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Old 07-09-2014, 11:41 PM   #1
zanzibar138
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PTR - Disney History in the Making!

Well, now that my plans are locked and loaded for my RunDisney trip, I thought it might be fun to start planning the next one

My (maybe somewhat ambitious) plan is to be at Shanghai Disneyland on opening day. I don't even know yet whether this is a realistic goal.

For those not following the Shanghai project, the resort is due for completion by the end of 2015. At this stage, I'm kind of planning for a December trip. I'm not sure how much notice there will be for opening day, and whether it will be set in stone once it's announced (would hate to book all my flights etc and end up being a week too early ). I've tried to look up information online for other resort openings without much luck.

For a long time, it has kind of looked like nothing is happening on site. But all of the sudden, it's starting to take shape. The structure for the Tron coaster seems to almost be complete, as well as the castle, the river rapids ride, and POTC. The Toy Story hotel is making real progress too, and in the most recent photos, you can see that the outside looks like a 'mirror' finish (like those city high rise buildings that are all windows) with clouds all over it. The seven dwarves mine train has been started too. Most of the early updates to my PTR will probably be about the resort itself, because I really can't do much planning until I've got more info!

I am expecting chaotic and crowded park time (especially with the cultural differences on personal space and such!). I'm not sure how many attractions I will get to experience. My main goal for this trip is just to be part of Disney history (and hopefully get some cool opening day merchandise too!).
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:51 PM   #2
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Good for you!


My eyes are cast towards Europe; so I'm not sure I'll be in Shanghai for opening day.
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:54 PM   #3
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Good for you!


My eyes are cast towards Europe; so I'm not sure I'll be in Shanghai for opening day.
Europe will be our big trip in 2016
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:01 AM   #4
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That would be awesome! I'd love to do something like this, but I really don't like huge crowds, so I don't know if I'd enjoy myself. I'm definitely following along though!
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:13 AM   #5
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It is unlikely that DH will accompany me on this trip. China really hasn't made it onto his list, and he is actually quite wary of it.

I don't plan to go all the way to Shanghai just for 2 nights at Disneyland, and would like to visit other sites while in China. Of most interest are the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and hopefully one of their amazing national parks.

I don't really know a lot about the security situation in China, but given DH's wariness, I wonder if it is a good idea for me to travel alone? Particularly since I'm a fair-skinned, blue-eyed blonde, and will stick out like a sore thumb This will be quite a budget trip, and I will be looking at doing a lot of travelling between different places on the train. It seems to be a fairly safe and comfortable way to go, but I'm not sure about doing sleeper trains on my own.

I'm not ruling out joining a small tour group, and have even found a tour that I don't mind the sound of. However, I'm a fairly shy and independent type of person, and a little uncomfortable with the idea of shared meals/accommodations. As long as I've got a camera, I'll be happy snapping away on my own. I would also much prefer the flexibility of independent touring. Happy to join day tours though if it makes my life easier.

If anyone knows about this sort of stuff, I'd love to hear your opinions!
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:19 AM   #6
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That would be awesome! I'd love to do something like this, but I really don't like huge crowds, so I don't know if I'd enjoy myself. I'm definitely following along though!
I absolutely HATE crowds, and people invading my person space, so it will be quite the interesting trip

I figure if I'm on my own, I can always just find a quiet corner somewhere to hide away while my anxiety subsides, or even go back to the hotel for a break if it gets really bad. I'm not too bad with queues, it's more general crowds and getting stuck among them that freaks me out.

If DH is with me, my anxiety won't be as bad, and we might be able to stick it out together. I'll plan it as a solo trip, as it's unlikely that DH will come.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:39 AM   #7
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sounds like it will be an amazing trip, it will be wonderful to be there on opening day and being part of disney history. I look forward to hearing more about your plans. good luck with it all
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Old 07-10-2014, 01:49 AM   #8
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While I'm not sure opening day crowds sounds like my idea of fun, I'm looking forward to hearing about your plans.
DH and I saw a bit of China and thought it was a wonderful country. Not one I'm desperate to get back to, but one that I think should be on every travellers bucket list. In no other country I've visited have I felt such a powerful sense of history.

I'm not sure how helpful I can be, but I'll give a small spiel about the places I've seen incase you are interested in anymore info or if you want me to dig out a few of my favourite pics.

Our absolute favourite place we visited was the Li River between Guilin and Yangshou. The landscaping was stunning and we received a real insight into the people and the land.

