the park.

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There's plenty of comic relief.

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This is a very different kind of Disney stage shown than you've seen before...

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But for that reason, it actually works quite well!

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The transformation of the stage is a really neat moment.

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There's something special about seeing Jack Sparrow floating in the middle of a twister!

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Few have encountered an F5 and lived to tell the tale...

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We started our first morning at the Toy Story Hotel with some unique breakfast options... A Sausage Roll, a Mickey Blueberry Muffin, Pineapple Bread and Blueberry Gatorade (remember, Shanghai Disneyland has an agreement with Pepsi Co. unlike the rest of the parks that are partnered with Coca-Cola.

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The entrance of the park features a new take on the traditional train station, even though the park does not currently have a railroad.

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Shanghai Disneyland offers "Premier Access" as a purchasable Fastpass option. Roughly $70 for a set of seven attractions, this is without a doubt the best way to experience the park's major attractions. Given the capacity of the park and the popularity associated, wait times for most attractions exceed 60 minutes (at minimum) with some hitting peaks of 280 minutes.

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Enchanted Storybook Castle represents the royalty of Disney lore as opposed to the traditional approach of having the castle belong to one princess alone. Inside you have a castle walkthrough experience (akin to the ones found in California and Tokyo), a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (like the one at Walt Disney World) and a restaurant. Out front is a stage for daytime shows and a viewing space for the fireworks/laser/water/projection show "Ignite the Dream." A signature boat ride starting in Fantasyland has its finale in a cave beneath the castle as well. Overall this is a massive complex!

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The entrance portal for Treasure Cove...

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Wise words...

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The pre-show space for The Eye of the Storm show at Shanghai Disneyland is way bigger than I expected... And the experience is a clever one.

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The conceit of the show is that actors are performing a retelling of a Jack Sparrow story...

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Fastpass is a must in this park!

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Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue is easily the best version of the classic attraction. Physical sets with embedded digital targets!

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The snack game at Shanghai Disneyland was on point! Potato Gems with Pork Floss and Jumbo Spring Rolls in Tomorrowland for the win!

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The guests chosen to be Grand Marshalls of the Storybook Express parade drive along the parade route in a very nice looking Chevrolet!

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A neat way to see the characters start the parade!

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The lead float of Mickey's Storybook Express parade features Casey Jr., Dumbo, one of the birds from Pixar's "For the Birds" & Donald Duck.

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Hiya Donald!

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The Seven Dwarfs...

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The Toy Story float is quite nice!

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Lots of neat details to be found on the Tangled float!

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Flynn Rider and Rapunzel!

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A nod to Tom Staggs?

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These characters serve as the lead in for the Finding Nemo float.

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Nigel!

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The Frozen float is wonderful!

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There's a full size Marshmallow!

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The Mulan float garnered the strongest reaction from the crowd...

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And I'm in love with those embedded flamethrowers!

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The final float of the parade appears to be used for a rotational character spotlight (in the front), currently showing off Judy and Nick.

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Neat to see the Zootopia characters in the parade!

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Very different views to take in while riding this version of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster...

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Dive! Dive! Dive!

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Slightly different than the one at the Magic Kingdom in Florida...

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Dopey makes a surprise last appearance at the end of the ride...

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I'm just going to leave this here...

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We tried the Roasted Duck Pizza and the Grilled Eel with Rice during our visit to the Pinocchio Village Kitchen.

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The eel was my favorite!

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Tarzan: Call of the Jungle features setup similar to a theater-in-the-round minus one side of seating.

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The Tarzan: Call of the Jungle show features a more abstract take on the film's story, adding in acrobatics and stunts along the way.

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On Mickey Avenue the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf have businesses adjacent to each other...

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Neat to see something I saw as a maquette at the last D23 Expo brought to life in person.

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Any Lambert fans out there?

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Some notable beards and mustaches...

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Nice!

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The entrance to Club 33 from Mickey Avenue in Shanghai Disneyland...

Edited by jedimaster1227
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(continued)

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The interior door to Club 33 as seen from Mickey Avenue.

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It was my first time seeing Stitch Encounter, and while the experience was in Mandarin, I was able to get the gist of it!

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At the end of the experience you help lead Stitch through a maze of corridors to escape Captain Gantu!

