Alexander: It’s so great to finally be back at one of our absolute favorite places, Shanghai Disney! And this time we aren’t freezing our butts off like we were in January of last year!
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This was both mine and Sean’s first time visiting the resort not in the winter – the September weather was considerably more pleasant!
New since our last visit is Toy Story Land, which is Shanghai Disneyland’s first major park expansion.
We came to get our Rex’s Racer credit, and Sean was flagged down to try the test seat on account of his height.
We prefer this Toy Story Land over the other three in terms of execution. Orlando’s has the best ride line-up, but Shanghai’s has the best foliage and some nice details not found in the first three Toy Story Lands. We’ll be back for more of the area later.
Of course we took an obligatory ride on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
We like ours in Orlando better, but Shanghai’s has some unique characteristics, including a more secluded location within the park and a different brake run scene.
Behind Seven Dwarfs is Shanghai Disney’s next major expansion: Zootopia!
Since we’ve been here a few times, we sorta blew past the entrance and standard castle shots and went straight for TRON. Now that we’ve had our fix on the coasters, we slowed down a bit to take more photos.
Of course, we can’t forget about Shanghai Disney’s crowning achievement…
More than three years after its debut, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure runs unopposed as the World’s Greatest Dark Ride.
On top of the ride’s countless accomplishments, it has a pretty solid queue too.
And the surrounding Pirate’s Cove is pretty easy on the eyes.
Roaring Rapids, our favorite rapids ride! So great to finally ride it in not-below-freezing temperatures!
We’re fairly certain that this is the longest rapids ride in the World. If there’s a longer one, somebody please let us know!
Gardens of Imagination (a.k.a. Shanghai Disneyland’s hub) is perhaps the most underrated area of the park. While most other Disney park hubs are an extension of Main Street U.S.A., Gardens of Imagination has an aesthetic unique to Shanghai Disney and even has a few attractions (Fantasia Carousel, Dumbo, the Mickey Meet-and-Greet, and more).
Even on busy days, Gardens of Imagination is so vast and tranquil that it’s not hard to find a quiet place to take a break from crowds.
The rose gardens just left of the hub center offer amazing photo ops of Enchanted Storybook Castle.
Something that sets great theme parks apart from good theme parks is the ability to enjoy yourself without actually “doing” anything; Shanghai Disney has this quality in spades. There’s no doubt you can have a great time at the park even if you don’t like rides – there’s plenty to enjoy just walking around.
While the Tomorrowland marquee that faces the castle usually gets all of the attention, let’s take a moment to appreciate the auxiliary area marquee that faces Fantasyland:
Oh, TRON Lightcycle Power Run. How can you possibly so beautiful and perfect in every way?
Our favorite coaster on Earth is still looking pretty fresh after 1000+ consecutive days of operation.
Being here in the presence of this engineering and design masterpiece feels so special to us. We hope this feeling carries over to the Walt Disney World installation!
Although there will definitely be some major changes; a popular rumor is entire trains of sit-down vehicles for the Orlando installation, instead of the single sit-down vehicle on two of Shanghai’s seven trains.
Whole trains of sit-down vehicles interspersed with Lightcycle trains would also play into the rumored name change for the Orlando version: TRON Power Run. This year’s D23 revealed TRON Lightcycle Run as the running title for the ride, but exchanging “Lightcycle” for “Power” makes a lot more sense when not every train is expected to feature Lightcycles.
We can also only assume that the “mystery nub” pictured here will not make it into the Orlando attraction.
For a relatively brief moment on the timeline, guests could enjoy their approach to TRON without having the sight lines hijacked by Rex’s Racer. Oh well – at least its orange.
Hopefully all of TRON’s strongest characteristics, like the launch bay beneath the queue, will carry over to Florida.
Our Blue Team ambassador, we assume, will be replaced with a western individual who speaks English. The briefings just won’t be the same. 🙁
We also expect an altered station pre-show incorporating the sit-down vehicles into the TRON: Power Run story line. Should’t be too hard, since the ride’s entire premise of power gates and racing Lightcycles was dreamed up specifically for this attraction, with the source material films only providing aesthetic and otherwise vague inspiration.
TRON reminds us a lot of what Disney did with The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror. Like T.O.T., TRON is inspired by a thematic universe without taking much from it directly – there’s no “Power Run” in the TRON films, just like there’s no actual “Hollywood Tower” episode of The Twilight Zone.
Not only does this allow imagineers to flex their stuff without having to worry much about source material continuity, but it also helps with keeping these attractions easy to understand on a storytelling level for guests who’ve never seen the source material.
Chevy’s TRON Realm exhibit at the exit of TRON Lightcycle Power Run feels like what Test Track’s exit exhibit would like to be. Since Epcot basically has this already, I wouldn’t expect something similar for Orlando (unless it was integrated with the queue in some way – the assumption being that oceans of overflow queue will be necessary, seeing as Shanghai’s permanent queue setup can only hold about an hour’s worth of queuing).
Tomorrowland’s Stargazer Cafe has been taken over by Marvel! The entire menu is now comprised of Avengers-themed burgers, like this delicious Spider-Man shrimp burger.
After lunch we headed back to Andy’s backyard to take a closer look around. Here we have Toy Box Cafe, a food court unique to the Shanghai Toy Story Land. The little restaurants are actually a retrofit of the temporary “Friendship Cafe,” which opened with Shanghai Disney and only operated on peak days.
Toy Story Land was originally intended to be part of Shanghai Disney’s opening day roster, but was delayed for budgetary reasons. Like Celebration Cafe, Toy Story Land’s bathrooms (which vaguely resembled a large flower pot and a tub of Green Army Men at the time – they’ve since received the rest of their theming) were needed at park open for infrastructural purposes.
Perhaps the star of Shanghai’s Toy Story Land is Woody’s Round Up. While the ride itself is the same as Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree and Alien Saucer Swirl, its theme is unique to Shanghai Disney. For the first time, Woody actually has a ride named after him!
Flavored popcorn is a Tokyo Disney staple that has now made landfall at Shanghai Disney. Traditional caramel and sea salt flavors are now joined by strawberry, cherry, shrimp, and more.
Our ride on Winnie the Pooh was eye-opening: for the first time, Shanghai Disney was starting to show some wear and tear. Maybe the ceilings have always looked this way, but in any case we noticed Pooh‘s station a lot less polish than everything else here.
While I do enjoy seeing the book pages in mandarin, I think they could have done better than just importing Walt Disney World’s already-very-budget-y-looking Pooh station design.
Like, full disclosure, the construction wall for Zootopia looks better than Pooh’s station. #fixitjesus
I’m glad that Upper Body Workout: The Ride is just as popular here as it was at Disneyland Anaheim over 50 years ago.
Look at these cool pens! Each one has a little game inside!
Be still, my heart: A Shanghai Disney version of the popular compass rose series of merch a the US Disney Parks. Of course we had to buy stuff just for the TRON representation alone.
The sun is setting on our Shanghai Disney day! You know what that means…
One Reply to “Shanghai Disneyland – 2019 Trip Report”
Outstanding as always