• Welcome to the WDWMAGIC.COM Forums!
    Please take a look around, and feel free to sign up and join the community.You can use your Twitter or Facebook account to sign up, or register directly.

Reflections of Mainland China - Now With More Thailand

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I knew where you were just based on the table bread :p

Can't wait for the Shanghai Disneyland Recaps!
I’m at least as excited as you guys! :joyfull: Woke up this morning from dreams about the hotel guests stampeding the park shuttle bus. :eek:

Right now I’m enjoying a calm character breakfast at Lumiere’s Kitchen. I’m treating myself to western dishes like waffles and bacon :hungry:, avoiding the congee and bizarre Chinese eggs for once.


Also, I met this guy. (I’m the one in the blue shirt.)


Well-Known Member
Huge kudos to the SDL Hotel staff!

I was having trouble creating an account on the SDL app. While in-country I’m using a SIM card with a Chinese phone number to avoid roaming, and it turns out this same number has already been used at Shanghai Disneyland. The staff, speaking really impressive English, tried tackling the situation. The big solution? I’m now signed into a cast member’s account to reserve FastPassea! :p

View attachment 316202

Been wandering DisneyTown since, which seems to be the expected upscale outdoor mall not unlike dozens in Orange County (either CA or FL).

Many Asian restaurants beckoned, but at long last after over two weeks the siren call of western cuisine was too strong. I am embarrassed to admit that I’m now shamefully seated in a Cheesecake Factory about eat a bacon cheeseburger. :cautious:

View attachment 316203

First bite...OH THAT HITS THE SPOT!!! :hungry::D

Nothing wrong with the bacon cheeseburger. Whenever we travel out of the country our first meal back in the states is usually McDonald's. Sometimes, a taste of home is necessary.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Apologies to anyone who was waiting for live Shanghai Disneyland updates. I couldn’t get decent WiFi in the park, so instead I took live notes throughout the day which I’ll now present as I wrote them...


I’m presently waiting for rope drop. It is 8:10. The park opens at 9.

Hotel guests have no early entry, but instead enjoy a unique entrance from DisneyT-



Forty-five minutes ahead of schedule they’re letting us in! I’m actually now queued up for Roaring Rapids (most everyone else went to Soaring, which I got a complimentary 9:30 FP for as a hotel guest). These are the two big “gets” of the park, the ones with usually the worst waits.

Okay, so I rushed frantically through the Gardens of Imagination hub land into Adventure Isle, with fleeting glimpses of the castle and the rather squat Mickey Avenue entry land. It’s all a blur so far!

Time to rethink the day’s strategy thanks to this huge morning gimme.
Last edited:

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Roaring Rapids Reaction


Here we are riding out on the first raft of the day!!! (I’m the one on the blue shirt not wearing a poncho.)

It turns out Hotel and ghosts do good 30 minute early entry. Note I am dictating or early now as I walk. Headed to Pirates. Running Rapids was a fun raft ride very wet a lot like grizzly River run in California better story with a cool well go to but I might be the limit of storytelling on a raft ride


EVENING EDIT: That’s my only attempt to use microphone dictation while walking through the park. Excuse the word salad. Roaring Rapids was simply an OK ride. It’s maybe the best possible effort at doing a story-driven raft ride, and it seems somewhat barebones. I was facing backwards so I barely glimpsed the huge yeti-sized crocodile animatronic.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train


Out here it’s not the rope drop attraction, but for now a 5 minute walk on (lines get longer later). Haven’t yet been to WDW, so it’s my first time!


It was fun. Feels very modern, like the whole park so far. Also like the whole park, sight lines are a problem. Can see power lines and industrial stuff after the lift hills. Really enjoyed the light coaster aspect and the dark ride, which could’ve been at least one scene longer.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

This is the WDW/HKDL version, which I haven’t done yet. Used a FastPass on it, obtained remotely using the park’s super convenient and free MaxPass-style app. That was pointless because there’s no pre-merge line yet, but a good test run.

Post-ride response:


Well, mid-ride actually. It broke down and we’re sitting here in B-mode.

Even so it’s better than Disneyland’s Pooh, and not even 1/10th of Tokyo’s masterpiece. Feels like they saved their budget here to get in a cheap Fantasyland dark ride. Pretty meh.


Update - We just got walked off, which was a really neat experience seeing most of the ride on foot and fully lit. Certainly memorable! I refused a free FastPass to redo Pooh. Might just reride the awesome stuff (Pirates) instead. For now, Soaring FP!


Instead of Teacups they have spinning Pooh hunny pots. I probably won’t be trying this.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Soaring over the Horizon


This is the most popular ride at SDL. Forty minutes into normal hours and standby is already at 30 minutes - which is short actually because this is a lightly attended day. (Yay!)

