It's with great pleasure that i welcome today as a new D&M contributor Alexis Lefranc, a faithful D&M reader. Thanks to Alexis we have the first D&M exclusive pictorial report on Shanghaî Disneyland, and with great pictures, shot last week during an incredible sunny day and a clear blue sky over the park! For Alexis, it was the second Disney park after his beloved Disneyland Paris and i let him now describe his visit and give us his feelings about Shanghaî Disneyland:
The park is beautiful! Shanghaî Disneyland is very neat and as detailed as Disneyland Paris can be, it is clean and 90% of the attractions were open with reasonable wait of 40minutes maximum. Visitors were respectful and behaved quite well, I have no complaints about Chinese tourists they were perfect. Many Western expatriates were also present. I had very good impressions.
I know you all know this but, to make a long story short: there is no Haunted Mansion or It's a Small World and Star Tours. Big Thunder Mountain became the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain was replaced by TRON Lightcyle Power Run and Pirates of the Caribbean became a land in its own right with a brand new version of the ride . Strangely, it didn't not bothered me too much. Specifically, we are in a new park, more fresh because all offering of new attractions benefit of amazing technology but also remains what is known as all the codes of a Disney park are there. It's like everything rediscovering everything and it's good as Disneyland Paris, we love it, but we know it so much ...
The entrance to Disneyland Paris is so majestic with the hotel that we forgot that it was unique and not found elsewhere. So, it was strange to see the entrance of Shanghai Disneyland, less ambitious. It is still beautiful and is inspired by the original park in California with a small station and tower ( without railroad ) and the usual head of Mickey in flowers .
Disneyland Paris Main Street USA is the most visually rich and suddenly it was strange to see here a totally different version of the entrance street. Mickey Avenue performs the same function but is two-third smaller and a bit less classy, but mix with taste a good dozen of architectural styles (classical, art nouveau, Victorian, Hollywood / art deco, toon, Parisian, American, Georgian ...) to introduce the Chinese guests, less steeped in Western culture, to the park. It's eclectic, colorful and joyful.
Between Mickey Avenue and Enchanted Story Book castle, our DLP Central Plaza has given way to a much larger "Gardens of Imagination" quite welcome mixing small gardens, bridges and ponds and many flowers on various themes. Of course the elements of the Chinese zodiac reviewed with Disney characters ( the monkey Abu from Aladdin, the dragon is Muchu from Mulan, etc ...). It's subtle and really cute.The adaptation of the park to Chinese public is through these tips: a beautiful decorated Chinese restaurant in Suzhou style - Tea House of Wandering Moon - has been included, east of the castle, the parade has a special focus on the Mulan float as we have at DLP on the Sleeping Beauty float, rice, noodles and chopsticks are present in menus, some shows (Tarzan, Frozen) or even dark rides (Snow White, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto ...) are in mandarin but the rest is also in English. The castle is not at all Chinese, not even one detail, and I am delighted!
Alexis has shot also some excellent panoramics. Make sure to click on it to see it in big size!
The castle... is beautiful, really great. It stands majestically in the middle of the park as an extremely impressive lighthouse. It can be seen from everywhere! It mixes many styles ( Roman, Gothic, Baroque, Classical ) with the elegance of our Sleeping Beauty Castle. Again, I know you are aware of it but it is important to remember a set of points: it is the highest castle of all Disney castles, this is the first castle to represent all Disney princesses so its name "Enchanted Storybook Castle » ( with however an attraction inside telling the story of Snow White) and it is the most interactive, offerings shops, restaurants (at 500cny the menu), two attractions and is so detailed!
Fantasyland, always behind the castle and extending north of the park, is just wonderful. It is as detailed as our Fantasyland at DLP, full of small shops and restaurants with ornate roofs. Classics rides such as Dumbo, Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White, the tea cups and the carousel are present in new versions with some newcomers. The Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is nice because it's a ride on the water which recounts the stories of Disney animated classics, but details of the characters are a bit coarse. Alice in Wonderland maze is a new version, really good, with a mix of the animated classic with the recent Tim Burton movie and, as it is at the foot of the castle, the whole maze at night with the lighted lanterns is a wow.
However, we lose It's a Small World, and I find it a bit of a shame because it's such a mythical attraction for me. And there is no dragon too under the castle or a Pinocchio ride.
The facade of Pinnochio Village Kitchen...
...and the one of Peter Pan's Flight, on the right.
The entrance and facade of the Frozen show theatre.
The Tangled Tree Tavern, inspired by the famous tavern of the animated movie.
The final scene of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Note that the Audio-Animatronic which is not include in this SDL version.
In the part two of Alexis great pictorial report, coming in D&M next article we'll have a look at Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle and Tomorrowland for which he has fantastic pictures!
Pictures: copyright Alexis Lefranc