An Engaging and Magical Asian Adventure - Update 6/10 We finally make it to Tokyo Disney Sea!!

soniam

Wooden leg named Smith...
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Your trip report is so reminding me of my travels abroad with my husband before we had our son. Heck, some of it even sounds like traveling with our son. However, we really do try to be much more responsible and organized with him. It’s the mishaps and grumpy times that make the best trip stories though.
 

OldSchoolReasons

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 24, 2014
Loving the details of your trip report! I'm staying at the Toy Story hotel so am appreciating the details - it reminds me of Art of Animation at WDW quite a bit. The Shanghai Disney resort looks massive too.

Also enjoying the asides about public transport, to my partner's chagrin I am a train nerd so the chance to use a monorail, vehicular railways, tram or basically anything that isn't a grotty London tube is always an added bonus for me. The Shanghai metro looks cute, though not quite on par with the Tokyo monorail with the Mickey-shaped handles.
 

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Yes, especially if it is a Disney cruise! I guess that's why you were not such a great fan of your cruise... :duck:
Actually, you're right. I got a little bored on the ship after a while. I felt like I'd explored everything and was ready to see something different.

They do have a/c in Florida. I guess you have never heard about it in Delaware? :teeth:
Et tu, Brute?

Here I am, taking your side, defending you, and you stick the knife in my back like that? What is this world coming to?:sad2:

He is cute. And what's cute sells in Asia. Did you know that it is not just Duffy? He has a bear girl-friend Shellie-May, a cat artist friend called Gelatoni, a rabbit ballet dancer friend Stella-Lou, a baking dog friend called Cookie (she is only in Hong Kong Disneyland) and a musician turtle friend called Olu (who lives at Aulani).
I had no idea. Now I have several more characters to ignore! :thumbsup2 :rotfl:

On Katharina's and mine first trip to DLP it was the summer that Space Mountain opened. Because we were staying onsite, we got an hour early opening for Space Mountain and we got to ride it three times in a row when it was brand new. I think it was what made both of us fall in love with the park. Having had that 1995 experience on Space Mountain is a bit like having seen the Yeti before he turned disco.
Interesting. Thanks for sharing that, and I can see why you'd feel such strong nostalgia for the old version.

And yes, the original Yeti was so much better.

:rotfl2:I like how you always have my back! Thank you, Mark!
Uh huh. And look where that got me! :p

As you can see the star has a red dot at the top. This was actually a lamp. Instead of a do not disturb sign, you could press a button inside and then the red lamp would light up and everyone knew you did not want to be disturbed. I thought this was really smart and I think another hotel we stayed in in Japan had a similar system.
That is a good idea. Never seen that before.

The one thing that totally baffled us was that we always saw some windows being open at the hotel. They did not open very much, just a little. But it was 100 degree outside, who would want that air to come in??
I'm surprised the windows actually open!

The one thing that amused me was that those handles for people standing to hold onto were full with commercials. What a smart placement!
If only I knew what was being advertised!

The one station where we changed was where Maglev train from the airport terminates and I was very excited to see a train poke out of its terminus:
Yes! That would be neat to see.

A Maglev train can travel at 300 mph. So, it’s great for moving people around very quickly. However, due to the high speed, it needs to be on a rather straight track. Putting something like this in a densely populated country like Germany where the government cannot just appropriate any land.
That makes sense. We run into that problem quite a bit with highways as well. Everyone wants better transportation systems, but no one wants it on their property.

And Germany might as well be Delaware with its dirt paths and horses and buggies!
Patience. First we're working on air conditioning.

The first (and, at the time, only) Taco Bell in the entire nation of China.
If Taco Bell did to their digestive systems what it does to ours, it would be the last Taco Bell in China.

Very cool tower!

I have rigid lenses and those need different type of cleaning and storage solutions than the typical soft lenses. It appears that no one in those stores had ever heard of the fact that there are different types of contact lenses. It was really kind of frustrating!
I'm sorry. That sounds like a real pain.

After I abandoned my search, we headed to the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel. The Bund is a large promenade along the river that runs through Shanghai. We were currently on the other side of the river and wanted to see the Bund. We could have taken the metro again, but from where we were, it actually seemed to make sense to experience this little attraction. The one-way ticket was 50 RMB, that’s about 7$.
I've never heard of that, but it looks like a neat little attraction.

However, it fell rather flat for me. Not only was it crowded and touring cities in darkness often takes a bit away from the architectural highlights. But the thing that bothered me was that it felt like this could be a river promenade in London, Paris, Budapest etc. It felt alien to me in China in a bad way.
Interesting. I think the skyline looks really neat and exotic. But then again, I've never been to London, Paris, Budapest, etc.

The walk actually turned out to be rather frustrating as the crowds wanted to move in the same direction as us, the sidewalks were very narrow and then Michael ran into a water hydrant.
That's understandable. Those fire hydrants are very quick. They can jump out and get you at any time if you're not vigilant.

We also were getting crotchety due to hunger and a waaaay too early flight the next morning to Tokyo, which you'll all be reading about soon if you haven't nodded off to sleep by now. And who would blame you if you did?
Huh? Whatdja say?

I will leave that for the little people ... or people who think Waffle House is the epitome of fine dining.
I'm still looking forward to my romantic Valentine's Day dinner there.

I think crackers and chips and ... did we get fish jerky for my brother here? Anyway, here's a lesson for anyone traveling abroad: go to quickee marts, buy lots of stuff, try it, sometimes it may wind up being a meal for you. But you get to try everything from Blueberry Potato Chips to Pocari Sweat to stuff you think is gum, but you're not really sure.
Fish jerky, blueberry potato chips, mystery substances....yeah, you're really selling this idea well.:crazy2:

In hindsight he was absolutely right, I was hot and hangry and I tend to not make the smartest decisions under these circumstances.
Who does? But don't ever tell Michael he's right about something!

At least she admits it. I was right as always. I am man enough to admit it.
See???

