Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Chinese Disney Adventure: Getting High in Disneyland Shanghai (Shanghai Disneyland Series 10)

Chinese Disney Adventure 
Getting High in Disneyland Shanghai
Shanghai Disneyland Series 10

Day 1

It would be our 5th day in Shanghai and we checked
out of Oakwood as were are moving to Pudong for
the next 4 days for our Shanghai Disneyland vacation.

We arrived in Novotel Hotel Clover
in Pudong after an hour taxi ride,

… and the cavernous hotel lobby impressed us-


….as it was breathtakingly beautiful,
with a modernized classic design.

There were numerous registration
counters so checking in was a breeze,

…and we were on our way, 
 our room at the 21st  floor.


This would be our home for the next four days 
 while visiting Shanghai Disneyland.   

We rested for a while after unpacking, and took the free 
shuttle to Shanghai Disneyland  to look for a place to eat.


We walked our way,

…to Downtown Disney,

…and stumbled upon Xin Wang Restaurant.

Xinwang is a popular Chinese restaurant 
chain, known for its “cha chaan teng” menu.

As a typical tea restaurant, the food choices comprise 
mostly of Hong Kong’s  greasy spoon staples,

…we were happy to dine here, as it made delicious authentic
 Chinese cuisine available in a western owned Disneyland.

After our very lat afternoon lunch,

…we strolled and window- shopped at Downtown Disney,

…before returning to the
hotel early evening to rest.

Day 2

We all woke up early and  had breakfast at the hotel,

...and took the first shuttle to Shanghai 
Disneyland from Novotel Clover.

It wasn’t a peak season,
there were very few people,


…and the queue to the
ticket booth was tolerable.

With our horrific experience for the past five days in Shanghai
and the Chinese locals seem not to comprehend the principle of
waiting for one's turn. We decided to upgrade our tickets at the
Guest Services to buy Disney Fastpass for the major attractions.

This may be the reason why it is only in Shanghai Disney
where one could buy as many Fast Pass Tickets as you can.
This would not assure that no one would squeeze in on the
Fast Pass lane but shorter lines, equates to longer tolerance.


This is one advantage of Shanghai Disneyland compared
to other Disney parks as guests had an option to purchase
as many Fastpass tickets as they want to avoid the queue.


Our main goal for our first day in Shanghai Disney
is to complete all the major Fastpass attractions.
We then posed for few obligatory photos at the portal.

While this area is usually a train station in other
Disney Parks, this one is not, as the Shanghai Disney
does not feature the classic steam railroad locomotive.

     We also took photos at the Mickey Avenue.  


…the park's equivalent to Main Street, U.S.A.

It was is inspired by Disney’s
popular cartoon characters,

…as well as iconic Disney movies.

At the end of Mickey Avenue is the Storytellers statue,
which depicts a young Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse,  

…that leads to The Gardens of Imagination

We caught the last part of  Fantasyland’s
Mickey’s Storybook Express musical parade.

…as we turned right to Adventure Isle-

…counterpart to Adventureland in most
of Disneyland Parks in other countries.

We queued at FastPass lane of the popula Roaring Rapids.
a river rapids ride through the land's towering Roaring Mountain.

We we’re appalled when a group of youngsters still pushed their 
way in front by cutting us on line despite that there very few 
people as the FastPass lane.Someone also grabbed my 
daughter’s raincoat after the ride without asking for permission.

The same thing happened at the Soaring Over the Horizon,
where a family of four cut us on line again in an almost empty
FastPass lane where it was only my family and them on queue.

Soaring Over the Horizon is a simulated hang gliding flight
experience across the world. It is an all time favorite Disney ride
for my family, and the counterpart of Soarin’ Over California
in Anaheim and Soarin’ Over the World in WDW Orlando.

We then passed by The Camp Discovery, took our
photos at the entrance but decided not to go there,

…and proceeded to the  Treasure Cove Zone.      


Themed to an 18th-century harbor town in the Caribbeans
inspired by the classic  movie the  Pirates of the Caribbean.


We immediately queued at the Pirates of the Caribbean:
Battle for the Sunken Treasure, the zone’s main attraction.

