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Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy Holidays...or whatever else doesn’t offend you in 2018.

 

I made a trip back home to Minnesota for the holidays from Seoul, South Korea, where I’ve been living for the past seven years. I found a super-cheap flight on Delta from Shanghai that was $700 cheaper than a flight from Seoul, so I decided to swing by Shanghai on my way home for what would be my second visit to Shanghai. I first visited in 2013 and I have to say, I love being pushed outside of my comfort zone and I love adventures and all...but Beijing & Shanghai were a bit ‘too much’ for me after my first visit (I can only stand so much public urination/defecation, pushing, spitting indoors, line cutting, harassment from prostitutes, & scamming). Living in East Asia for almost seven years and doing a masters degree in a foreign country that doesn’t speak my native tongue has taught me to be very patient, open-minded, independent, responsible, and self-aware. Therefore, I decided to take another journey to Shanghai. I have to say, I had a much better time this time around and met some wonderful people there. It has been about 6 weeks since my visit so time to get this started!

 

First stop: Happy Valley Shanghai

 

I visited on Saturday, November 17th, 2018. After surviving the free shuttle bus (legit crazy airtime going over the numerous speed bumps) from the nearest train station (line 9 Sheehan Station...take the pedestrian bridge over the road to the free shuttle bus), I arrived at the front gate just before opening. I set my expectations low considering it was a Saturday and this park seems to operate their coasters on varying timetables, but I ended up having a great time at the park! It was dead! Seriously, most coasters and rides were a walk on or station wait. The longest wait I had was for Fireball. It was roughly a 5 or 6 train wait, but add in the mandatory stretch time before each dispatch (1 train btw) and it ended up being around a 20 minute wait. Fireball was definitely shaky, but manageable and full of lots of awkward side-airtime (7/10 overall). Next up, I went counterclockwise and hit up the Intamin mine train in the ‘Gold Mine Town’ section of the park...complete with a traditional gold mine Tyrannosaurus rex. I was the only one on the train so I sat there in the station for 10 minutes drinking my coffee and reading my phone while we waited for more people. Overall, it was better than I expected. Good laterals! (7/10 overall).

 

Next up was the Desperado/shooter ride. So this was different. You sit in a theater with other people and shoot at the same screen. I was in there with about 10 other people, but I’m American so of course I’m better at shooting things/people. I scored first place (#USA). Next, I did the flying island and got some great views of the park before continuing on to the B&M kiddie coaster.

 

The B&M kiddie coaster packed more of a punch than the Vekoma versions. Pretty simple ride. (6/10 overall).

 

The knockoff spinning mouse coaster was next. That was a hot mess. (4/10 overall).

 

Next up was the mega lite. This was my second mega lite (after Tobu zoo). It was awesome as usual. It was a walk on so I got about 6 rides before moving on. If you haven’t ridden one yet, you need to. (10/10 overall).

 

The last coaster was the B&M Sheikra clone. Again, awesome coaster. I love the 10 across seating on these. I especially loved riding front row on this at 70+ mph through the Chinese smog. Ahhhhh...(8.5/10 overall).

 

I hit up the giant frisbee and several of the other flats and coasters again before heading back to Shanghai. I was at the park for about 7 hours. Again, it was dead so I had plenty of rides on everything I wanted to ride. Despite some negative reviews, I must admit that I had a great day at the park. Despite the rusting infrastructure all over the place, the coasters were in great condition and running great. I’d highly recommend a visit there during the offseason or less-busy times.

 

Next up: Shanghai Disney!

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A prostitute took this photo for me. She was nice...

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I ended the night with a $20 cocktail and a (smoggy) view of Shanghai.

Edited by Looty
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Great report!

 

I'm starting to look into trips for 2019 and I'm considering Shanghai since I could likely attach it to a work trip. The amount of parks popping up in China is crazy. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the parks nearby.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My second day in Shanghai was Sunday, November 18th. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate this day and I spent most of my time indoors eating dumplings, drinking tea, and sleeping. If you’re in Shanghai, google (with a VPN) “Yang’s dumplings.” They were fantastic!

 

Days 3 & 4 (Nov. 19-20, 2018): Shanghai Disney

 

Ok...I have to say something very important here. Listen up! I had somewhat high expectations for Shanghai Disney. I’m a former WDW College Program-er from 2011 (RIP Great Movie Ride) so I love most things “Disney.” Furthermore, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit all of the Disney parks around the globe. I have to say, this place is fantastic! It’s absolutely beautiful with some of the nicest landscaping and coolest infrastructure I’ve seen at a Disney park. Also, Pirates of the Caribbean is without a doubt the GREATEST THEME PARK ATTRACTION/RIDE/THING I’VE EVER BEEN ON! Legit! I’ve been on over 700 coasters, been to all the Disney and Universal parks, blah blah blah....this is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never felt so giddy while riding something since I was a boy visiting Magic Kingdom for the first time. I can’t go into specifics about the ride system simply because I have no idea how they pulled this thing off. It’s amazing and should absolutely be a top priority for everyone here.

