A HalloXmas trip to Asia - Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo! - Updated 1/22 - Lunch and castle photos!

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
Hello and welcome to my latest trip report! This trip covers my crazy 3-week solo journey to the other side of the world to visit all of the Disney parks in Asia! It covers the good, the excellent, the stressful, and the aggravating moments on my trip. So, I do have to emphasize – these were my personal experiences and thoughts! I know lots of people visit these parks and have their own experiences. So when you visit (which I definitely recommend) know, you could have a better or worse time!

Some introductions:

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My name is Lesley and I'm a 34 yr old engineer, living in Los Angeles. I've been a huge Disney fan all my life and have been a Disneyland AP for the past five years (with a few month break). Prior to my first WDW trip in September 2017, I upgraded that Annual Pass to a Premier, which made financial sense. And somehow that visit led to 3 years of Premier Aps, 5 trips (and 2 upcoming), and a cruise (with 2 upcoming)! In the past year I also became a DVC owner (AKL via resale), so I will have many trips to come in the future!

My history in the parks:

Park 1: Disneyland – I’ve been going here since I was a kid (probably around age 4?). I live about 45 minutes away and occasionally am working only a mile away, so I try to get out to DLR as often as possible (at least once a month).

A photo from my first visit:
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Park 2: Disney’s California Adventure – I actually got to go to this park before it ever opened, due to a preview my dad was invited to! And I still go often and love it (though not as much as DL)

For some reason, I couldn’t find any photos from my first 10 years of visiting DCA, so here’s the earliest one (during original construction of World of Color)
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Parks 3, 4, 5, 6: Walt Disney World – For some reason, I never really pushed my parents to take a WDW trip growing up. And they visited in the 80s, when they did 1 afternoon at Epcot and were not the biggest fans, so never felt the need to return! But once I became an adult and started becoming a more intense Disney fan, I had a great desire to visit! So, my sister and I ended up visiting in September 2017 (during Hurricane Irma), which turned into a pretty awesome trip! And I’ve been back plenty times since (Trip Report links are in my signature)

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Parks 7, 8: Disneyland Paris – In 2018, we did a family trip to France. Of course I wanted to see DLP, so ended up doing an additional 4 night/5 day stay and got to see that beautiful park! That trip report is also in my signature

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Trip Background

As for this trip, it was floating around in my brain for a few years, especially once I started reading about all the Asian parks. Immediately after Disneyland Paris, where I didn’t have the best experiences with the other guests, I didn’t feel as much of a drive to go. But after a few months, I finally decided I really did want to visit these parks everyone talks about! Disney Tourist Blog talked about a HalloXmas trip, where you time it to experience both Halloween and Christmas at Tokyo Disney, which seemed like an ideal way to go (little did I know…). So, I figured, 2 weeks in Japan for that, plus some time experiencing Japanese culture.

But then, in early Fall 2018 I started seeing Halloween photos from Hong Kong Disneyland, which just looked awesome! I started considering adding on a couple days for a visit to HKDL. And then, that made me realize, it would leave Shanghai as the only Disney park worldwide I hadn’t visited. Well, that wouldn’t do, so I figured out I could add another week to my trip, visit both Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneylands, before heading over to Japan. A long trip (maybe too long for me), but one I was really looking forward to!

Follow along to find out:

  • What did I think of the Disney parks in Asia?
  • What were my favorite rides?
  • Which ride did I get a certificate from?
  • How many times did I ride Tron?
  • Which memorable character meets did I experience?
  • What was my most stressful travel experience (maybe ever)?
  • What was it like to fly business?
  • Would I try the Green Alien Mochi in Tokyo?
  • What would I do differently in the future?
  • When will I visit again?
  • What surprise dismeets did I have?

Trip basics:

Dates: October 19 – November 10

Part 1 – Shanghai.

Park days: 2
Hotel: Shanghai Disneyland Hotel

Part 2 – Hong Kong

Park days: 2
Hotel: Explorer’s Lodge

Part 3 – Tokyo Disney, Halloween celebrations

Park days: 2
Hotel: Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, Park Wing room

Part 4 – Kyoto

Days: 2.5
Hotel: CMM Crystate

Part 5 – Tokyo

Days: 1.5
Hotel: Tokyu REI Hotel Shibuya

Part 6 – Tokyo Disney, Christmas celebrations

Park days – 5
Hotel: Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, Ocean Dream room


Oh, and a disclaimer – I took a lot of photos on this trip… like, a lot! And I had my phone, plus a nicer camera. So, it may take some time to go thru everything and get it all posted! If you have specific questions about a future aspect of the trip, feel free to ask in advance!