The email informed us that our flight departure time had been changed from 8:30 am to 10:00 am. I have never in my life been so happy about a flight delay as that evening!
:rotfl2: I can imagine!
 
  • Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Your trip report is so reminding me of my travels abroad with my husband before we had our son. Heck, some of it even sounds like traveling with our son. However, we really do try to be much more responsible and organized with him. It’s the mishaps and grumpy times that make the best trip stories though.
    :rotfl2:Yes, it sounds like the start of our trip had some not so good things happening. But you know what: We were just so thrilled to be there that nothing really bothered us. And the trip got better as it went on!

    Loving the details of your trip report! I'm staying at the Toy Story hotel so am appreciating the details - it reminds me of Art of Animation at WDW quite a bit. The Shanghai Disney resort looks massive too.
    We were really happy with the hotel. At first I was hesitant as it was so pricey during summer season for what it was, but it ended up being worth every penny. I found it to be a notch above the WDW (and DLP since you seem to have been there plenty) value resorts. It might have been the newness, but it did feel more like a moderate. But then I never stayed at AoA and the internal hallways make a big difference!

    Also enjoying the asides about public transport, to my partner's chagrin I am a train nerd so the chance to use a monorail, vehicular railways, tram or basically anything that isn't a grotty London tube is always an added bonus for me. The Shanghai metro looks cute, though not quite on par with the Tokyo monorail with the Mickey-shaped handles.
    :rotfl:I have my share of experience with grotty London tube! However, I do own a pillow made out of the original Picadilly Line seat cushion material (new, not sat upon by commuters). So I guess I might have a more romantic notion about it than you. As far as I understand the Tokyo monorail actually is being operated by TDR. The Shanghai metro is operated by the general metro system. And I can tell you that it is a million steps up from the Paris RER trains!

    And since you are a train nerd, you will appreciated that I am really excited that when Michael and I go to DLP this spring, the first part of the journey will be on a brand new German two story Intercity train. They are being put in service at the beginning of March and should be a fantastic upgrade on the line between Nuremberg and Stuttgart. :thumbsup2
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Et tu, Brute?

    Here I am, taking your side, defending you, and you stick the knife in my back like that? What is this world coming to?:sad2:
    I am sorry!! It was such a low-hanging fruit!

    I had no idea. Now I have several more characters to ignore! :thumbsup2 :rotfl:
    Isn't that great! Oh, and there is also a new one coming soon for Shanghai.

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing that, and I can see why you'd feel such strong nostalgia for the old version.

    And yes, the original Yeti was so much better.
    I am very lucky that I got the original Yeti. My trip in 2007 was when they switched the yeti back on for a short time because they thought they had figured out a solution and I think there were some important people visiting. I remember reading about it on the boards at the time. It was magnificent!

    Uh huh. And look where that got me! :p
    :guilty:

    If only I knew what was being advertised!
    I had the Google Translator app and with that you can hold your camera to a text and it will then translate the text. Very helpful with the Chinese and Japanese characters. It was fun to see what the texts could be, but because of characters being able to have different meanings, the translation often jumped around giving you different options of different non-sensical meanings.

    That makes sense. We run into that problem quite a bit with highways as well. Everyone wants better transportation systems, but no one wants it on their property.
    It's tedious. But that's the problem if you live in a country that respects the individual's rights. A king never had such issues... I always have to think of that when I marvel at those massive palaces like Versailles: they were only possible because of an absolute monarch having no regards for their subjects.

    Patience. First we're working on air conditioning.
    Haha! We do that in Germany, too!

    If Taco Bell did to their digestive systems what it does to ours, it would be the last Taco Bell in China.
    Well, according to my husband the Chinese food can do bad things to our digestive system, too. So maybe they are better equipped?

    Very cool tower!
    It has a viewing platform and I think the view must be spectacular!

    I've never heard of that, but it looks like a neat little attraction.
    It's definitely a secondary attraction, but I do like interesting methods of transport and this definitely fit that description!

    Interesting. I think the skyline looks really neat and exotic. But then again, I've never been to London, Paris, Budapest, etc.
    I think I was confusing people. I do like the modern China skyline in the pictures. If I had turned around there would have been the 19th century buildings. This is a picture from wikipedia:



    That's understandable. Those fire hydrants are very quick. They can jump out and get you at any time if you're not vigilant.
    :rotfl: Reminds me of my mother's sarcastic comments about "Attack Trees" when they were cutting down all the trees along the country roads where we were living in the 1980s because the trees were so dangerous for drivers.

    I'm still looking forward to my romantic Valentine's Day dinner there.
    :rotfl2:

    Fish jerky, blueberry potato chips, mystery substances....yeah, you're really selling this idea well.:crazy2:
    Think of the food section at the store in Japan at Epcot, but even more fun stuff! Unfortunately we did not even get to try as many fun things as we wanted to! And we will come back to Pocari Sweat in a future update! :thumbsup2

    Who does? But don't ever tell Michael he's right about something!
    Yes, you are right there...

    :rotfl2: I can imagine!
    :thumbsup2
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    Oh! Exciting!! If you need any help with planning Paris, let us know!
    I don't even know when that will be. We are still saving up airline miles, but I did just hop over to American's website and check out flights from LAX to CDG and it's 87.5K per person per flight (well to CDG it's 107.5 for the way back) which works out to be 780K miles. We are nearly halfway there! I think it might be a while before we are able to go.

    There is always a project with you! I was highly amused about what you were up to when we talked on the phone.
    And just a couple days ago I was again installing door locks, but luckily we got smart and hired the contractor to finish up. Best $100 we spent because it turned out to be a real hassle and he had to drill new holes in the iron bars to get one of the locksets to latch.

    Which reminds me, what happened to Fran's request?
    I think she forgot about it. :rolleyes1

    I think using a lot of public transport, people are far more used to chatting to strangers?
    No, most Americans train their children not to talk to strangers. There are so many weirdos here, you can't be too careful who you talk to, so they just tell the kids not to talk to anyone.