 

Tron honestly left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. It’s a solid ride and will be a huge hit at WDW, but I think I watched too many YouTube videos on this one. The pre-show is fantastic. Great visuals, audio, and general theming. The station was neat and watching the trains pull in made me really excited. The trains are comfortable and the overall ride experience isn’t too intense. I enjoyed the launch and on board audio. I think my biggest letdown with the ride was the indoor section after the launch. It just seemed dark (not flashy and lit like I was expecting) and gave me a ‘Rockin Roller Coaster’ vibe...which isn’t a bad thing, but I was hoping this would knock my socks off. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away by any means.

 

Their version of Buzz was the best I’ve been on.

 

“Soaring” is the busiest ride in the park. Definitely get a fast pass for that first thing in the morning. PS, I loved being able to search ride times and reserve fast passes on my phone. Also, if you don’t have a Chinese phone number, swing by guest relations and they’ll help you connect to the WiFi. You have to register a phone number to connect, so the cast member just entered her phone number and then entered the code into my phone.

 

Toy Story land, Peter Pan, & Pooh were typical of other Disney parks (Pan has higher capacity vehicles).

 

Seven Dwarfs was my first time on one of those. Decent, but I wouldn’t wait long for it.

 

Oh! Pirates, Seven Dwarfs, and Tron all feature single rider lines. Use them!

 

Honestly, the park is beautiful so just take your time and walk around and check everything out. I did 2 days and ended up wanting more. If you don’t want to spend a lot of cash in the park on food, take the exit near Tomorrowland out to Disneytown and try one of the several cheap options/cafeterias. I had soup and dumplings at a cafeteria there for about $4-5. Also, Heneiken is super-cheap in the park...roughly $2-3 from my memory. The firework show was nice. It definitely gets busy near the front of the park for this so grab a spot early and extend those elbows! I really loved this park and can’t wait to go back. It’s worth adding a stop if you’re in the region. Note: google ‘144 hour transit visa’ to avoid spending $200 on a visa in Shanghai and several other ‘large’ cities in China. Enjoy the photos!

 

Next up: Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park

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Edited by Looty
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^ I am curious at how they did the other entry/exit from Tomorrowland into Downtown Disney?

Not many of all the Disney parks do this, one exception being EPCOT. But mostly, you always

enter and exit any Disney park from the front of it.

 

And it looks like Disney will be providing another alternate entry/exit when the Magic Springs Hotel

is built and open, with access to TDS from it, and to the monorail (Bayside Station!) that encompasses the Resort.

 

That asked, awesome TR on Happy Valley Shanghai and Shanghai Disneyland....and Shanghai, too!

Lots of great photos taken that you posted. Thanks for sharing them!

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^ I am curious at how they did the other entry/exit from Tomorrowland into Downtown Disney?

Not many of all the Disney parks do this, one exception being EPCOT. But mostly, you always

enter and exit any Disney park from the front of it.

 

And it looks like Disney will be providing another alternate entry/exit when the Magic Springs Hotel

is built and open, with access to TDS from it, and to the monorail (Bayside Station!) that encompasses the Resort.

 

That asked, awesome TR on Happy Valley Shanghai and Shanghai Disneyland....and Shanghai, too!

Lots of great photos taken that you posted. Thanks for sharing them!

 

So I bought a 2 day ticket and had to enter through the main entrance on both days. But once you’re in the park, you can use that Disneytown entrance.

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Important question about Happy Valley...Was the Pizza Hut still on the main street there???

 

Also, did you happen to do the ropes course at Shanghai Disney? Wondering how that is holding up. Also, while I don't agree that Shanghai Pirates is the best ever, it's certainly in my top 5!

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Important question about Happy Valley...Was the Pizza Hut still on the main street there???

 

Also, did you happen to do the ropes course at Shanghai Disney? Wondering how that is holding up. Also, while I don't agree that Shanghai Pirates is the best ever, it's certainly in my top 5!

 

You’ll be happy to know that Pizza Hut is indeed still there, but I settled for a Dunkin Donuts latte and a ‘mystery’ meat skewer.

 

I passed on the ropes course. It was open and looked nice, but those aren’t really my thing.