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The Tron Realm Chevrolet Digital Challenge space is absolutely gorgeous.

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I experienced sensory overload in here!

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I'm in love with this area design!

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Star Wars Launch Bay is tucked in the back of Tomorrowland behind Tron...

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It's like I'm in the Millennium Falcon!

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The Magic Passport is one of the neatest souvenirs I've seen in these parks. You enter your booklet into the machine only to have it automagically "stamped" with an image that matches the page... And half of the fun is finding the machines throughout the park. This would definitely be fun to see in the US parks!

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BB-Great!

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Poe's X-Wing is parked inside!

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The queue for Stitch Encounter features some neat artwork of Stitch's experiences while in Asia...

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*drools*

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Test Track fans may recognize this one...

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There was even a photo op car for guests to sit in on the Grid!

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Tron Realm included a ton of interactive games and exhibits--I just wish I had more time to experience all of them!

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I could get used to this...

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And by 2021, it appears I'll be able to now that it will be at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World!

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Marvel Universe is set up as an indoor pavilion, much like Star Wars Launch Bay.

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I jumped at the chance to meet Marvel characters in the park--something that I had yet to do in Florida!

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THWIP!

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The Hall of Armor in Marvel Universe.

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The Enchanted Storybook Castle looks great from any angle!

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The evening lighting was gorgeous!

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Ready for some fireworks!

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Time to Ignite the Dream!

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Tron looks glorious at night!

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Yep, I'll enjoy having this close to home.

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Some notable horses' shoes on the wall in the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean...

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Details...

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More details...

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The Dead Man's Chest in the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.

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Guests queueing for Pirates can see riders float by...

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A full map of Treasure Cove can be hidden along the edge of Fort Snobbish!

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This is a theme park! Incredible!

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The neat mural in the queue for Voyage to the Crystal Grotto helps to tell the story of the attraction...

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The modern-day evolution of the Storybookland Canal Boats at Disneyland, riders sail past moving displays inspired by classic Disney animated films. The dioramas sport unique water elements that sync with the music to create a "show scene" at each stop.

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The beginning of the scene leads into...

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The reveal of the Genie in the Aladdin scene, which is pretty neat!

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I believe this was meant to be the "it's a small world" inspired scene.

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The Sorcerer's Apprentice!

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Tangled!

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Mulan drew several cheers from our boat!

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The Little Mermaid!

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Great First Part of your Honeymoon, Adam! I'm still a bit iffy about going to Shanghai Disneyland, but all your photos sure make it very tempting, lol.

 

And CONGRATULATIONS on your new marriage! Best wishes to you both, and happiness for always.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your trip, especially those times in Tokyo Disney Resort!

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Great start to your trip report, Adam! I'm really looking forward to visiting this park myself. And, like you, I think it'll be great to have Tron down in Florida.

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  • 4 weeks later...

(Continued)

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At the end of the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto guests may spot a few familiar vessels...

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Up to no good...

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A look at the Enchanted Storybook Castle from the exit of Voyage to the Crystal Grotto...

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Looking down on the Alice in Wonderland Maze from inside of Fantasyland.

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This is in a theme park!

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The entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure...

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And the ride's poster art.

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I love this sign!

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When I see this I can't help but Robb talking about glutinous rice in Coaster Expeditions Vol. 7.

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Despite being a land inspired by Pirates of the Caribbean, there are other hidden references to be found throughout Treasure Cove...

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Mickey loves Minnie.

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A reference to the Silly Symphonies short, The Skeleton Dance.

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Tia Dalma's home in Treasure Cove...

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But Tia Dalma is nowhere to be found.

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But you can look into her home to spot some familiar imagery.

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Fort Snobbish is the setting for Treasure Cove in Shanghai Disneyland...

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The signage found throughout Treasure Cove is absolutely top notch!

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Fitting.

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Get it?

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Hah!

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If I must...

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Barbossa's Bounty is the land's main eatery... Unlike the Blue Bayou in Anaheim and Tokyo and Captain Jack's Restaurant in Paris, Barbossa's Bounty is a quick service venue with a view of the ride path for Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.

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I had a whole cooked squid... From a quick service restaurant... In a theme park. So freaking awesome (and delicious)!

