- May 7, 2009
We are back! 48 hours ago, we came home from a two-week trip to China that was the culmination of years of dreaming and a ton of planning. It all paid off in a trip that was nearly flawless and definitely ranks among our best trips of all time. We are proof positive that you can go to China without speaking the language, travel the country on your own terms rather than being tied to a tour group, and live to tell the tale.
I will say up front that we spent one day in Shanghai Disneyland and one day in Hong Kong Disneyland, but the majority of our two weeks were spent seeing sights that have nothing at all to do with the parks. I'll provide detail about our Disney days here since that's the purpose of this message board, but be forewarned that I'll also summarize what else we saw and did in the country. Feel free to skip those parts if your only interest is the parks.
We are a family of 4 - me (Carrie), DH (Chad), and two kids, Liam (13) and Mallory (11). I think we nailed it with taking the trip at this time. Our kids were a great age for this trip.
We began planning our trip to China about four years ago. Traveling and trip planning is a significant hobby of ours, and we started stringing together a family-friendly itinerary full of exciting sights and activities. The Great Wall... pandas... acrobats, perfecting our chopstick skills, karst mountains. Maybe even a visit to that Disney park over there in Hong Kong. The trip would have to wait a few years though, until the kids were a little older.
In the meantime, a couple of things happened. First, Disney opened the new park in Shanghai in 2016. Shanghai wasn't part of our original itinerary, but with the park now open, we added it on when we got serious about making this trip happen a year or so ago.
Second, we traveled through a few European countries in 2017, and on that trip we spent a day at Disneyland Paris. That trip marked the halfway point in terms of us completing the Every Disney Park bucket list. It hadn't been a deliberate goal before then, but it's become a fun common purpose for our family in the time since. That gave us a bit more incentive to add Shanghai on to our China itinerary.
We knew July may not be considered optimal timing to go to China, due to the heat and due to summer holiday crowds. But our trip planning is also bound by the school calendar.
So we hoped for the best, braced for the worst, and set off.