The grand opening ceremony in June 2016 saw Mickey Mouse dressed in a traditional, red Tang Chinese suit, highlighting the park’s ‘authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese’ values.
There are currently seven lands around the Enchanted Storybook Castle (above), which is actually the largest of all the castles. It is the only one that celebrates all the Disney Princesses. Inside, there are detailed mosaics that depict the tales of Tiana (Princess and the Frog), Merida (Brave), Rapunzel (Tangled), and Elsa and Anna (Frozen).
Tomorrowland features one of Disney’s fastest roller coasters, the Tron Lightcycle Power Run (above). This twisting and turning ride gives guests a feeling of being truly involved with the pedalling aspect and the LED lighting effects are dazzling. Treasure Cove features Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, a dark magnetically-controlled boat ride across mystical waters.
We loved being greeted warmly upon arrival by Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy and more at Mickey Avenue. Characters roam freely in this zone to welcome visitors from around the world.
Shanghai Disneyland has a garden theme throughout, and there are some beautiful bridges and paths connecting the seven themed lands. We found the layout of this park easier to navigate than other Disney parks because of the design. Within the Gardens of Imagination, murals depicting the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac turn famous Disney characters into the twelve animal signs; be sure to find yours for a selfie. There are two popular family rides in the Gardens of Imagination; these are Dumbo the Flying Elephant (above) and Fantasia Carousel.
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Another gorgeous area is the Alice In Wonderland Maze. These gardens are a wonderful place to get deliberately lost and there is the chance to join in on some fun with Alice’s quirky crew in a Madhatter’s Tea Party attraction.
Foodies rejoice; the culinary options in Shanghai Disneyland are exceptional. There are about 150 dishes served within the theme park, with food from eight different cuisines of China, including Wagyu beef noodles and shao mai dumplings. Don’t miss the Donald Duck-shaped waffles over at Mickey Avenue.
Close to the castle, Merlin’s Magic Recipe offers bakes with a touch of Disney sorcery, including savoury puffs and Minnie Mouse buns.
Just when you think the magic is over, there is Disneytown outside the park, a massive shopping centre comprising food and entertainment outlets. And last but not least, The Lion King musical can be enjoyed in Mandarin for the first time at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre (above) in Disneytown. As this is a stand-alone theatre, tickets have to be booked separately and ideally in advance.
For tickets, hours and directions, visit www.shanghaidisneyresort.com
PHOTOS: FLICKR USER XIQUINHOSILVA (DUMBO THE FLYING ELEPHANT, ALICE IN WONDERLAND MAZE), FLICKR USER RYUTARO KOMA (ENCHANTED STORYBOOK CASTLE), FLICKR USER JOEL (TRON LIGHTCYCLE POWER RUN), INSTAGRAM
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.