Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resort

Taking in new Disney parks & revisiting an old favorite!
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Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resort

Postby jedimaster1227 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:52 pm

Over the last two weeks I had the opportunity to experience my first entirely new Disney theme parks in over a decade... This time for my honeymoon! Over ten years ago I visited Japan for a short term study abroad trip with my high school (one of several). During that trip I was able to experience Tokyo DisneySea (albeit briefly), a theme park that amazed me with its unique offerings and unbroken visual design dripping with detail in every direction. I've long since dreamed of returning to this place (and to Tokyo) and I have always hoped to do so with my eventual wife. Luckily enough about a year and a half ago as we were planning our wedding, she told me that she had an idea for our honeymoon--a trip that would span the Disney Parks of the world. And while we didn't end up planning as broad of a trip this time around, we were able to finagle a two week trip that encompassed 2.5 days at the Shanghai Disney Resort, 4 days at the Tokyo Disney Resort and four additional days to explore various parts of Tokyo. During these two weeks the two of us took roughly 7000 photos that, after lots of time spent whittling down, we've found some worth sharing.

This trip report will be broken down by the specific resorts (and our time in Tokyo) and will have multiple installments given the volume of photos. If you've read any of my previous photo trip reports, especially those taken in the Disney parks, my focus is often on the little details found where the normal guests don't look.

Diving right in was our start at Shanghai Disneyland and the Shanghai Disney Resort. We opted to stay at the Toy Story Hotel due to the lesser cost and the fact that we didn't plan to be in the hotel much since we wanted to get everything in the park done. The hotel was honestly really nice! The rooms were smaller than the Western standard, but given that it had a comfortable bed, a sizable shower/tub and a safe, that wasn't a concern for us. The theming inside was cute and the amount of theming was equivalent to that of which you'd find in the Art of Animation Resort at Walt Disney World. The hotel's onsite dining options were all better than expected and the guest service we experienced throughout was definitely a highlight of our time in Shanghai.

Moving on to Shanghai Disneyland, it is important to note that this is the first Disney theme park built in over a decade (the last Disney park to open was Walt Disney Studios Park Paris). This park was designed to be "authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese" and it definitely feels like a departure from the previous standards of a castle park. The America-inspired/infused Main Street USA has been swapped for a character-infused Mickey Avenue at the entrance of the park. Adventureland has been replaced with Adventure Isle and Treasure Cove, two unique lands with some of the most unique experiences Disney has ever developed. Fantasyland hosts modern takes on classic attractions with new ride systems and repurposed ones used for new themes. Tomorrowland breaks the mold with a non-traditional coaster experience (one that this particular fan has been drooling over since it was first announced), the best shooting dark ride Disney has ever developed, an abstract approach to the Astro Orbiter and an area design that takes cues from the underrated film of the same name to create a multi-level visual experience unlike anything Disney has done before. The traditional castle has been beefed up, filled with some of the best castle offerings from other parks around the world and plussed with the addition of a unique boat ride that weaves through Fantasyland and underneath the castle.

The bottom line is, this park is modern Disney. It is designed to distinguish itself which it does--and then some. A week and a half after I left, I'm still processing all that I saw and experienced.

From an experience standpoint, I'm not going to dive deep into some of the less positive things that the park has gotten some publicity form. Some of the things reported have been true. Some of the things reported we didn't experience during our visit. Different cultures handle foreign products and processes differently and while there has been some incompatibility reported, I truly believe that given time, the experience will level out. As a Disney fan, I don't regret visiting the park and I would still recommend it to others like me.
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We started our first morning at the Toy Story Hotel with some unique breakfast options... A Sausage Roll, a Mickey Blueberry Muffin, Pineapple Bread and Blueberry Gatorade (remember, Shanghai Disneyland has an agreement with Pepsi Co. unlike the rest of the parks that are partnered with Coca-Cola.
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Our first look at Mickey from inside of the Guest Relations area outside of the park.
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The entrance of the park features a new take on the traditional train station, even though the park does not currently have a railroad.
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Shanghai Disneyland offers "Premier Access" as a purchasable Fastpass option. Roughly $70 for a set of seven attractions, this is without a doubt the best way to experience the park's major attractions. Given the capacity of the park and the popularity associated, wait times for most attractions exceed 60 minutes (at minimum) with some hitting peaks of 280 minutes.
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Enchanted Storybook Castle represents the royalty of Disney lore as opposed to the traditional approach of having the castle belong to one princess alone. Inside you have a castle walkthrough experience (akin to the ones found in California and Tokyo), a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (like the one at Walt Disney World) and a restaurant. Out front is a stage for daytime shows and a viewing space for the fireworks/laser/water/projection show "Ignite the Dream." A signature boat ride starting in Fantasyland has its finale in a cave beneath the castle as well. Overall this is a massive complex!
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The entrance portal for Treasure Cove...
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Wise words...
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The pre-show space for The Eye of the Storm show at Shanghai Disneyland is way bigger than I expected... And the experience is a clever one.
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The conceit of the show is that actors are performing a retelling of a Jack Sparrow story...
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There's plenty of comic relief.
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This is a very different kind of Disney stage shown than you've seen before...
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But for that reason, it actually works quite well!
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The transformation of the stage is a really neat moment.
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There's something special about seeing Jack Sparrow floating in the middle of a twister!
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Few have encountered an F5 and lived to tell the tale...
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Fastpass is a must in this park!
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Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue is easily the best version of the classic attraction. Physical sets with embedded digital targets!
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The snack game at Shanghai Disneyland was on point! Potato Gems with Pork Floss and Jumbo Spring Rolls in Tomorrowland for the win!
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The guests chosen to be Grand Marshalls of the Storybook Express parade drive along the parade route in a very nice looking Chevrolet!
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A neat way to see the characters start the parade!
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The lead float of Mickey's Storybook Express parade features Casey Jr., Dumbo, one of the birds from Pixar's "For the Birds" & Donald Duck.
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Hiya Donald!
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The Seven Dwarfs...
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The Toy Story float is quite nice!
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Lots of neat details to be found on the Tangled float!
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Flynn Rider and Rapunzel!
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A nod to Tom Staggs?
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These characters serve as the lead in for the Finding Nemo float.
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Nigel!
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The Frozen float is wonderful!
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There's a full size Marshmallow!
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The Mulan float garnered the strongest reaction from the crowd...
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And I'm in love with those embedded flamethrowers!
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The final float of the parade appears to be used for a rotational character spotlight (in the front), currently showing off Judy and Nick.
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Neat to see the Zootopia characters in the parade!
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Very different views to take in while riding this version of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster...
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Dive! Dive! Dive!
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Slightly different than the one at the Magic Kingdom in Florida...
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Dopey makes a surprise last appearance at the end of the ride...
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I'm just going to leave this here...
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We tried the Roasted Duck Pizza and the Grilled Eel with Rice during our visit to the Pinocchio Village Kitchen.
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The eel was my favorite!
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Tarzan: Call of the Jungle features setup similar to a theater-in-the-round minus one side of seating.
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The Tarzan: Call of the Jungle show features a more abstract take on the film's story, adding in acrobatics and stunts along the way.
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On Mickey Avenue the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf have businesses adjacent to each other...
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Neat to see something I saw as a maquette at the last D23 Expo brought to life in person.
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Any Lambert fans out there?
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Some notable beards and mustaches...
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Nice!
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The entrance to Club 33 from Mickey Avenue in Shanghai Disneyland...
Last edited by jedimaster1227 on Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:34 pm.
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Photo TR: Shanghai Disney and the Tokyo Disney Resort (2)

