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April 10, 2018 - Day 3:
Shanghai City Visit & Shanghai Disneyland

Started off my morning again waking up right before sunrise… way earlier than planned.  Breakfast does not start until 7am so I had a couple hours to clean some things up then I went out and walked the grounds of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel to take some pictures.  At 7am headed to the Magic Kingdom Club for breakfast.  After breakfast we took the bus to the Metro Station and then headed downtown.   First stop the Yuyuan Garden.  Walked from the Metro stop to the garden then around the area.   Once we felt we had seen it we made our way a few blocks over to the Bund and walked the length of it taking in the sights.   Retreated from the waterfront and took a Metro across the water to Lujiazui.   It was pushing 1pm and we were hungry so took a quick look around and ended up at McDonalds.  After eating walked around the area and stopped at the Disney China Flagship Store before heading back to the Metro.  The group was tiring so we headed back to Disney.  Our plan was to take the boat but it was closed so hiked to the bus stop.  Stopped by the room then the Magic Kingdom Club for a snack before heading back to the bus and to Shanghai Disneyland for the evening.   Spent a good hour or so roaming around Mickey Ave taking pictures and looking around.  We decided to pay a second visit to Buzz Lightyear since it was only a 5 minute wait this evening then we walked through Fantasyland and into Treasure Cove.  Explored Pirates was posted at 15 minutes but was under 10.   After my cruise explored the area and then walked through Adventure Isle.  Took a look at the crowds gathering for the fireworks but decided 75 min was too long to wait so I strolled over to Tomorrowland to take some pictures and then headed back to find a spot about 30 min prior to showtime.  After Ignite the Dream hung around for the post show then walked to the bus stop and road back to the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel to call it a night.