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Thanks for another great trip report. Disney definitely went big with Shanghai. What were the queues like? It didn't look too busy from your photos, but I know with the huge pathways it is very good at dealing with crowds there. I have a question on single rider queues (and Fast Pass too, I guess); do they skip any of the 'good bits' of the queue? I want to make sure my first rides on Pirates and Tron are memorable, so if it skips the pre-show(s) then for at least the first time I'll probably slum it in the standby queue with the great unwashed.

 

Thanks again, and looking forward to your Ocean Park review.

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Also, did you happen to do the ropes course at Shanghai Disney? Wondering how that is holding up

 

Not entirely great. The two days we were there a few weeks ago they had two of the three courses closed. Heard from the team that typically one or two of the three courses are closed daily for upkeep and "other" reasons

 

 

@Looty: Completely agree on your opinions of Tron. It is a beautiful building and fantastic preshow experience - the attraction is sure to be a big hit in Orlando. I also felt the ride experience once you get inside the show building after the launch was a letdown. I swear that Robb's videos made the ride look more amazing then it actually was. I consider my experience after all the "build up" online was total "anticipointment"

 

Pirates is, of course, absolutely incredible. The total experience and ride system blew me away each and every time we rode the attraction. ("boats aren't supposed to do this!!!!!")

And don't forget the Pirates stunt show next door. Even though it was all in Mandarin - it is a blast! - the cast is totally into the performance and the audience loved every minute of it. Hilarious fun!

 

The Pirates show was completely refreshing after watching the horrible Tarzan performance nearby (note to readers - this is NOT the same show that was at DAK in Orlando). Learned later that Tarzan is contracted out to a local third party company - I think it's where Chinese acrobats go to die

 

 

I agree - great park. Immaculately clean. Was impressed with the overall guest behavior (on the two recent days I visited - I swear the guest behavior I observed was better than at the Orlando parks!). Food & Beverage in the park was horrendous - ended up eating most of our meals in Disney Town.

 

And, yes, the BEST Buzz Lightyear anywhere - SO much fun! SO much better then the rest! I swear we rode it and re-rode it to exhaustion!

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^That's what I was afraid of and heard as well. We also only got to do two of the courses since one was always closed on our visit and you could see areas that were already showing wear only six months past opening.

 

Also, agree that the food and food options in DisneyTown is much better than what was in the park.

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Thanks for another great trip report. Disney definitely went big with Shanghai. What were the queues like? It didn't look too busy from your photos, but I know with the huge pathways it is very good at dealing with crowds there. I have a question on single rider queues (and Fast Pass too, I guess); do they skip any of the 'good bits' of the queue? I want to make sure my first rides on Pirates and Tron are memorable, so if it skips the pre-show(s) then for at least the first time I'll probably slum it in the standby queue with the great unwashed.

 

Thanks again, and looking forward to your Ocean Park review.

 

Queues were very manageable both days, but I would highly suggest going during the week. Soaring will absolutely be the longest queue whichever day you visit so plan on getting a fastpass for that right away when you arrive. After that, the longest queues were for the RC Racer in Toy Story land and Seven Dwarfs, so I would actually plan on hitting RC Racer early. Perhaps head into the park and reserve a fast pass for Soaring right away and then head over to Toy Story Land.

 

I don't feel like I missed out on the "good bits" by using the single rider line. In fact, the single rider line for Tron was closed on my first day, but the wait was no more than 10-15 minutes all day. Outside of reserving fast passes for Soaring and Peter Pan, I found myself reserving very few fast passes. The park is just so single rider-friendly which was perfect for me....since I am single :/

 

Best of all, the park sells single use fast passes on the app for like $7-8. I don't remember the exact cost but it's definitely less than $10. So if you are really itching to get back on something and the fastpasses are all gone, just buy one.

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^

 

Seven Dwarfs was my first time on one of those. Decent, but I wouldn’t wait long for it.

 

Oh! Pirates, Seven Dwarfs, and Tron all feature single rider lines. Use them!

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Great report.

I just got back from Shanghai (and Hong Kong) Disney parks, and I agree that the Pirates ride in Shanghai is absolutely outstanding. Great, great ride (enjoyed it much more than Mystic Manor, which is very good).

 

I LOVED the look of the Shanghai Tomorrowland, and the music was great and even somewhat eerie(?). Tron is architecturally beautiful and a really fun ride. My only "gripe" was how much braking occurred in the dark through each block brake -- it somewhat killed the momentum and the ride could have used a little more speed, but still a great ride.