    I had delicious Dim Sum in Munich last Friday
    I found a lovely Chinese restaurant in Cerritos where they hand make their dumplings. I was so sad when my go to Chinese place started using frozen dumplings from Trader Joe's instead of the nice big ones that were obviously hand made. When I asked why they stopped making them, the person said, "take too much time." Well then "not get my money!" I'll drive 20 minutes to get the fresh dumplings. Besides, they are near my vet so when we spend all morning there and I come out starving, now I know where I'll ask Fran to take me!

    As you can see the star has a red dot at the top. This was actually a lamp. Instead of a do not disturb sign, you could press a button inside and then the red lamp would light up and everyone knew you did not want to be disturbed. I thought this was really smart and I think another hotel we stayed in in Japan had a similar system.
    That's a cool idea. And I'm not worldly enough to have run into that either.

    Do people take these as souvenirs (no, I don't have a HKDL Hotel sign danging from my closet door! Why would you suggest such a thing?)
    :rolleyes1 Why would I ask such a thing if you didn't point it out? :confused3

    The one thing that amused me was that those handles for people standing to hold onto were full with commercials. What a smart placement!
    If only I knew what it said!

    We also could have had some waffles at Taco Bell – or a shrimp salad.
    That's just......wrong! :rotfl2:

    It felt like we spent far too much time of that day looking for something that seems to be non-existent in China. So contact lens solution became my personal unicorn.
    Sounds like you would have had better luck looking for a unicorn!

    He might not leave any essentials behind, but if he is packing it is three hours of drama about how all his things can never all fit in that tiny suitcase.
    This is also why I pack Fran's suitcases. Far less drama.

    It actually was quite cute. You board a little capsule – kind of like an elevator with windows.
    You're the first one to tell me of this neat little ride.

    Oh, and while it had started to get dark now, it was still as oppressively hot as it had been ever since we arrived in Shanghai.
    Sounds like Texas in July.

    I certainly would rather see Hong Kong under British rule and Macau under Portugal's control. ... Heck, I want our piece of Berlin back and I have already said M's dad would be my Kaiser of the City. ... Oh, and we also need to take that Canal back from Panama too!
    You forgot "get off my lawn!"

    Lots of stands with very tasty looking items. But we would have been standing too eat and I just am way too civilized to do that.
    I get that! I want to sit down when I eat, and not have a seatbelt on either!

    I will leave that for the little people ... or people who think Waffle House is the epitome of fine dining.
    Smack! You are really giving it to Mark in this update!

    did we get fish jerky for my brother here?
    Ewwwww!

    Michael went to the buffet first and got this selection:
    So are these things already plated at the buffet and you just take a little plateful, kind of like Dim Sum on the carts?

    The food was mainly Chinese dishes. Some of the things were prepared freshly by the chefs that were working behind the buffet lines.
    Some of those things look really tasty!

    My second tray with more of the eggplant and some more dumplings:
    Like those dumplings. You can have the eggplant. It makes my skin itch from the inside out.

    The desserts were not the highlight of the meal though:
    I wouldn't think they would be. The Chinese are not known for their lovely pastries.

    As I watched her chow down like she was a local, I suddenly was reminded of westerners I had worked with over in China who indulged too much, too quickly and regretted it bigtime.
    So when you eat Chinese food in China you are not hungry and hour later?

    Ultimately the meal was wonderful, very much worth what we paid for. We got to relax and cool down and did end the day on a high note after parts of it being a bit frustrating.
    That's why I almost always insist on sitting down to a meal and not just grabbing something on the go. I need to sit down and recharge.

    At least she admits it. I was right as always. I am man enough to admit it.
    :laughing:

    We headed down to the front desk (we felt talking to the front desk in person would ensure that any language issues could be dealt with there as they could just call over a colleague if they did not understand something) and changed our taxi order to 7:30 am instead of 6:00 am.
    That's still early, but a lot better than the previous scenario.

    We went to bed excited about being able to get some decent rest before it would be time to depart for the next installment of our trip: Japan!
    Less than seven hours of sleep and you call that decent rest? We have very different ideas! :laughing:
     
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    GoofyFan1515

    DIS Dad #174
    Joined
    May 23, 2012
    I spent a little more time going back through and getting all caught up.

    I really like the Steamboat Mickey fountain:

    I like this too!

    Well, it seems like the signs were not as successful as hoped if you remember our previous experiences.
    Nice try anyway. ...

    And yes, neither she nor I have ever been on a Disney canoe.

    I was a bit surprised by this, being that they have removed the ride from Florida and Paris. Only Anaheim and Tokyo still have them. ... Of course, look at the typical FL guest and try to picture them doing anything physical beyond lifting a turkey leg or burger to their mouths!

    I remember doing the canoes at MK my very first trip (yes back in the E-ticket days). I thought it was fun but don't remember them being this long?

    As you can see the star has a red dot at the top. This was actually a lamp. Instead of a do not disturb sign, you could press a button inside and then the red lamp would light up and everyone knew you did not want to be disturbed. I thought this was really smart and I think another hotel we stayed in in Japan had a similar system.
    This is new to me too! Guess I stay in too many low class establishments.

    The line at Shanghai Disneyland has modern barriers at the station, so no danger of falling onto the tracks. And they are even decorated!

    I think some U.S. stations would be wise to add this feature.

    This is the Oriental Pearl Tower:

    Really enjoyed all the architecture pictures. Some very intriguing designs.

    Definitely happy you both gave us an extensive review. Doubt I will ever make this Disney Park in person.
     