It’s the same ride film as elsewhere, except for the Shanghai flyover finale. It remains an awe inspiring ride, and it plays like total gangbusters with the Chinese guests. The queue and setup is wholly new, set in an Incan temple. This needs more commentary later.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Camp Discovery: Challenge Trails


Get hyped for this one! It may be the greatest walkthrough of all time! It’s a hair-raising ropes course past Disney quality scenery, like clinging to a a sheer rock face passing around a massive waterfall or crossing a single rope over a jagged stone gorge. I worked up a sweat and missed my Peter Pan FP but it was so totally worth it! Worth the trip even!

The easy section

This would never be legal in any other country. I had to store my gear in a locker, which is too bad because the selfies from this attraction would be astounding.

POST-PARK ADDITION: Among unique things, only Pirates and TRON are better. Pretty impressive for a walkthrough!

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Crossed the park to Tomorrowland via the Gardens of Imagination hub. It (the hub) has been scaled up to include Dumbo and a Fantasia Carousel, which both have prohibitively long lines. They tried to work elements of a Chinese garden into the standard Castle Park hub design, and here the scale overwhelms the lovely smallness of the best gardens I’ve seen on this trip. Will see how it works with the nighttime shows, but for now it’s not that great. One of Shanghai’s many ambitious but flawed elements.
Despite criticism like this, I am adoring SDL. It is wholly original and surprising, and more creative than I thought it would be.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Buzz LightYear


This is underrated I think. It’s a fantastic modernization on a merely okay original ride. Refreshed classics seem to be Shanghai’s specialty and this is a - heh - blast. Better physical scenes, seamless screen use, really intuitive laser element, and easily the highest score I’ve ever gotten on Buzz! (And without especially trying since I was manning my phone camera and generally overwhelmed.) Only the sameness of Zurg’s robot army underwhelms, but otherwise this was spectacular.


D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster


Reserve your Magic Kingdom FastPasses for this NOW!

Two things made my first experience on it less-than-perfect. It’s daytime, so the awesome Cyberspace Mountain immersion is ruined right after the launch when you go outdoors. Also, by doing FastPass you miss some cool standby queue I assume which I want to see later.

The ride was fun and the TRON practical effects were surprisingly great. While riding it doesn’t feel too short (same as with many coasters) due to the physical sensation. It’s a standout ride.


Also, I stupidly wore my sunglasses in my shirt’s v-neck. At the launch, they actually flew out and landed directly over my eyes - which was really cool and also really dumb!

The Jetpacks wait is too long (30 minutes) for what it is, a common problem with spinners. Still, due to unique feet-dangling seating I’ll want to try it at night if I can.
It’s starting to sprinkle a little, and humidity is higher than yesterday, but overall this is a really pleasant day to be touring.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Took a stroll through the brand new Toy Story Land on my way to Fantasyland. This is the Hong Kong/Paris version, which is among my least favorite Disney lands. It doesn’t really fit into a Castle Park with its single IP or its type of scale (RC Racer is visible from everyplace) and every ride is a flat meaning there’s little substance except for smaller children.


This version shows Shanghai’s biggest overall problem - sightlines are a mess. You can at once see the TRON show building and a Frozen big box theater, plus power lines beyond the park. Pathways are meandering and directionless. The park’s sense of space is lesser than classic Disneyland or DisneySea, but for the most part it is triumphing on an attraction-by-attraction basis.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
It’s noon now and I’ve somehow already knocked out most of the major E-tickets. Time to slow down, enjoy lesser attractions, explore and see the shows.


I bought cherry popcorn and wandered the backside of Fantasyland, which is more a still-growing fairy tale forest than the expected Bavarian village. That might be nearer the castle. Among the wide open expansion pads that are everywhere (!) is a Tangled Tree Tavern restaurant that SHOULD be a one-to-one Snuggly Duckling but for some reason isn’t.


The Alice in Wonderland Maze is fun filler. It’s based on Tim Burton’s movie, which feels eons ago now (as does TRON: Legacy frankly), and I’m curiouser and curiouser how that plays for the Chinese audiences who maybe didn’t even get the movie.

The Maze is mostly an excuse for photo op spots for the kiddies, which is a fun way to unwind. Parks need things like this and while it’s not a standout I cannot really critique it. Serves its minor purpose

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Getting onto Peter Pan remains the bane of my existence (just like in Anaheim)! I have a valid FastPass now (after wasting my first), and the ride is closed! Argh!

So let’s talk Enchanted Storybook Castle.


It’s Disney’s largest castle, but honestly it doesn’t look it compared to Cinderella Castle because it lacks the masterful use of forced perspective seen there. The base does look from front-on like a big boxy show building, because it’s housing a ton of stuff - a restaurant, a shop, a meet ‘n’ greet, a Bippity Boppity Boutique, part of another ride, stage show backstage, and a really good walkthrough that is doubled up to increase capacity.