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Premier Access was a lifesaver on this trip!

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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a carbon copy of the Walt Disney World version of the ride--you can even see in the queue how the ride's building has the traditional flat front of the Florida Fantasyland.

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A very familiar sight for these Floridian eyes...

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Instead of the Mad Tea Party, Shanghai Disneyland has Hunny Pot Spin.

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For the love of Larry...

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Enjoy!

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A look at the Tangled Tree Tavern.

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This theater in Fantasyland hosts "For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along like the one found at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show is extremely popular making the lines a little too long than we had the time to spare.

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See what I mean?

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And we're... Moving on.

 

(No, we didn't buy any ponchos from her.)

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The entrance of Voyage to the Crystal Grotto...

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And the marquee.

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I could stare at this ceiling all day.

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No, really.

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Tangled...

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The Princess and the Frog...

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Brave...

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Frozen...

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The entrance to Adventure Isle...

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Shanghai Disney Resort bamboo sippers!

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I love this view from within Adventure Isle!

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I have a keychain featuring this little guy!

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Q'araq's presence is felt throughout Adventure Isle.

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Roaring Rapids was quite the popular attraction during our visit...

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(Continued)

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Shanghai's signage game is on point!

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Soaring over the Horizon garners the longest wait time of any attraction in the park (Tron Lightcycle Power Run is the most popular attraction in the park).

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Soaring, not Soarin'.

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Since we used our Premier Access passes to get on to Soaring Over the Horizon we had a limited view of the gorgeous milky way effect in the queue.

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Instead of your Chief Flight Attendant Patrick, we have this condor-lady/shaman who acts as your guide.

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The preshow is a beat-for-beat recreation of the classic Soarin' preshow video but with characters and costumes that match this ride's unique storyline. This scene is Shanghai's version of the "and of course, these little beauties" line.

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"Nice work pal!"

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Also unique is the milky way-style screensaver that displays during the ride load and unload process. The film itself is a copy of the one found in Anaheim and Orlando, with the exception of the finale scene taking place over metropolitan Shanghai at night instead of Disneyland or Epcot.

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Camp Discovery is full of hidden details to be found!

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Subtly tied to the Society of Adventurers and Explorers, also tied to the Adventurers Club.

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A look at all there is to see in Camp Discovery.

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The Camp Discovery Challenge Trail is one of the most unique attractions to ever be built in a Disney Park, and one that I doubt will ever make its way stateside, in any form.

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The ropes trail has guests climbing around interior waterfall ledges inside of the mountain of Adventure Isle.

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Around the mountain various paths provide clues as to the Isle's previous inhabitants.

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And a tie-in to Soaring Over the Horizon.

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I give credit for someone pulling off the following name jokes...

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Like this one.

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And this one.

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There's a Horizons reference!

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And the Yeti from Expedition Everest!

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This officially ties Expedition Everest to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers!

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Could it be?

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull (as found at Tokyo DisneySea) is now also tied to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers!

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These challenge trails are awesome!

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The Fantasia Carousel in the Gardens of Imagination is uniquely beautiful but unfortunately we ran out of time to ride it ourselves.

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So many neat references!

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You had me at patisserie.

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Yes please!

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YES PLEASE!

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SOLD!

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It was neat seeing this in person after seeing miniature maquettes of these at the D23 Expo two years ago...

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Ha!

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The deed to Toad Hall is hanging in the window!

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A tribute to Walt...

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Flower Street is a notable location for the Walt Disney Company, so it was nice to see this nod here in the park.

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Brilliant!

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I love this display!

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So many references!

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All kinds of awesome.

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Enchanted Storybook Castle looks fantastic at night!

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Throwback!

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Mickey Avenue's main shop, akin to the Main Street Emporium in the other parks.

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The detail work on these buildings is incredible!

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Scrooge McDuck's bank!

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The stained glass!

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Time to start heading out for the night...

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We visited Shanghai Disneyland only a few days after the official first anniversary of the resort began.

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Classic.

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See ya real soon with even more photos from the Shanghai Disney Resort, and beyond that, lots of photos of the Tokyo Disney Resort and Japan!

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The more I see of Shanghai Disneyland, the more I like it.

