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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

First Impressions: Shanghai Disneyland

Hey everyone!

Apologies for the lack of posts. I'm now back in the UK after my adventure in China and more importantly, the reason that you're probably reading this post, I am now ready to discuss my time at Shanghai Disney Resort with you!



Chris and I in front of the Shanghai Disneyland Castle
I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to different aspects of Shanghai Disneyland as there is just so much that I want to share with you all... unsurprisingly! So I'm starting with this post:



Those of you that read my last blog post, Countdown to Shanghai Disneyland, may remember that there were five core areas that I was particularly eager to discover on my visit; so what better place to start than by addressing my initial curiosities...

Tash and I meeting Pluto and Goofy in Mickey Avenue




This is the area of discussion that has been all over the internet and boy oh boy, did I underestimate the slanderous nature of the media before my visit...

First of all, hygiene. The park is clean. Period. Disney have employed a large number of cast members dedicated to maintaining cleanliness throughout the resort which is evident; all areas that I encountered were in pristine condition. In all of the designated toilet areas, there are both squatting toilets and seated toilets so it really isn't an issue if you'd prefer to use a Western toilet during your trip. You want western toilets... they got plenty!

I should mention that I did experience a toddler peeing into a bottle whilst waiting in line for the
Roaring Rapids attraction however, this was a single incident and not very problematic. I have seen similar things happen in the UK. When you gotta go...

'Hock yer booty!' - The park was clean throughout!
As for personal space, yes, the Chinese stand a little closer together when waiting in line than the British do... so what?! After having spent ten days in China, I was quite use to this by the time that I got to Disney and didn't feel claustrophobic at all whilst waiting in line for any of the attractions.

It should be noted that in China generally, if you leave a gap in front of you whilst queuing, the person behind you will sometimes assume that this means you are not ready to proceed so they will cut in front of you to fill the space that you have created. This isn't rudeness or meant to be impolite, but simply a cultural difference and something that is easily avoidable if you are not distracted whilst waiting in line. B
esides, I also took advantage of this when people were dawdling in front of me! Trust me, from my experience, queuing for rides in European theme parks is a lot more competitive! There was no pushing or shoving at all. 

Finally, litter. Linking back to my first point about hygiene, there are a number of cast members on-site to clean any litter however, I personally did not experience any littering or vandalism during my trip. The park was spotless.




                             

Okay. This ride was INSANE. Probably the best Disney attraction I have ever been on. I had stupidly spoiled the ride for myself prior to my visit by watching POV videos on YouTube however, it didn't really matter. Nothing could have prepared me for how awesome this ride would be...


Can you spot Benji, Tash, Chris and I?
The technology used is very similar to that of Ratatouille: The Adventure in Disneyland Paris and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man in Universal's Island of Adventures in Orlando however, this ride cleverly encompasses new innovation with the nostalgia of the traditional Pirates of The Caribbean attractions that we have come to love, creating a completely unique experience! Using not only screens to develop this brand new simulation but also, a combination of water control, ride tracks and multi-directional movement, this ride definitely gets a firm five stars and is my favourite attraction at Shanghai Disneyland!  


The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel was nothing short of perfection; if you are visiting the park any time soon, I highly recommend that you stay at this hotel if you can! My boyfriend Chris, aka "The Grinch who Stole Disney", was far from excited about our stay however, by his own admission, this place was the best hotel that either of us had ever stayed in by far. Pure luxury.

                                          


The cast members at the hotel were attentive, polite and had the best level of English that we had experienced during our two week stay in China. From booking restaurant reservations to arranging for our luggage to be delivered to the park entrance on the day of our departure, nothing was too much trouble for the cast members and their extra 'Disney magic' really enhanced our trip!

                              

As for the decor and theming of the hotel, it was flawless. Combining gastby-esque art deco with luxurious oriental vibes and just a little hint of 'the mouse', the hotel has been beautifully designed with an extra level of attention to detail that you only get with Disney. I did not tire of inspecting every inch of this hotel, looking for hidden Mickey's and nods towards Disney's Beauty and The Beast and Fantastia which are both prominent within the theming. Even Chris seemed to enjoy the elegant little references as they were so tastefully executed! 

                                            

We did not have a chance to sample the food at the restaurant however I sampled a Mickey Blueberry Breakfast Muffin and Gin Cocktail which were both delicious!


The TRON Lightcycle Power Run was the only coaster at Shanghai Disneyland and subsequently, Chris' favourite ride. It was exhilarating and the theming was very cleverly selected however, after riding this a total of three times, I was a little underwhelmed. I feel it could go faster...

Chris poses outside his favourite Shanghai Disney attraction, TRON
That said, TRON is a great ride and definitely an improvement on Disney's Space Mountain which has become synonymous with Tomorrowland. To give yourself a little extra 'edge', try sitting up on the bike as much as possible with your arms outstretched in front of you; I figured out pretty quickly that sitting like this gives you a little less stability on your bike, enhancing your adrenaline and improving your experience on the ride! Give it a whirl! You're welcome.




The concept of Mickey Avenue was something that I was particularly excited about; combining Chinese culture and architecture with Classic Disney... what's not to love! However, I was hugely disappointed. By stripping back the tall buildings associated with Main Street USA and replacing them with duller, shorter buildings, Mickey Avenue was a space that felt very empty and stark and a little 'too open'. As you can see from my photos, there was nothing remotely 'Chinese' about the theming in Mickey Avenue which I was hugely disappointed by.

                           

It just wasn't clear to me what this area wanted to be... playing classic musical pieces such as 'Anything Goes' and 'Mack The Knife' combined with buildings such as the train station and firehouse, the US influence was clearly evident so why not just make the area a replica of Main Street as per usual? Was Mickey Avenue simply meant to be an extension of Disneytown? It certainly felt like it. I found this area a little bit of a let down to be honest. According to Inside The Magic, Mickey Avenue is an area that "is inspired by the personalities of classic Disney cartoon characters such as Mickey MouseMinnie MouseDonald Duck, and Chip 'n' Dale, as well as Disney films including, RatatouilleThe Three Caballeros, and Lady and the Tramp." In summary, a bit of a miss-mash!

And that's a wrap! I will be posting a lot more on Shanghai Disneyland including a FAQ, 
a breakdown of each area in the park and more!

In the meantime, if you have any particular questions that you would like featured,
please let me know in the comments below.

- Mercedeslois x 

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