I just booked! Going to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo-update Disneyland Shanghai day 5 - 01/06

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by Karin1984, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    I'm home again! After another 21 hours of travelling my mom was waiting for me at the airport to take me home. I threw everything out of my suitcase, made some soup and then showed my mom the pictures of the first few days. Now trying to stay awake for another 4 hours till it's a decent time to go to bed!

    Before I start the trip report, I would like to show the pictures of the costumes of the guests I took when Halloween started on the 7th of September. This year it is allowed to dress up during the entire Halloween season, during the day, and not just at Halloween parties. And the JApanese are very serious about dressing up. We saw amazing costumes and worthy of being photographed. Although most guests dress up for themselves, so they can take pictures of themselves in costume in the parks, they were surprised that I wanted to take a picture of them.
    We saw many Ariels (especially in Disney Sea), Belle was popular, Cinderella (both movie versions), Anna was more popular than Elsa, and a lot of Snow Whites. Some costumes were store bought, some were home made, but they were all detailed. Oh and dozens and dozens of Mickeys & Minnies, but they were mainly more Disney bounding than costumes.

    It was amazing, but also a bit confusing. Imagine seeing a rare character and then your first instinct is to run over, but then realize 'oh... it's a guest'. Happened mainly when I saw several Flynn Riders ;-) or imagine how confusing it is to be in line with four Rapunzels behind you !
    Also at one point, we were waiting in line to meet characters, one of the groups was Mary & Bert. The character handler standing next to them, is tapped on her shoulder by a guest dressed up as Bert, and the costume was so good, the Cast Member gasped for a moment and had to take a second look to make sure it wasn't the real Bert :P

    Two out of three Caballeros
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    A Chesire Cat
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    Snow White & Cinderella
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    Cinderella, Prince Charming and Fairy Godmother
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    Anna & Belle
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    Rapunzel & Elena
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    Eric & Ariel in Wedding Outfit (Eric in sailor outfit seemed to be the easiest costume to have your boyfriend join the dressing up ;-) )
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    The harem girls from Aladdin
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    Anna
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    I thought this one was a fun one as well: Moana and Hei Hei
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    Hercules and Megara
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    Ursula and Ariel, getting extra credit for the fish-pen and creating the contract!
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    Belle and Mrs. Potts, the woman who is dressed as Mrs. Potts had knitted herself a little Mrs. Potts and Chip, they were cute! And Belle was surprised I wanted to take her picture, but she was prepared for Halloween as she handed me a little bag of trick or treat candy after taking their picture :)
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    Esmeralda & Clopin, who had an adorable little puppet :)
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    Flotsam & Jetsam, they were surprised I had recognized them. They were wearing both different colored contact lenses. I saw that more often, a lot of girls who played blue-eyed princesses were wearing contacts.
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    Snow White & Mulan
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    Jane
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    Anastasia & Drizella Tremaine
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    But the absolute winner was this brilliant man, the costume is so simple, but maybe that's part of the brilliance. He dressed up as the Partners Statue.
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  2. califlorican

    califlorican Mouseketeer

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    I personally don't think it's fair to criticize the park based on the amount of English the cast members spoke...if you're in a non-English speaking country, you shouldn't expect that in a park anyway. It might be frustrating, but that's not the park or the cast members' fault.

    About the peeing little girl, yes it's very normal for parents to have their small children pee in public. BUT they typically do it outside, and in the grass. Not in the middle of a sidewalk or inside somewhere. If you didn't see where she was peeing, it's possible there was a bucket or can (sometimes parents carry them around for this) and not just inside on the floor.
     
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  4. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    I hope the parents had a bucket or a can, or something. I was prepared to see it outside, and that wouldn't be a problem to me, as I peed outside myself as a kid, when camping, on road trips etc. but it was inside that shocked me.

    About the English. I think you can expect it as a foreign visitor, but only because, everything in the park is in two languages. The guide maps, time tables, all signage, menus, many announcements and much more was in two languages, readily available (they never had to look for English maps etc.). The park presents itself as it is prepared for foreign visitors. Then I think you can have some expectations. A question as 'where is ...' should be part of the training of the cast members who work at Information Stands (those places where they have all the waiting times etc) in the park. I should have added that this is where we asked these questions. We didn't ask the bus driver or the cleaners. I hadn't expected, and didn't try to have a full conversation with cast members, except with those who wanted to practise their English on us.