Agreed. Now do I make the trip, or wait for the closer parks to catch up? Like Robb says, I would not be apposed to them replacing PoTC at Disneyland with the Shanghai version.

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  • 2 weeks later...

(Continued)

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This is such a unique entry statement for Shanghai Disneyland!

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Just beyond the gates of Shanghai Disneyland is Disneytown, home to a variety of shops and restaurants including the main Disney store, World of Disney.

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The interior is designed to carry the feel of a classic train station.

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With some modern touches, of course.

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There is some really neat art embedded in the ceiling within World of Disney.

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The Disneytown logo.

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BreadTalk, a quick service bakery and eatery ended up being our favorite place for food in the entire resort.

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We ended up eating here three times in our 2.5 days at the resort!

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Disneytown's LEGO Store.

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Some unique LEGO sculptures adorn the building when compared to the ones found at LEGO Stores attached to other Disney destinations.

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The Disneytown space is small but spread out to accommodate the normally large crowds that flow in and out of the adjacent park.

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Some very unique brands not found in any other Downtown Disney can be found in Disneytown.

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Disney POP was a new store that I hadn't seen elsewhere!

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Trend-D is actually a part of the resort's World of Disney but this brand should be familiar with fans of Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.

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D Street is another store that is actually a part of World of Disney but the store is also found at the Walt Disney world Resort and at the Do

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The Boathouse is here in Shanghai too!

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Shame we didn't get to try it but it was nice to see our Florida favorite on the other side of the world.

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There was this awesome geek store on the Lakeview side of Disneytown that was a haven for Star Wars and Marvel fans.

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Some really neat displays for a store.

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The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel as seen from Disneytown.

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The next morning we visited the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel to check out the ground.

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Some neat entry pieces.

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This lobby is absolutely grand!

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The entrance statue inside of the lobby.

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These light fixtures on the lobby ceiling are gorgeous!

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I could stare at this hallway for quite some time!

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This garden area at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is used for Disney Fairytale Weddings in Shanghai.

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And the wedding pavilion...

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A pretty magnificent view to enjoy as a guest here.

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So much on the horizon to take in!

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Tron and Disneytown across the way.

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Adventure Isle off in the distance.

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Treasure Cove can be seen too.

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The Lakeview side of Disneytown...

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There's a hidden fairy that can be seen slightly to the right corner of this glass lotus fountain.

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The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel also features a water play area for younger guests to enjoy.

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This is arguably the most brilliant lounge theme Disney has come up with.

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A look at the Bacchus Lounge.

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The Ballet Cafe takes its cues from the classic Fantasia sequence...

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And also ties into the Fantasia Carousel found inside of the park.

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Some gorgeous artwork inside.

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And look at this spread!

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A very different menu of breakfast options.

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I love this!

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A look inside of Lumiere's Kitchen restaurant at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.

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The hotel has an indoor pool themed to The Little Mermaid!

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The entrance to Lumiere's Kitchen restaurant...

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The entrance of the Toy Story Hotel (where we stayed) sets the stage that you're entering the Toy Story Hotel-themed toybox.

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Pretty clever if you ask me!

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The Shanghai Disney Resort had just begun its 1st Year Anniversary celebration a few days before we arrived and throughout the resort you could find signs about the celebration.

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(Continued)

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I love the Toy Story Hotel's take on the one year anniversary (Summer Celebration)!

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The Guest Services desk at the Toy Story Hotel features these large marbles that guests of all ages can play with.

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Woody and Bullseye tower over one of the two courtyards at the Toy Story Hotel.

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The inside of the resort is modesty themed as well.

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This was the look of shock and awe on my face during my first ride on Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. This is easily my favorite Disney ride ever and one that I would argue is the best Disney has ever built.

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Tron Lightcycle Power Run was another favorite for us--one that I cannot wait to see open in Florida in just a few years!

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More desserts from BreadTalk!

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And dinner at BreadTalk too!

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Back in the LEGO Store at Disneytown we found some unique art pieces designed just for Shanghai Disney.

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The classic Disney LEGO dragon continues to make his traditional appearance at each LEGO Store at a Disney destination.

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The Avengers!

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Time for some Roaring Rapids!

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Up we go!

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You get a great view of the part from the top of the lift hill!

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Down we go!

