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April 12, 2018 - Day 4:
Shanghai Disneyland

Started off the morning sleeping in a little until almost 6am.   Was at the Magic Kingdom Club at 7am when they opened for breakfast and then was on a shuttle to the park by 7:40am.  Arrived a few minutes later at DisneyTown and stood in line for nearly 20 minutes for bag check and park entrance.  Once in the park made a FastPass for Soarin’ and then headed to Mickey Ave to see the Zao Shang Hao Mickey show.. which was cancelled a few minutes before show time.  So decided to go for a flight on Dumbo, it was about a 15 min. wait and growing quickly.  After Dumbo continued on to Fantasyland.  Was on the first boat at 9am when the Crystal Grotto Voyage opened then visited the Castle and Once Upon a Time Adventure.  Then walked toward Adventure Isle and decided to catch the 10am Stella Lou greeting show.  Then wandered around Adventure Isle paying a visit to Siren’s Revenge.  After exploring the ship it was time to use our Soarin’ FastPasses.  Once back on land walked quickly to Eye of the Storm and we were one of the last groups into the 11:50am showing.  After the show decided it was lunch time so we walked along the parade route as it was going by to DisneyTown and ate lunch at Cheesecake Factory.  After lunch caught a showing of Tai Chi Character and then walked by Toy Story Land on my way to Fantasyland to use a 2nd FastPass for Winnie the Pooh. On the way spotted the Sword in the Stone I missed the previous times through the area in the Festival Forest.   After our visit to the 100 Acre Woods it as back to Festival Forest to catch some of a story (Beauty and the Beast was being performed).  After the show continued on through Fantasyland and toward Adventure Isle to watch Tarzan: Call of the Jungle.  Then  saw a performance of Songs of the Arbori.  Walked through Mickey Ave a little then spent some time circling Disney Town and buying some items at World of Disney.  Once everyone was done shopping most of the group headed for the hotel.  I returned to the park.  Thought about using my last FastPass for Buzz but decided to walk through the Marvel  Universe area and then back to Fantasyland.  Took a look around and started to take some after dark pictures of Toy Story Land with the lights and was let in to preview the new land that opens in a couple weeks on the 26th.   First of Woody’s Roundup and then Slinky Dog Spin.  Spent the better part of an hour wandering around taking pictures and some video.  At 7:30pm they started closing the area so I moved on to Tomorrowland.  Walked around briefly then about 10 to 8 decided to go find a spot for Ignite the Dream.  Found probably my best view with minimal effort and watched the show.   After joined the masses exiting the park.  Took the ferry back to the hotel to call it a night.