This audio-animatronic dark boat ride is the hi- tech and modern update
of the classic Pirates of the Caribbean found in other Disneyland parks.

My son was drawn to Siren's Revenge,
 a shipwreck-themed interactive play area
set aboard a wrecked French galleon.

We walked around the Shipwreck Shore


…and watched the Explorer Canoes sailing by.

 We then decided to gp Fantasyland,


…and caught the tail end of the
Magical Disney Parade along the way.



We then proceeded to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train,


...which was teeming with people and we were thankful
we didn’t have to wait very long as we have a Fastpass.


It was noontime when we finished the ride
so we decided to have lunch at The Barn.

It is a farm themed restaurant at the Fantasyland,
that offers farm style cuisine on the menu.

While theme parks are not usually known as
‘foodie’ destination. but since  Disney opened
a Flavor Lab, in WDW Orlando dedicated to
 food research and development for its parks,


Disney dining anywhere in the world has lately
became an awesome culinary experience and
the food at The Barn was of no exemption.


After lunch we caught Winnie the Pooh
coming out from a meet and greet kiosk,



…my young son Tim approached the lovable Disney Bear,



…and they walked hand in hand along the way- 



…to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh,

It was already past noon when we passed by the theater staging
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.

It was a perfect relief fromthe scorching noontime sun,
and turned out to be an awesome musical as well.


After the show, we went to the nearby
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto

…a boat ride around and under the castle,

…. that takes guests past scenes
from popular Disney movies.

We then headed to Tomorrowland.


This is probably the most futuristic-themed land
among Disney Parks around the world with the
ultra- modern looking Tron Lightcycle Power Run
Jet Packs as the most visible attractions at the portal.


The kids got in the Jet Packs ride,


…Shanghai’s more modern take of
Astro Orbiter in other Disney Parks. 


We then tried the TRON Lightcycle Power Run
- an adrenalin pumping  re- invention of Space Mountain
found in other Disneyland Parks around the world.

Unlike the other Tomorrowland in other Disney Parks,
Shanghai’s version does not have the Space Mountain,
and instead is home to TRON Lightcycle Power Run,
an indoor Tron- themed high speed motorcycle roller coaster.

We then queued ar the  Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue,
a variant of Buzz Lightyear dark rides in other Disney Parks,


It was already late in the afternoon when
we left Tomorrowland and we have already
visited all the major Fastpass attractions.

We walked our way Mickey Avenue,


…bought bread and pastries at the Park Bakery

…and settled ourselves on a bench
at the Garden of Imaginations,


…to watch the light and fireworks display-‘
“Ignite the Dream,  A Nighttime
Spectacular of Magic and Light.”

After the fireworks display,we walked our way back, to
 the parking area, and took the shuttle back to the hotel.

We had our dinner at the Food Exchange,
Novotel Clover’s in house restaurant,

…and enjoyed the massive spread of
Chinese and global dishes at the buffet.

We retired to our room near midnight
and all had a good night sleep after an
exhilarating day in Shanghai Disney.

Day 3

We we’re more relaxed on our third day as we have already 
completed riding all the major Fastpass attractions the day 
before..We woke up late, had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel-


…and took the shuttle to Shanghai Disneyland.

The Disney Town, 


...all the way to  the park portal looked deserted.




There were also very few
people at the Mickey Avenue.



After arriving at the Gardens of Imagination,
we heard the announcement that the Disney’s
Magical Parade was about to begin in few minutes.


So we positioned ourselves at the curbside of
Mickey Avenue and Gardens of Imagination,


…to watch the parade.


Our place was perfect,


…and we enjoyed watching the
parade without any obstruction.


Mulan has the most elaborate and
the most ornate float in the parade.


It was preceeded by medieval Chinese Army
 marching in a perfectly choreographed unison.

It was a sight to behold.


Then came the gigantic float with Mulan
astride a huge vegetarian- bodied horse-

… filled with numerous intricate
Chinese symbolic figures and objects.

Without the popular and traditional Disney Princesses
like Cinderella, Snowhite and Belle in the parade,
and the emphasis of the more massive oriental float, it
is clear the Mulan takes the lead in Shanghai Disneyland.