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I couldn't get a good photo of Q'uaraq but he was really cool to see! Roaring Rapids was a fun ride for sure!

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I had to go back for more!

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The queue is built to handle hours worth of lines.

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If only Kevin Flynn were around to see what his creation had become...

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This queue provides an excellent amount of buildup to the ride by allowing you to watch trains launch out of the station.

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The design aesthetics of this ride are unparalleled.

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The queue monitors use the same glassless 3-D tech as you find in the Test Track queue at Epcot.

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Simple but incredibly effective!

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Meet your opponents.

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Rinzler or Tron? You decide.

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I love this design element!

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A look at the rider position...

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And the lightcycles themselves.

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More food at BreadTalk!

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A mooncake for added protein back at the Toy Story Hotel!

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure starts off with a talking Jolly Roger, like the classic attractions did/do.

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Similar to passing the Blue Bayou restaurant in other versions of the ride, you pass the seating area for Barbossa's Bounty at the start of this ride.

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A new take on the classic gag from the other rides.

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The introduction of Jack Sparrow in the ride is an incredibly neat effect!

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If anyone remembers the Jack Sparrow attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios, that attraction's effects served as a pre-curser and proof of concept for many of the effects used in this ride.

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For anyone that claims to have an issue with screen based media, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure manages to use this technology on a level not accomplished anywhere else.

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The detail on this solid projected surface is incredibly rich and deep, giving it a fully three dimensional feel that makes it feel not like you're watching a screen but as if you're moving through a physical set piece.

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The introduction of the Kraken in the media is quite effective.

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The mix of physical sets and projected media is unparalleled.

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This massive room is layered in a way that details can be seen with the full frame of view and dissected more closely as you move throughout the room.

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Passing The Flying Dutchman up close is a highlight of the ride.

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The ride does feature several fantastic animatronics of characters found in the popular film franchise.

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The first animatronic of Davy Jones and they absolutely nailed it!

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This scene is incredibly effective!

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The often pictured scene of the ride but there's so much more to it than just floating between these two ships.

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Screen media is hidden amongst the ship to allow Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones to interact as you pass by.

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The climax of the ride features a Musion set piece where Jack and Davy Jones' duel triggers the movement of physical and digital set pieces before you are blasted backwards out of the battle.

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At Shanghai Disneyland they have a Mickey Bar and a Minnie Bar!

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The Minnie Bar has white chocolate-covered strawberry ice cream and the Mickey Bar has milk chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream with chocolate ice cream ears.

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Barbossa's Bounty features several portraits of notable characters from the films...

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(Continued)

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Some of which are actually pirates...

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Others less so...

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Some even fighting for the other side.

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The signage throughout Treasure Cove is incredibly detailed!

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I am absolutely in love with this!

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Even more cleverness!

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Sold!

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Some clever details in Treasure Cove.

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I'm a bad pirate.

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The map featured in At World's End is found in Treasure Cove where you can rotate the pieces to find the path to several mythical treasures.

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I didn't have to give an arm to get to Shanghai Disneyland, but I did give a leg.

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The Snackin' Kraken is built with driftwood, much of which was chosen because it resembled the tentacles of a kraken.

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This area will eventually be a part of Toy Story Land.

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The RC Racer coaster was already under construction during our visit but is much farther along now...

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A closer look.

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I love this entry sign!

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The Big Hero 6 workout show in Tomorrowland was pretty cute!

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I loved seeing designs from the Tomorrowland film being used for the attraction signage in Shanghai.

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I went back several times during this trip!

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The Alice in Wonderland Maze was a totally new experience for us...

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The entrance scrolls tell the story of the attraction for anyone that needs a refresher...

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More details...

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And more...

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And the end.

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You can choose three potential paths to begin with.

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A look at the Enchanted Storybook Castle from inside of the Alice in Wonderland Maze.

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Beware the Bandersnatch.

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It was neat to see something in person that I had seen in small-form maquettes at the D23 Expo a few years earlier.

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Take the tunnel!!!

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The money shot.

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This thing is massive!

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"There's always a toilet nearby!!!"

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And so our time at the Shanghai Disney Resort came to a close... We had a great visit and we were very glad we made the trip while we were out in Asia! Next up was our time at the Tokyo Disney Resort, where one park I hadn't seen in over 10 years and the other would be entirely new for me.