    I wouldn't blame the cast members, but I would think a small improvement could be as there are at least 3 CMs working at each Information Stand,is to schedule at least one who can answer those kind of questions in English. Or flag pins, like they do in DLP to make easy to identify which languages are spoken by which cast member, wouldn't necessarily always help, but it might take away some frustration.

    My comments were more meant as informational for those who plan to go to Shanghai, to manage expectations.
     
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  5. califlorican

    califlorican Mouseketeer

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    I agree it would be nice to always have someone at the information stands, but I do think it's (unfortunately) unrealistic to expect in China right now. While students do learn English in school, the system is more about memorization and writing/reading than it is with speaking. Many rarely use their English after they've finished university, unless they work in a business environment where it's necessary. I think it would be a great idea for Disney to have the CM's learn how to say certain things, but since it's a new park, I don't blame them for not currently having that set up. Once they have more foreigners visiting, I think they might make it a priority. While they do have signs and maps in English, the large majority of the guests are Chinese and therefore the CM's don't need to use their English as often. I believe it's very similar in Japan. However, I appreciate that you're giving out information and letting everyone know what to expect!
     
  6. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    I wonder if there will ever be more foreign visitors. I think during out visit it was less than 1% and it might climb to 3 or 4% but I think the visa is something that will hold back a lot of people. Shanghai isn't exactly a tourist destination like Hong Kong or Tokyo, for which no visa is required. I think it will remain mainly Disney lovers who will visit SDL and not a lot of local foreign visitors.

    In Tokyo I think there was about 10% foreign visitors and in Hong Kong about 20-25%.
     
  7. califlorican

    califlorican Mouseketeer

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    To be fair, Hong Kong has more foreigners living there, so they may not be visitors coming from other countries. There's a pretty high population of Western expats and their families. I will say that when we went to Shanghai Disneyland in January, we saw MAYBE 10 or 15 other foreigners besides the 5 of us. Last week we saw a lottttt more. It may be just since January is not tourist season for Westerners (being right after Christmas/New Years season), but I also think it's just a really new park and not as many people have gone there yet. I agree it will probably never be as popular as Tokyo or Hong Kong as far as tourism goes, but Shanghai is becoming more accessible than it used to be (the 144-hour visa free option, for one thing!) and there is plenty to do there. I hope it does become more popular; we love Shanghai and would totally recommend people visit!
     
  8. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    I definitely hope it. Out of the three cities, Shanghai was definitely my favorite and I would love to return. I think on our days, there were about 25 Western people in the parks (last week August) so definitely less than 1%.
     
  9. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    So here goes the trip report! Let’s see if I can complete it. Or at least start it, before I leave this Friday to Disneyland Paris for Half Marathon weekend (participating in the 10K and the half marathon, which was not a good idea so quickly after a 3 week vacation :P )

    August 23rd and 24th

    Travel days are always stressful, and this time added the 144-hour visa, plus my father bringing me to the airport, it all didn’t help. The relationship with my father is quite complicated, for about 7 years I had cut him out of my life and now that he is back in, things are always awkward. A week before leaving I heard via my mother that my father(they are divorced) had asked her if he could bring me to the airport. My mom answered: ‘she is probably stressed, but you should ask her herself’. By the fact that he didn’t ask me, I figured it was important to him to do this for me. So I send him a text that he could bring me.

    On the departure day, my plane would leave at 3:20 in the afternoon, with the travel time and potential issues at check in, my dad was at my house at 11. At 11:30 we were at the airport. I don’t see my dad that often and I had forgotten that he is getting old and that he starts having difficulty walking. On a day like this, when I am anxious/stressed, walking slowly isn’t my strongest suit. It took us about half an hour to get to the check in desk from the parking lot. The good thing was, I was too busy worrying about how my dad was doing than I was worrying about check in.