I also decided to post this on the main Trip Report board, as I know it can be hard to find TRs on the “Other Lands” board!
 

jnjusoioa

I fell in love with DLR, whats not to love. Fantas
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
I found this and I am going to follow along as I always enjoy reading your trip reports
 
  • fallonkendra

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 2, 2015
    I’ve been pretty absent from the boards, but looks like I came back just in time to hear more about this trip! Can’t wait to hear all the details!
     

    PoohIsHome

    Wizard momma living in a muggle world.
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2013
    I'm a lurker on the Disney side (Uni girl at heart), but I've always read your TRs. Kept up with your Pre-TR and have been looking forward to the TR....good, bad and just plain frustrating! :-)
     

    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Hi Lesley!
    I’m very excited to join in. The trip has me very intrigued and you are great at explaining all the details and highlights, good and bad!
    I’m impressed you ventured there on your own, very cool!
     
  • dolewhipdreams

    Counting days until my next Dole Whip
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2017
    I have never looked forward to a TR more than I have been looking forward to this one! So excited!!

    A photo from my first visit:
    So cute!

    (maybe too long for me)
    Uh oh, is that foreshadowing??

    Which ride did I get a certificate from?
    '
    Say whaaat?

    Which memorable character meets did I experience?
    Ah so excited to read about your character experience! I've heard character greets are on a whole other level over there. But one of my biggest desires is to meet Duffy & Friends (come on Gelatoni!) so any tips there would be so appreciated.

    What was my most stressful travel experience (maybe ever)?
    Yikes that does not sound very magical.

    Anyway, I'm so excited to read all about your trip!!
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Day 0 – October 18 – October 20, Travel day, or, The day without a sun…


    Part of the planning of this trip involved using airmiles I had saved up for years (around 15 yrs). Which meant I was able to book flights via business class, which was totally worth it! Also, at the time of booking, Aeroplan allowed 2 stopovers as well as final destination (now they only allow 1 stopover), which meant I could book the entire trip for the same number of miles as if I was just going roundtrip LAX-Tokyo.

    The first leg of my trip was LAX – Shanghai (PVG), with a 5-hr layover in Seoul, South Korea. I was flying Asiana Airlines (I did a few different airlines, as they are Star Alliance members so all accepted Aeroplan miles).

    I worked hard to complete most of my work the day before, so I was able to “work” from home on Friday, which really translated to keeping track of and responding to emails on my phone. I definitely appreciated a stress-free morning/afternoon!

    My packing assistants, I was going to miss them so much!



    My mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend and I ended up heading to BJs Restaurant for lunch; Joey had suggested ramen or Chinese food, but my mom said, maybe Lesley would prefer American! So, some fried cheese, tri-tip sliders, and skillet chocolate chip cookie, yum!



    My parents drove me to the airport, arriving around 7:30pm (my flight was leaving at 11:30pm, but you never know with LAX traffic).



    It was super fast at the airport, taking less than 20 minutes to check-in, drop off my bags, and get thru security (you can still use pre-check for international flights leaving LAX)! That even included a brief delay as my check-in agent verified with her supervisor I was allowed to fly to China!



    Now, LAX really sucks as an airport. Always has construction so driving is a huge pain. And, while they have renovated some of the terminals, most still are pretty boring. I really hate flying out of there, but that’s often my only option for direct flights, so I deal with it. Now, all that changes when it comes to Tom Bradley International Terminal, which is gorgeous and full of awesome food venues and shopping! Of course, you can only enjoy that if you are actually taking an international flight, which I don’t get to do that often!

    But, today I wouldn’t be exploring the terminal, as instead I was going to have access to the Star Alliance Lounge, which is pretty big and gorgeous!

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    There is also a cool “patio” which overlooks the actual terminal, but is surprisingly quiet!



    And an actual outdoor patio, but it looks over the traffic chaos, not the runways



    Lots of food options (some of these look messy but that’s because some rambunctious kids were getting food before I walked up).



    I didn’t like most of the prepared items (just my own picky tastes), so I stuck to the noodle bar (basically they had vats of fresh noodles, toppings, and broths, so you could make your own.



    And, if you read my May trip report and remembered my dessert party antics, I had to load up on the cheese and crackers!



    After relaxing for a couple hours, it was time to head to the gate.