Thoughts & Observations
  • Since I was up way before my alarm and way before the 7am start of breakfast I spent some time roaming the grounds of the Disneyland Hotel and checking out the various features.   The area around the ballrooms was nice to walk around and I appreciated some of the details, like the glass slipper on the steps.    The Hakuna Matata Oasis seemed a bit odd to me.  It is part garden and part water feature/play area for kids.  It was a nice maze and several areas, when I walked through the water was off and no one was around so it was peaceful.  The odd part to me is it is not near the pool or anything, it is just off the Great Lawn on the back/park side of the hotel.
  • Breakfast at the Magic Kingdom Club was good again, not a lot changed though, it was almost identical.  I think just a few of the fruit options or Danish choices changed.  Everything else looked the same.
  • Today was our city sightseeing day.   We decided not to do a tour but instead a self planned excursion.   I had three primary destinations and a couple alternatives to give a flavor for the city.  Included were some older areas that included a garden and temple then onto the The Bund which is the tourist area then into the Lujiazui area and the skyscrapers.   Our plan was to leave at the tail end of the morning rush and return before the evening rush hour.  We decided to use a single day metro pass (it was 18RMB or about $3).  We may have been able to save a little by buying individual tickets but I wanted the flexibility and ease of not having to deal with individual trips.
  • To start the day off I made the wrong call.  There is a shuttle bus from the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel directly to the Metro station.  We decided to do this.   This was a poor decision.  First off we just missed the bus so had a 10 minute wait. Then the bus stopped at Toy Story Hotel before the Metro station.  So it was a longer than planned bus ride. It drops you off at the transportation center near the opposite end of the metro station than the park.   We went to the ticket area and only automated machines were there and they did not sell the day pass.  All ticket windows were closed.  We found a security guard and asked where to buy the day pass.  He knew no English but saw the picture and started to point.  A woman passing by saw us and how both the guard and us looked confused so she acted as a translator for us.   We discovered the only ticket window that sold it was on the opposite side of the station, toward the park.   So we had to walk all the way around the station.    So if we would have taken the boat we would have been dropped off really close to the windows and saved time and frustration. 
  • The person working the ticket window either did not know English or want to talk to us but I showed them the paper of what I wanted (having print outs with English/Chinese and pictures was a very smart move) and he took our money and issued tickets without even really looking up or uttering a sound.
  • Once we entered the station everything smoothed out and the trains were quick and efficient.  Announcements were in Mandarin and English as were most of the printed signs.  So navigating the system was a piece of cake and everything ran smoothly.  This was true for all our trips all day long.  Disney is the last stop on the line so finding a seat was easy.  As the trip went on it filled up but still nothing like what we experienced in Tokyo.
  • First stop was the Yuyuan (Yu) Garden located in the “old city” of Shanghai.   We exited the Metro and were exactly where our map showed us.  Followed the street signs to the garden area with no problems at all.  It was only a couple block walk.  Once in the area finding the entrance to the garden itself was a little more challenging.  It was a market/mall area with several smaller streets and more and more people as we roamed around and I did not have a good map of that area.  So we wandered around a little and eventually found our way to the garden.    The area outside the garden was getting fairly busy.  Once we bought our ticket and entered the garden itself it was much more peaceful.  We spend some time exploring the garden and seeing the sights then set off back into the crowd to find the streets to head to our next stop.
  • Next up was to walk along the Bund and get some views of the sky scrapers and buildings.   The Bund is a couple mile pedestrian walkway along the Huangpu River.     This was on the top of every must see list for Shanghai.   The elevated walkway had the river on one side with the tall buildings on the opposite bank.  On the other side of the walkway were several historical buildings from the colonial period.  They house bands, consulates, and other businesses.   We walked most of the length of the Bund enjoying the view and taking in the sights.  It was not very crowded for most of the walk so it was easy to take pictures and move around.   It was a little hazy with a slight breeze so it was not too hot or smoggy, but you could still feel the air quality issues a bit.  I have felt similar in Los Angeles from time to time.  My eyes and throat felt a little off.  We kept drinking water which helped.  I would not call it an irritant but it was noticeable.    We had an optional river cruise on the schedule here but felt that we saw enough of the river and sights from the walk so skipped that.
  • Our next stop was the Lujiazui area on the other side of the river.   We decided to hike to a Metro stop and take it under the river.  There was also a tourist tunnel or you could take a ferry.  The Metro stop was several blocks the opposite direction, we found it funny how you had to walk basically over the route for several blocks then back track.  There were no stops right at the Bund.    Upon exiting the Metro station we started to look around for lunch.   I had found a couple restaurants and fast food options in the area ahead of time.  We ended up at an old standby because it was right in our path and a known quantity, McDonalds.  
  • We opted to use a kiosk for our McDonalds order to minimize translation issues.   After getting our order in and to the pay screen we realized it does not take credit cards (nor cash).  So we had to track down a worker and try and ask/explain this and they printed out the order and pointed us to a register that would take cash.  It worked out but was a hiccup.   Also our timing was poor as we arrived during the lunch rush so getting a spot for 3 people was a challenge.   We did but it was tight.  By the time we left it was calm and there were plenty of seats.  In case you were curious the main items, McNuggets, burgers and fries tasted the same. 