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    When we got at the check in, they had started early, and I started queueing. And when I get to the desk, the girl indeed starts with ‘where is your visa for China, miss’? I explained about the 144 hour transit visa, and told her to start looking in her system. She does find other stuff about transferring and day visas, but not mine. I show her the print out of the Emirates website and that it’s common for check in agents to have problems. She calls a colleague who together with a third colleague to look. This third colleague was an Emirates employee, probably the station manager. Emirates only has 1 flight a day from Amsterdam, so they use general agents of the airport to handle their flights. The girl told me that she was extra careful as a week before she had let a passenger without visa go to China, who was refused upon arrival and send back, resulting in Emirates having to pay a fine.

    I occupied the desk for about 15-20 minutes, and then the station manager of Emirates told the girl behind the desk that it was okay, to put his name into the system and let me go. All in all, it helped that I was prepared for the discussions and had taken the print out of the website.

    Tip 1: Be prepared for discussions at check in if you don’t have a direct flight to Shanghai and take print outs with you, from a Visa-check-website (if your airline doesn’t have it), with Shanghai as your transit airport. So in my case, I filled in Hong Kong was my final destination and

    Me and my dad go for a little walk around the airport, to the panorama deck which overlooks the airport and where KLM keeps one of their old planes. You can go in, it tells the history of KLM on the inside and some ins and outs of aviation, like what happens with baggage.

    Old engine

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    Small plane ;)

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    By then I am just ready to go and leave my dad and go through customs. I buy something to eat and find a place near the gate to surf the internet for a while. I chat with Nikki who is facing the same problems in Brussels. About 15-20 minutes and several agents there had the same issues finding the 144 hours transit visa.

    Nikki’s plane is on time, mine is 40 minutes delayed.

    The flight itself was uneventful, I had a row of 3 all to myself. Food was decent, staff was nice, entertainment was fine, I watched Hidden Figures and Muppets Most Wanted. I tried to watch Thor in case we ran into Thor at Shanghai, but it wasn’t my type of movie.

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    I fly my first flight with the Airbus 380, a type of plane my own airline doesn’t have. And it’s one of the biggest planes out in the market at the moment, but very quiet. I was seated near the engines and I hardly heard a thing. The interior looked nice, still very new. The Inflight Entertainment System was touch screen and included USB ports. Also Emirates has a 20MB free wifi, and after that, for frequent flyers 7USD for 150MB and 11USD for 500MB. I didn’t buy it on the way out, but I did on my return flight. Whether you buy the wifi access or use the first 20MB free, connection wasn’t always good. Very, very slow at some times.

    Beef with Rosemary and mashed potatoes, with some very sweet, but delicious chocolate mousse

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    Once in Dubai, I have to find Nikki, which was not that easy as Dubai is a big airport. Many big brands in the shopping area, which makes it clear that Dubai has a different/richer audience than my own little airport ;) (It never happens that I am flying and I am suddenly in the need for Chanel, Dior or Ferragamo :P ) We just have some caffeine and snacks.

    Our second flight was also not very interesting, I couldn’t sleep as there was a little kid who didn’t enjoy his/her flight. Watched Kong Skull Island and Fantastic Beasts. Emirates is very efficient to start cleaning the blankets and head sets half an hour before landing, only if you don’t have your own head set… you are left with reading lips on your entertainment set. Also the kind of disturbing message right before landing to ‘please read the safety manual’. That’s not very comforting! Also another message that if you feel dizzy, have diarrhea etc. to then report to the doctor upon arrival.

    Breakfast

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    Chicken and potatoes

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    And then we are in Shanghai! It was a 21 hour journey, but we are here! Getting through customs was pretty easy, it’s very well marked throughout the airport and luckily for us, lines were short. There was two people in front of us, one of them sorting out his papers. I get through first, no problem. But then Nikki, she had travelled to Turkey about a month before. The agents at Shanghai couldn’t find the exit stamp in her passport, only the stamp getting into Turkey. Nikki couldn’t remember exactly what the procedure was, she thought it was only an entrance stamp. They kept asking how long she was there, and why she went to Turkey. Finally they find the 2nd stamp and also Nikki is allowed into Shanghai!