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Yeah, I need to visit this place--the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is reason enough.

Ditto. I'll brave the unhealthy air quality in Shanghai for this ride, any day. It looks amazing.

 

Meh, the air in Shanghai is just like LA. Beijing (and some of the lesser visited industrial cities) is where you can see, smell, and feel the air you're breathing in! I'll never forget our 2012 visit I was so happy KT wasn't there as it felt like I was breathing air through a charcoal brick!

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Excellent TR and photos! Looks like you had an awesome visit.

 

I've seen many photos/videos of the Q'araq recently where the animatronic appears to be broken down (like EE's Yeti). Were you able to see it working live? If so, how was the effect? I'm wondering how accurate they can get the motion of the animatronic with a raft ride since the position/time of the raft is more unpredictable than a ride vehicle.

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Yeah, I need to visit this place--the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is reason enough.

Ditto. I'll brave the unhealthy air quality in Shanghai for this ride, any day. It looks amazing.

 

Meh, the air in Shanghai is just like LA. Beijing (and some of the lesser visited industrial cities) is where you can see, smell, and feel the air you're breathing in! I'll never forget our 2012 visit I was so happy KT wasn't there as it felt like I was breathing air through a charcoal brick!

 

Yes, the air in Shanghai was OK. But I'm convinced that the pollution in Beijing screwed up my camera. Some residue got into the lens compartment, and I was getting these occasional, annoying brown smudges on my pictures. It all started in Beijing.

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  • 2 months later...

After our time at Shanghai Disneyland it was time to head to the Tokyo Disney Resort... I had been to Tokyo DisneySea eleven years earlier, but I had never been to Tokyo Disneyland. And this trip would be the first time for my wife to visit either, so this was also an incredible experience for us to share together. And since my last visit to Tokyo DisneySea all of those years earlier, several significant changes had also taken place. With four days at our disposal versus my one previous half day, there was an abundance of time for us to take in the insane level of detail across these two parks and to try as much of the park offerings as possible during our stay.

 

We began our time at Disney with our first day at Tokyo DisneySea...

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We stayed at the Sheraton Tokyo Bay which is accessible to all of the Tokyo Disney Resort via the monorail. Our travel day between Shanghai and Tokyo presented the opportunity to have dinner in Ikspiari, the resort's unique take on Downtown Disney.

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This is somehow a theme park.

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Mysterious Island is one of the most incredible themed lands ever created for a theme park.

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This queue structure continues to mesmerize me years later.

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I remember shortly after getting back from Tokyo on my last trip, reading Robb & Elissa's report from Tokyo that year, and realizing that I missed out on trying a Gyoza Dog during my trip. I made up for it this time around...

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Aquatopia is still the most nonsensical, awesome attraction out there.

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There's a full size cruise ship docked inside of the park. How is this real life?

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Ikspiari has a fantastic Disney Store with a great selection of merchandise not found inside of the parks.

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Ikspiari Kitchen presented an opportunity to have some authentic, fresh Japanese cuisine early into this portion of the trip. And like I was eleven years earlier, I was back in my personal paradise!

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Since my last visit saw us bussed in to Tokyo DisneySea, I never had the chance to ride the monorail before now... And this time around, I was really happy to get the chance.

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Unfortunately due to the time we had available to take this trip, the only dates available for us to visit Tokyo Disney included some where major attractions were closed for refurbishment. Journey into the Center of the Earth was only set to be open on the first day of our time in the parks, so the decision was made for us to start our trip with Tokyo DisneySea (I wasn't going to complain) just so we could get a few rides in before it closed.

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These elevators put the memory of the Hydrolators to shame.

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This queue is more heavily themed than most rides I've ever been on.

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The lava monster is still my favorite animatronic in existence!

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Mysterious Island is the centerpiece of the park and there is hardly any direction you can look where you miss the volcano.

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It is just so photogenic!

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Mysterious Island as seen from Mermaid Lagoon.

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The Arabian Coast is another one of the very unique ports found in DisneySea.

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The Magic Lamp Theater is home to a really neat 4D theater show with an equally awesome pre-show. No photos allowed in either beyond this but I really enjoyed it!

