China Disney Trip 2019 Plan!

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by RogPalmerUK, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. RogPalmerUK

    RogPalmerUK Earning My Ears

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    Hiya... Thought as I'm starting to plan our 2019 Disney trip, I would jump into this board to get some suggestions/feedback. While I'm not planning on going until November 2019, I'm looking to get at least the flights sorted after Xmas/New Year when the flights go on sale & if there are any New Year Sales.

    I'm gonna be flying from London, UK, so it's going to be roughly a 2 week trip, taking in Hong Kong and Shanghai, so I'm planning on spending 2 days at each Disney Park. Looking to stay in the Toy Story Hotel in Shanghai and the Explorer's Lodge in HKDL.

    Over 10 years ago, I did do an organised month long trip of China, seeing Bejing, Shanghai, Gulin, Hong Kong, Yanksee River Cruise, Xi'an etc. But it will be my wife's first time visiting Asia. So I'm planning on spending a day or so, touring Shanghai and a few days touring the sites of Hong Kong including Macau, so it's not a 100% Disney trip, more like a 50/50 split.

    We've done multiple trips to WDW & DLP over the past few years and I wanted to do something a little different next year. And I always regretted not visiting HKDL when I was there before and I really want to see a little more of that area (the tour never had more than 48 hours anywhere)...

    Looking to take advantage of the Shanghai 144 hour temp visa, so it is either going to be London to Shanghai to HK and back to London, or doing HK first, then Shanghai. Either way we need a whole first day put aside for Jetlag/Timezones, so thinking it might be best to go to HK first, so by the time we get to Shanghai, we've adjusted. Planning on having hotel in downtown HK for 4/5 nights, then maybe 3 at lodge, so we can have a rest day by the pool/sea before hitting the park for 2 days. Then heading to Shanghai, have 4 nights, (2 park days,1 day trip day), but staying just at the Toy Story hotel, since we are a little more restricted on time.

    Any tips on planning? Been reading the forums, sites etc... but everything is just in planning mode right, so before flights/hk hotel booked,.
     
  2. Shock13

    Shock13 DIS Veteran

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    I have yet to go to any of the Asia Disney parks as my first will be Tokyo in May of next year. I do eventually want to do Shanghai and Hong Kong. There are 2 sites which I think have great information and planning tips.

    TDR Explorer
    https://tdrexplorer.com/
    and
    Disney Tourist Blog
    https://www.disneytouristblog.com/

    I hope this helps!
     
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  4. Mandarinma

    Mandarinma Earning My Ears

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    Hi. November is the best time to go, Ive just come back from Beijing, HK and Shanghai and had the best time. I booked the flights with BA in their Chinese New Year sale in February this year. Here is an old link to give you an idea, maybe they will run the promotion again.
    https://www.headforpoints.com/2018/02/17/1009-british-airways-club-world-deals-beijing-shanghai/

    The 144 hour transit without visa is so easy. Get fingerprinted at a kiosk in immigration, fill out a blue arrival card (not yellow that they give you on the plane), show immigration your itinary for next flight and hotel details. You then don’t have to bother with a visa in the UK and having to go to the Chinese embassy in the UK to be fingerprinted.

    Unfortunately we didn’t make Hong Kong Disney as my son twisted his ankle (I did offer to rent him a wheel chair!) but Shanghai was fantastic. We stayed at the other hotel but in all honesty this was somewhere to lay our heads and I wish I had gone for the Toy Story cheaper hotel instead. I book Disneyland hotel on a refundable basis and nearer the time found a 25% off deal so cancelled and rebooked. Cancelling had to be done by phone to Disney China (English speaking line) so I got a cheap internet call app. Rebooking meant my credit card had both charges on at the same time but refund was quick.

    Staying on site gave us a back way into the park avoiding the manic front park entrance. If you buy park tickets at Conceirge the day before, you get to add a free Fastpass option per person also. The tickets and fast passes are held on an app which is brilliant. You basically scan your phone in the Fastpass entrance and it links to your ticket which has your photo attached. The park attendant then checks the Fastpass against your photo.

    I could go on and on, so if you have any questions, please let me know. We went to Macau also.
     
  5. gelatoni fan

    gelatoni fan Mouseketeer

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    Seems like a reasonable plan. Something to keep in mind is that the Christmas events will likely start in mid-November for Hong Kong and late-November for Shanghai. If you go to the parks before the event starts, some rides in HKDL may be down for refurbishment (Jungle Cruise is currently closed). If you go the first day of the event, you may face larger crowds and media presence. Media can be a good thing (special performances) or a bad thing (media gets the best spots for shows and guests are shoved to the side).
     
  6. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    We're heading over for two weeks this Saturday... I'm already regretting not planning for two full days at HK Disneyland. I didn't realize just how short their park hours are so we are skipping the Disney Dim Sum. I really haven't done much planning either... there just isn't a lot out there. Can't seem to make reservations at restaurants online ahead of time, can't book more than the hotel before we arrive. Fingers crossed I don't regret not knowing something!
     
  7. gelatoni fan

    gelatoni fan Mouseketeer

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    Gates open 30 minutes prior to scheduled opening so if you get there early and want to meet characters, you should be able to meet at least one Main Street character before rope drop. Try to arrive at least an hour before scheduled opening if you want to meet Mickey & Minnie prior to rope drop (wait times often 90+ minutes). Attractions in Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land have even shorter hours (often an hour after park opens to an hour before park close).

    If you were planning to visit between the 15th and 18th, expect higher than usual crowds because the Christmas event starts on the 15th and Mickey's birthday is the 18th.
     