Thoughts & Observations
  • The goal this morning was to make it into the park for 8:30 to see the Zao Shang Hao, Mickey performance.  We arrived at Disneytown to use the hotel entrance at 7:40 and I made it to Mickey Avenue at 8:20am… the process to enter the park is very slow and there seems to be a fair number of guests that have issues with their IDs or tickets every time.  Or some issue with the security screening.
  • As soon as we all made it through the turnstile I fired up the App and went to book FastPasses for Soaring.   A time would show up and by the time I scrolled and clicked confirm it would be gone and I would have to start again.  I ended up with a time over an hour later because of the three attempts I had to make to get to the confirmation screen. They go that quickly!
  • As I arrived on Mickey Ave. a cast member came over and told me they were about to cancel the show then the announcement played.  So I was 0 for 2 in catching it.  My guess is the wind, but that seemed odd for a character show.
  • First stop this morning was to take flight with Dumbo the Flying Elephant.  Interesting to note the attraction is located in front of the castle in the Gardens of Imagination here not in Fantasyland like the other parks around the world.  The main reason for riding was to be able to say I had ridden Dumbo in every castle park around the world.  I had planned to do the same for the carrousel but that line was already over 30 minutes and longer than I wanted to wait.
  • I made sure to be at the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto for its 9am opening time because the line always seemed to be pushing an hour or more.  The attraction is a boat ride through a handful of scenes from Disney films then a quick pass under the castle.  The scenes were really basic fountains with some characters and music.  They looked ok and the kids in the boat seemed to really enjoy it.  It is sort of equivalent to the storybook land canal boats but instead of small scale models larger scale scenes.   I was happy to experience it with a minimal wait, not sure how pleased if I had spent an hour waiting.  I was disappointed with the Crystal Grotto Finale, which is the scene under the castle.  I was expecting a wow moment and instead it was just ok.
  • “Once Upon a Time” Adventure is a walk through inside the Enchanted Storybook Castle.  The story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is told through a handful of scenes that feature some video and special effect elements.  You can almost think of it as the next generation of the walkthrough found in Sleeping Beauty Castle.   I thought it was well done.  The pacing was a little awkward as I felt rushed up the stairs to the second room and would have liked more time to see the staircase.   I was happy I was not in a full group, the crowd was light so it was maybe a 2/3-3/4 full only so there was some room to move around and not as much of a fight for position as I would expect with a full group.   One note is the dialog is all in Mandarin.  Also a warning that there are a lot of steps both up and down.  It is listed as accessible so there must have been an elevator but we did not think to ask for those in the group that had bad knees.   I would have also liked to have seen an observation area.  The courtyard/garden at the top was great to go outside and look up at the castle but being able to look out on the park would have been awesome.
  • The Duffy and Friends Show – Featuring StellaLou takes place several times a day in front of the Whistle Stop Shop on Mickey Avenue.  I thought this was a well done production with the Duffy characters as well as Mickey and Minnie plus several dancers.  The high energy show really engaged the crowd.
  • I did find it interesting that the Duffy/StellaLou show made the printed times guide  and the app but the Storytime, TaiChi and other shows did not.  You had to check boards in their area to see show times. 
  • Siren’s Revenge in Treasure Cove is a walk through Pirate Ship docked along the bay.  There are three main levels to explore and in addition to the exhibits and photo ops there are some great views of the park.     I would visit again just for the views, especially on a blue sky day.
  • Used FastPasses to visit Soaring Over the Horizon.  I debated about spending the time then curiosity of the queue/intro got the best of me.    The queue reminding me of Indiana Jones almost in terms of texture and feel.  The night scene you walk through is well done.   The preshow and boarding areas also have the same feel but the illusion/theme is broken as soon as you enter the projection rooms. The ride carriages and room are the same industrial feel as the US counterparts.   The show load/unload feels even slower than here in the states so the experience took quite a while even with a FastPass.   The Introduction/Safety Video has a much different feel to it, even with some similar elements (I posted a video in the picture set).  The safety portion had English sub titles but not the rest of the film.  It would have been more entertaining to have some sort of translation available.   The film itself is the same as Soarin’ around the World but the finale is downtown Shanghai instead of Disneyland or Epcot.  Same fireworks though.   We drew seats on the bottom left edge, about the worst view in the house.  I had not seen the new film from there and I can confirm it is terrible.  Everything looks even more warped.  Also the lighting seemed up or something because the screen seams really jumped out.  Lastly it was worth noting that you exit on a path by the restroom.  This seems a little awkward on first pass.
  • Eye of the Storm – Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular is a 30 minute show in El Teatro Fandango in Treasure Cove.  This show is very popular and was running nine times a day during our visit.  We were walking by and they were making a last call so we were able to walk right in.  One advantage to this was we were not in the middle of the crowd that was jockeying for position.  This made it a much more pleasurable experience.    The preshow is standing in a room with the performers on a balcony above you so viewing is good from just about anywhere.  Then you move into a large theater.   In addition to a stunt show it is a comedy.  There are several sight gags and slapstick moments.  From the audiences reaction there were funny lines too.   Unfortunately for me the show is 100% in Mandarin which I know zero word in, so all dialog was lost on our group.  Even not understanding a word they were saying I found the show enjoyable.  You could get the drift of the scenes and the students were well done.  I would have appreciated a translation device or alternative audio option or something though. 
  • For lunch we went to the Cheesecake Factory in Disneytown.  Most tables looked filled but there was no wait, we were seated right away.   The food was what you would expect at Cheesecake Factory, they have a very large menu that seemed on par with what you would find in the States.  Prices were high, but their normal prices are usually on the  higher side so adding on a Disney premium made for an expensive meal.  Also noteworthy as with many overseas dining choices there are no free refills.  The staff knew enough English to take our orders and fulfill them correctly. 
  • Tai Chi with Character takes place a couple of times per day in the Gardens of Imagination near the Disneytown entrance/exit (on the pathway to Tomorrowland).   I caught about 3/4ths of a show after lunch.  It features Donald, Chip and Dale.  As you would expect Donald tries to take over and Chip and Dale create mischief around him.  I would have liked to have seen the show times in the App or in the Times Guide. They were posted at the location but that was it.
