Ticking the final two of my list - I've finally booked!

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by OldSchoolReasons, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    Just sharing the excitement really, but after being hit by the post-Disney blues on my return last week I thought I’d take the plunge and book a trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland!

    I fly into Hong Kong on the 27th May and leave Beijing on 10th June via Shanghai, Chengdu, Leshan and Xi’an (visa permitting). If my Visa doesn’t go through I’ll be cutting my trip short at Shanghai. I've never travelled solo for this long before so it's exciting all round.

    All hotels are booked except the Disney ones, planning to stay in the Toy Story Hotel and the Explorer's Lodge – are they worth the money? My trip to Tokyo Disneyland set the bar for the parks so I’m really excited to be back in Asia again, I've even started attempting to learn a little Mandarin.
     
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  2. lila

    lila Mouseketeer

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    I just got back last night from a trip to Shanghai, Xi’an and Chengdu. I had an excellent time. I have been to the Hong Kong park before and it’s not so special but Shanghai Disneyland was great! I stayed at the Disneyland hotel for 2 days and it was well worth it to maximize my one day in the park. I would recommend staying in Puxi for other days in Shanghai though. I loved seeing the Terrcota warriors and meeting a panda - it was a really special trip. Have so much fun!
     
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  4. gelatoni fan

    gelatoni fan Mouseketeer

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    Whether the hotel is worth it will depend on what your vacation preferences are. If you like having the Disney hotel experience or plan on using the hotel facilities or perks, then they're worth it.

    In terms of convenience, staying on property in Shanghai is a lot more useful than staying on property in Hong Kong. Off property hotels "near" Shanghai Disneyland tend to be in the middle of nowhere, quite a distance from other tourist attractions in Shanghai and will require you to walk quite a distance from either the bus or subway. On the other hand, if you plan to do other things in Hong Kong, it may not make sense to switch hotels because the subway system is much more convenient.
     
  5. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    i just had to Google Puxi as I'm still familiarising myself with areas, but I'm doing a split stay and transferring myself to Nanjing West so looks like I'm in the right area! Could you give me a little information on the Panda meet? I've had a look and seen it's $200 which goes to the sanctuary but couldn't find recent reviews!
    Hmmm this is a good point! I'm split staying for both Shanghai and Hong Kong but I may look into just extending my stay then as my hotel is fairly central (Sai Ying Pun area). I do like the Disney bubble but as it's a one day trip it's not essential.
     
  6. lila

    lila Mouseketeer

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    I did the “hold the panda” (which is really sit next to a panda) at Dujiangyan panda base which is associated with Wolong panda base. I also did the volunteering where you clean the panda enclosures, make panda cakes, and feed the pandas carrots. I highly recommend both. I paid 1800 RMB for holding the panda and 700 RMB for volunteering. I also paid a guide to drive me there and take photos, take me for lunch in the Old City, etc (the lunch in the panda center is terrible). I think I overpaid somewhat for the guide at about 1900 RMB per day but he was great and very convienent so I was glad I had!

    I also visited the Chengdu Research Center base which is more of a 1/2 day experience (the other is whole day) - they have 180+ pandas and you can volunteer there but can’t hold the pandas. I went there because the Leshan Buddha which I was also going to visit in Chengdu was under construction. I’d rather see more pandas than scaffolding!

    Note all this information is current as of November 2018 but I would double check it again as you get closer.

    For China, I recommend you download the following apps:
    -WeChat (this is how everyone communicates)
    -Express VPN (get a one month subscription which you should activate right before you leave - China blocks sites like google, Gmail, Facebook etc and this will get you around that)
    -DiDi - the Uber of China. I found taxis to also be very cheap, especially in Chengdu

    If you are interested in guides, I can recommend some in Xi’an, Shanghai and Chengdu. I also took several Lost Plate food tours and a Free Tour Asia of Shanghai and recommend all of them.

    Finally, you have to use a lot of cash (yuan) in China outside of Disneyland. Almost nowhere accepted my credit cards - most people pay via the WeChat app for things but I couldn’t do that as I didn’t have a Chinese bank account. So I would be prepared for a lot of ATM visit.
     
  7. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    This is so helpful! Thank you. Looks like construction on the buddha will be done by Feb otherwise I would have scratched it straight off my list too. I knew about Express VPN and DiDi but WeChat is new to me - guess it's like Whatssap? Did you bring a portable WiFi or just rely on street wifi?

    Wow, I didn't realise it was so cash heavy! I figured bars, restaurants and taxis would be. I'm usually a cashless traveller so will come armed for sure, especially as most of my hotels are pay when you stay just in case my Visa isn't approved.
     
  8. Shock13

    Shock13 DIS Veteran

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    How exciting! I'm heading solo to Tokyo in May and will be there for 10 days but most of my time will be at TDR. I've done solo trips before but this one will also be my first lengthy one. I eventually want to do the SDL/HKDL trip so I look forward to hearing about it.
     
  9. Agent 86

    Agent 86 DIS Veteran

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    I think Toy Story Hotel in Shanghai is worth the money, simply because it's close to the parks (it's walkable, but the bus is pretty frequent and quicker) and because there aren't many other options in the vicinity (at least not when we visited).