I also loved Beijing. As you know, I'm not a city person, but Beijing was an exception. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, The Emperor's Summer Palace, and the Hutong Province - no other place I have visited has had such a wealth of history. We did a tuktuk-style tour of the Hutong part of Beijing and went in to this lovely old lady's home where she taught us how to make dumplings. We all then sat down in her tiny little dining room to a massive dumpling banquet. It was very special.

We visited Shanghai, and while DH liked it, I didn't. Too westernised for me. I did like a little canal town on the outskirts though called Suzhou.

All I saw of Xian was the Terracotta Army and some markets. I'm so happy to have ticked the Terracotta Army of my bucket list, but it wasn't my favourite part of China.

Lastly, we did a cruise down the Yangtze River. This was a great insight into new modern China (the 3 Gorges Dam project) and old China (visits to villages on the Yangtze's tributaries). As a solo traveller, this might be a style of travel worth investigating. You can be as social or antisocial as you want. DH and I made friends with a lovely English couple after attending a mahjong class on the first evening. Each night for the rest of the 4 night cruise, we met up to play Mahjong.

When we visited China about 8 years ago it was only just opening it's doors to the Western World. People took photos of us everywhere we went because they weren't used to seeing tall white people. Also only a select few spoke English. We spent most days with English speaking guides, but when we did venture out on our own, we found the language barrier a real challenge. Even catching a taxi was difficult unless we asked an English-speaking hotel worker to write addresses down on a piece of paper for us in Chinese. I understand that things have got a little bit better now that China has become a more popular tourist destination, but I do think a tour is the most stress-free option - particularly for a solo traveller.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zanzibar138 View Post
I don't really know a lot about the security situation in China, but given DH's wariness, I wonder if it is a good idea for me to travel alone? Particularly since I'm a fair-skinned, blue-eyed blonde, and will stick out like a sore thumb
OK, you've twisted my arm. I'll come too.

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We did a tuktuk-style tour of the Hutong part of Beijing and went in to this lovely old lady's home where she taught us how to make dumplings. We all then sat down in her tiny little dining room to a massive dumpling banquet. It was very special.
That sounds amazing! This is the sort of thing DH and I (particularly DH, as I can't cook) would love to do.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:12 AM   #10
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Thanks so much for that information Wanderlust

I actually thought it might be a good place to do an ABD. But upon further investigation, the price was about $8000 per person, so COMPLETELY out of my budget. I will definitely need to keep the land costs under $2000, hopefully less, as airfares are likely to be expensive at that time of year and fairly last minute.

The other tour I found was with Geckos and would give me change out of $1000 for about a week. The tour included Beijing, Xi-an and Shanghai, with train travel between the destinations.

The language barrier is something that I'm a little concerned about. I have heard about problems with taxis etc, even in the big cities. I do have over a year to learn Chinese I suppose, but it's such a hard language, I wonder if I would learn enough for it to be helpful! Apart from that, and the stares, did you feel like it would be safe enough to travel solo?

I would love to do a cruise down the Yangtze, but I expect it will put me too far over budget. Will look into it though, there may be some cheaper options out there.

Thanks for the tips about the other cities too. I was planning to use Beijing more as a base for the Great Wall, but it sounds like I should plan a few days there. I don't expect to see much of Shanghai itself (and not that interested), it will just be a transit point really. I'm planning to stay onsite for the Disney part, so I won't spend much time there at all. I feel like I will be the same at Xi-an. I'm not expecting to love it, but I do want to see the Terracotta Warriors.

Oh, I also forgot about the pandas! Arrghh! So much to see and do!
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:24 AM   #11
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OK, you've twisted my arm. I'll come too.
I realise you're joking, but how special would an opening day DisMeet be!

Quote:
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That sounds amazing! This is the sort of thing DH and I (particularly DH, as I can't cook) would love to do.
I'd like to say it sounds amazing, but I'm far too shy for that sort of thing. DH and I went on a day tour in Singapore which included a family style lunch, and it was one of the worst travel experiences I've ever had. I felt anxious and uncomfortable the whole time and actually considered waiting outside while everyone else ate and going hungry (and would have done if I could have left without anyone noticing). It was all I could do to quietly eat whatever was left while trying to blend in to the wall as much as I could and not burst into tears. Similar experience in Africa where the lodge we stayed at had family style meals. Not quite as bad, but it was still very uncomfortable for me.

This is a big part of the reason why I'm unsure about a group tour. I'd rather just stick to myself. I must sound like a horrible person, I like to think I'm not! I'm just really really horribly shy with complete strangers, especially in a group situation.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:33 AM   #12
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That sucks I think it's more the learning to cook something authentic by a local that appeals to me, I could do without the big group thing.

