When your twin sister comes to China for work it is cause for celebration and a trip to the Disneyland Resort in Shanghai is in order! The only amount of forethought we put into this trip was Marla delaying her return trip home by one day and me taking a day off work. I also bought the tickets in advance to save us some time in case there was a long line on a Monday. Thanks to the high winds and low temperatures the crowds were actually quite minimal, but even that did not prevent fast passes for Soarin’ from running out within a half hour of the park opening…I now present you with the highly sporadic journey we took through the park. Enjoy.
Once we realized Soarin’ fast passes were sold out and the line was already 2+ hours long we decided to skip that attraction all together. Luckily I have later learned that is is the same as the updated version in Epcot, so we have already experienced it anyway. We started off our ride adventure with the Pirates of the Caribbean boat ride which was quite entertaining.
Next we made our way to Alice’s wonderland maze complete with red queen and mad tea party accoutrements.
Inside the castle there are some fabulous mosaics and a gallery of princesses up the stairway that leads to a “ride” of sorts where you can experience the snow white (白雪公主/báixue Gōngzhu/white snow princess) story in a series of 3D video presentations. It is a walk through experience entirely in Chinese, but I must admit I got great pleasure hearing someone say píngguo (苹果/apple) in a maniacal Chinese accent. Despite the fact that this ride was for children, it was probably still another level above my actual language comprehension. I have work to do on my Chinese it seems…Sidebar: I was expecting to see more of Mulan and was a little disappointed that this was the most I saw of her in the park.
After touring the castle we got some fabulous pizza for a quick lunch and quickly realized the wind was picking up significantly. Now this is usually a godsend in the land of smog and pollution, but in the middle of winter is can change the temperature pretty drastically as well. We soon realized we were not going to survive the high winds for the entire day unless we bought ourselves another layer of clothing: enter the Minnie sweatshirts! (and crazy snapchat filter…)
Tomorrowland was full of exciting place to visit. We played the buzz light year interactive video game ride twice because the line was short and we had time to kill before venturing over to Tron. Marla beat me both times, but neither of us made it to the 7th/highest level.
Tron was probably my favorite ride we went on because it was rather unique. Marla, on the other hand, was disappointed in how short it was (because it goes very fast). Honorable mentions go to Peter Pan and the 7 Dwarfs mine ride.
Of course one must meet some of the characters when at Disney, particularly Mickey Mouse. He was terribly entertained with our sweatshirts; totally worth the 15 minute wait.
There was also a Star Wars character meet and greet section with literally no lines at the time, so we had some fun catching up with the rebel alliance and picking up some tips from our friends Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Marla was particularly pleased to hear Kylo Ren give her 非常好 (fēicháng hao/excellent) feedback on her dark lord stance.
Marla was determined to participate in one of the drawing classes at the marvel universe as well. I normally enjoy these courses to, but I kept protesting because I was not very interested in drawing Groot, the lovable tree from Guardians of the Galaxy. The wind just kept getting stronger all day, so eventually I gave in and said we could wait in line for the class to start and draw Groot (the advertised character for the entire day). Of course the instruction was in Chinese, so when we saw a few comic book slides of the Avengers Marla looked at me and asked if I thought we were really drawing Groot. We both agreed that typically in these classes they avoid people as they are too complicated for normal people to draw easily, and we started following the instructions as best we could in Chinese. What resulted was a disaster I have fondly entitled “Captain Groot.” Here he is for your viewing pleasure…The dimensions would have been fine if he were a long skinny faced tree…not a peoples.
We ended our evening with a stroll past the Chinese Zodiac mosaics on our way to the Cheesecake factory for dinner. I think they are pretty neat! We opted to skip the fireworks at night because we have seen fireworks before and were ready to drop dead after all the excitement from the day.
A word of caution to this tale,
should Hercules fight, you will fail…there is one attraction you may not be aware of in the Shanghai Disneyland park: YOU! Despite the fact that Shanghai is a highly international city in which you will often hardly get a second look (unless people are trying to sell you something), people from all over China will come to experience this park (many of whom rarely see foreigners). Now in our case, we were twins decked out in matching Disney merch, so I’m sure that was part of the reason we had two people ask to take photos with us that day (the other was our friend we met in the honey pot). It does not hurt to keep this in mind in general when visiting China though lest you be surprised like we were the first time we visited.