What We Love About Shanghai Disneyland
With the parks globally closed around the world, we are creating a six part series that celebrates all of the Disney parks around the world, starting with the first park that closed, Shanghai Disneyland. We want you to know why these parks matter, and what makes them so really special.
The following notes page is only a visual highlight of our key insights that we share from our podcast podcast for the complete review. Be sure to listen to the entire podcast. You can find our podcast here on Podbean, iTunes, Spotify, MyTuner, and ListenNotes. Be sure to subscribe and share with others!
Let’s start with the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel which follows art nouveau styles rather than the traditional Victorian styles found in hotels like Disney’s Grand Floridian.
Here’s the courtyard of the hotel at night.
The interior seems more comparable to the Disney Cruise Line atriums, but on a much grander scale.
Dining options include both casual and more formal fare. We mention the Fantasia Pastoral Mural which is very similar to the Welch’s grape juice stand found in the original Fantasyland at Disneyland. Here’s a link to photos of the original stand.
Also available is a formal buffet called Lumiere’s Kitchen.
Stepping out into the center court of the resort hotel one can see Shanghai Disneyland across from Wishing Star Lake
The more moderate choice is the Toy Story Hotel. The outside looks like
I speak of the two kinds of interiors in the podcast. This obviously is themed to Buzz Lightyear.
And of course, this has a theme reminiscent of Woody’s Roundup.
Disneytown is spacious and in my visits there, not very crowded. It is not surprising that this space has already re-opened. It simply doesn’t fill like the park does, despite it’s adjoining location.
The Walt Disney Grand Theatre is the focal point of Disneytown. Before the pandemic, they were showing Beauty & The Beast in Mandarin.
For those like me who need a day or so to acclimate to China’s culture, Cheesecake Factory and Wolfgang Puck’s are great options.
Time to go visit the park.
Not quite as dedicated a town square quite like Main Street, U.S.A., but there is a small square with plenty of shade and benches. It’s great for enjoying the view.
Whimsical details abound like this Sweethearts Confectionary.
There’s also Goofy about Toys. Again, the architecture is both random and over the top.
References to nearly obsolete Disney films are found everywhere. Here’s a Silly Symphony reference that probably 99.99% of park guests have never seen.
Here’s a more familiar reference:
Remy’s Patissierie is a great place to grab a snack. Its patio tables overlook the entrance into Gardens of the Imagination.
Gardens of the Imagination
Gardens of the Imagination is the central hub of the park. Here we find Enchanted Storybook Castle. More about this later.
The gardens are immense and unending. It can take up to 10 minutes to leave one land and cross through this central plaza to get to the next land.
Here’s a little corner of the gardens I love. The water, rocks, shade and benches make a great little respite any time of day.
David mentioned how much he loves the mosaics showcasing Disney characters as a different zodiac figure. Here we have a beloved character from Robin Hood.
On my bucket list to do…the Fantasia Carousel. Both the Carousel and Dumbo is found in the Fantasia Gardens–not in Fantasyland.
The Wandering Moon restaurant is beautiful in and out, and provides a wonderful touch of Chinese culture.
One of the great things about the Asian parks is that they can utilize Marvel. Inside Marvel Universe are several exhibits and meet ‘n’ greets.
As a spinner ride, this looks very simple, but it’s really quite an enjoyable ride. And at night, you can capture views of Downtown Shanghai in the distance.
Tomorrowland is on several levels, with water being a key kinetic feature.
Stargazer Grill is the place for grabbing a burger and just looking out across the Tomorrowland landscape.
We both agree that the best time to be in Tomorrowland is at night. The canopy for Tron is impressive. I’m hoping (and expecting) this to be part of the Magic Kingdom addition.
Let’s start with the backside of a castle. This is the view of Enchanted Storybook Castle from Fantasyland. This is where boats exit from having seen the
Inside the castle is a stunning atrium.
This is my favorite shot of the Royal Banquet Hall.
Here’s the entrance to Peter Pan’s Flight.
Inside the attraction ships carry two rows of guests.
Didn’t mention this on the podcast, but this is another attraction that I would love to do at the park. It’s a different take on the teacups, but instead is themed to Winnie the Pooh.
David mentioned his favorite counter service restaurant was Tangled Tree Tavern.
I mentioned my fascination with Pinocchio’s Village Kitchen (I guess Haus doesn’t translate well).
There are many photogenic locations to be found in the Alice in Wonderland maze.
Time to set sail to Treasure Cove.
This is arguably the best land in Shanghai Disney. An entire land that is drenched in all things Pirates of the Caribbean.
Thematic details and back stories can be found throughout…
And much of it is done with a touch of humor…
David and I agree that Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is the best attraction in Shanghai Disneyland; even in all of Asia; and perhaps second only to the new Rise of the Resistance.
Much of the queue is reminiscent of the original Wax Museum Walt’s Imagineers saw for the original Pirates of the Caribbean concept before it became a boat ride.
Does this look somewhat familiar?
The scene overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean from Barbosa’s Bounty, a counter service restaurant.
Step outside of Barbosa’s and you find more thematic details.
I mention needing some translation assistance with Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular. But be assured that the last half of the show carries itself visually.
We move on reluctantly from Treasure Cove. Explorer canoes makes a perfect segue to Adventure Isle. This is a unique land that has the lush landscaping of any Adventureland, but has unique attractions found in no other across the globe.
This mountain makes Matterhorn look kind of like a hill. Two attractions encompass this structure. The mountain is known as Abu Taku, or Roaring Mountain. The first attraction is Camp Discovery.
This is my second favorite attraction and is an involved ropes course that allows for different levels of skill. In this image below you can see a narrow bridge, containers for climbing through, and a series of logs.
Here’s another view of another portion of the course from inside the mountain. One is a path on the far side, another is a net, and a third passage is simply a log.
The other attraction off of Roaring Mountain is Roaring Rapids. David feels this is less than Kali River Rapids.
Two other attractions are in this land. One is the familiar Soarin’.
This is a very popular attraction at Shanghai. Save your time waiting for the one in Tokyo. But be sure to check out Tarzan: Call of the Jungle at Storyhouse Stage.
It’s evening in Shanghai Disneyland, and a perfect time to head for supper.
Our photo journal comes full circle as we check out Clue 33 off of the main path at Mickey Avenue. Look closely for the entrance.
Upstairs the view of Enchanted Storybook Castle is even more enchanting…
As is the interior of this incredibly upscale dining establishment.
Even the menu is top notch.
And the fireworks become the perfect end to the day.
Has all this chat made you hungry for a Disney adventure? Now is the time to dream and plan for your future travels. Be sure to reach out to David Zanolla, owner and agent of of Out The Door Travel, LLC to make arrangements. There’s no cost–but it could save you a lot of time–and even money–especially when you put it in the hands of someone who really knows Disney and travel. Call today at 309-863-5469 or reach out to him via firstname.lastname@example.org