This is also something that concerns me about cruises - don't they match couples with other people and put them at tables together? I'd hate that.

I've never been on a tour before, DH and I discussed doing contiki tours in our younger days, but I don't drink and I've never been a fan of that drink yourself stupid attitude, which seems to be popular on these tours, so I always put it off.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:41 AM   #13
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I would recommend trying to find a tour to join. DH & I have traveled to China a few times now for work and it can be very intimidating.

You get used to the stares and I am certain you would be safe, they are very curious about westerners but always very friendly. We have had crowds follow us down the streets and wait outside shops for us to come out, but if you wave and say "hello" they couldn't be nicer, they will say hello and try to shake your hand or take your picture, it is probably the closest I will ever get to feeling like a celebrity!

My main problem in China is the language barrier. We always have Chinese associates with us and without them I seriously doubt we would cope. We always have a card from the hotel with the address written in chinese to show the taxi drivers in case we become separated.

Disneyland would probably be set up to be very western friendly but if you travel to anywhere away from the main tourist areas, you may run into problems. I personally wouldn't want to travel in China on my own. Keep in mind that you also have very limited internet access in alot of areas and Facebook and other social media sites are not accessible in China, if you use that as a way of keeping in touch with people back home.

We always travel home through Hong Kong and I always feel such relief when we arrive there because its so easy to get around and everybody speaks english.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:45 AM   #14
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That sucks I think it's more the learning to cook something authentic by a local that appeals to me, I could do without the big group thing.

This is also something that concerns me about cruises - don't they match couples with other people and put them at tables together? I'd hate that.

I've never been on a tour before, DH and I discussed doing contiki tours in our younger days, but I don't drink and I've never been a fan of that drink yourself stupid attitude, which seems to be popular on these tours, so I always put it off.
We did a cooking class in Vietnam at our hotel's restaurant. It was just us and our Vietnamese instructor, and we both really enjoyed it Not to mention all the yummy food we got to eat at the end!

I feel the same way about 'party' tours. I do enjoy a drink, and do indulge in the occasional happy hour cocktail enjoying a nice view or with a meal. But I'd never consider spending all night bar hopping. I can do that at home, plus spend the next day in bed if I need to

I suspect after DH's adventures on our Cambodia trip, he will also refrain from bar hopping with locals on future trips
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:20 AM   #15
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I think it would be safe enough to travel, but it's not something I would want to do. It's just too much of a culture shock and the language barrier is too challenging.

A Gecko tour sounds like it could work for you.

I should of mentioned that the dumpling 'banquet' was just DH, myself, our English-speaking guide, and the old lady. Banquet probably wasn't the right word, but I used it because besides the dumplings we had prepared together, the old lady had made enough food to feed a small Island Nation. The Hutong houses are teeny tiny. There is no way you could fit a whole tour group in one of those houses.

One thing you should go prepared for in China is food, food, and more food. The Chinese do not want to offend their 'guests' by under feeding them, so be prepared to sit down at a table for one or two and be served enough to feed a large family. Also, be prepared for things like rice and soup to be served at the end of the meal. It is offensive in Chinese culture to serve the lesser foods first. It's why at a Peking Duck Banquet you begin with Pancakes wrapped in Prime Duck (i.e. Duck where each sliced piece includes a piece of skin) and then move through a series of duck courses that ends with a soup made from boiled duck carcass.

There should be cruise options with lesser known companies that are more affordable. Do check them out. Depending on the cruiseline, they will either put you at a table with other Westerners or some may let you pick a table on your own. If sitting with others would make you anxious, this would be worth investigating. On big ocean liners, DH and I normally opt for a private table, however on our Yangste cruise we sat at a table with the only 8 English speaking people on the whole boat. Don't dismiss this as an option as it was really quite lovely. We all had something in common - we were all Westerners in a very foreign country - so conversation flowed easily. You would probably find the situation to be similar on a land-based tour.

I will see if I have kept any documentation about the tour company we went with. It was priced like a backpacking tour, but we stayed in 4 star+ accommodation. All I can remember is the name of the ship which was the Victoria Anna.
Besides the cruise, it was just DH and I on every leg of the trip and we had a private guide and driver in each city. We hadn't booked a private tour, but it just turned out that way when no one else booked it. In retrospect, I wish we had been part of a bigger group. Being just the two of us, there was quite a bit of pressure at souvenir shops to buy things and this is the one part of the trip that we really didn't like. While I don't think safety is a concern as such, a solo traveller could easily become uncomfortable if given the hard-sell by shop owners.

Last edited by WanderlustNZ; 07-10-2014 at 03:29 AM.
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