Karen’s Great China Adventure – Shanghai Disneyland

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Enchanted Storybook Castle

From the moment I started planning my China trip I knew a Disney trip was also in order. There’s no way I would pass up a Disney Day!  I thought you might want to know my thoughts and tips for this park.

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Toy Story Hotel

Tip number one

Stay on property.  There are two Hotels on property and they give you early access to the parks among other benefits.

Tip number two

Contrary to how it works in North America, you should buy your park passes at the hotel. If you do this you will receive an extra fast pass that they will book for you on the spot for whatever time you want.

Tip number three

Getting there early is key and you will need your passport to enter the parks.

Tip number four

Still do your research of where the rides are and which ones are the toughest to get on. This park can get crazy.  You can find the map to the park here .

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Treasure Cove

The first bus left the hotel at 710 and I was of course on it. By the time we queued, got through the lines and security we were at in at 740. A whole hour and twenty minutes before everyone else was let in. In that amount of time I was able to get on all of the rides that tend to have big line ups. I was then able to take advantage of the single rider lines.

Once it was time to stop and eat it was starting to get busy. This can only mean one thing in the parks. It time for shows and a character meet and greets where the lines are not long.

Even though the shows were not in English for me I thoroughly enjoyed them. The acrobats and technology incorporated with the shows are second to none.

There is a lack of restaurants in the park and all of the food carts close super early. This is easily rectified by the fact that the park is right next door to Disney Town. For me I wasn’t willing to give up my park time to leave and eat.

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TRON Lightcycle Power Run

After I saw two of the shows the lines were small again to get back on the rides. The longest I waited was 20 minutes in line and that was only once.

I was really impressed with all of the rides. This is a new park so even the old favorites had something different about them. I will not spoil this for you but it does make it worthwhile to go on every ride.

I spent a full 13 hour day here and it was well worth the sore and tired feet.

If you have any questions about Shanghai Disneyland or any other aspect of my trip to China I would love to chat with you and help organize your trip!  Call me at 306-934-3400 or email karen@uniglobevacation.com.

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Karen’s Great China Adventure – Getting Around Beijing & Shanghai

The key to a great holiday in both Beijing and Shanghai is the location of your hotel. You want to choose a location where you are within walking distance to at least one main attraction as well as a subway stop. The subway here is super easy to use. Now you might think that it is easy for me as I travel a lot. Yes, I do travel a lot, but anyone who knows me knows that I don’t usually take public transportation. One big tip before coming is to have a map of the stations either in print or on your phone. Figure out which stop is by your hotel and which stops are at the places you want to see. When purchasing tickets they have the language barrier solved. There are automatic ticket stations which you can change to English. You then pick which stop you want to go to and it will then tell you how much. I never paid more than a dollar to get anywhere and it was quick and efficient.

Cabs can also be a great option. I chose cabs when I had my luggage in tow. The biggest hint for cabs is that the drivers do not speak or read English. You must have your destination address translated for them. When you arrive at your first hotel they are more than happy to help with this. Cabs are also inexpensive. A 45 minute cab ride only cost me about 20 dollars. Now be careful when trying to catch a cab outside of the designated taxi stations or from your hotel. There are still a lot of unregistered cabs. Look for their credentials on the dash and look to make sure they have a meter.

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Now, I’m off to catch the subway and do more exploring here in Shanghai!   Check out our Instagram page for more photos from my adventure as well as others from our team.

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October 28/29, 2018 – Shanghai, China

Few cities in the world evoke so much history, glamour, mystique and exotic promise in the name alone.  Shanghai did not disappoint.  Our ship was docked right in the middle of town and the views from the ship were stunning.

We were on a tour this day and we started out to visit the Yuyuan Gardens, but on the way, we were treated to a fabulous lion dance.

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A short walk and we are engulfed into the crowd of the Old Bazaar, just before the Yuyuan Gardens.  There are many, many shops selling all kinds of wares and a variety of restaurants but it is a Sunday and the streets are jam packed with people.

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Crossing the zig zag bridge, we finally enter the serenity of the gardens.

With its shaded alcoves, glittering pools churning with fish, pavilions and pines sprouting wistfully from rockeries, the Yùyuán Gardens is one of Shànghǎi’s premier sights.  Trees include the luohan pine, bristling with thick needles, willows, gingkos, cherry trees and magnificent dawn redwoods.

The Pan family, rich Ming dynasty officials, founded these gardens, which took 18 years (1559–77) to be nurtured into existence before bombardment during the Opium War in 1842. The gardens took another trashing during French reprisals for attacks on their nearby concession during the Taiping Rebellion. Restored, they are a fine example of Ming garden design.  With its ancient maze of grottoes, bridges, lotus ponds and pavilions, it’s now a peaceful oasis in the heart of bustling Shanghai and a national monument.

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After a great lunch at a local restaurant, we drove to the former French Concession founded in 1849 as a result of the Treaty of Nanking.  It’s a lovely mix of gorgeous tree-lined streets, old villas and European architecture where much of Shanghai’s past beauty and charm remains.

The foreign diplomatic quarter, top hotels, high end shopping and international bars and restaurants in the art deco buildings make this a stylish area and one of Shanghai’s most vibrant districts.

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Back to the ship for a very quick supper as tonight we are going to a live show – Chinese Acrobats!  This was an incredible display of strength, agility and flexibility.  Couldn’t take a lot of pictures but here are a few…

There were so many different acts in the show, it was truly amazing!  So glad we went.  Back on the ship in time to see the light show in Shanghai (they turn off the lights at 22:00).  Again, pictures don’t do it justice as they are changing all the time.  It was spectacular!

I don’t have a lot to report on our second day in Shanghai.  It was basically a shopping day.  First we took the shuttle bus to an area called The Bund, which is a famous waterfront and regarded as the symbol of Shanghai. The most famous and attractive sights which are at the west side of the Bund are the 26 various buildings of different architectural styles including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Classicism and the Renaissance.

We walked along the boardwalk for a bit and it is a lovely area but we were focused on heading to the Asia Pacific Shopping area which we were told was a mecca for good deals on just about everything.  We hopped into a cab and after some negotiating and misinterpretation (no English, but a translator app), we finally arrived at this underground shopping mall.  It was massive with shop after shop after shop…a bit overwhelming.

The trick is not to make eye contact with the vendors because if you do, they virtually want to drag you into their shops.  If you are interested in something, be prepared to buy it if you can negotiate the price you want.  We ended up paying about 20% of their starting prices (inflated of course) but you cannot be bullied into buying something.  On several occasions, we walked away from a purchase only to be followed along with the price steadily going down.  This is not for the light hearted and you need to be prepared for them to be upset if you don’t get your price.

This is all in good faith though.  Although in one shop, I stopped to look at a belt.  The shop owner literally grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go.  I had to pry her hand off in order for me to leave the shop!

I quite enjoy an adventure like that although it can be stressful to have to make buying decisions rather quickly.  We ended buying several things.

Back to the ship for a lovely sail away down the Huangpu River.  Next stop, back to Japan to visit Naha, Okinawa!  Thanks for reading along!