Postby jedimaster1227 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:53 pm

(continued)
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The interior door to Club 33 as seen from Mickey Avenue.
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I'm in love with this area design!
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Star Wars Launch Bay is tucked in the back of Tomorrowland behind Tron...
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It's like I'm in the Millennium Falcon!
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The Magic Passport is one of the neatest souvenirs I've seen in these parks. You enter your booklet into the machine only to have it automagically "stamped" with an image that matches the page... And half of the fun is finding the machines throughout the park. This would definitely be fun to see in the US parks!
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BB-Great!
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Poe's X-Wing is parked inside!
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The queue for Stitch Encounter features some neat artwork of Stitch's experiences while in Asia...
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It was my first time seeing Stitch Encounter, and while the experience was in Mandarin, I was able to get the gist of it!
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At the end of the experience you help lead Stitch through a maze of corridors to escape Captain Gantu!
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The Tron Realm Chevrolet Digital Challenge space is absolutely gorgeous.
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I experienced sensory overload in here!
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*drools*
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Test Track fans may recognize this one...
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There was even a photo op car for guests to sit in on the Grid!
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Tron Realm included a ton of interactive games and exhibits--I just wish I had more time to experience all of them!
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I could get used to this...
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And by 2021, it appears I'll be able to now that it will be at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World!
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Marvel Universe is set up as an indoor pavilion, much like Star Wars Launch Bay.
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I jumped at the chance to meet Marvel characters in the park--something that I had yet to do in Florida!
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THWIP!
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The Hall of Armor in Marvel Universe.
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The Enchanted Storybook Castle looks great from any angle!
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The evening lighting was gorgeous!
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Ready for some fireworks!
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Time to Ignite the Dream!
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Tron looks glorious at night!
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Yep, I'll enjoy having this close to home.
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Some notable horses' shoes on the wall in the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean...
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Details...
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More details...
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The Dead Man's Chest in the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure.
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Guests queueing for Pirates can see riders float by...
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A full map of Treasure Cove can be hidden along the edge of Fort Snobbish!
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This is a theme park! Incredible!
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The neat mural in the queue for Voyage to the Crystal Grotto helps to tell the story of the attraction...
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The modern-day evolution of the Storybookland Canal Boats at Disneyland, riders sail past moving displays inspired by classic Disney animated films. The dioramas sport unique water elements that sync with the music to create a "show scene" at each stop.
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The beginning of the scene leads into...
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The reveal of the Genie in the Aladdin scene, which is pretty neat!
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I believe this was meant to be the "it's a small world" inspired scene.
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The Sorcerer's Apprentice!
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Tangled!
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Mulan drew several cheers from our boat!
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The Little Mermaid!
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Re: Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resor

Postby Nrthwnd » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:11 pm

Great First Part of your Honeymoon, Adam! I'm still a bit iffy about going to Shanghai Disneyland, but all your photos sure make it very tempting, lol.

And CONGRATULATIONS on your new marriage! Best wishes to you both, and happiness for always. :b :br

Looking forward to the rest of your trip, especially those times in Tokyo Disney Resort!
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Re: Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resor

Postby ThemeParkJunkie51290 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:57 pm

Awesome report! Traveling to an international park has always been a dream of mine, and I hope to take that journey soon. I'm so ready to see the rest of the photos! =)
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Re: Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resor

Postby TBpony414 » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:17 pm

First off, congratulations on your recent wedding! A honeymoon to Shanghai and Tokyo sounds incredible. I can't wait to read along and experience all the adventures from the big trip. Off to a great start!

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Re: Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resor

Postby prospekt88 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:51 am

Congrats on your marriage and thanks for the photo report! Off to a great start.

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Re: Photo TR: Shanghai Disneyland and the Tokyo Disney Resor

Postby cfc » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:46 am

Great start to your trip report, Adam! I'm really looking forward to visiting this park myself. And, like you, I think it'll be great to have Tron down in Florida.
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