  • Steppesister

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2013
    Maglev, a technology where a train is being propelled by a magnet, was a big thing in Germany from the 70s until about 10 years ago. A lot of the big players in German industry thought this would be the next big thing in transport. The German project was called “Transrapid”. A Maglev train can travel at 300 mph. So, it’s great for moving people around very quickly. However, due to the high speed, it needs to be on a rather straight track. Putting something like this in a densely populated country like Germany where the government cannot just appropriate any land. So, even though German industry and German government loved the idea of this technology, there was always the question of where to put it. And one of the projects at the time was local to me. Munich had gotten a new airport in 1992. It was (and is) a fantastic airport. However, it is so far from Munich that it takes nearly an hour to drive there. So, the idea came up to put in a Transrapid to connect Munich city center with the airport. The problem is: It’s horribly expensive and because of the time it takes to accelerate, you would be decelerate immediately after reaching top speed. There was a lot of political discussion about it until the project was finally scrapped 10 years ago and they finally started putting money into a conventional rail link. However, in the mean time the Transrapid producers were able to sell their project to China, where the first and only Transrapid was built in Shanghai: to connect city and airport. So, for me this was a big sight!
    This is fascinating! I had no idea!

    So, the Bund did not prove a happy place for us and we thought about what to do. We had a rather early flight the next morning and we still needed to pack. So, we decided to walk to the metro station that would take us back to Disneyland. I could see on the Apple Maps app (which worked fine despite the Chinese firewall, but since I was data roaming, also Google maps worked) that we were going to pass a shopping area and we thought we could find some dinner there.
    UGH! That sounds wretched. Sure a unique view, but worth it? Hmm....

    I nearly had a bit of a meltdown before we went to dinner because of crowds and such and was not so keen to eat there as I thought we should not spend so much money on dinner. But Michael put his foot down and made me come along. In hindsight he was absolutely right, I was hot and hangry and I tend to not make the smartest decisions under these circumstances. Ultimately the meal was wonderful, very much worth what we paid for. We got to relax and cool down and did end the day on a high note after parts of it being a bit frustrating.
    Phew!! After all that a pleasant enough ending to the day. At least you can say you did a pretty good job at exploring.

    Hot and hangry is NO way to be!
     

    dizneeat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2006
    All caught up here too!

    I have been reading along, but time just seems to get away from me and there is never enough left to comment.

    Thanks for sharing all those photos and all of your experiences. Somehow the Asian parks don't really draw us in, guess the language barrier is to blame. We just returned from DLRP and THAT language barrier was enough for us. ;)
     

    ShellB8585

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2013
    Ah yey! just as I am about to start looking into a Shanghai and Tokyo (perhaps Hong Kong) trip I find a TR has been started by one of my fave TR writers! I wasn't sure about Shanghai and to be honest I was only planning on going to tick off another park but it looks like we could have a good couple days there. looking forward to reading more
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Hello everyone! I am back and hope to get some movement on this trip report over the next couple of months again. As you can guess: Michael is back in Florida, so I have time to sit at the computer. So, let's start with catching up on replies and then I need to go and find that update that has been all ready to be posted for a couple of months now...
     
  • Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    And just a couple days ago I was again installing door locks, but luckily we got smart and hired the contractor to finish up. Best $100 we spent because it turned out to be a real hassle and he had to drill new holes in the iron bars to get one of the locksets to latch.
    :worship: I would have no clue about all this!! But funny side note: locks here in Germany are very different from the US. Here the typical house door can only be opened with a key from the outside. So, forgetting your key when you leave the house will become a big issue just as soon as you pulled your door shut.

    I found a lovely Chinese restaurant in Cerritos where they hand make their dumplings. I was so sad when my go to Chinese place started using frozen dumplings from Trader Joe's instead of the nice big ones that were obviously hand made. When I asked why they stopped making them, the person said, "take too much time." Well then "not get my money!" I'll drive 20 minutes to get the fresh dumplings. Besides, they are near my vet so when we spend all morning there and I come out starving, now I know where I'll ask Fran to take me!
    That place sounds great! We have a brand new Asian supermarket and they sell frozen dumplings as well. Michael was commenting just before he left that we should get some. Now I am thinking that it might be a nice thing to invite a few people for. Since we have no Trader Joe's this is still a new thing for us!

    :rolleyes1 Why would I ask such a thing if you didn't point it out? :confused3
    :rotfl2:

    Sounds like you would have had better luck looking for a unicorn!
    And a unicorn would have been much prettier than contact lens solution!

    This is also why I pack Fran's suitcases. Far less drama.
    :thumbsup2 For his trip back to Florida Michael could have packed his suitcase on his own as it was so empty. We even gave him a whole packet of German 5-ply toilet paper for his family to fill up the suitcase. I still packed it. Didn't want to take any chances with the drama...

    You're the first one to tell me of this neat little ride.
    Our friend Steve had actually mentioned it to us, so I am only passing on the knowledge!

    Sounds like Texas in July.
    Michael says Shanghai was worse than South Florida in July.

    You forgot "get off my lawn!"
    :rotfl2::thumbsup2

    I get that! I want to sit down when I eat, and not have a seatbelt on either!
    I used to think that a drive through was such a cool thing and always wanted to do it. Now I am older and wiser and know better... On the other hand a dining car on a train is quite a marvelous dining experience! No seat belt though.

    So are these things already plated at the buffet and you just take a little plateful, kind of like Dim Sum on the carts?
    Yes, most offerings at the buffet were pre plated. I liked that as there was no need to use utensils that other people had touched and done who knows what with.

    I wouldn't think they would be. The Chinese are not known for their lovely pastries.
    They did sell those amazing egg tarts in Shanghai though! And the sweets at the park were pretty good (Western style).

    So when you eat Chinese food in China you are not hungry and hour later?
    Is that what happens to you when you eat Chinese food in the US?

    That's why I almost always insist on sitting down to a meal and not just grabbing something on the go. I need to sit down and recharge.
    When I was young, I thought eating on the go was so smart as I would be able to see more when traveling. Now I cherish the breaks for eating as part of the traveling experience. Can you tell that I am getting closer to that big 5??

    Less than seven hours of sleep and you call that decent rest? We have very different ideas! :laughing:
    I usually need a little over 7 hours. I normally wake up on my own about 7 hours and 15 minutes after going to bed I figured out. So, anything over six is still ok for me, at least for one or two days.
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    I spent a little more time going back through and getting all caught up.
    No worries about spending a little more time on this trip report. It must be one of the slowest moving ones...