    My suitcase arrived pretty quickly, but we had to wait about 30 minutes for Nikki’s. We decide not to take the Maglev (fun and speedy option), or taxi (expensive option), but the easy and slow option, the regular subway.

    Tip 2: Make sure you have small bills/coins with you for the subway.

    I only have some big bills with me that the machine doesn’t take, so I quickly buy a drink in a fast food restaurant to get some change. The ticket machines in Shanghai are extremely easy. Select the English language (if you don’t speak Chinese), select your destination station and you put in your money. It was 5 RMB (50 euro cents) to get from the airport to our hotel.

    I was amazed how easy it was for visitors and also how clean the subway was. We didn’t have to transfer and about an hour later, we arrive at Nanjing Road. We get a bit lost, but my internet and VPN work.

    Tip 3: Express VPN has often free trials for 7 days.

    Around 7 o’clock we check in and have a little upgrade to a room with a window! There is only a big neon sign in front of our window. We quickly unpack a few things, message the people back home so everyone knows we have arrived and we are safe.

    Nanjing Road by night

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    We are within walking distance of the Bund and it’s basically one long street we have to follow. It’s hot and busy, but so beautiful. This is my first time in Asia and somehow also feels very familiar. It feels a bit like the busy-ness of New York, but then mixed with a lot of bikes and scooters like in Amsterdam. Also it’s very clean, and hardly any smokers. Maybe it’s the prejudice I had, when I thought of China, but Shanghai definitely proved me wrong.

    Also the difference with looking at Pudong, the modern area in front of me, and in the back clearly the marks that Europeans left on this city, is amazing. It’s familiar and yet all new. :)

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    To show you how busy it was on the Bund.

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    After taking pictures and walking around for a bit, it was very crowded, we leave to find something to eat and go to Shanghai Grandmother, which is a nice and busy restaurant. We had to wait for a few minutes before a table was ready.

    Just as a remark, for those interested in cultural differences. This is a family restaurant, and we were seated upstairs and at some point when I looked down, I saw a family with a little girl about 2 years old. At some point, the girl is hungry and pulls her mother’s shirt down to get some breast milk. I thought it was funny to see how the mother absolutely didn’t react and continued her conversation with her family members. And when the girl was done, the mother adjusted her shirt and went on with her meal.

    As FYI, I am all for breast feeding and it shouldn’t be something to hide in a dark corner (unless the mother choses to), I’m just mentioning it so people who travel to China and might have different opinions are aware; you can come across this.

    The food is cheap, but very tasteful. I get beef with mushrooms and Nikki spinach soup and rice. Plus drinks was 132 RMB (about 15 euro) for the two of us.

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    We are back at the hotel around 9, 9:30. It’s time to shower and pass out. And that was day 1 and 2! And we might have not seen much of Shanghai, but I like this city already.

    Oh one final detail we found in the bathroom, the picture is a bit blurry, but it’s basically condoms, lubricant and socks. I’m all about safety first, but what about those socks! :P

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  10. nancygirl1

    nancygirl1 DIS Veteran

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    21 hours on a plane. My goodness...bless you! Enjoying your pre-trip and now trip report. Love the pictures...
     
  11. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! :)
    The outbound flights were fine, especially the first flight from Amsterdam to Dubai, as I had 3 seats all for myself. And the excitement of going to Asia and Disney was keeping me awake.
    My return flight... was less ideal. I'm still fighting with Emirates about it. ;)

    At the moment I am very homesick to Disney Asia, I have made a preliminary hotel booking for Tokyo next year in May :) I feel like we didn't spend enough time in the city and even though I liked Shanghai as a city the best, I really want to see more of Japan. I could get a good rate at an APA hotel (Tokyo-Shiomi-Ekimae) half way Disney and Tokyo, 45 euro per night, and I can still cancel up to 2 days before arrival.

