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I Kept Dreaming of a World I Thought I'd Never See and then One Day, I Got In- Tron {Shanghai}

Finally, I have completed one of my highest priority bucket list items, seeing all 6 Disney castles and their respective parks.
Walt Disney World in Orlando (Love), Shanghai Disneyland (Celebrate), Hong Kong Disneyland (Adventure), Disneyland California (Mickey Mouse), Disneyland Paris (Dream), & Tokyo Disneyland (Peace)

Shanghai Disneyland was my final Disney park to check off, and it was even more beautiful than I had imagined. The park is very spacious and holds lots of room for future potential. With the park only opening a few years ago, all the attractions include lots of high technical elements, making everything feel brand new. 

We flew the 2.5 hour trip from Hong Kong to Shanghai with Hong Kong Airlines, after stopping for a treat at Popeyes at the airport. 

Once we arrived in China and went through the process of having our visas checked, we were ready to taxi over to my friend Molly's apartment, where we would be staying during our visit. Molly has a cute little pup named Alfie who greeted us with welcome kisses. 

look at that face!!

After only 4 hours of sleep, it was time to taxi over to Shanghai Disneyland for the days adventures. As we walked through Disneytown over to the park entrance, we realized just how crowded it was going to be that morning, but we were prepared with our plan and ready to go. 

With the park opening at 8am, we arrived around 7:20am ready to get in the security line to enter. What we were underprepared for was the overwhelming crowd waiting to also go through security, and how long this bag check line actually took (almost 1.5 hours just to enter the park; what you see in the photo below is only around half of the actual queue).  

{Pro Tip: Do whatever it takes to enter Shanghai Disneyland without a bag, or be prepared to get to the park 2 hours prior to opening. Also, keep in mind no outside food is allowed into this park.}

We were feeling a little off track entering the park about 45 minutes later than we had expected, however, we were lucky most people were still in line for security, and we were still able to follow our itinerary for the day. Step one was to book our first fast pass of the day now that we had gotten our park tickets. 

We headed over to Adventure Isle to experience the best first ride (and maybe of all time), Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride BLEW. ME. AWAY! I cannot say enough good things about it. The best explanation I have of this experience is a mixture of Pirates of the Caribbean in the states and Transformers/Spiderman/Gringotts at Universal Studios Orlando without the 3-D elements, but in a boat...now elevate your amazement level 70%, and there you have it. Check out some sneak peeks here, but of course the experience is way better in person.

The ride was so amazing I literally could not even speak about it for the next 5 hours. Nuts.

Next it was time to rope drop the Challenge Trails at Camp Discovery, since it opens a little later than the park. I find it unique that Disney would have a elevated rope course, but I would say this experience is not for the weary. You can choose from 3 different courses, but, they are not easy, and even I had a mini panic attack going around the very narrow walkway inside the waterfall at one point.
But the theming in this area is insanely immersive and well done...

What would a Disney trip be without saying hello to some characters! Cinderella was by far our favorite, and we loved talking all about her and Prince Charming's Halloween plans, and telling her all about the Pumpkin King we have in Hong Kong. 

{Pro Tip: be sure to check out our tips for meeting characters here.}

After a small snack of Mickey filled buns and my favorite, Mickey pretzels, we took a ride on the 7 Dwarves Mine Train (exact same as Orlando, but in Mandarin). 
Mickey bun filled with chicken

Mickey pretzel with special honey mustard dipping (delicious!)

The highlight of my day was watching Tarzan: Call of the Jungle show. The show is beautifully done (I cried the entire time), and includes traditional Chinese circus elements to tell the story. 

Heading out of Adventure Isle, it was time to see a new land, Toy Story Land for a visit to Al's Toy Barn, a ride at Woody's Round-Up, and some lunch.

"fancy 7 up float" (lol.)

Hawaiian Pizza
Tomorrowland was nearby calling our name, especially one of our favorites, Buzz Lightyear. Mike always crushes me on this ride, however, let it be noted, that on Thursday, October 18, 2018, I, finally destroyed Mike on Buzz Lightyear (sadly, no photo was taken of this, but who need evidence anyways...). 

Buzz was much more updated than most other park Buzz's. The lasers were much easier to control and see, and the targets were digital, where you compete against your car buddy, green vs. red. We loved it!

It was now almost time for the 3:30pm parade, and after meeting up with Molly, we took our place on Mickey Avenue (what most people refer to as Main Street USA at other parks) to watch Mickey's Storybook Express

they love Lotso here!

Mr. Potato Head the character!


After another quick snack (a Stitch corn dog), and taking a few minutes to adore the Disney Fall decorations, we took our spots for the castle show, Golden Fairytale Fanfare

This was a pretty standard corndog, but with a white sausage on the inside and a stitch edible paper

Snow White



On the way to our next attraction, we saw Miguel from Disney's newest film, Coco wandering around saying hello to everyone. How cool is he!

Our next ride was a fast pass we had gotten earlier in the day for Roaring Rapids. Luckily people were discarding their ponchos in a bin to the side of the line, so we were able to (mostly) stay dry on this very surprising ride. Legend has it that Q’aráq—a crocodile-like beast—dwells within. But could this incredible tale be true? 
With evening approaching quickly, it was time for Tron in the dark. I have been waiting a very long time for this ride, and it will be making it's way to Magic Kingdom in Orlando soon enough, and for good reason. 