  • There are a series of elevated walkways around the area made it really easy to move around and offered some great views.  
  • The Flagship Disney Store for China is located in this area, right across the street from the Oriental Pearl Tower.   We spent some time visiting the store, it is a fairly typical array of merchandise, we were hoping for something that had Shanghai or China on it and the selection was very limited in that regards.  I walked out buying nothing.     There is a clock tower in front of the store and every half hour features a set of Disney/Marvel/Pixar characters that make an appearance.  I thought it was a fun routine (A video is in the full picture set).
  • At this point it was mid afternoon and we were ahead of schedule due to skipping the boat tour and opting to skip going up in the tower or a building because it was hazy.  We had an optional stop to visit People’s Square and maybe some museums but after looking at the clock decided to head back to Disney to avoid the evening commuters and to allow some extra park time.   The metro ride back to Disney was slightly shorter due to a different route we took.   Again no problems at all.
  • Once back at Disney we decided to use the boat after our bus experience in the morning.  Again I made the wrong call!   First we choose the wrong escalator so we were on the far end of the station (we really should have taken this as a sign and gone to the bus) instead we took it as an opportunity to walk through the ground level of the station.   We arrived at the ferry dock and were informed it was closed.  So at this point we could walk back to the Metro shuttle or over to the park shuttle, we were about the mid point.  We opted for the park shuttle, which took a while to walk over then get back to the hotel.  
  • After a brief stop in the hotel to get something to drink, drop off some things, and get ready for the evening in the park I was on my way.  Took the shuttle back since the ferry still looked closed.  No problems or delays.
  • I spent about an hour walking around Mickey Avenue and photographing the facades and taking in the sights.   Some of the references are great and the details were fun to explore.
  • Once the rest of my ground rejoined me we looked at the wait times and decided to give Buzz Lightyear a second visit because it was a short wait and we enjoyed it.  On a second round it was just as much fun as the first time through. 
  • The hope was to visit the Crystal Grotto but that line was well beyond our patience so instead headed to Treasure Cove and was able to visit Pirates with a minimal wait.  On a second ride my 1st impression held.  I enjoyed it and thought it was technically great.  But the reliance on screens was a little too much for my taste.  After riding stopped by Barbosa’s next door and took a look around.  It was interesting that one of the dining rooms of a quick service is the restaurant visible in Pirates, not a table service like other versions of the attraction.
  • I arrived to find a spot for Ignite the Dream about 30 minutes before show time.  I looked around and notice the front viewing area that is used for the daytime shows was not used for Ignite the dream.    I ended up just in front of the central hub planter.  Guests in this area were seated.  Wasn’t sure if this was a sitting only or they were just sitting and waiting.     Found out it was sitting for the entire show.  This meant it was a lot easier to see the show but it was a very crowded area and a lot of guests moving around still.   Also you could not really make out the lower projections or fountains.  It was a better experience than last night though.     I was surprised by the number of people moving through the crowd selling things.  I should not have been after seeing them during the day and in queues but it still was so different to me.  Again they completely ignored me since they correctly assume I could not use WeChat to pay.
  • After Ignite the Dream a vast majority of the crowd turned and pushed toward the exit.  I took a look at the near chaos and decided to head the other way to the front of the viewing area and watch the exit/post show from there.  This was great!  The music used I remembered from the opening of the park and it was a peaceful way to end the day.  After the show stopped I turned around and a majority of the crowd had cleared and you could walk at a normal pace toward the exit.  
  • They were directing guests out a side exit toward Disneytown and the parking lot so I opted for the shuttle bus back vs looking to see if the boat was in operation or not.  There were no delays and it was an easy trip back to the hotel to wrap up my second full day in Shanghai.

Pedometer Stats
Miles 10.9 (6.7 in the city)
Steps 28,809
Moderate Steps 16,957
Moderate Steps/Time 155

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part I

Part I: Shanghai Disneyland Hotel

A look around the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel including the Rose Garden & Hakuna Matata Oasis then the bus to the Metro Station

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part II

Part II: Yuyuan Garden

Visiting the Yuyuan Garden area including the walk from the Metro and area around the garden then a tour through it.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part III

Part III: The Bund & Disney Store

Walked to the Bund from the Yu Garden then a look at Lujiazui including the Disney Store.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part IV

Part IV: Mickey Avenue
An extensive look at the details on the exterior facades of Mickey Avenue plus a look around Rem's Patisserie including some of the treats they offer.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part V

Part V: Tomorrowland & Treasure Cove

A look around Tomorrowland and then Treasure Cove including Pirates of the Caribbean.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part VI Part VI: Gardens of Imagination & Ignite the Dream

An after dark visit to Tomorrowland and the Gardens of Imagination before ending the day with Ignite the Dream
Related Links From This Trip

2018 Shanghai Disney Trip Summary

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