After the parade, we crossed
to the Gardens of Imagination,

…to see the Marvel Universe.

It is a meet-and-greet pavilion
featuring Marvel characters,

…and Marvel Super Heroes.

We explored the Gardens of Imagination for a while,



…then passed by the Adventure Isle,


…on our way to Treasure Cove,


…to and queued at the Fandango Theater, to watch the
 Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular,

…a stunt show inspired by the
Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

We returned to Adventure Isle, 

 to watch Tarzan: Call of the Jungle

…a breathtaking live acrobatic stage show.

We then had a sumptuous
lunch at The Tribal Table-

…a tropical forest themed restaurant where guests
could dine, jungle style in Shanghai Disneyland.

After a heavy lunch, we relaxed
by the at the Shipwreck Shore,


…and contemplated on riding the Explorer Canoes.


We finally decided that to
sit and relax by the shore,


…watching the canoes sailing by.



We then crossed the Fantasyland,


… on our way to Toy Story Land.

This zone is the Shanghai Disney’s first expansion,


…and the kids queued at the Woody’s Round Up
a horse and wagon spinning Teacups-style ride.

We then tried the Slinky Dog ZigZag Spin,
which is a modernized caterpillar ride.

From the Toy Story Land, went to
the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

We explored the largest castle
in any Disney theme park,

… and the only functional castle
as it offers several attractions,

We then rested at a bench, .while the kids 
queued  at Dumbo, the Flying Elephant.

It was already late in the afternoon when we called it a day.


We walked back to the Mickey Avenue,
…just like this morning, it was almost empty.


 We decided to shop for some souvenirs.


There were also very
few people at the portal,



…so we took the chance
of taking our photos,



…and walked our way to
Disney Town to have dinner.


We have been is Shanghai
for the past eight days,


…and today is our penultimate day in the city where we
have been eating nothing but Chinese food for a week-


…so we decided to dine in Wolfgang Puck.

Wolfgang Puck is one of our favorite restaurant,
.so we always take the chance of dining in this
wonderful steak house whenever we see one.

It was a perfect culinary conclusion to our
almost two weeks Shanghai family vacation.   



We returned to to the parking area
 to catch the shuttle back our hotel.



It was srill  early in the evening and we still have a lot of time
 to pack up and prepare for our trip back home the next day.

Day 4

It was our last day in Shanghai, we are all packed and
ready to go for our early afternoon flight back to Manila.

We had breakfast at the hotel and took a
 free shuttle to Pudong International Airport,

…and arrived just in time for lunch.


We had a sumptuous lunch at Acting Café,


…and we were boarding our plane right after.


This Shanghai trip was my second time to visit mainland China 
after two decades. Despite the country’s leap to first world 
modernity Shanghai, I observed lagged in terms of civility.

Chinese locals seem not to comprehend the principle
waiting for one's turn. Someone would always try
squeeze in from hotel  check- in counters, taxi queues
and subways. Curing our nine- day stay, there was not
 a day that we were not bumped off while queuing.

Chinese people have the are gross penchant of spitting
anywhere and everywhere even on trains, hotel lobbies,
restaurants and even carpeted theater floors. They would
later step on it and rub the spittle with their shoes probably
in a sickeningly futile attempt to clean up disgusting mess.

We once took a taxi with the driver who has been cleaning his 
ears non- stop while driving .He later unrolled his ear cleaner
which happened to be a paper bill and used it as a change.

Another taxi driver kept on spitting on the cab's dirver's side window with his
 expectoration ending up splattered on the glass of the car’s backseat window.

Some mainlanders are rude. While in a restaurant, my wife
went to the toilet for a while and  left her handbag and shawl
her chair to signify that it was occupied. However and elderly
lady yanked them out, placed on top of our table and took the
chair without asking for permission. I was there all the while
I just stared in disbelief for the brazen display of disrespect.

There was also an instance that my daughter’s raincoat
was grabbed from her without asking for permission
as we went out of the Roaring Rapids river rapids ride.

These Chinese bad manners seem acceptable and normal 
like they were part their cultural identity and  tourists   
should just bear their unpleasant habits, grin and have fun.

Indeed, despite all the unpleasant experience

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