    The check-in agent said it was a hike to my gate, so told me to leave the lounge at 10pm, even though boarding wasn’t until 10:15 or so. And, well, she was right! Basically I had to walk to the end of the terminal, turn down a hallway, walk to the end of that mini terminal, go down a ramp to a series of 5 gates, which actually weren’t gates but shuttle doors! And take a shuttle to a satellite building, used only for that gate (you actually scanned boarding cards at the shuttle entrance). I actually got to the gate as they started letting business passengers onto the buses.

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    There actually was a delay and they hadn’t opened up the bridge yet, but shuttle after shuttle kept arriving and dropping off people… Anyways, we eventually boarded and I was greeted with my lovely seat for the next 11 hrs.



    Oh, this was the way to fly transoceanic! I could stretch out so much and really relax, rather than being cooped up in the small economy seats!



    I took advantage and put on some PJ pants immediately (I brought them with me; Asiana doesn’t give Business passengers PJs anymore).



    Also, I discovered apparently they provide razers in the business bathroom? I would have thought that isn’t allowed at all… (I also noticed these in the bathrooms for the other business class flights)



    A look at the business class menu:



    I went with the Western menu, starting with Proscuitto and vegetable appetizer (can you tell what movie I chose to watch?)



    Beef brochette, served with teriyaki rice, vegetables, and fried rice



    Selection of cheese & cheese cake



    The beef was delicious! Very tender and the sauce was yummy! I wasn’t a fan of the cheese cake, which I think was more like a flan? I only ate a couple bites!

    After eating, it was time to sleep, reclining the seat the whole way and really relaxing. The biggest problem I had was the tv remote was right next to my arm and if I hit it at all, the TV screen would turn on again. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get this to stop, so I made use of the eye shades! I don’t think I ever truly was unconscious, but maybe I was. And at least I was very rested! (Oh, the full bed photo is from later because I forgot to take a picture when I was on this flight)



    Time for breakfast

    Selection of pastries (chocolate croissant and brioche), fruit, and pan fried crepe.



    The crepe filling was not for me at all! I did eat bits of the crepe though, which was meh. The pastries were decent though.

    I also watched Toy Story 4, another repeat movie – basically I didn’t know how much I would be concentrating on a movie or if it could get interrupted, so I picked ones I had already seen (but liked). I think for TS4 I did have to fast forward through some parts in order to get to ending before the plane landed!

    When I looked at the flight map I also noticed something – we completely avoided flying over North Korea! I guess for safety reasons, since Asiana is a Korean airline, just was curious!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Around 4:30am on Sunday, October 20, we landed in Seoul. Since we left at 11:30pm on Friday, October 18, this meant I never stepped food on ground on Saturday, October 19. I also never saw the sun on this day, since we flew in darkness the whole time!

    I was just transiting in Seoul, and had about 5 hrs to wait for my next flight. Seoul actually seems like an awesome airport, with lots of things to do, including cultural presentations, a transfer lounge with shower and nap room amenities, and even free excursions depending on the length of your layover. I didn’t really get to experience any of this because my departing flight was around 9:30am, and most of that started around 9am. But you should check it out if you are travelling thru Seoul!



    The airport mascots



    Robot concierge (he was sleeping)



    I spent most of my time in the Asiana Lounge



    A beer machine that dispenses from the bottom!



    After a snack, I got to use the shower facilities! It was so nice and refreshing getting cleaned up and changed after the long flight! They had everything available, but I had brought mini bottles of shampoo/conditioner, as I have color treated hair. (I also got this shirt at DCA during their Lunar New Year celebrations earlier this year)



    Then, time for snacks. It was an interesting assortment. Nothing I’d seek out, but it filled me up enough!



    While I was sitting there I got to spy on the Hello Kitty EVA Air plane! I was so bummed that I was going to miss this one by one flight when I was going to Hong Kong!



    Time for my next flight, a short hop up to Shanghai



    Some teriyaki chicken on the flight, which was ok. And cute hot pepper paste, though I didn’t partake (I don’t do spicy)



    I think I watched Spiderman Far From Home (fast forwarding to fit in the full movie as the flight was less than 2 hrs), another repeat.

    While we were approaching Shanghai for a landing, we were surprised with a massive moth in the business class area! The attendants kept trying to capture it, but eventually it crawled under a seat… the one in front of me… At least it didn’t show up again on the flight!



    First sight of China



    Another amusement park – I eventually discovered it was Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park. Looked cool thematically from above, but reviews weren’t great and it has live animals, which I’m suspicious of their standard of care…



    Welcome to Shanghai!




    Coming up – Arrival at Shanghai Disney Resort and exploring Disneytown
     

    disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Business class looks awesome for a long flight. Travel days went smooth so far.
    I love the option to shower and freshen up in the lounge.
     

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