    Unless I change my mind, and want to go somewhere else... I will go back to Tokyo next year with my birthday :)
     
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  12. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    Currently I am in the train on my way to Paris for marathon weekend and I thought: Perfect opportunity to update one more day of my Asian trip. :)

    August 25th

    Today we are going to explore the old and the new of Shanghai and we start in Qibao, which is about 30-40 minutes from where we are. It’s a miniature watertown, most people who want to see water towns would go to Wuzhen for example, but that’s much further away and our time is limited.

    We however started at MacDonald’s, we didn’t want to think about where to get breakfast. I did order some Asian Buns to get a little bit of local cuisine. Pretty nice (as long as they are warm), taste a bit like donuts, but then somewhat more dense, and a little oily on the outside.

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    They say that Qibao is very crowded, but I thought it was okay. There were tourists, mainly Chinese, I think we saw one other Western group.

    Finding the place was more difficult, we took the closest exit (according to our travel guide), but how we had to walk from there was harder. So after walking in a random direction we asked a police man (with pictures in the travel guide), and then decided to follow the Chinese people who looked like a group of tourists.

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    There are lots of little stores, mainly street food here. All very cheap, I remember a bottle of water costing 3 yuan, which we needed as today it was about 36 (95-100) degrees. We didn’t try the food, again we weren’t brave enough.

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    There were some signs in English, but not a lot. One thing that interested me was the cricket house, with cricket fights. I am actually against these kind of animal treatment, but I thought as part of the culture and I thought that it was a continuous show, let’s have a peak. When we found the right house, it was a little different, the place was empty and you had to pay for the tea and snacks, and while you drank/eat they would get the crickets to fight. So, we decided not to stay and explore more of the village.

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    https://farm5.staticflickr.com/****/37230453531_bbddc9f44c_c.jpg

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    We then saw a tower in the distance and decided to get closer. Here we found, by accident, the temple, which was absolutely gorgeous. It was very quiet here, hardly any tourists.

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    Who plays basketball next to the temple?

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    This just made me laugh

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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  13. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    By now it’s about noon, the sun is burning (I’m so glad to have a hat and an umbrella!) and we decide to look for a place to lunch. We go back to the station, where there is a shopping mall. We find a Superhero restaurant. Mainly Batman themed, and everything just makes me smile. The tv is showing the Dark Knight, there are murals, memorabilia, the dishes all have (random) superhero names, the seats are themed, the plates are themed. And I’ve never seen a superhero movie in my life! Dr. Strange last year was my first one ;)

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    Spicy beef, quite nice

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    We take the subway back to Pudong to see the Oriental Pearl Tower

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    The giant walkway around the rotunda and next to the tower is just perfect for pedestrians (and all the tourists who want to take their picture with the tower)

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    When you are on the walkway, there is an escalator downstairs next to the Disney store. I couldn’t find the Disney store on Googlemaps, but I knew it was there. It’s quite easy to find actually. A lot of merchandise, some familiar, some dedicated to Shanghai. Love the little castle inside. Outside there was a queue to get in. Luckily we were just on time and had hardly a queue.

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    Almost bought this one:

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    Of course Duffy & Shellie Mae

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    After the Disney Store, we try to find the People’s Park and the Shanghai Museum, somehow we kept walking in the wrong direction. We finally find the Shanghai museum, but by the time we arrive it’s unfortunately closed. Exactly when we arrive, there is a fountain show starting, with all kinds of Chinese music from pup music to opera. Really nice.

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    And this lovely little girl was playing and directing the water. She was so fun to watch

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    Strangely enough, I have no pictures of the rest of the evening. We went back to the hotel to freshen up and then back to the same restaurant as the night before. Less successful today, the pork I ordered had a lot of fat, and Nikki had a local beer which was not exactly tasty :P But overall it was okay.

    I think after dinner we went back again to the hotel, showered and went to sleep. Don’t think we did anything special.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  14. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    I have returned from Disneyland Paris and came back with 3 medals! I did the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Challenge, aka the 10K (my first 10k) and half marathon (my second half marathon) challenge! To my big surprise I did very well, the weather was great and I got good results. 10K in about 75-80 minutes, this one wasn’t time, and the half marathon in 2:31 hours. Which is a 26 minutes improvement on last year.

