I’ve been procrastinating in my writing about our day at Shanghai Disneyland because…I truly just don’t know where to start. I figure if I start with admitting that and just keep writing, eventually I will have a semi-worthwhile post about my magical day with Pip and Andrew.
Being a child who spent family vacations in Disney World in Florida, I felt a bit ashamed that I was not aware of Disney’s newest park in Shanghai. When Pip and Andrew mentioned that they would be going and had already bought their entrance tickets online, I immediately asked if I could join them! They were kind enough to let me tag along and even bought my ticket for me, which I promptly paid them back for upon returning to Canada.
The subway journey from Tiantong Road station to Disney Resort station (yes, that is the name of the subway station on the Shanghai Metro) took about forty-five minutes and was fairly straight-forward. With a couple line changes and a store-bought breakfast in our bag, we made our way to Shanghai Disneyland (only once did Andrew and I almost become trapped in the subway doors, but don’t worry…nobody helped us). Even the Disney Resort subway station is magical. Clearly the sole purpose of this station is to welcome visitors into the magical world of Disney.
Maybe I had forgotten how uncontrollably exciting it is to walk into a Disney Park, or maybe it’s because this was a NEW park that I never been to…either way, Pip and I could barely contain ourselves as we entered onto Mickey Avenue. Squealing, skipping, running…
Let it be known that Goofy is my all-time favourite Disney character. Ever since I was a young warthog, I always related to his dangerously clumsy, warmhearted nature. So when Goofy is the first character we see upon entering the park, I ran. And then I stopped running because I remembered I’m a thirty-two year old adult now. And then I ran again because Pip and Andrew told me not to hold back!
I think “sensory overload” is the term Andrew used. As an adult, I noticed and appreciated all the tiny details and amount of work that goes into a Disney Park. For goodness sake, the groundskeepers had swept some fallen leaves into the shape of a Mickey head! The buildings and streets are made to fit into their areas so perfectly; intentionally missing roof tiles, peeled paint…even the smells! Not only was there fresh buttery caramel popcorn being made all throughout out the park (which invoked this warm sense of comfort), inside each ride was a smell that perfectly suited the theme. How did I never notice these details before? Pirates of the Caribbean smelled like an ocean grotto and seaweed. The Tron roller coaster had “that new car smell” wafting throughout. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had an eau de earth and wet rock. It’s brilliant! Nothing is forgotten, no expense is spared and every detail is perfect, right down to the last blade of grass.
We made our way to Adventure Isle where we picked up a Fast Pass to ride the Roaring Rapids later in the day. Trying to take everything in, we eventually ended up in Treasure Cove, where we noticed the wait time for (big breath, inhale) “Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure” was only twenty five minutes. For a Disney Park, that is not long at all. I think we probably got through the line in fifteen, to be honest. We were fortunate to be at the park on a quiet day; maybe it was because of the weather (a little bit of rain) or because it was after a long weekend in China…whatever the reason, we took full advantage of the small crowds.
I just need to stop for a minute here and attempt to paint this picture for you, but I really don’t think I will succeed. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is just…to say my mind was blown doesn’t even do it justice. Andrew went as far to say our minds had been f***ed…that is a bit closer to the truth (excuse our language). The advancements in amusement park technology are astounding, as far as I’m concerned. Even animatronics, which used to be SO LAME are now on another level. With so many creative uses of light and screens, they somehow made a talking & moving Jack Sparrow appear out of, what I thought was a projection of a skeleton. We sat in our little ride boat, being thrown under water, rushed back above the sea, all while simply floating on some water and sitting relatively still. We entered two different…rooms? Top to bottom screens of the highest quality I can even imagine. The scenes rushed past us left to right, up and down, forcing our crew to believe we were part of the story, literally (but not literally) soaring from the bottom of the sea up to the fresh air. I don’t even know what else to say, aside that this was the best ride I have ever been on. Ever.
Everything we ever understood about reality being utterly shattered, the three of us moved further into the park. Arriving in Fantasyland, we checked out Peter Pan’s Flight which was beautiful and for a tame ride, really took our breath away. Again, the attention to detail is flawless. We picked up another Fast Pass, this time for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride and then started to feel a bit hungry. Arriving in Tomorrowland, we got ourselves some futuristic burgers and fries, sat down to eat then quickly lined up for… TRON!
If you are ever feeling inadequate or boring, fear not! The Tron ride at Shanghai Disneyland made me feel, nay BELIEVE, like I was baddest bad-ass in the world! The seats are…well the seats are motorcycles. Futuristic gleaming black and light roller coaster motorcycles; right from the get-go you’re already in your most bad-ass state of mind. The walk towards the front of the line is created with the intention of getting you hyped up for the race of your life! The music and sounds, the smell of new car and the changing lights that outline every piece of equipment in the building all come together to increase your levels of inner bad-assery. Then you get to hop on your bike and let the roller coaster take you inside through a computer-generated race for your life, outside around and over all the Disneyland patrons waiting for their turn and back to the finish line. Needless to say, we went twice.
Coming down from the adrenaline high, we search for Emporor Zurg on the Buzz Lightyear ride and ten we made it back to Mickey Avenue for the parade, which made me and Pip very happy (even if it was starting to rain a bit more)! We saw Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too! Eeyore, Elsa, Anna…it was magical!
Word on the street is that the castle at Shanghai Disneyland is the largest castle from any of the existing Disney Parks. And it is beautiful and wonderful and sparkling with fairy dust! We walked through the ground floor of the castle, then went off to use our Fast Pass for the Roaring Rapids and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. I was able to snap a quick photo of Alice In Wonderland’s Maze, which we did not have time to visit because we had to make sure to get a decent spot for the fireworks. #Priorities.
Disney doesn’t just do fireworks. They do lights, animation, projection, lasers, fireworks, music and a story! This was the perfect ending to the most magical, nostalgic, giddy, beautiful, spectacular day in China.
Walking from the Tiantong Road subway station back to my hotel, alone in the dark…was not so spectacular. But I survived and I am still beaming over the memories of our Shanghai Disneyland experience. Much love to Pip and Andrew! xoxo