  8. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    Thank you!! We aren't character people and sadly are barely missing all the Christmas fun because we will be there on the 12th. We're also going to barely miss Christmas at Shanghai... we would have changed things to see them had we known (just figured that out a couple months ago - Tokyo is already Christmasy so I assumed these parks would be too). Its great to know about the shorter hours for some attractions! I guess we'll just wander and take pics during those times.
     
  9. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    I second these! I just booked my trip for May 2019 and these were a lifeline. Also brilliant for Tokyo Disney. One thing to note, Shanghai Disney hotels are bookable a year out, but Hong Kong seems to be 6 months out. There seems to be much better availability too than say Tokyo (which was an absolute scramble and had to be booked at 3am UK time on opening).
     
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  10. RogPalmerUK

    RogPalmerUK Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for the tips, been reading the guides over a TDRExplorer, very helpful.......i'll check out the DTB too...... Once the flights and partial HK hotel is booked then its just a case of waiting for Disney to open up bookings... 2 weeks in November 2019 looks to be good as looking on HKDL events Xmas will be underway :-) i hadn't thought about disney hotels being that hard to book... though Flights aren't bookable by the looks of it for another month or so... :-(
     
  11. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    Flights are usually booked 11 months out for long haul in my experience. If you can hang tight, I'd hold on for a January Sale - BA have them often!
     
  12. CaptainCook

    CaptainCook Mouseketeer

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    A few more resources:

    www.milestomemories.com
    www.lajollamom.com

    Have fun planning! It can seem overwhelming at first, but if you have visited the other Disney parks then you'll find that even without extensive planning, it's mostly pretty intuitive once you get there. Ask specific questions on the forum - there's lots of us here to help.
     
  13. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

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    For HKDL you can get discount tickets and meal vouchers from Klook.com
    We used the TDR Explorer coupon code - KLKTDREX. So you can save a few extra bucks.

    I also purchased our Airport Express MTR tickets via Klook.
     
  14. RogPalmerUK

    RogPalmerUK Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for all the replies...

    With the January sales kicking in... I purchased out flights today... Flying London to Shanghai then to Hong Kong, back to London..... so we can use the 144 hour visa for shanghai... plan is to hit Shanghai Disney for a couple of days and a day sightseeing... then head to HK for a few days sightseeing before going to HKDL for a couple of days.....
     
  15. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Just popping in after a long time absence from here. And you are right, there is precious little information available for planning. And then, often things have changed. Our traveling party was myself, DH, and three sons. We spent two days and three nights at SDL. Unfortunately, they weren’t the most magical days: Because of the constraints of our trip, we had one day on a holiday :crazy2:. Then, the weather really took a turn on our second day and it got misty and cold...and we weren’t really prepared for that kind of weather. Despite this, we really had an enjoyable time.

    One thing I would not recommend is the Jack Sparrow show, unless you understand Chinese. It seemed like they have a pretty hilarious pre-show - but we truly didn’t understand any of it. The show itself can be mostly followed/understood based on context and actions, and the stunts at the end of the show are impressive. However, we found our brains were exhausted from just trying to understand and make sense of what’s being said. Because of that, we ended up not seeing the Tarzan show, which I understand is much easier to follow, though not as impressive in terms of the stunts. (Just from what i read.)

    Tron is short, but tons of fun!!! Personally, I loved the Crystal Grotto. I thought it was a beautiful ride. Loved the queue and pre-show (even though we could understand all of it and there were no subtitles) for Soaring over the Horizon. This is one of THE most popular rides there!

    We got the photo package, and it was a very reasonable price, but it was not easy to figure out. It requires a separate app. I actually ended up paying for it twice. So, if you plan to purchase it, you might ask someone at the resort hotel to help you out.

    Remember that most of China operates using WeChat for payments, so some of the carts don’t accept credit cards OR cash, only WeChat.

    I am sure you also read that there is lots of walking involved, and also lots of standing. The Chinese apparently do not mind standing in lines - the second day we were there (the holiday), the line for Tron didn’t drop below 2 1/2 hours, maybe even three. And when it began to rain, they put on their raincoats and soldiered on. There was very little, if any, drop in the crowds.

    My next two tips aren’t inexpensive, but were well worth the cost. The first was purchasing the Premier Access. For us, it was *very* expensive the day of the holiday :faint:, but we would have also basically wasted the money we spent on our tickets. The lines were IN-SANE, and we might have been able to ride 3 rides the entire day. However, they do dynamic pricing for the Premier Access, so it will likely not be as expensive when you go. And, it’s something you can decide day-of based on crowds.

    My second tip would be to stay Club Level at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. Again, I know not everyone’s budget can handle it. But for a family of five, being able to eat breakfast, snacks, and basically dinner (not to mention alcohol) in the club lounge made the cost worth it to us. We spent very little money on dining in the park. But, that’s not for everyone. The food in the lounge was outstanding, with a great mix of Western and Asian cuisines. And the room itself was so beautiful!

    As a PP commented, you can often find discounts on the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel rooms as it gets closer to your travel date. I can’t remember how much we saved by cancelling and rebooking, but it was a significant amount of money.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. We also spent three days in Shanghai proper. One tour I would *highly* recommend is: https://untourfoodtours.com/product/hands-on-dumpling-delights/
    LOVED this tour and so did our boys!!! We got to see all different parts of the city, try delicious dumplings of all varieties, and learn how to make dumplings. Our tour guide was so wonderful and we were able to learn so much about culture and history from her.

    Anyway, hope this helps!
     
  16. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    One more thing, have you researched about using your cell phone in Shanghai? You need a cell phone to use the FastPass system in SDL.
     
  17. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    ^That goes for "free" wireless most places as well, not just Disney. Almost everywhere we found with free wifi - restaurants, shop, public spaces - all required us to be able to get an SMS code.
     
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