    I remember doing the canoes at MK my very first trip (yes back in the E-ticket days). I thought it was fun but don't remember them being this long?
    They have them in Tokyo, too, and there they are the same size. So, I guess they are that long everywhere.

    I think some U.S. stations would be wise to add this feature.
    I have seen those glass walls in London and Paris as well. Most automated systems have them (think Orland airport fake monorail). But I like them very much as I often am concerned when I see teenagers playing around. We had a horrible accident on a train platform recently here where it was just that: teens being a bit too physical and one of them ended up on the tracks.

    Really enjoyed all the architecture pictures. Some very intriguing designs.
    One of the things I like best when visiting other cities is just walking around and taking in the architecture.

    Definitely happy you both gave us an extensive review. Doubt I will ever make this Disney Park in person.
    I am glad that you enjoyed it!
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    UGH! That sounds wretched. Sure a unique view, but worth it? Hmm....
    Shanghai is definitely a place that I will not visit again in the summer...

    Phew!! After all that a pleasant enough ending to the day. At least you can say you did a pretty good job at exploring.

    Hot and hangry is NO way to be!
    The amazing thing about this trip was that while we were often overheated, we ended up finding a cool oasis so often as well.
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    All caught up here too!

    I have been reading along, but time just seems to get away from me and there is never enough left to comment.

    Thanks for sharing all those photos and all of your experiences. Somehow the Asian parks don't really draw us in, guess the language barrier is to blame. We just returned from DLRP and THAT language barrier was enough for us. ;)
    I am glad that you are enjoying it! I have to say that with Tokyo the language barrier was definitely there, but the Japanese desire to be friendly to any guest and the amazing customer service there made it feel so much easier to navigate! I never had an issue at DLRP with language, but I often find it a bit chaotic with guests from all over Europe all having different ideas of appropriate behavior. Japanese are the most considerate and friendly people. So, the whole theme park experience was so pleasant! More to come on this soon!
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Ah yey! just as I am about to start looking into a Shanghai and Tokyo (perhaps Hong Kong) trip I find a TR has been started by one of my fave TR writers! I wasn't sure about Shanghai and to be honest I was only planning on going to tick off another park but it looks like we could have a good couple days there. looking forward to reading more
    :welcome: While I think it absolutely makes sense to add in another park when one is in Asia anyway, I feel that all three parks would have been too much for one trip. We are tentatively planning to go back to Japan next year, this time adding in Hong Kong so that I get to all the parks (and become "Disney Park Royalty" as Michael calls it).
     

    Flossbolna

    Sea days are just so relaxing!
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2006
    Day 4:

    July 2, 2017: Travelling to Tokyo, Hilton Tokyo Bay, Ikspiari

    Part 1: We nearly get on the wrong plane!

    So, remember how excited we were that we would be able to sleep 1.5 hours longer? Well. I woke up at 5am for no reason and could not get back to sleep. At 6.45 am I gave up, got up and started to get ready and then dragged Michael out of bed.


    She did NOT drag me out of bed. She would have to have the strength of a mad Bavarian wom... Nevermind. You were saying, dearest ...

    I was rather sad to say goodbye to the lovely hotel and the room that was so comfortable and took a farewell picture:



    We were ready to leave the hotel at 7:20 am and got into the taxi that the Toy Story Hotel had called for us. However, the taxi was not nearly as nice as the one we had from the airport to the Toy Story Hotel. It did not have any air-conditioning. And even worse it did not have seat belts. I was not happy about this. But the drive to the airport was uneventful, roads were empty and we quickly got to the airport. Somehow the taxi for the return trip was cheaper, it was 84 RMB, that’s $ 12.50. On the way there we had paid 130 RMB, which is about $ 19, so still a very good price.


    See, this is where you can tell M was a China travel newbie. Seatbelts and AC?!?! Pish posh. Any cab ride in China where you enter the cab in one piece and exit in one piece is considered a great taxi ride. One that gets you to your destination and on time as well without driving on the sidewalks, through a hotel lobby or farmer's field is truly a blessing. (Be thankful I am tired and lazy or this is where I would begin a 6,243 word rant on Uber and Lyft and being illegal taxi operations and why I would NEVER use them anywhere ... but again, you are so lucky right now.)

    We quickly found the ANA check-in desk where there was no line. The very friendly check-in agent took our luggage and then started to explain how sorry the airline was that they were not able to transport us on time and that they hoped that we would forgive them and accept a 100 RMB food voucher each to have breakfast with. So, we got to sleep longer (or in my case got to waste the chance to sleep longer…) and then ended up with $ 15 each to spend on food at the airport. We already started to like ANA’s service!

    I had always wanted to fly them. Friends who have, and friends who fly for a living, have raved about their service. When I found out we could fly on them and use a relatively tiny amount of miles, I was all for it.

    We went through security where Michael had a lot of fun. As it appears in China you don’t just take out your liquids and your computer, you also have to take out your umbrella from your hand luggage. Remember how Michael bought an umbrella the day before at the Disney Store in Shanghai? This was his downfall now. At first he did not understand why they were asking him about an umbrella as he had forgotten that he had one and then he had to fish it out of his bag from the bottom.

    Writing this now I am wondering if this might explain the mysterious disappearance of a bunch of Shanghai Disneyland Times Guides… You see, my husband has a love affair with ephemera.
    You are lucky he has room in his gigantic heart for you too. He collects mark maps, entertainment schedules etc. Anything that was printed on paper is worth keeping for him, mainly if the origin is Disney or other theme park, but he likes stuff from other attractions as well. I am told that there are maps going back to the 1970s when he started visiting WDW (not that I have ever seen them as they are being hidden in some bins in the garage…). No, the old and truly valuable stuff is in the house, not the garage. Although I sometimes come across treasures unexpectedly.

