Friday 1 November 2019

First Stop: Shanghai Disneyland

It's always hard to review Disney. Each park is different and unique in their own way. I've never been disappointed by any of the Disney parks we've visited. I wasn't wowed by Shanghai Disneyland, but it is a fairly young park so I know there is a lot of potential.

One thing to note is, even though this is a Disney park, it is very much Chinese. A lot of North Americans experience culture shock when visiting China, and Disney is no exception. I am not going to sugarcoat it. There is a lot of line-cutting, pushing, and yelling. Generally, the locals will back off if you stand your ground. My husband and I were both born and raised in a multicultural city, where a lot of Chinese people live. We experience a lot of line-cutting, pushing, and yelling at home in general, so we weren't surprised by the culture and social norms in China.

Shanghai Disneyland is pretty massive. It's quite a walk around the park as the distance between lands are pretty far apart - plenty of room for expansion in the future. We spent two days in Shanghai Disneyland. It was more than enough time to ride every ride and try all the food. For guests who stay on Disney property, there is a separate entrance which is opened earlier. We didn't go early, but we did get in the park a lot faster due to shorter lines at this special entrance.

Shanghai Disneyland was nearing the end of their Spring-Easter Celebration, so a lot of decorations were still on display.

We got a lot done on Day 1 and it was a good thing we did. Our first ride was easy and calm. We rode Pirates, and we loved it. It's a very different ride and much more exciting than the snoozers in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. We walked through the Garden of the Twelve Friends, a rest area where the Chinese zodiac are depicted by Disney characters, and watch the lively stage show ("Golden Fairytale Fanfare") in front of the castle. We walked through the Alice in Wonderland Maze and did a little window shopping. We lined up for Rex's Racer for a little over an hour, which was the longest line we experienced at the park. It was a short, but exhilarating ride! We enjoyed it. Next, we were on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which we had a FastPass for. We grabbed lunch afterwards. It was sunny and a lot warmer by this point, so we headed back to the castle for some pictures.

As we finished up our pictures, a parade - "Disney Color-Fest, A Street Party! - started. Perfect timing! Super catchy tunes too.

Tron was next, followed by more exploring and snacking, before we ended up at the "Once Upon a Time" Adventure in the castle. We had a quick dinner afterwards. After dinner, we rode Tron one more time, and Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue. We ended our night with the "Ignite the Dream" fireworks celebration.

We slowed down on Day 2 because the weather was a lot more extreme. It was over 30 degrees by noon, and it was hot. Shanghai Disneyland has very little shade. We saw two shows back to back just to seek out shade. All the shows and rides were in Mandarin. I had pretty much no idea what they were saying, but the Pirate of Caribbean show was pretty amazing. It's action-packed with great effects!

The Tarzan show was even better! I could not rave enough about this stage show. The acrobatic performers were amazing. It was like a mini Cirque du Soleil show!

We rode a lot of the same rides, with the exception of Peter Pan's Flight and Roaring Rapids. After lunch, we had to go back to hotel to cool off. We ended up eating in Disneytown for lunch and dinner. We weren't very interested in the food, but the park has a lot of interesting and delicious snacks. The pork fluff corn dog was really good, as was the tea drink in the Minnie Mouse souvenir cup. Unfortunately, the Mike Wazowski bun was pretty to look at, but it was super dry and hard.

Overall, we had a wonderful time in Shanghai Disneyland, and we would love to go back. They are already currently expanding with the first ever Zootopia-land. The park is young, so we're excited to see what they have planned!