Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Shanghai Disneyland Day 1

Excitement was high as today was the start of our Disney segment. We were meant to be picked up at 6:20am. However the Chinese Uber equivalent that our guide booked for us didn’t assign a car. A quick call to Harris fixed the problem and the car arrived 15 minutes later. We arrived at the Toy Story Hotel amidst grey skies. Check in was quick. We deposited our luggage at bell hop and collected our tickets at Concierge with ease. All cast members that we interacted with spoke English well enough to understand us. We were directed to the bus stop for the complimentary Shuttle bus that would take us to the Disneytown/Park area. There were comfortably enough seats for all the guests lining up. The photos below are a collection of photos taken over 2 days of the Toy Story Hotel. Excuse the quality of some of them. I was tired...

Our car has arrived!

Yay we've arrived at the Toy Story Hotel

The lobby

Obligatory TV sitting area for children by reception

Reception. Concierge just to the left of the picture

The hotel divided into 2 main sections. The Woody Square

And the Buzz area

I'll give you one guess which one we were in

Themed carpet

Room very nicely themed. A bit squashed after the Grand Kempinski but we'll take it!

Shower area


Martian pelmets!

Slinky light fittings

Hotel activity schedule

We arrived at the gates of the park at around 7:50 and there was already a decent line. The park was slated to open at 9am. By 8am, they had opened the first set of gates for security checks. Once through security, you had to line up again to go through a second set of gates to enter the park proper. By 8:30am the park had opened! There were people running everywhere. The mayhem heightened the FOMO sensation! Thanks to previous Disney fan trip reports, we had a rough strategy in mind. The wet and miserable weather had us modifying it a little but mainly had us hitting the attractions hard the first day and leaving the second day to finish the rest and go on other favourites that were available at the other Disney Parks. Malcolm, who had the longest legs, was allocated our fastpass runner. He took off to get our first set as the rest of the group headed towards Pirates of the Caribbean.

We had read and heard fantastic reviews of Shanghai Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride and it certainly lived up to expectations. If one were to ride this first, one would be sorely disappointed by the other versions at the rest of the Disney Parks. The fact that the narrative was in mandarin didn't take that much away from the overall experience but I could imagine how phenomenal it would be if it were in English!

The shuttle bus stop right outside the hotel

Once at the hub, it is a further 5 min brisk walk to the gates of Disneyland

The "outer" security gates

Lining up at the second set of gates

We're in!

I don't think these were particularly effective!

Our very first ride!

We went on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train as we had been to Walt Disney World after the ride opened there. There was already a 20 minute standby line. By lunch time this ballooned out to 135 minutes. I'm not sure I would have waited so long for such a short ride! We picked Soarin' for our initial fast pass due to the local popularity and the poor weather. More to come on wait times and fast pass conclusions later.

The honour of our chosen lunch venue went to Barbossa’s. The family food critics came to the following conclusions:
The ribs, chicken, sausages and squid were quite tasty without being awesome. The beef was ordinary and the corn looked and tasted terrible. We suspect it was GM from the plastic near perfect appearance, but complete lack of flavour. Seating was unrushed and easy. Cost was not cheap.

Tarzan would have been better if we hadn't attended the ERA the night before. It seemed a bit like a compilation of local favourite circus acts which attached to a Disney theme that would be the least out of place. The music and production quality was decent, but the level of skill and daring from the performers was a watered down version of the ERA and the Tarzan was certainly no Johnny Weissmuller nor Brendan Fraser. The most annoying part was that his jungle cry was missing three or four syllables. Still, it was enjoyable enough on a wet day and gave our legs a rest.

The 3:30pm parade was a highlight. We positioned ourselves near the start of the parade about 20 minutes before hand and were not bothered at all by crowds or jostling. The music, costumes and dancing were all really well done and they found a good balance between local cast members and caucasian faces for the characters. My personal favourite was Mulan who rarely gets big attention in the US parks. Her horse float was intricately detailed and I thought looked spectacular.

Dinner at Wandering Moon Teahouse was reasonable. Locals would find it expensive for what it was, but for us it was similar food to a dumpling place in a Sydney shopping centre food court for about the same price. Again, seating was without any queues so it was a pleasant, unstressful meal.

The castle is interesting. It is certainly big and has some wonderful features, but its external components seem to lack a bit of care with regard to attention to detail. Little things, like the rock foundations and the "bricks" look less artistic and cheaper than the Tokyo castle. The nightime closing castle show was amazing especially the Star Wars component, but it seemed to be splashed onto a generic blank canvas rather then incorporating the features of the castle such as the windows. It is definitely worth seeing though although we felt the Tokyo version was just a touch better simply because of better use of the physical features of the castle.

The park was really pretty with masses of spring colour everywhere

We did the maze even in the rain as we had more to cover the next day

One of a few photos of the 2 of us together!

Tea smoked duck leg. Delicious was the verdict

There is pin trading at Shanghai Disneyland

The line for character meets were either reasonable or non-existent especially for the "lesser" known characters.


Bay Max exercise expo. Was fun and funny watching Bay Max exercise...

Got our spot for the parade just where the road curves and seated on the outside curve right against the lamp post so no one could cut in. We needn't have worried. There was no pushing in or shoving.

Just a tad too freaky for me...

The amazing Mulan float

Castle projection show. 

Wandering moon tea house

A quick tip for exiting amongst the masses post Castle show is to watch the show closer to the Disney Town exit. For some reason, the exit there is MUCH quieter than the main gate and it was a quick walk through Disney Town to get to the bus hub. This was when we made a big rookie error. We were so tired we didn't act on several clues which should alerted us that something was wrong. 1) There was no one else waiting at the bus stop. 2) The bus stop sequence included other stops other than Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel. 3) The bus that came didn't look like the bus that we caught in the morning. 3) There was a pay machine on boarding the bus with the bus driver staring at us as we walked in without paying...We were at the wrong stop and caught the wrong bus home! It was a local bus and the stop was on the main road and not right in front of the Toy Story Hotel. Tired feet were not happy. The wording was subtly different and unfortunately I don't remember which was which but I do remember that if you want the Disney shuttles to the Disney Hotels, you want the bus stops on row A and NOT row C.


  1. The parade was definitely much longer compared to the one in Florida. Mulan's horse was massive! Pirates of the Caribbean ride was 'explosive' and exciting! Both the ride and the parade were my highlights! Thanks Mal for being our Fastpass runner!

  2. Whereas we almost had this confusion arriving at the train station but received advice in time to get on the right bus for Toy Story in the end. I agree about the corn but quite enjoyed the chicken and my daughter liked her ribs at Barbossa's. Intended to visit but never quite got to Wandering Moon. You have some lovely photos despite the rain.