  • We used a FastPass for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  This attraction is located in what felt like a far region of the park, beyond the waterways of the Crystal Grotto attraction is a small area with two Winnie the Pooh attractions, a meet and greet and store.  It is between the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Tangled Tree Tavern.  The attraction seems the same as the Walt Disney World and Hong Kong Disneyland, just some Mandarin writing on the books vs English.
  • Located nearby is the Festival Forest.  This area featured a small stage with some seating and then picnic tables.  Also noteworthy is the stage included the Sword in the Stone.   On the stage there are multiple shows presented throughout the day.   We attended most of a Storytime show where they were telling Beauty and the Beast.  It was in Mandarin but you can still get the drift.   The presentation was in a style like the Fantasy Faire Theatre in Disneyland.  With a couple of leads playing most of the parts, Belle being Belle, and a musical accompanist.   These shows were not listed on any guides, only on the sign near the venue.
  • Tarzan: Call of the Jungle takes place several times a day on the Storyhouse Stage in Adventure Isle.  I found this to be the signature show of the park.  It recreates the story of Tarzan with live acrobatic and dance performances.  The show is in Mandarin but if you know the film and Music it is easy enough to follow along and since I knew the songs my mind was able to fill in the English vocals.   This show is not as dialog heavy as the Eye of the Storm or the Storytime shows.    We really enjoyed this high energy show and found the performers to be extremely talented and entertaining.   The plan is to see it a second time tomorrow.
  • Songs of the Arbori takes place in the Stone of the Sun & Moon area.  A trio of musicians parade out and perform a couple of songs in the area.  This is another of those shows that is not listed anywhere except at the theater.
  • Spent some time shopping this evening.  The logo’d merchandise was a little broader selection than Tokyo but still on the lite side for what I was looking for.  Not a lot of shirt choices nor hats.  I did pick up a couple pins.  Also noteworthy is you have to pay for bags in Shanghai, just like Hong Kong. They were only 1RMB, so not a lot, but cast members would ask if you wanted one after the transaction was done so it meant another transaction, thus slowing down the checkout process.   I used several of my season pass discount coupons which was a nice savings (I had three 100 off of 300 so grouped our purchases to maximize that.  Discounts were all digital here and I had to link my pass to a wechat account then call up a QR code. It was fairly seemless but the only way to do it.  Your pass itself gets you nothing.  Even the standard 20% merchandise required a Wechat QR code coupon be scanned.
  • The Marvel Universe is housed in what felt like a temporary location next to the Mickey Meet and Greet in the Gardens of Imagination.  Inside it felt like a larger version of the Tomorrowland Expo Center Disneyland had.  The building housed a small gift shop, two meet and greets, an ironman exhibit and a how to draw marvel comics class. When I visited there were guests inside and relatively short lines for Spider-Man and Captain America.  The Academy was not in session.  The Become Iron Man only had a couple people in line.  
  • I circled through Fantasyland on my way to Tomorrowland when I stopped to take some pictures of Toy Story Land after dark from the barricades.  I noticed some guests being let in without wristbands so I walked over to talk to the cast members working the entrance and the security cast member waved me in.  So I was able to spend almost the next hour in the new land that will open on April 26th.   Overall I had a great time exploring the new land and taking pictures.  The attractions are all repeats of other lands.  The one unique overlay is Woody’s Roundup but the ride system is the same as Maters so it was not new.   I thought the spacing of the elements and overall execution was substantially better than Paris and slightly better than Hong Kong.    The problem I see is once it opens with the low capacity attractions is it will feel very crowded very quickly.  Thanks to the soft opening being extremely limited and me there at the end of it there were maybe 100 people in the entire land so it felt really large and peaceful.
  • First on my list was to experience the Woody’s Roundup attraction.  This is the same ride system as Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree at Disney California Adventure but it features Bullseye type horses pulling the carts and a western backdrop.   I did not know how long I would have so I walked through the queue at a normal rate, it had some fun details as you would expect.  For the soft opening only one side was in operation but luckily the wait was only three cycles.   The audio changes, just like Mater’s with different songs playing each cycle.  I heard at least four different tracks.  They are all in Mandarin but you can pick out the songs (I included video clips of two plus my POV ride) in the picture set.  Even though it is the same as Maters I enjoyed it.  It felt slightly smoother, but that just may be the new ride feel.
  • Slinky Dog Spin is the same attraction that you will find in Paris and Hong Kong.  I went for a spin because I wanted to see the queue, which similar to the previous two, just Chinese writing in this version for some of the items.  The ride experience is the same carnival type feel as the other two.
  • The final attraction is Rex’s Racer which is the same attraction as Paris and Hong Kong.  I opted not to ride and just photographed the outer portion of the queue and a couple of ride sequences. 
  • Al’s Toy Barn is the shopping location in the land.  It is set off by itself a bit and looks just as you would expect from the film.  Inside there is some Toy Story merchandise and a couple land specific items. 
  • On my way back to Gardens of Imagination for Ignite the Dream I stopped by Tomorrowland to see it at night.  I really enjoyed just watching the light show and listening to the music.   It is too bad the park closed at 8pm three nights and 8:30pm the 4th so there was not a lot of night time to enjoy with sunset after 6pm.  
  • I decided to skip the Jet Packs attraction.  The wait time seemed to hover close to an hour most of the day and after watching it in action I did not want to spend my time waiting.  It seemed to be slightly faster than most of the other spinners in Disney parks (Dumbo, Rocket Jets, Magic Carpets).  Also having dangling feet would have been a much different feel but still not enough to entice me to invest the time in the slow moving queue.  I also noticed that they seemed to cut the line before park closing.  Seemed the goal was to shut down at park closing.
  • Closed out my day with a viewing of Ignite the Dream.  Tonight I tried something different.  I stayed back and watched from the outer edge of the Gardens of Imagination.  This strategy paid off as I was able to show up just a few minutes before show time and work myself into the 2nd or 3rd row of guests against a railing with a water way in front of me.  So I had a fairly clear view of the castle and fireworks.  The water fountains and lower projections were still hard to see though but it was substantially better and less time invested than my previous two attempts.  Also it made it much easier to exit and be ahead of the large crowd.