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The last time I was here Sinbad was closed for refurbishment, so this was the first time I had the chance to ride.

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Sinbad is a unique boat ride that tells the story of Sinbad's adventures to the tune of a single song that spans the length of the ride without deviating far from the lyrics between scenes.

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The best comparison to be made from a musical standpoint would be "it's a small world" in how the song transcends the individual scene of the ride.

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There are tons of animatronic characters throughout the duration of the ride.

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Chandu is Sinbad's pet tiger and an absolutely adorable sidekick for his journeys.

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So many awesome animatronics inside!

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The scenes are intensely detailed!

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And the giant is incredible!

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"Compass Of Your Heart" unseats "it's a small world" and "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" as the most infectious theme park ride tune in existence.

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The scene with the Monkey King is filled with the scent of fresh bananas!

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Pro Tip: If you do not speak Japanese, many of the attractions in the Tokyo Disney Resort offer "Story Cards" that explain the plot or details of the ride/show experience. Sinbad was one of the attractions featured and the story card provided us with the full details of the ride's story (scene by scene) including the English translation of the lyrics for Compass of Your Heart!

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Easily my favorite Disney dark ride of its kind!

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I was eager to try Japanese Curry during our visit and I was not disappointed!

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We visited Tokyo Disney during the Tanabata Days festival, which allowed us to try some really delicious speciality items like this dessert featuring a custard topped with whipped cream and blue raspberry jelly. And we got to keep the souvenir cup!

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I can never stop marveling at how incredible Mysterious Island is.

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Queue envy.

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Just thankful we were able to ride it three times before it closed for refurbishment.

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Funny story: I had never been overly fond of the music from the former fireworks show Wishes at Magic Kingdom in Florida, to the point that I was excited to see the show go away to welcome Happily Ever After. For our mini-moon, we went out to Disneyland and sure enough, we saw "Remember, Dreams Come True" which also features the same theme of Wishes briefly in the show. After that I thought I had finally escaped...

 

As we were walking through the Mediterranean Harbor an upbeat version of the song played across the water. It turns out that the character greeting float was playing some variation of the song. Even on the other side of the globe, the song followed me.

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Tower of Terror was one of my favorite experiences from my visit in 2006 (the ride had just opened before we visited that year) and the ride's story and setting is one I prefer over that of Florida's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. I have since argued that with the Tokyo theme adapted to the Florida ride system/layout, the ride would be perfect.

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Easily one of my favorite Disney rides in existence. Shiriki is the best!

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Stella Lou had just arrived at Tokyo Disney before our trip, so a daily welcome parade was set up to show her off!

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The last time I was in the Mermaid Lagoon Theater the show featured here was very different. This time around we could barely understand the show, but we were enamored with the theater effects and the many moving set pieces. No photography allowed in the show unfortunately!

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While waiting for Fantasmic we decided to grab a nosh, so we tried some Curry Bread (DELICIOUS), a chocolate biscotti and the Little Green Men mochi bites (these were bliss).

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This is how you make a volcano in a theme park erupt... Here's looking at you Volcano Bay.

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The sun begins to set on the Mediterranean Harbor...

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I'm in love.

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I never want to leave.

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This is inside of a theme park. INSANE.

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Fantasmic was incredibly different from those offered stateside.

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The core story is very similar but the execution is very different thanks to the show being offered on the water in a near "theater in the round" setting.

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I had forgotten from watching videos of the show in the past that these projection globes were also part of the show. Kind of like a flashback to Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular.

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The magic mirror effect is pretty great!

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And the introduction of the dragon is wonderful!

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I only noticed when looking through my photos that the dragon's claws were projected on the mist screens.

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Overall I really liked the show a lot! It was a great way to cap off our day in the park before heading out...

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It was my goal to visit every major Disney resort hotel in Shanghai and Tokyo while we were on this trip so on this night we stopped into the Hotel Miracosta, where I found this beauty.

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Neat to read the official dedication from Michael Eisner all these years later...

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The Hotel Miracosta is a beautiful place!

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And I'm absolutely in love with this!

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We called it a night and hopped the monorail back to the Sheraton to get some rest, knowing that our next day at Tokyo Disneyland would be a long one...

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