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    But now back to August 26th, where we will explore Yu Yuan Gardens, the Temple of the City God a bit of the French Concession and our first taste of Disney Asia! We checked out in the morning and left our suitcases. Almost had a bump in the road as we couldn’t find the receipt for the 200 Yuan we paid as deposit.

    Saw this in the elevator, I wonder how many elevators were broken by playing or by pushing hard and sharp objects.

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    It was very quiet this Saturday on Nanjing Road. I only took video, but there were quite some people practising tai chi, either with fans or with swords.

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    I never wished more to speak Chinese than when I stood in the subway watching this screen. I get the information (how many minutes till the next train, when do the first & last train go) but I couldn’t work out what the policeman with the two teddy bears was trying to tell me!

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    We started at the Bazaar area near the Yu Yuan Gardens and the Temple of the City God, it is very touristy, but this Saturday morning not very crowded. It was my first time that someone wanted to take my picture. At first I didn’t get what was happening, the woman asked if I could take a picture, and I said ‘sure’ reaching out to get her camera, but no. I had to be on the picture, together with her mother and her 2 children, one of the girls really not wanting to be in the picture! It was a fun experience.

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    I also made a lot of pictures of the dragons statues at the entrances of many buildings, this was one of the most peculiar ones.

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    I also love taking pictures of merchandise, there was so much stuff here. And all very colourful.

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    We then entered the Temple of the City God

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    Also here, lots of parents teaching their children how to say their prayers. It is absolutely beautiful here and I would anyone recommend visiting this place.

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    We then went on to Yu Yuan Gardens which is almost just around the corner. It was busy here (being early is key here), but also nice and quiet, even though you are in the middle of the city.

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  15. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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    We have more places to see, so we leave these lovely gardens and go to Fuxing Park to see the locals relax. The park itself is smaller than I thought it would be, but we did see all the guides write about. People come here to sing, dance, make music, talk, tai chi and play.

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    It looks like they had an argument or heated discussion, but five seconds later they were all laughing.

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    And making sure the warning signs don’t fall into the water.

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    There was one more thing we wanted to see before going to Disneyland and that was the French Concession. On our way, we had fun signs.

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    This part had some French touches, but not that many.

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    Heineken is everywhere

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    It’s now lunch time and we are looking for a place to sit down and have a bite. We see a restaurant where all the western tourists are sitting and we see, yes, it has a menu in English, Western Style, burgers and fries. We do feel more adventures now, so we go to a dumpling place we passed earlier and we don’t speak Chinese, the guy behind the counter doesn’t speak English, we point at the menu and pay. We get these 2 huge dumplings for 10 Yuan (about 1 euro) and they are delicious! I have no idea if they are stuffed with beef or pork, but they are so good we order another portion.

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    On our way back to the station we pass this tea shop, must be good, if it’s worth queuing for!

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    In the subway we end up in a car with poems on the handles, in all languages, not just Chinese and English, but also saw Hungarian.

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    We decide to go back to the hotel and get a taxi to Disneyland. Earlier than expected , but there is too little time to do anything else. At the hotel we order a taxi, they probably have some kind of agreement with a taxi company. We pay at the hotel (200 Yuan) in advance and the concierge helps us to make sure the taxi driver knows to drop us off at the Toy Story Hotel. I think the drive was about an hour, we left around 1 and we arrived around 2. Loved all the polaroid pictures of the Toy Story characters.

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    It’s too early to go to the room, so we leave our luggage and go to the bus stop to go to the park. We never waited long for a bus. They came quite regular.

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    As it’s now about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it’s not very busy to get in. But you can see the many gates for the morning crowds.

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    We first go to set up the Photopass, we want it for two days (so tomorrow and the day after tomorrow), but the girl already installs everything on my phone. To be honest, I would recommend for non-Chinese guests to go to the Photopass store to have a CM do the work on your phone. I’m still not exactly sure how the system works, but it seems complicated with codes and all. It didn’t immediately work, so the CM used her phone and Bluetooth to get my app connected.

    A picture of the map where Photopass is offered, but not all photographers are there the entire day. The ones in front of the castle were there to 4 PM, I think.

