Friday, September 16, 2016

D&M Shanghaî Disneyland Report - Part Two : Mickey Avenue

Here is the part two of my Shanghaî Disneyland pictorial review and it's time to enter the park! For those who missed the part one, including plenty of tips for your trip to Shanghaî Disneyland you'll find it HERE.

First, as i know you can't wait to know what is my overall feeling about the park, let's say it: i liked SDL a lot and was impressed by the quality of theming and making which i globally put as equal as the one we can find, for instance, at DLP. Some shops may not have as much theming as they have in DLP Main Street but that's what the execs want know to make sure they don't lose any inch of space to sell their merchandise. So, here, the theming is often on the ceiling rather than on the walls except behind the cashiers. But, again, and at the exception of a few things that i will tell you in the upcoming articles, i liked SDL a lot, was impressed by new technologies used in some rides and will be very happy to go back as soon as i can! But it's also true that it's a different kind of Magic Kingdom with a different design and, for instance, as we know Main Street U.S.A doesn't exist at Shanghaî Disneyland and is replaced by Mickey Avenue. Here is what the official description says about Mickey Avenue:

"Mickey Avenue is the hometown of imagination, a welcoming, whimsical neighborhood filled with lively shops and restaurants. Stepping into this cheerful land sets the tone for a visit to Shanghai Disneyland, where guests will leave their worlds behind and enter lands of adventure, fantasy and the future.
Mickey Avenue is the first main entry at a Disney park that is home to Mickey Mouse and his pals, including Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto. Guests will have the chance to learn more about Disney characters and their stories before entering the other themed lands. For example guests will discover the Italian family tree of Donald Duck, displayed on a mural at Il Paperino – a gelato shop on Mickey Avenue where Donald is the host." 

Let's make it clear: Mickey Avenue has been the first good surprise for me. I was not at all convinced by not having a Main Street and by the Mickey Avenue concept, so the least i can say is that i had a LOT of doubts before i entered the park. But the truth is that it "works". Yes, Mickey Avenue concept works pretty well, even with its mix of different architectures. And one of the reason why it works is the detailed and colorful theming AND the Jazz music you hear from the moment you step in. The whole thing makes Mickey Avenue a truly happy land. 

Yes, Mickey Avenue is much shorter than Main Street U.S.A and its length is probably not more than 40% of the length of a regular Main Street U.S.A but Mickey Avenue goes also on the right and on the left so it's a totally different kind of entrance land where you have fun to explore what you'll find at the next corner. And to tell the truth i don't think that the Mickey Avenue concept would have worked as well if it would have been one straight street long like Main Street U.S.A, i think they did the right choice to design it like it is. So, let's have a closer look at it! 

The Mickey Avenue band plays either on SDL "equivalent of Town Square or up over the entrance arch.

Yes, there is a "City Hall" on the left side after you've walked through the arch but you won't enter into this one and won't find any infos there as it is mainly a facade only. 

And here is how it look on the other side, on the right of the entrance arch when you move in Mickey Avenue.

Yes, just like any other Magic Kingdom you'll find attraction posters under the entrance but also a little bit further on the left. I've previously posted many of them but here are two new ones which were not in the previous article. 

More pics of the exterior of Mickey Avenue... 

Let's go inside "Avenue M Arcade" which is here a bit like the Emporium in others parks. Avenue M Arcade feature the largest selection of gifts and collectibles inside the theme park, with items exclusively designed for Shanghai Disney Resort. It offer to SDL guests a selection of apparel and accessories, gifts, home décor and jewelry. The Arcade’s specially designed façade honors its most famous residents, who are represented as universal virtues on mosaic panels: Mickey Mouse (hospitality), Minnie Mouse with Figaro the cat (compassion), Goofy (optimism), Donald Duck (worldly), Daisy Duck (friendliness), Pluto and Fifi (generosity) and Chip & Dale(friendship). Even the checkout area is themed, as the First Bank of Scrooge McDuck." 

But contrary of how it's done in Main Street U.S.A where each shop has a door opening directly on the street, here in this long Avenue M Arcade there is two or three entrances only and inside a long hallway with, left and right, different areas with different kind of merchandise. I liked a lot the hallway idea, it reminded me the one we find in famous department stores like for instance Harrods in London, with of course a totally different theming.

Others Mickey Avenue areas include Celebration Square, the friendly heart of the community. Park Place lies just beyond the square, near the Gardens of Imagination. The Market District is on the outskirts of the avenue, across from
the Theatre District, an artsy neighborhood. Each neighborhood engages visitors with the optimism of Disney. 

At the left corner near Gardens of Imagination guests can find the Carthay Theatre but no restaurant here as inside is the other end of the Avenue M Arcade. If my count is right this is the third Carthay Theatre that WDI Imagineers build in Disney theme parks.

