A HalloXmas trip to Asia - Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo! - Updated 2/20-Ghost Pirate Adventure

amazingact21

Upendi
Joined
Nov 6, 2010
I'm here! I followed your facebook stories and now can't wait to read your full thoughts and opinions of the Asian parks.

Man, having to fly back and forth from Europe to the states so much, I am SO jealous of your business class seat. That full recline and spot for your feet look amazing. That plus the food and the shower hopefully helped with the slog of international travel.
 

xlsm

Snow White
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Woo! I've been looking forward to this!!

No way I'm flying internationally in a regular seat :faint: I would die. Love your business class seat set up, that's awesome.

Shanghai PotC and Tokyo Disney Sea are my Asian park priorities, hopefully in the next five years we'll be making the trip!!
 
  • KEK1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    Yay, you've started! Following. We might be postponing our Asia trip from next year as I am looking at buying a pony.
    Your business class travel looks amazing!
     

    PrincessMcG

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2014
    Just joined! My husband are doing a similar trip in February to knock out the remaining 3 parks and are SO thankful that you’re sharing your experiences!
     

    NJlauren

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 6, 2014
    So excited to be following along!

    amazing to have that seat in business on the way, im sure it makes taking that flight way easier!

    Some good food Options which is always nice while traveling!!
    Excited to hear about this trip!
     
  • Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Following along. Can’t wait to read more about your Asian adventures.
    Thanks!
    Yay you started the report! Both Jared and I have begun reading along and are enjoying it immensely so far. Looking forward to reading all about your highlights and the things you didn’t enjoy so much! Your transit sounded very relaxing! And those mascots at Seoul airport were adorable! I want a concierge robot. That would be so helpful in my life!
    I know - I'd love a concierge robot! Funny thing, Joe Rhode flew thru there a few weeks later and took a photo of the same robot, only he was awake this time!
    Following Along!
    Welcome!
    Hmm... Maybe if we book an aisle and a window in a row of 3 we'll avoid having a 3rd person book the seat between us (assuming the flight isn't full).... Then we could for sure spread out! And if that seat does get booked we can always ask if they want to switch so we can sit together. And who would say no to moving from a middle to an aisle??
    Yeah, that certainly is a good strategy!
    Following along! Such a long travel day! So nice though the airport has a refresh place with what looked to be very clean showers! Looking forward to following along on this one!
    Yeah, the Asian airports definitely push the American ones to shame!
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    What an exciting trip! Can't wait for more.
    Thanks!
    Joining in for the adventures! Your travel day(s) look like they went smoothly. Can't wait to hear what you think of the Shanghai Park!
    I actually really liked it! And had pretty much a perfect visit - hopefully I'll get more into it ASAP!
    Joining in!! SO excited to hear all about your trip! I'd dying to go to the Asia parks!
    I definitely recommend a trip out there. There's a lot of construction right now though, so maybe in a year or two would be best!
    That's definitely the way to travel for long flights!

    The option to shower during your layover is the best I think. That grubby feeling after a flight is miserable!
    Oh I know! That grime is just ick! I think the shower helped me never really have jetlag on the way to Asia
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    I'm here! I followed your facebook stories and now can't wait to read your full thoughts and opinions of the Asian parks.

    Man, having to fly back and forth from Europe to the states so much, I am SO jealous of your business class seat. That full recline and spot for your feet look amazing. That plus the food and the shower hopefully helped with the slog of international travel.
    Oh it definitely did! I'm totally spoiled for any future trips!
    Woo! I've been looking forward to this!!

    No way I'm flying internationally in a regular seat :faint: I would die. Love your business class seat set up, that's awesome.

    Shanghai PotC and Tokyo Disney Sea are my Asian park priorities, hopefully in the next five years we'll be making the trip!!
    Fingers crossed for you!
    Good travel days and so nice that you got to shower!!!
    Yeah, it worked out well!
    Yay, you've started! Following. We might be postponing our Asia trip from next year as I am looking at buying a pony.
    Your business class travel looks amazing!
    Haha, a pony or Asia disney! Both choices with good consequences!
    Just joined! My husband are doing a similar trip in February to knock out the remaining 3 parks and are SO thankful that you’re sharing your experiences!
    Hopefully I'll get as much as possible posted, but feel free to ask any other questions, as I know it takes a while for me to get thru!
    So excited to be following along!

    amazing to have that seat in business on the way, im sure it makes taking that flight way easier!

    Some good food Options which is always nice while traveling!!
    Excited to hear about this trip!
    Welcome aboard!
    Following along on your great adventure! Can’t wait to read about it!
    Hope I don't disappoint!
    I am so looking forward to hearing all about this amazing trip.
    Thx!
     