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    We check out some queues, but it’s kinda busy everywhere. Very busy. 150 minutes for Tron, 105 minutes for the Single Riders. Pirates is closed (out of order)

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    We decide to only watch the parade at 3 and then go back to the hotel to go to the room and get changed for dinner in the Royal Banquet Hall. But the parade route was shortened due to construction work, so the crowds along the route were massive and we weren’t able to get a good spot. Also the heat and being tired didn’t help for my mood, at this moment, I longed for the peace and quiet of the temple we saw this morning.

    Duffy’s Splash pre-parade, cute with 2 floats, catchy song and lots of water sprays.

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    Then the actual parade began, couldn’t really see it and therefore not really enjoy it, but I liked it. Yes, there isn’t much of an ongoing theme or pattern, but it’s bright and colourful and it made me happy. That this parade has Flynn Rider in it, has nothing to do with my opinion ;-)

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    But it is all about the Mulan float and it’s absolutely gorgeous!

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    Oh, one creepy thing that happened during the parade. We couldn’t stand at the front, you had the crowd watching, the walk way, and then we stood close to the restaurants. So we could see the people walking by and the crowd. At one point, just before the Rapunzel float came, a guard (one of those in the blue uniforms) walks by, takes out his phone, takes a bunch of pictures of Rapunzel and then leaves again. To this day I wonder if this man was off duty, either way he was still in uniform. And to take so clearly pictures of one actress… It was kinda creepy.
     
  16. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    944
    We go back to the hotel, settle in. And it’s a nice room, regular value style hotel. Maybe a little bit above value. But the best thing is: This hotel is new! Everything is nice and clean, not a crack in the tiles in the bathroom.

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    Back to the park and back to the castle!

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    The castle is so huge, but in real life it’s not as bad as I thought it would be when I saw pictures of it. It’s definitely not my favourite castle, I like it when it’s dedicated to 1 princess, it adds personality. This castle mainly says: “I’m a huge castle.”

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    Unfortunately for my Sleeping Beauty-loving friend, but Aurora was out of office and Minnie was greeting us at the Royal Banquet Hall, who was nice and in a pretty dress.

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    We had dinner at 5:30 PM, and it was so quiet in the restaurant, when we came in maybe 10 other families? But so many CMs! I kid you not, we had at least 8 or 9 CMs at our table. One to bring us to our seats, one to take our drinks, one to take our other orders, to bring water, to bring food, to take away the plates, and I am sure I am forgetting some things. I think it was because they had more staff than they needed at that time, or at least I hope so. They did have nice costumes.

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    We were seated in the Sleeping Beauty room.

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    For those interested, please see this picture of the menu

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    I chose the Gazpacho for starters. Very nice, I really enjoyed this dish.

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    First we met King Mickey!

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    Knight Donald, after him, there was a little dance intermission.

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    And Daisy! Interaction with all 4 characters was okay, but as always with character dinners a bit rushed.

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    My main course was the steak and potato, I loved it. With Mickey Shaped carrots.

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    And the slipper dessert!

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    After dinner, which is reasonably priced for a character dinner, we toured around and I loved all the paintings.

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    Concept art of Cinderella in the bathrooms. Beautiful, but the place was a bit weird. (The men’s room had paintings of Maleficent…)

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    We left the restaurant and found the mosaics right under the restaurant. Merida being my favourite

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    Most important thing of tonight was to get to Pirates. Luckily it was working again, single riders line closed, and a 45 minute (in reality 55) queue. We almost saw a fight. Two girls all of a sudden started to hit each other, but were quickly separated by the others in their party. There were people trying to push their way through the queue, but we didn’t let them pass. The queue is very nice with lots of things to look at.

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    We were in so much luck, without having to say anything we got to sit in the first row. And it was just amazing! It was everything I hoped for it was and more. I could sit in this ride all night.

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    As we have 2 more nights and the fireworks in Shanghai is almost identical to the fireworks in Paris, we decide to skip Ignite the Dream.