Pedometer Stats
Miles 9.1
Steps 24,029
Moderate Steps 14,495
Moderate Steps/Time 133

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part I Part I: Gardens of Imagination, Fantasyland & Duffy Show

Visits to Dumbo, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, Enchanted Storybook Castle and Duffy and Friends show.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part II Part II: Adventure Isle & Treasure Cove

A look around these two unique lands of Shanghai Disneyland including the Eye of the Storm Stunt Show and Siren's Revenge Walk Through

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part III Part III: Gardens of Imagination & Fantasyland

Tai Chi with Character and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh highlight this picture set.
Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part IV Part IV: Adventure Isle

Tarzan: Call of the Jungle and Songs of the Arbori.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part V Part V: Disneytown

A walk through Disneytown

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part VI Part VI: Marvel Universe & Fantasyland

A visit to the Marvel Universe and a quick look around Fantasyland after dark.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part VI Part VII: Toy Story Land

I was able to attend a soft opening of Toy Story Land in the evening and take a look around.

Shanghai Disneyland - Day 4 - Part VI Part VIII: Tomorrowland & Ignite the Dream

I close out the day with a walk through Tomorrowland at night and Ignite the Dream from the Gardens of Imagination.



Related Links From This Trip

2018 Shanghai Disney Trip Summary

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