  • Momee

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 27, 2014
    So exciting to be able to take such an amazing vacation!
    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip!
    I love reading your TRs.
     

    heaven2dc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 26, 2003
    You are one of my favorite TR writers so was excited to see you post an Asian park-filled trip!! I would love to take a trip to all three Asian Disney parks and duplicate your travel style. Business class looks like the best way to travel and looks comfortable too! (Now to win the lottery to make my dream trip come true or save for the next few years which is more likely to make it happen lol)
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    So exciting to be able to take such an amazing vacation!
    Can’t wait to hear all about your trip!
    I love reading your TRs.
    Aw, thanks!
    You are one of my favorite TR writers so was excited to see you post an Asian park-filled trip!! I would love to take a trip to all three Asian Disney parks and duplicate your travel style. Business class looks like the best way to travel and looks comfortable too! (Now to win the lottery to make my dream trip come true or save for the next few years which is more likely to make it happen lol)
    Thanks so much! Definitely try to get out there someday!
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Sorry for such a delay - still trying to get everything sorted and also busy at work!

    Day 1 - October 20 – Part 1 - Wishing Star Lake and Merchandise tour

    *Oh and I did want to say I had a mobile wifi for the duration of my trip. I used Roaming Man, because they had one device that would work in multiple countries, plus they shipped it direct to my house, so I didn’t have to worry about picking it up at an airport along the way. The service was decent – some areas did have bad service, but I experienced that with wifi too, which was pretty annoying at times! In China, I signed up for ExpressVPN, which does cost money, but had a 30-day free trial, so I cancelled before I could be actually charged. (If you aren’t aware, China has strict censorship and blocks pages like twitter, facebook, etc.) Unfortunately it seems the Chinese censors have caught up to ExpressVPN, and it only worked maybe 25% of the time. Also, if I had it active, then I kept having issues on the Shanghai Disney app, which is needed to book FPs, so I didn’t get the most use out of it. I would check recent reviews and tips before heading there to see which services are currently the best!

    We left off when I landed in Shanghai at 10:30am. I was one of the first ones off the flight and did my “theme park walk” through the arrivals corridors – as was my luck with most of my flights, we had pulled into the gate at the far end of the terminal from where I needed to go, so it was quite a walk.



    It was pretty fast through immigration; normally you need a visa to travel to China (which requires advance planning and $$), but I fell under the 144-hour visa exemption. Rather than go thru everything, I’d point you to this resource: https://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/shanghai/144hours-visa-free.htm. I qualified since I was flying from South Korea – Shanghai – Taiwan. If I was visiting more than Shanghai or going roundtrip from one country, it would not have applied. They have special immigration counters for travelers using this (when I arrived it was the ones on the far left end of the immigration area – sorry no photos allowed in those areas), and I just had to show the officer my boarding pass, ongoing flight info, and passport, and everything was good. You also need to fill out a basic immigration form (similar but not identical to the normal entry form), which they don’t usually have on planes, so you need to do that in the immigration area. One tip – don’t attempt to use the computer screens to fill it out; the screens are insanely glitchy and don’t even print out the documents correctly, so I wasted time there and multiple people passed me in line.

    Once I got thru immigration, my bags were already available, so I grabbed those, and then headed out to the pick-up area. If you are headed to SHDL from the airport, there are a few options. Public transport does get there, but you have to take a train into the city and then another train to the Disney station, before getting one of the shuttle buses to your hotel – not exactly easy to do with large bags! Then there is the taxi option – from stories it seems to be 50/50 if there are issues or not, either from the driver getting lost or trying to overcharge you, or something else. Plus, you have to make your way thru fake taxi drivers trying to convince you to use them instead. On the advice of several Dissers I had hired Mr. Orange (https://orange-transfer.com/), a private car service to provide transport to/from the airport. I highly recommend them – they are affordable (about $35 each way), and very professional, meeting me with a sign and helping with my suitcase. And I didn’t have to deal with any complications!



    By 11:45, we arrived at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, which means 75 minutes for everything – not bad! As we drove into the resort area I was looking out the window and caught the top of the castle. And, I have to admit, I got a bit choked up seeing it! I wasn’t a huge fan of photos of it, but it was just, yeah, I’m here!



    (FYI – this part I’m going to throw in some random hotel photos, since it’s pretty text heavy)




    There are 2 on-site hotels at SHDL – the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and the Toy Story Hotel. The TSH is cheaper, and technically is closer to the park, but both are only a 5 minute bus ride. I just decided I wasn’t a big fan of the look of that hotel, so wanted to go for something a bit nicer! I don’t necessarily recommend one over the other, so I’d say it’s up to your budget and personal tastes. But I do HIGHLY recommend staying on-site, as there are some tangible benefits that I will get to!