    For Hong Kong, I'm not so sure. It was very easy getting to and from Disneyland by train in Hong Kong.

    I would add one note of caution though - you mention Tokyo Disneyland setting the bar for your expectations. Unfortunately, I don't think you'll find that either Hong Kong or Shanghai Disneyland can meet the extremely high standard met by Tokyo. I personally find the Tokyo parks to be the best throughout the entire world.
     
  10. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    You will have such a blast at Tokyo! It is the nicest park by far.

    Yeah I don't expect them to match up to Tokyo (nothing else has!) but I'm excited to see the HK and Shanghai takes on the parks. I actually haven't been back to my home park Paris since I went to Tokyo because I feel like it might be spoilt after the pristine Tokyo parks.
     
  11. khsu

    khsu Earning My Ears

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    Hi Lila, we are going to Xian, Chengdu and Shanghai next month - for the last 2 weeks of December. I would love tips on the guides you used. Which tour did you do for the panda volunteering - my DS 13 would love that!
     
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  12. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

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  13. pinksand

    pinksand Mouseketeer

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    I'll speak up for SDL - I've been to all the parks and I was incredibly impressed by Shanghai Disney. It's unbelievably beautiful and the theming is outstanding. I could spend a whole day just taking photos of the details. And being the newest park, the rides have amazing technology. I know TDR has incredible tech as well - in fact, we're planning a trip back to Tokyo Disney and SDL next spring so we can visit both in one trip and really make up our minds about which one is our favorite!
     
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  14. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

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    If you stay off-site in Hong Kong, you can ride the Mickey MTR train from Sunny Bay to Disneyland Station
     
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  15. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! Love TDR Explorer, his food eating videos are my fave. Gonna give this a listen.
    I think the shiny newness of Shanghai is what excites me the most :)
    I've just Googled this and it's so cute! Like the Tokyo monorail.
     
  16. Agent 86

    Agent 86 DIS Veteran

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    That's the part that confused me the most! We visited only ... maybe a year after it opened. But, when we visited, there was so much wear and tear. A lot of peeling / chipped paint in the ride lines. The "monster" in Roaring Rapids wasn't working. Even our room at the Toy Story Hotel seemed much worse for wear given it had only been open a short time.

    Hopefully they've improved their maintenance since then.

    And certainly, rides like Pirates and TRON are beyond compare (even if they frustrated our attempt to ride Pirates on our second day by advertising the wrong "closed" times (i.e. they advertised it as being closed in the morning, but open in the afternoon. However, it was actually the opposite and when we ventured over to ride it in the afternoon, we discovered that it was closed, but had been open in the morning)).
     
  17. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

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    Sounds very similar to Paris in that respect. Last time we went half of Big Thunder was missing or off. Did you rate the Toy Story Hotel? Disney tourist blog wasn't keen but I love the gaudy theming.
     
  18. Agent 86

    Agent 86 DIS Veteran

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    It’s very convenient for the parks. We had pretty bad luck with our room. The hotel is an odd design - two completely separate “wings”. Our room was the absolute furthest away from the elevator for our wing as possible. It made for long, dull treks each morning and evening.

    The room was fine. As mentioned, it was a little more worn than I had expected given its age when we visited. But, perfectly serviceable with some cool Toy Story keepsakes. The overall theming is decent, but nothing too extravagant.
     
  19. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

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    We stayed at the Toy Story Hotel on our trip. I liked the feel of the hotel, it was happy and whimsical compared to when visited the Disneyland Hotel lobby. It's a totally different feel. Most cast members we saw, even if they were sweeping or wiping things would say hello. When we were leaving, cast members were eager to help us with our bags even for a very short distance.

    We found everything to be clean and kept well. Our room had hints of someone who had smoked but we were close to elevators and we were happy to get upgraded to a park view room we didn't bother trying to complain.
     
  20. londonjon

    londonjon Earning My Ears

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    Yes yes yes! :stitch::simba::hmghost::figment::ccat::maleficen:tigger::sulley::mickeyjum:goofy::dumbo::donald:

    We are also 'completing the set' next year -- we'll be doing Shanghai followed by Hong Kong in April.

    So grateful for everyone's advice and tips on Disboards -- it really helped us with our trip to Tokyo (I was so nervous) and now can't wait to visit Asia again next year.

    Whoop!
     
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  21. Sandeep1

    Sandeep1 Mouseketeer

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    Also heading to Asia solo next year. Going to start in February. Disney Shanghai is the last Disney park I've yet to visit so definitely checking that one off the list. I'll definitely be staying at a Disney hotel.

    For Hong Kong, as a few others have said already, it's not necessary at all to stay at a Disney hotel. Although I did stay at the Disneyland Hotel on my prior trip to HKDL, I won't be on my next trip early next year. I'll just wake up early from my hotel in the city, and take the train to Disney. The park opens fairly late compared to other Disney parks so it's really easy to get there.

    For those who've done China before, did you do go as part of a tour group or did you just do everything yourself? I'm not really a tour group kind of person unless it's absolutely necessary. If you did it yourself, how did you find getting around the cities and finding the things you wanted to see?
     

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