Right in front of it is Remy's Patisserie, a food store in tribute to Ratatouille little hero with nice murals for each characters of the animated movie, designed "art nouveau style".

Rémy’s Patisserie offer a variety of breads, pastries and muffins, along with fresh desserts from the restaurant’s kitchen. Wooden shutters, flower boxes, sidewalk seating and French café-inspired graphics distinguish the exterior of the shop. The tiny scaffolds and ladders that line the wall are reminders that Rémy the rat, who loves to cook, is preparing something special in the kitchen. 

Mickey & Pals Market Café, is the BIG counter- service restaurant of Mickey Avenue, offering localized Chinese and international menus plus views of the nearby gardens, Fantasia Carousel and Enchanted Storybook Castle. Guests can gather here with family and friends, choosing a table in one of four themed dining rooms: Mickey’s Galley, Tony’s (from Lady and the Tramp), Daisy’s Cafe and the Three Caballeros.

First time that i see someone working in a Disney restaurant with this transparent thing in front of the mouth obviously here for healthy reasons, but may be it's common in China?

SDL guests can also discover the Italian family tree of Donald Duck, displayed on a mural at Il Paperino – a gelato shop on Mickey Avenue where Donald is the host. 

Just like Main Street Mickey Avenue is even more magical with its night lighting and here are some night pictures. 

The one below shows Sweethearts Confectionery, which represents the childhood home of Minnie Mouse. Created in a Queen Anne-style, the house is a candy store that celebrates Disney’s first couple, Mickey and Minnie. Inside the shop, guests find murals and sweet scenes that tell the story of this couple’s courtship. Recurring design touches include flowers, hearts, bows and elements inspired by Minnie’s ubiquitous red-and-white polka dot dress. Guests also find freshly handmade treats here, inspired by some of their favorite Disney characters. 

Right in front of Sweethearts Confectionery, Chip and Dale Treehouse Treats.

More night shots of Mickey Avenue...

The Carthay Theatre looks even more gorgeous with its night lighting! 

And that's it for the part two of this Shanghaî Disneyland report and Mickey Avenue, don't miss the part three, coming soon! 

All pictures: copyright Disney and more


Immy Cousins said...

One day I hope to go there, I love reading your posts and cannot wait for the next one!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic and detailed review can't wait to see more. I went to tokyo recently and the main park didn't feel as magical or charming as paris or florida .

MercedesLois said...

I am really enjoying your trip review!

I am going to China tomorrow and can't wait to share my Shanghai experiences!

A. said...

Cool! I have been looking forward to your review! I visited SDL at the start of September. I didn't stay in the resort hotels but a hotel nearby about 4 metro stops away, at hotel that is recommended and cheap. We wanted to get their at the rope drop. Which was INSANE because there was a huge stampede through MickeyAv (where they let you in to queue) when they dropped the rope.

Overall of course it was a fantastic day out but doesn't compete with the two Disney parks across the sea in Tokyo, which gave me the real "magical feeling", thanks a lot to the incredible staff. An issue I found at SDL was the Chinese staff, who often were not very enthusiastic. I'm used to terrible Chinese customer service and I kind of expected this problem. In SDL the sort of elevated service to "average". Barely any of the cast members were smiling though.

However, there are definite positive points about the park. Tron ride is very unique, the theming and the new Pirates ride is incredible and a huge step up from any of Pirates ride. The castle has 3 attractions connected to it which are all fantastic. I also LOVED the adventure trail attraction, where you hook up to a rope and climb through GIANT WATERFALLS! So cool. I loved Mickey Av. Yes some "classic" disney things are missing, which is sad, but some of the replacements are good, some not so much. The detailing around the park is very impressive. Although some things look a big too "new".

I expect the park to expand expand expand in the future, you can see it has ability to be ginormous. It is already a massive park even though there aren't loads of attractions (which means certain rides right now can have very big queues). It's possible in the future you would need a 7 day week to visit :)

As someone who used to live in China, I understand now why SDL has done some of the questionable things it has. It's important to remember this park is 50% government controlled. That means they have an even bigger say than they usually do. They've done things to try to directly appeal to the local Chinese family that you wouldn't see Disney do in the past so much. Even if young Chinese people don't care about these things. Chinese government is very concerned right now in showing that it has the "biggest, tallest, best" things in the world. And that China isn't left out. So they have all the giant Chinese tea room and Chinese food in every restaurant and the giant Chinese garden and the Chinese Wandering poets. Thing is, all the "Chinese" elements in the park are the worst and least interesting part of the park. I don't think the young Chinese care at all about these things. They also want to appeal to the "new money" Chinese a bit, who are obsessed with luxury, like with the luxury restaurant in the Castle itself. But that is well hidden, which is good.

Overall the park is definitely worth a visit (as long as the air isn't polluted that day). I'd say it's one of the best thing to do in all of Shanghai.