Shanghai Disney Resort
Shanghai Disney is a world-class resort with a park unique and tailored to the culture of Asia unlike any other. It is a resort that must be experienced. Let’s take a quick overview of the highlights of what makes this resort unique.
More than just a park, Shanghai Disney is a resort destination. It has two hotels. The Shanghai Disneyland hotel is a premiere experience.
This hotel could be easily classified with any of the Disneyland hotels around the world. And yet its interior is remarkably different than any other.
Shanghai Disney also offers a more moderate experience in its Toy Story Hotel. It’s a little cold and austere on the outside, but on the inside there’s plenty of color and playfulness.
Disney Town is similar in concept to Disney Springs, Disney Village, and Downtown Disney. There are plenty of shops and restaurants. They great aspect of this area is that it hugs into Shanghai Disneyland. From its hub, or what is referred to as Gardens of the Imagination, you can enter in from one side of this area and immediately be in Disney Town.
There is even a major theater, which has played Disney broadway-style shows such as The Lion King, and the currently running, Beauty and the Beast.
Guests know what a “Magic Kingdom” style experience is like when they visit a Disneyland somewhere across the globe. Yet many of the expectations guests have of such a type of park have been quickly laid aside in this newest park to be built. For one thing, the park is huge. It’s safe to say that if feels bigger than any other style park. Let’s walk through each of the lands that make it so.
Mickey Avenue is Shanghai Disneyland’s version of Main Street, U.S.A. It’s one major boulevard with a couple of paths on the side. There is no train, but there is a train station and even a train store. There are shops and eateries with references to Disney characters as far flung as Ratatouille, Minnie Mouse, and Pecos Bill.
It follows more of a whimsical toon town style than it does a turn of the 20th century small town look. Still, it holds shops and eateries to enjoy.
Gardens of the Imagination
While Shanghai Disneyland follows the hub and spoke concept of all Magic Kingdom style parks across the globe. Only this hub is huge. Indeed, note that it says gardens in plural. There are actually many gardens that make up this center space. It is truly a park in and of itself. There’s also a major parade that circles around it each day. Be sure to look for Mickey’s Storybook Express parade.
Adventureland is Adventure Isle here at Shanghai Disneyland. This is not your dad’s Adventureland. There is no Jungle Cruise of Tiki Room. But there are major attractions, some of which are truly superb. Roaring Mountain is the centerpiece of this land. It includes a major ropes course at Camp Discovery.
It also includes Roaring Rapids which ventures into the mountain to meet up with a Q’aráq—a crocodile-like beast. In addition, there is the familiar Soarin’ attraction, as well as an impressive Tarzan show done with a talented group of Chinese acrobats.
Imagine an entire land based on Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s an interactive masterpiece with lots of playful elements, including shops and places to dine. Explorer canoes take you along water ways and jungle islands.
What about the ride, Pirates of the Caribbean? It exists, and as a boat ride, but in a whole new experience that is tailored around Captain Jack Sparrow. This attraction takes you from the bottom of the sea to a battle between two galleons. That and some impressive audio animatronics and you have arguably one of the best Disney attractions ever built.
No Disneyland park is complete without a castle. Shanghai built the biggest castle of them all. Technically, it’s tailored to all princesses, but as they say in MuppetVision 3D, but mostly Snow White. That’s because in addition to a beautiful shop and restaurant, this castle has an interactive walk through experience based on the original princess. It’s really lovely as you see in this small snippet.
Beyond the walls of the castle, nothing is quite the same. There is no “it’s a small world” or Matterhorn, but there is a Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train.
You can find Alice in Wonderland, but it’s a maze based on the Tim Burton movie.
And there are no teacups spinning. Rather, there are honeypots in quick movement, near a Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of this land is a major boat attraction right in the middle of the entire land. This experience, known as Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, takes you past water fountain displays of famous Disney films, before taking you into the caves underneath the castle itself.
Tomorrowland has always had the challenge of looking more than contemporary. Here in Shanghai, it has to look more contemporary than the city itself, which boasts one of the most futuristic city scapes of any on the planet. Still, it stands on its own.
There is a very cool spinner ride and a Buzz Lightyear attraction, but the big favorite is TRON Light Cycle Power Run. This roller coaster not only is great on its own merit, but it cycles in and out of a building that takes you to the grid in a heart pounding way. See it move along at night in this short video:
Toy Story Land Plus More
A recent addition between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland is Toy Story Land. Rex’s Racer and Slinky Dog Spin are familiar attractions found in other Toy Story Lands. Woody’s Round Up is very much like Alien Swirling Saucers is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
It’s also worth of noting that Disney is planning on adding a major Zootopia land/experience to the park, on the opposite side of Fantasyland from where Toy Story Land is. This marks the second major expansion since the resort opened in 2016. Based on the Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit animated movie, Guests will be invited to experience the mammalian metropolis of Zootopia “where anyone can be anything,” with a new major attraction that will seamlessly blend Disney storytelling and state-of-the-art technology to bring this fan-favorite movie and its characters to life – including Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde. Entertainment, merchandise, and food and beverage offerings will invite guests to fully immerse themselves in the Academy-Award-winning animated movie.
Stay close to Disney at Play because we’ll have more to share in the days and weeks to come. You may also want to check out our podcast where Jeff Kober, David Zanolla and Chris Nilghe from TDRexplorer.com discuss the first year of the Shanghai Disney Resort.