Better park? Discuss.
Treasure Cove and Adventure Isle arguably look more impressive than anything at Hong Kong Disneyland.shanghai has treasure cove, treasure cove is the best looking themed area of any park imo
This is exactly what I've sensed when comparing the resorts.I’ve been to both (HKDL a few times and SDL once, for two days). On paper SDL is the clear winner - much, much bigger, more attractions. But honestly I prefer HKDL. It is beautiful, has an amazing natural setting, is utterly charming, almost cozy, and definitely has that Disney magic. It now also has a couple of really good, unique attractions (Mystic Manor and Grizzly Mountain among the best in the world).
SDL, by contrast, is so big that it takes forever to get anywhere, and it means that there are large areas of the park that are more or less empty. The parts I was most excited for leading up to the opening (the gardens in the centre, the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto) are completely underwhelming and don’t add much charm, which is what the park is sorely lacking. I missed Main Street and the train. Fantasyland is uninspired. The park does have some fantastic rides, like Pirates (amazing - although I would have preferred if they had left in an animatronic-heavy town scene), Tron (so much fun, but far too short) and the ropes course (great fun, very different to anything else, lots of options, soaks up a decent amount of time). But as a complete package it felt to me like it lacked something essential. It’s fun, and worth seeing, but it’s lacking in magic and charm. The master plan is also odd - with their version of Downtown Disney off to the side (the opposite side of the entrance from the train station, where most people would enter from) so it’s perpetually dead. And the Toy Story hotel off to one side.
However I will say that my view is probably influenced in part by the crowds. My non-holiday weekdays at SDL we’re absolutely heaving, and, despite having an impressive roster of attractions, there is not enough there currently to absorb the crowds, so it did feel like hard work (even after forking out for the paid fastpasses). (Their opening procedure was an absolute mess as well). Every time I’ve gone to HKDL it’s been quiet, so I never had to worry about attraction strategy or Fastpasses or anything like that. It felt like an intimate experience. If HKDL was busy then that might affect my view.
The attitude of visitors hasn’t really been an issue for me at either park - I’ve seen much better and much worse at the other parks around the world (OK maybe I haven’t seen worse at Tokyo!).
Ultimately HKDL is intended to be primarily a locals park - somewhere you go on a day off, or on a Sunday afternoon - and for that, it’s perfect. SDL is clearly looking to emulate WDW so when it’s more built out, with a second park it should be much better.
No train, but a train station. The park isn’t supposed to appeal to us primarily, and I think the problem is that it’s not creative enough to do it’s own thing. Mickey Avenue is not distinctly Chinese, it’s distinctly mediocre.Not to get political or anything, but Shanghai Disneyland just doesn't feel like a Disney park because it lacks the Americana that Disneyland was built on... and this was 100% done by design. China obviously doesn't like the west or our ideals, so they wanted to cleanse the park of that, hence no Main Street USA, no train and no Frontierland. To me, without those elements it just doesn't feel like a Magic Kingdom park.
Mickey Avenue lacks the charm and motion Main Street USA captures. Perhaps the idea of a Mickey Avenue would have been better suited in a second gate.
And yes, Hong Kong Disneyland also doesn't have a Frontierland but they added Grizzly Gulch, which checks off the Frontierland box, albeit its basically Frontierland lite.
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