That is Once Upon a Time Adventure, a guided tour through the tale of Snow White told with high tech vignettes. It’s the Shanghai modernization of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty walkthrough, and it totally charmed me. So too did the passage through the castle’s base interior, with some nice murals and chandelier and tie-ins with every major Disney princess (except poor Vanelope, but maybe breaking the internet will fix that!).


It’s the most useful castle, which is a plus, but it’s visually somewhat mixed depending on the angle. Like much of Shanghai it’s a hugely ambitious effort! When it works, it is exceptional, but there are lots of elements where rewriting the traditional Imagineering rulebook didn’t really help.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto (near Pan) looks like a tech upgrade to Storybook Canals. I’m optimistic! Let’s check it out...


...That was unfortunately mediocre. The increased scale hurts the charm, the tech is for its own sake, the scenes are static except for fountains (which sometimes improve things but it’s spotty) and there’s a lot of dead space presumably to add more scenes later. I can see what they were going for, but it’s a miss.

In line now for a second ride on the amazing POTC: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. A contender for world’s best ride, and mercifully the queue never rises above 10 minutes.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Pirates remains amazing. It is the best possible version of itself. The tech is amazing as are the physical set pieces and animatronics, which better still combine exceptionally well to tell a dramatic story fully in line with the POTC movies. It’s not the moody old Pirates and it isn’t trying to be. It is the best thing at Shanghai, and it’s in the running against the original POTC and DisneySea’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Steel Vengeance as a World’s Best Ride.


I’m dining now at Barbossa’s Bounty - a counter service restaurant which overlooks the ride a-la Blue Lagoon. Having tasty chicken leg with a strange brain-freezing curaçao slush drink (language barrier prevented me from getting an overpriced Tsingtao beer) and a Shellie Mae pannacotta dessert because they’re trying to make Duffy a thing here. (Not nearly as good as the DisneySea pannacotta.)

This restaurant has a dozen rooms, each intricately themed as a pirate village at night. The food is good plus it’s one of the best looking Disney restaurants I’ve seen.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Treasure Cove is a piracy land surrounding POTC. Some have called it detailed on par with DisneySea. The main walkway through it is shapeless and meandering like all of Shanghai’s big wide paths, but once you get into the side alleys and queues and other nooks it indeed has a wealth of little detailed moments which impress a lot.


Let’s do the rest of this land, starting with Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular, which is starting right now.


It was really language-dependent, in Mandarin (the only time that’s been a problem here). I can’t recommended it to English speakers. It starts out quite poorly as a vaudeville comedy show, then it gradually morphs into a pretty decent stunt show as the goofy theater troupe is overtaken by Jack and the British Navy. The finale involving a wind tunnel simulating a typhoon is genuinely thrilling, with some good projection tech added, but it takes a long time to get there.

There are a pair of playgrounds on the lagoon’s shore, Siren’s Revenge and Shipwreck Shore, which are effectively one single attraction split apart. They’re decent filler for the land, and can be seen rather quickly.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster

Walked one mile across the park (it’s too big, like everything in China - perfectly designed for its audience actually) for another TRON FP just before the 3:30 parade.

Front row! Score!

TRON is just pure fun!

If only it and Pirates both didn’t unload into gift shops...


Only one side of the dual loading station was working, so the Mickey’s Storybook Express parade is already underway now that I’ve escaped the Grid. I’ve opted to watch it from the temporarily short Jetpacks queue. Two birds!

So how’d that work out?


The parade views weren’t great, but the parade seemed merely okay overall so I’m fine. Nothing compared to Tokyo’s daytime spectacular! The Jetpacks were a fun upgrade to the usual Tomorrowland spinner, but still mostly inessential. Ride cycle is too short. Operations are excellent!


And Tomorrowland is just too empty and sterile in the daytime, but that’s to be expected.

D Hindley

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
With the parade still clearing out, I finally got to explore Mickey Avenue. Hotel guests get a special entrance which bypasses this completely (reportedly regular park entry is still a bit chaotic).

This is Main Street populated with a lot of Toontown DNA, because Disney wants to pimp out their Fab Five IP and because 1900s Americana has no meaning to the Chinese circa 2018. This land is really short, only as long as their Emporium equivalent, because the swollen hub takes its space.


The front still has a Mickey flowerbed and train station and town square, even though all are merely relics in this park design. There’s no train! (They’re not romantic in Chinese culture.)

Didn’t spend much time here, but 4 PM would be a perfect time to shop if the merch has more depth than children’s toys and outfits. I wanted a simple T-shirt or something with a Shanghai Disneyland logo, but no luck.
Top Bottom