 

Overall, the Shanghai park is great to look at, and has lots of quality rides, but it's still a little ride-lite. I understand the Chinese audience enjoys live shows and therefore there are a ton of those, but I think the park will really be outrageously good if they can add just a couple more rides, particularly a Thunder/ Grizzly Mountain or Matterhorn /Everest coaster.

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Day 4 (Nov. 20, 2018): Haichang Ocean Park

 

Ocean Park had been open for less than a week when I visited and the park was still very much under construction. It’s located at Lingang Avenue station on Line 16 which was about 90 minutes from People’s Square and about 50 minutes from Disney (1 transfer). Go out exit 1 and hop on the free shuttle bus. Look for the big white bus with the park’s orca logo on the side (it comes every 10-15 minutes) or you could walk directly to the west for about 15-20 minutes.

 

Upon arriving at the park, you are greeted by the park’s impressive entrance and surrounding area. They have built condos, a hotel, parking structures and retail locations. The park is located in the middle of nowhere so all of this really makes an impression. Tickets were a bit steep (300 yuan or about $45) with them being slightly cheaper during “non-peak days.”

 

Once you enter the park, the Intamin coaster, Dolphin Coaster, greets you with a mess of track. You can choose to go straight and take the bridge over to the coaster and back of the park, or go right and visit the ‘Christmas town’ and the impressive Artic Hall mountain which hosts several artic species. Also, the park’s orca stadium/show sits here. As I said, the park was still under construction so a lot of the landscaping was still muddy, bags of unused concrete were laying around, workers were crawling all over the place (including under the launch track of the coaster right as we dispatched), and some exhibits were not open.

 

I chose to go straight. Probably my biggest gripe with the park is the river that bisects the park. I know that it’s a river and there isn’t much that can be done about it, but it’s absolutely filthy and an eyesore for such a new park. I saw artwork around the park advertising an evening light show on the river with floats and dancers...I can’t imagine how that would look or smell.

 

I hit up Dolphin Coaster first. It’s a beautiful coaster and takes you all around the front half of the park. The coaster also features a lighting package similar to HangTime and Monster with lights that follow the trains. Seeing as how there were more employees in the park than guests, they were only running 1 train with the other sitting in the unfinished transfer shed. The coaster itself reminded me A LOT of Cheetah Hunt meaning that it has an intense beginning, a somewhat-calm middle part, and a twisty ending around the jellyfish building. It’s a fun coaster and probably a perfect choice for the park. I rode 7 times with the front being my favorite seat.

 

After Dolphin Coaster, I headed toward the back of the park. The kiddie section of the park lies in the middle of the park and offers a solid collection of rides for the little ones (including 1 coaster). The large volcano structure at the back of the park hosts the whale shark exhibit with several other smaller tanks with various sharks and fish. Also, the volcano contains the unfinished rapids ride (complete with sleeping construction worker) as well as the sky ride which takes you to the Artic Hall/mountain at the front of the park. The dolphin stadium/Burger King sits directly next to the volcano. The dolphin show was the only show operating during my visit but I chose to skip it. On the other side of the volcano sits another large aquarium with a walk-through tunnel. After checking out the AWESOME whale shark (more on that later), I took the sky ride to the front of the park.

 

The Artic mountain was my favorite part of the park. It contains the park’s polar train ride which takes you around several wintery scenes while weaving in and out of the top of the mountain. The inside of the mountain is home to several Artic species including polar bears, beluga whales, foxes, wolves, and the most impressive sea lion exhibit I’ve ever seen. After the mountain, I checked in on the orca and then headed for the front of the park. Overall, I think the park has a lot of potential with a vast array of sea life. I’d suggest a visit if you’re in Shanghai and looking for something to do for half a day.

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Nom nom nom

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Whale shark exhibit...minus whale shark :/

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Look at all those whale sharks!

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“Hey I thought whale sharks were bigger.”

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Chinese whales say “knee how.”

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That’s a wrap on Shanghai! I hopped the maglev the next morning and headed to the airport.

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My 14 hour flight back home included uncensored WiFi and complimentary booze :) Thanks for reading!

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Nice report, you got really lucky on the weather Shanghai is usually clouded with disgusting smog from all the factories. I remember when I went in 2008 and only a couple days had blue sky every other day was smoggy.

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Awesome trip reports! I'd love to visit these parks some day. The Happy Valley parks get bad reps but their ride collections are so cool that I still want to give them a try. Haha

 

Just for comparison's sake, what rating would you give to Happy Valley's megalite and dive machine? I've always thought Fireball looked fantastic so if you gave that a 7 I'm curious to see how those numbers compare.

 

Shanghai Disneyland's castle looks absolutely gorgeous.

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