    And he is also a very generous person, so he takes great care to always think of who of his friends might be interested in getting some paper from wherever he visits. Some of these treasures have made it to very exotic places, like ... um ... ah ... Delaware. Of course Shanghai Disneyland was a place where more ephemera needed to be picked up than WDW due to its newness and exotic locale. And WDW has also become an overrated and crowded and generally unpleasant tourist trap too. So, we had been hoarding park maps over the last few days as well as the some Times Guides that detailed the entertainment schedules and such. We continued that collection in Tokyo. When we got home, Michael started to work through his stash of paper to sort it and make little packets for people for whom we had bought gifts during our travels and such. But for whatever reason he only had a couple of those Times Guides from Shanghai. It has remained a mystery why there were so few. I have been accused of forgetting (or even “forgetting”) them since I am the designated packer in our relationship. I am sure that I might be stupid enough to loose a 100 € on a plane, but not so stupid that I would ever lose my husband’s ephemera! However, I could imagine a couple of Times Guides being left behind at the security check during the umbrella madness.

    OK, I will admit after days of high level talks and deliberations that it IS possible that somehow the Times Guides were removed by either myself or the security and never made it back in. I will only say possible because it makes some sense, although I have some recollection of seeing them in Japan. But when I got back to Germany we only found five and two were used (ephemera must be kept pristine for collection purposes).

    Once we were through security, we had to go through passport control. Here we had another hiccup. On the plane to China we had gotten those cards to fill out. However, when we applied, they told us that they didn’t need them as they were only for people entering on a visa and not on the 144-hours-transit deal that we used. It turned out that those cards had a small part that was for exiting the country as well (if there are any non-US readers who are familiar with the green landing cards you had to fill out for the US and which were stapled into your passport, it’s the same deal, but the cards were white) and we needed that. So, we had to get out of line and there was a place where they had cards, we filled out the exit part and got back in line. Luckily the line wasn’t long, so it was not a big deal at all. But for anyone else using the 144-hour-transit, keep those exit cards, you will need them!

    We got to the gate area with plenty of time and went in search of some food. We wanted something with coffee and found a Segafredo café where we got coffee and something to eat.



    They were very upset that what we ordered did not fill up the amount of our vouchers. So, they made us buy some Swiss hard candy as well. It was a bit strange having Italian coffee and buying Swiss candy in a Chinese airport…


    I enjoyed the entire experience. I recall liking the sandwich and the coffee quite a bit.

    We also did a little shopping. They had a very nice shopping area for buying all kind of souvenirs. We ended up buying some cookies for my parents and some spicy nuts for ourselves.

    Spicy nuts ... chuckle ... giggle ... teehee ... she said spicy nuts!

    Then we headed to our gate which was changed from what it was supposed to be originally, I guess due to the delay. It was on the ground floor in a large hall with four gates. It was all rather chaotic… There was already a long line for the ANA flight to Tokyo, so we got into line and waited. Something somehow alerted us to look closer and we suddenly realised that we were in the line to the ANA flight to Tokyo Narita airport, however, we were booked on the ANA flight to Tokyo Haneda airport!! The flight numbers were very similar, 922 instead of 972. So, at the last minute they had changed our gate again and now had another flight to Tokyo departing from the gate we were supposed to have! Luckily our flight was down in the same area as well, just at the other end of the room.

    I thought they were practically next to each other. It was very odd. Imagine one airline having two gates next to each other with flights to say NYC. One is for LaGuardia an one is for JFK. At some point, they change gates. They both have similar flights numbers and ... well, that was our situation.

    Michael was very excited about this flight as it was going to be a Dreamliner, the Boeing 787, and he had never flown on one of those before. Neither had I, but he is more interested in airplanes than me. The 787 is a pretty big plane, so we were really surprised that they were boarding people onto busses! Yep, we got to board from the tarmac!





    It does give you nice photo opportunities!

    The one special thing about the Dreamliner is that the windows are larger than on normal planes and instead of shades, you can dim the windows to filter out the sunlight. They just get more and more tinted until they are all black and no light is coming through. This means that much more daylight is getting into the cabin during a daytime flight and I really liked that!


    It was a short flight, but incredibly comfortable. And we were back in the poor peoples cabin. Where I seem to fly all the time since I got married (unlike pre-married days). It was a beautiful plane, but I love the superjumbo A380, which I swore I would never fly on when it made its debut in 2007, too. ... This was also the first plane where the bathroom had a window. Nothing like standing there and emptying the bladder while looking out at bright sunshine and Japan below. Way kewl.



    Besides the nice plane, the service was also excellent on ANA. It started with me being amused by this lovely service guide in my seat pocket:



    It told you all the services that were available on the plane and even explained to you how to eat Japanese noodles during your meal:







    And then it was time to leave China and head to Japan!



    Before we were served our meal we were of course given a wet towel to clean our hands.



    This was the first of many more! You get them before every meal in Japan. Some casual restaurants have them on the table, you will find them on your fast food tray, nicer restaurants might bring you cloth towels. You just don’t start eating in Japan without having used a wet towel.


    Cleanliness and hygiene are huge parts of the culture in Japan (wait til we start talking about toilets). By comparison Americans and Europeans are animals who need to be hosed off like elephants at a circus (oh wait, we made them politically incorrect too, right?)

    This was the meal:



    It was quite tasty!

    And then when we were starting to get close to Tokyo, I spotted this outside my window:



    Mount Fuji saying Welcome to Japan!


    One day we will visit!

    We got to Tokyo Haneda without issues, flight time was only 2 hours 20 minutes instead of the scheduled 3 hours. Before we went through immigration I needed a bathroom What else is new? and immediately got my first Japanese toilet experience!

    Japanese toilets are renown for their exemplary comfort. Often the seat is heated, you have built in water jets that clean you after you have done your business, hot air will then dry what you had washed, you can even play sounds in public bathrooms to cover any sounds you might create. It is all operated with a panel of buttons directly next to your seat:


    These babies are blissful. They clean you, pleasure you, entertain you all at once. They also leave you with a distinct feeling that turns into a belief that you are not clean without having these.