    We pass 7DMT with a 30 minute queue, but we go single rider which takes about 15 minutes. (Can I say it amuses me that the male CMs at this ride are dressed up like Gaston)

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    Snugly

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    I like this ride, not my favourite, but it’s fun. I got only confused for a second when we were at the top and saw many lights in the distance, I thought: which park is that? Then I realized, it’s no park, it’s the city of Shanghai in the distance.

    We then moved to Tron which 40 minute queue (in reality about 30-35 minutes). One thing that really astounded me was how dirty the queue was. There was garbage everywhere, especially in the beginning of the queue. There were a few garbage cans, but not a lot, those that were there, were overflowing. With crowds as massive as this, it’s probably not possible to go into the queue and clean.

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    Also Tron enters my list of best Disney rides ever! That you sit in a motor cycle and not in a regular car adds so much to the ride. One tip: Do not do this ride shortly after dinner.

    I don’t have a lot of pictures, but we did Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, Peter Pan and Snow White’s Adventure all with a 5 minute queue in the last hour of the opening hours. Voyage was ok, not really special, a bit too much over the top. Peter Pan was good, nice to see the updates, I could do with less projections. And Snow White’s Adventure, fun to have seen, but not worth repeating.

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    And just before closing we see that Mickey is still meeting! We are the one before the last group of the day.

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    We go back to the bus and back to the hotel. All in all, I was pretty happy how much we accomplished in the last hour. When crowds are massive: Skip the fireworks and have a plan for the last 2 hours of park opening.
     
    Flossbolna likes this.
  17. Agent 86

    Agent 86 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    660
    It's a little late now, but I can't recommend Google Maps highly enough for the trains in Tokyo. It will tell you exactly what you need to know, including platform numbers at each station.
     
  18. Agent 86

    Agent 86 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    660
    That's very disappointing (and surprising) to hear. I've never experienced any issue with the Cast Members in Tokyo being anything less than excellent - they all seem to go above and beyond to make us feel welcome and to respond to any query (dependent upon their English skills of course). Perhaps they were relatively new Cast Members and unsure of their roles and not confident in their English skills, so they felt the best option was to not engage out of fear of doing it wrong?
     
  19. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    944
    I don't remember, to be honest. We did have portable wifi and did use it to look up which trains to take. But the platform numbers, I really don't remember seeing those.

    If I do decide to go back to Japan I will check :)

    Could be, we were right after the summer season, is that a time to hire new CMs? I remember one incident that could be regarding a new CM in the Volcania restaurant. The picture menu clearly stated in both languages that you had to pick one out of the four categories if you wanted to pay the fixed price for a set. The CM kept insisting you had to choose one dish in category 1, skip 2 and then either pick category 3 or 4. We had a language problem on top of that, to not hold the line and to stop the discussion I decided to just pick one from each category and pay more than the set price. When I get to the register, the CM charges me for a set, when I asked she did confirm I had understood the menu correctly. That is the only time I think we had a new CM for sure.

    For the rest it was mainly at rides and at crowd control where I felt there was a difference in guests. I knew in advance they made a distinction in what they offer to non-Japanese guests in the maps, I had read on TDRExplorer the tip to pick up a Japanese map for the seasonal snacks and souvenirs (which we translated with a scan app). So maybe I shouldnt be surprised in other differences. Or maybe I was more disappointed as I had read so many wonderful reviews about the CMs in Tokyo, maybe my expectations were too high.

    We also had good interactions, when we tried to take a castle selfie, a CM approached us to help and we spend several minutes before he was satisfied with the picture. Also a very sweet CM in Mermaid Lagoon who didn't speak English, but really tried her utmost best to help us to explain where Prince Eric was meeting. And I remember thinking that it is not necessary in Disney Tokyo to study a map to find out where to go, cause as soon as we or other guests opened a map a CM appeared to help you in the right direction.
     
    Agent 86 likes this.
  20. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    944
    I have finished the first video :) Disneyland Shanghai!

     
  21. katt789

    katt789 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Messages:
    6,884
    I'm here!! Excited to see how your experience was compared to ours!!!

    Hope you enjoyed everything! Looks like SHDR was pretty good so far!!
     

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