    Arrival at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel was also pretty seemless. The driver pulled up, a bellhop immediately rushed over to help with my bags, and another CM came over to greet me and help me to wherever I needed to go! It was a bit crowded in the entry lobby, but I think that was due to my arrival time coinciding with most people’s check-out time, and it was also the weekend of the Shanghai Disney Inspiration Run (their version of RunDisney), so people were coming back from that. But I had a couple tasks, 1) drop off bags with bell services, easy peasy. 2) Check-in at the hotel, sign various paperwork, etc., also pretty easy. I didn’t get my room key or location yet, at that wasn’t until 3pm. 3) Buy tickets from Concierge.



    So, that’s another big tip: if you are staying on-site, DO NOT BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE! If you buy from the hotel concierge, you get to select one additional Fastpass per day. You do have to choose the ride and the time, but it acts the same as any other fastpass. Even if you are staying on-site, if you buy the tickets in advance (even from the official Disney website), you do not have access to these additional fastpasses! Maybe eventually they will correct this, because it seems unfair and confusing, but that’s the way it is currently! I bought a 2-day ticket and selected Tron for my Day 1 Fastpass (with an evening return time), and 7DMT for my Day 2 Fastpass (I really couldn’t decide what ride and wish I had chosen Tron again or something else because I ended up not using this one). The concierge kept trying to convince me to choose Soaring, but I reassured him I knew what I was doing, as I lived near Disneyland in California and have ridden Soaring many many times!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Ok, now that was taken care of, which ended up taking about 30 minutes total – not too bad! And I still had almost 3 hrs before my room was ready, so might as well explore Disneytown (Shanghai’s version of Downtown Disney).

    Here is a full resort map so you can understand where things are:



    I really liked the view of the castle from the hotel! You can really see how huge that castle is!



    While they have buses every few minutes, I decided to walk over, as it was a lovely day (actually a bit on the warm side). I figured other mornings I would be taking the bus over, so this was my chance to walk!



    The lake and park seems to be actually very nice and you can rent paddle boats



    This is the “Magic Bridge”; seems like a simple bridge, but there was actually some explanation that it’s structurally complicated, with a single-side suspension (only being supported from one side), one of the first ones in China. (Sorry-my undergrad was in Structural Engineering, so it was pretty interesting to me!)



    I did walk by the Childrens Run area of the inspiration run, which was full of music and laughter! (Note – I also don’t know if I saw a single other Westerner this entire day.)



    And over to Disneytown



    Had to visit the giant Donald! This is an 11m, inflatable boat that has been hanging out in Wishing Star Lake since July 2018! Apparently Donald is extremely popular in China and has been since the 1930s. I don’t know how long the Godzilla Duck is going to stick around, but you can’t miss it if you visit!



    And a walk over to see the entrance gates. Lots and lots of barriers! I was glad I wasn’t going to have to navigate this in the mornings, as hotel guests have a special park entrance in Disneytown.



    I did stop to check out the fountain, which was very cool! Occasionally the horn would toot and it would play music, but that often was overshadowed by the safety spiels on loudspeakers, so it didn’t make for the best video!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Some Halloween decorations. This wasn’t the only giant pumpkin at the resort – there was also one in the center of the park!



    And of course I had to check out World of Disney, where I spent waaaay too much on merchandise! (I also probably should have left that before I left Disneytown, not right when I arrived, but you live and you learn!)



    They have a whole “City” line of merch.



    How I felt after this trip!



    Some ceiling artwork. Also they had various attraction posters from around the world!



    Gorgeous murals behind the registers



    A projection globe in the center which would match the store music (so during Soaring theme, it would show the world; Marvel would have superheroes, etc)



    Had to be a geek and notice the fire hydrant (I saw these signs up in most buildings, so I guess it’s a typical safety feature.

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Um, Squid rolls…pass



    They really like Zootopia! Good thing they are building a whole land!



    I had wanted to get one of these hooded blankets, but I didn’t like the fleece texture when I touched it (I have some weird sensory things sometimes). The Chip/Dale was especially cute since it was reversible!



    Various jewelry – I ended up getting a necklace, but I wish I had gotten more!



    Now for the, “Lesley tries on crazy hats” portion of this installment…



    The “Cute” collection is, well, cute! It started with Chip/Dale, then Pooh and Friends. Zootopia came out a week after I left!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Duffy and friends! I had hoped to get all 4 Halloween plush badges, because they had a deck of cards theme, but only Gelatoni was left at World of Disney (I ended up finding Shellie Mae at the SHDLH gift shop, but the others were totally sold out and over $50 on ebay)



    Adorable Duffy characters! I only realized when going thru my photos, but these were the character representatives of the Chinese zodiac!



    Some fun snack packaging, but there was no English explanation!



    Very cute hand fan!



    It took a lot for me to put this figurine back but I knew it would get broken in my travels. Luckily I found a pin in the same design.



    Ok, that’s just a (not-so) short sampling of the merch provided at SHDL. I still am going thru everything I bought! Overall, they had a good amount of items. And the merch offerings were similar to the US parks (Hong Kong too), though plenty of unique items!


    Coming up: Dinner and getting settled in the hotel!
     

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