    (Sorry for blurry photo!) I took this picture in the hope that I would learn all the Japanese signs for the different functions so that I would not run into any problems when I came across a toilet that did not have English or symbols on the buttons. This never happened. The best thing about Japanese toilets was that they appeared to be plenty, always clean and often had additional features designed to make your visit more comfortable. For example a lot of them had shelves for your hand bag, there was often a low level unrinal in the lady’s room for little boys to use. In a bathroom underneath Kyoto train station they had these platforms that you could fold down from the side to stand on if you wanted to change clothes inside the bathroom stall so that you did not have to step on the floor without shoes. A very common feature were baby chairs like this:



    Immigration was no issue and we soon were reunited with our bags and headed to the Japan Rail office at the terminal

    In Japan rail travel is the most common method of travel for tourists. The trains are great and easy to use and there are plenty of them. However, they are not cheap either. We had planned to go to Kyoto and then had to return to Tokyo for our flights back, so we knew that the tickets Tokyo-Kyoto and back would have to be bought. Japan Rail (JR) offers a rail pass. What this means is that you pay a flat fee and then you can use nearly all trains for 7 days or 14 days (I think there is a 21 days, too). There are a few exceptions, mainly private lines (and there are quite a few of those around) and the very high speed high speed trains. You can use the medium high speed Shinkansen
    Medium high speed?!!? Compared to what? Not the slow and inefficient German trains! though, so the extra 20 minutes we were going to be on a train did not really matter. With the rail pass you can also make reservations for free. Ultimately getting return tickets would have been slightly cheaper, but we figured that we would be able to use the rail pass also for some local travel and in the end it seemed to be the smarter choice to get one. We did break even and saved a few Yen and it was nice to know that we had the freedom to travel as much as we wanted.

    The rail pass is only available for people living outside of Japan therefore you cannot purchase it in Japan. You must buy a voucher before you leave. They are being sold through specific travel agents in different countries. We had purchased our vouchers here in Germany and now they needed to be exchanged into the real thing. You can do this at several major train stations, but they also have offices at the major airports. This is important if you plan to use it for a train from airport to your destination. We weren’t going to use our rail pass until after we had been at Tokyo Disney Resort, but we figured that at the airport the language would not be an issue, we did not have any big plans for the day besides arriving and looking around the resort, and once we had dealt with it, we would not have to worry about it.

    There was a small line as the office was not large at all, but we were excited to see the first advertisement for our destination:



    Unfortunately they could not get us our seat reservations there, I think because it was too far in the future. But we did this at the Maihama Station, which is the train station that serves Tokyo Disney Resort, without any issues. I had researched the trains we wanted to take and had written down the date, train number and departure time for both trips and we showed our rail passes and quickly got the reservations.

    Tokyo has two major international airports: Haneda (where we flew to) and Narita (where we nearly tried to be a blind passenger to). We specifically chose to fly into Haneda because it is the airport that is closer to TDR.


    Haneda is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH closer to the city and to TDR, than Narita. Trust me on this. For years, most international traffic was routed through Narita, which can be as much as two hours away from the city and resort. Haneda approach is literally over Tokyo Disney and Tokyo Bay. I lucked out on my first visit in 2010 in that the new international terminal had just opened (they were still putting carpeting down in parts and everything smelled new, so flying there from Hong Kong was easy. It spoiled me. You REALLY want to use this as your gateway airport. Even if you save a few hundred dollars or euros or Disney Dollars (if you know what they are/were), it isn't worth it unless you essentially don't mind giving up most of a day to transitting in from the airport.

    There is a system of airport busses in Tokyo, called Airport Limousine (and despite the name it really is just a standard coach). They run all over the city, to a lot of hotels. And to TDR, even every 15 minutes! However, they only run to TDR from the International Terminal once an hour. By the time we got done with the rail pass, we had just missed the departure by 5 minutes. So we decided to hop onto the internal airport shuttle and went to Terminal 2 to get the Airport Limousine from there. It was a really easy process. We asked someone and they pointed us to the ticket machines that were in the airport wall outside at the bus stops, we bought our ticket, I think one of the attendants even came over to help us, then went to our bus stop where they had three lines marked on the pavement, we were told which line to get in, they took our luggage and tagged it and gave us the stub – which we then had to show in order to get our luggage back when we got off the bus!

    The bus came very quickly, we found a nice seat:



    (This picture introduces our bear. He was adopted at the Disney Character Warehouse Sawgrass Mills outlet adoption agency in 2012 as he was born with a WDW 40th anniversary hoodie that was horribly outdated after October 1, 2011. He is VERY good with knifes, so never call him Duffy. He goes by Big Sugar D, although since late 2017 has been demanding we refer to him as THE BSD!. And he was wildly excited to travel to the nation of his family’s origins and you might see him in a couple more pictures. A lot of his life is not fit to be told on a family friendly board like this, so if my husband tries to add something about his other trip goals, I will censor him!!)


    The bear is my bestie. If he were in a house and it was on fire and M was in another house ... to be fair, his idol is Ted. He enjoys alcohol and drugs (some legal ... some ..) and girls ... and boys too. He also isn't one to be politically correct or anything of the sort. He did have some adventures on the trip when he hit Japan. He largely stayed in the closet during our visit to Shanghai as he was convinced that the Chinese eat little plush bears. I think M put that idea in his head, so she wouldn't have to carry him around all day.

    I took a picture from the window where you can see the other people lining up in a different line, the ticket machines in the wall and the signs that currently display Japanese characters would alternate with English. Once everyone (us and one other lady) were onboard and the doors had closed, the attendants working at the airport took a deep bow and said goodbye to the bus.

    As you can see the bus was very empty:



    But it can seat a lot of people as there are even fold out seat for the aisle! We picked up a couple more people at Terminal 1 and there were on our way. All in all our drive time was about 40 minutes.



    Getting to/Arriving at TDR is a bit strange, especially for someone who is used to WDW. One of the first things Michael ever told me about TDR was about how he felt getting there the first time. So, I feel this is something that he should tell you about.