The ride itself reminded me a lot of Test Track, venturing outside and escaping into the dark inside with glow in the dark elements. 

{Pro Tip: Ride Tron in the back row to see the whole train light up different colors during the ride, however, make sure not to get the cars with specialized seating for those who do not want to lay forward.}

With Halloween only a week away, Shanghai Disneyland has a few various activities to celebrate. Mickey's Halloween Treat Cavalcade mini parade was short and sweet, but the precious little 4 year old sitting next to us singing along the entire time stole our hearts and most of our attention. 

The other Halloween speciality was the Nightmare Before Christmas This Is Halloween Dance Party, and of course, we had to go wave hello to Jack and Sally during their surprise visit.

Our final show for the evening was back in Adventure Isle, visiting Captain Jack Sparrow and some of his pirate friends. They kidnapped Molly and tried to eat her, but we luckily struck a deal with them, and they let her go. 

You can't end a Disney day without fireworks, and although these were not super emotional fireworks, they were still beautiful.

{Pro Tip: The fireworks show is mostly castle projection, so be sure to get a good spot where you can see the castle as well. I would recommend locating your spot about an hour ahead of the fireworks to find your spot to avoid watching on everyone else's phones.}

Dinner that evening was some simple Shanghai soup dumplings (deep fried) from Food Republic and a Jack white chocolate sweet bread from Bread Talk at Disneytown.

{Pro Tip: Most everything in Shanghai from food to merch to taxis are paid for using Wechat or Alipay, or cash. No debit or credit cards are accepted, even at Disney, so make sure you have enough cash on you, and double check that they will accept it before purchasing.}

After another very short sleep, it was time for Day 2 at Shanghai Disneyland. This time we did not bring a bag with us, and were into the park on time. Being that it was a Friday, the crowds were much higher, so we headed right to Tron to check it out during the day. Although it was still fun, I would absolutely recommend riding it at night more.

Heading over to Fantasyland, we Voyaged Through the Crystal Grotto, which I was really excited about knowing it went under the castle, and although it was super cute, it was not really what I expected. 

 And here it is...the crystal grotto under the castle:

Also voyaging into the castle was the Once Upon A Time Adventure, where you can venture through Snow White's story. 
my girls <3
Once Upon A Time

Still in Fantasyland was Peter Pan's Flight (another favorite of mine in the states, but slightly more updated here), which I was stoked to ride since my roommate back in Orlando years ago had helped engineer. 
Another famous Fantasyland iconic area is the Alice In Wonderland Maze, which is just a walk through area, but a very popular photo spot.

 The highlight of my second day in the park was Eye of the storm; Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular. Even with the entire show in Mandarin, the stunt work was phenomenal, especially the fight sequence happening WHILE SKYDIVING!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to eat, and sadly, I did not really find the food in Shanghai spectacular. Most of it was very dry and not really worth trying to be honest, but some other noteworthy snacks we did try were as follows:

Crispy Pork Burger from Stargazer Grill, actually pretty good!

Tangled Tree Tavern, where we did not end up eating but I loved the theming

Pork Floss Corndog

Not to mention the FREE SAMPLES they offer in the stores on Mickey Avenue!

Pretty sure this is where they keep them all...

We had to round out the day out by visiting some characters at Marvel Universe, and of course visiting Mickey Mouse himself to celebrate with him that we have now met him in all six of his parks.

We finished the day with our last fast pass at Soarin', which is the longest line you will wait for in the park, and also the exact same as the one in Epcot, with a slightly different ending in Shanghai downtown rather than the park in the states.

I got a little teary eyed saying goodbye to Shanghai Disneyland, however, there is no way this is our last time we will be visiting, I am positive, especially because I will miss that giant castle far too much. 

We finished our final evening in Shanghai with another American treat we don't often have in Hong Kong, Papa John's Pizza!

The following morning was our final day in Shanghai, and we wanted to finish it by seeing the Shanghai skyline at The Bund waterfront

{Pro Tip: China has a lot of different restrictions on their internet, which can make getting around a little challenging, so I would recommend downloading an app like Express VPN and OsmAnd offline navigation app prior to your China visit to be best prepared.}

On the other side of The Bund is the Oriental Pearl Tower, which has slides attached to it's courtyard!

 The Disney store in downtown Shanghai had a lot of different merchandise than the stores at actual Disneyland, and we actually much preferred the items at the downtown store.

Our final stop was a surprise visit to an American favorite that popped up along our journey, Taco Bell!
Taco Bell was oddly kind of fancy, and had a lot of alcoholic beverages. Needless to say, it was very different than the kind we have back home, but still delicious.

Our trip to Shanghai was really great, and we had a lot of fun, and if you find yourself heading there soon, be sure to check out our 1 day itinerary guide here

Until then, only about a week left in Hong Kong before we are off on our next adventure. Be sure to subscribe to get the latest details about our next upcoming trip to Tokyo (and Mike's last Disney park!). 

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