    Every resort is different. WDW was an amazing place to go to in the 1970s and 80s as you drove up US 192 through orange groves and cow pastures and then five lanes turned into World Drive, which didn't have any tacky archways or purple signs. And you drove miles and what seemed to a kid even more miles while you listened to Jack Wagner, The Voice of WDW, on WDW Radio (not to be confused with that sleazy Lou Mongello character). Getting to the MK involved trams and monorails (that were clean and efficient, not ghetto and prone to losing parts regularly). Even as WDW developed, it was still a kingdom of boundless imagination in a magical Central Florida forest. Well, they paved over paradise and put in timeshares and tacky motels and ... gondolas and malls and ...

    Since 2005, HKDL has the undisputed (by anyone with taste) best entrance with its own railway off the HK metro through tropical mountains and sitting on land that is next to the South China Sea. It truly is a breathtaking location. Too bad M has never been and never will go
    (?! that's new to me that I will never go to Hong Kong... Especially since we are currently planning a trip there next year.) ... so sad, so sad!

    Anyway, TDR has ... well, since Anaheim has cleaned up Harbor Blvd ... the ugliest approach. It is built on reclaimed land on Tokyo Bay surrounded by industrial areas. Indeed, your drive in on a crowded and dirty freeway (it was better this visit) is not magical. You even see (egads!!!) homeless people and trash. And off in the distance ... you start seeing things that you know are Disney. The DLH ... the Hightower Hotel ... Space Mountain's white dome ... Cinderella Castle ... giant hotel towers. To me, now, it is pure magic. But a sheltered WDW visitor (even the type whose first visit came when there already was three or four parks) might find the entrance ... the opening act ... jarring the first time around. Relax, most people struggle with various emotions after their first times!

    It is a spectacular life-changing experience.


    The nice thing about the Airport Limousine is that it takes you directly to your hotel, so it is like a Magical Express with a fee. However, you possibly could go to a lot of hotels before you reach yours. We were lucky and only had a couple of stops. We drove by the official entry sign:



    And the parking lot entrance:




    And then got to our home for the next 7 nights: The Hilton Tokyo Bay:



    Up Next: A fantastic surprise!
     
    Last edited:

    gelatoni fan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2018
    Oooh. I didn't know that ANA had a different snack mix for their flights to/from China. Would love to try them to see if I like them more than the "special" snack mix for people with dietary restrictions. Ironically, the gluten-free, vegetarian, Halal-certified rice crackers in recycled packaging are the standard snack mix for ANA flights to the US. :earboy2:
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    That place sounds great! We have a brand new Asian supermarket and they sell frozen dumplings as well. Michael was commenting just before he left that we should get some. Now I am thinking that it might be a nice thing to invite a few people for. Since we have no Trader Joe's this is still a new thing for us!
    If you end up doing this you should get the ingredients for an authentic dipping sauce. My friend from Taiwan showed me this back in college and I mix it up at home every time I order take out or eat my frozen pot stickers.

    I mix this in a small dish similar to the size of a sushi dipping dish, but with a little higher sides. All the portions are at your own discretion you'll need the following ingredients:

    Sambal Olek
    Sesame Oil
    Soy Sauce
    White Vinegar

    I spoon a small amount of sambal olek in the dish maybe a 1/4 teaspoon. A little goes a long way. Then I pour a small amount of the Sesame Oil over it, again maybe 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, it's very pungent. Then about a tsp of vinegar and mostly soy sauce. I usually stir it and taste and adjust the seasonings. If It needs more kick, I add more sambal olek, if I want more tang, I add vinegar, if it needs mellowing, more soy sauce.

    My favorite Chinese restaurant which is around the corner from my University has these on the table and that's where my friend taught me about this.

    I used to think that a drive through was such a cool thing and always wanted to do it. Now I am older and wiser and know better... On the other hand a dining car on a train is quite a marvelous dining experience! No seat belt though.
    I guess you don't have them in Germany. Have grown up with them, there is no novelty for me. Now a dining car on a train, that sounds quite exotic!

    Yes, most offerings at the buffet were pre plated. I liked that as there was no need to use utensils that other people had touched and done who knows what with.
    You know I never thought about stuff like that at a buffet, and now that I'm on the DIS, I'm learning this is a real thing. :crazy2:

    Is that what happens to you when you eat Chinese food in the US?
    It's kind of a running joke. I think it's because most people aren't used to eating veggies and its lighter than traditional American fare so they don't eat enough and get hungry sooner. I don't have that problem curve I always eat way too much!

    When I was young, I thought eating on the go was so smart as I would be able to see more when traveling. Now I cherish the breaks for eating as part of the traveling experience. Can you tell that I am getting closer to that big 5??
    As far as I remember I've always enjoyed slowing down. Even as a kid I was eating in the car on the way to or from swim practice or on the way to swim meets.

    I usually need a little over 7 hours. I normally wake up on my own about 7 hours and 15 minutes after going to bed I figured out. So, anything over six is still ok for me, at least for one or two days.
    I'm best with a good solid 8 or 9 hours. At least that's what I had last night. Went to bed at 10 completely exhausted and woke up shortly before 7AM.
     

    soniam

    Wooden leg named Smith...
    Joined
    Jun 22, 2012
    Yeah! Japan! ANA does look amazing. My husband is a plane nut too. He used to be an aerospace engineering major. I know that I have not flown on a 787; he might have. We did like the A380 that we flew on with Lufthansa to Nuremburg for the Christmas markets in 2015. However, the seats we had didn't have under seat storage in front of us, since we were one row back from the service area wall. The flight attendants were very cool about it though, and let us have our stuff in the floor during the flight, instead of constantly having to get into the overhead. I hope we get to fly ANA. I think my son will starve to death in Japan though. Yeah for Fujiyama too! I am hoping to spend 3 weeks in Japan to hit Tokyo, TDR, Kyoto, Osaka, and Universal Osaka. We might have time to se Fujiyama.
     


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