' One Wild Day at Shanghai Disney Resort! - SDR TR, April 11, 2018 (Wednesday) | The DIS Disney Discussion Forums - DISboards.com



One Wild Day at Shanghai Disney Resort! - SDR TR, April 11, 2018 (Wednesday)

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by Impromark, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Here’s my very first Trip Report! It was a joy to write up, and I hope that others will find it helpful and encouraging in their own planning. The TL;DR of it is that The Shanghai Disney Resport was lots of fun, and while a few pro tips could have made it an ideal one-day visit, the pitfalls we encountered were not a significant detraction to our time there.


    Background:

    As context, I’m a 40-gleeberglarb year-old Canadian guy from Calgary, Alberta; I’m a white-collar, postgrad working stiff in a mid-size software company, with a secondary career as an improv comedian. My DW is from Quebec, and a small business owner; and our eight year-old DD has been with us on many trips around the world. We’re all bilingual in English and French, for what that’s worth in Shanghai. As of this writing, I’ve been to five of the six Disney parks around the world, with only Hong Kong remaining (DW and DD have been to four and three respectively). Gotta fix that eventually - in the meantime, we`re planning for our first Disney cruise in the Caribbean this fall. :)

    My family booked this trip in late 2017 as a sort of make-up vacation. In the middle of our previous vacation to Japan in September of last year, my father passed away unexpectedly and we had to abort everything to get back home. He’d be the last one to want us to dwell on THAT whole thing, so upon seeing some great airfare deals for a visit to China, we jumped on it and planned for a single day at the Shanghai Disney Resort.

    Dad, you took mom and my brothers to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and we had great times there – a highlight of my formative years. I’ve since been to Disney Paris and Tokyo Disney Sea, but this one’s for you. <3


    This TR is divided into four overly long posts:

    - The Stuff I Think Visitors Should Know
    - Our Visit, Part The First
    - Our Visit, Part The Second
    - Other Stuff We Did in Shanghai, and Closing Thoughts


    I’m not an aficionado of posting pictures from third party hosted services, so instead I’ll direct people to our public Facebook albums on the trip corresponding to the parts of the report:

    Our Visit, Part The First

    Our Visit, Part The Second

    Obviously, everything I’ve written here is unofficial and anecdotal, and any opinions expressed are my own. With that, let’s get to it!


    The Stuff I Think Visitors Should Know


    Preparation:

    I posted in several threads here in preparation for our visit to Shanghai. It’s a new country for us, and a number of challenges presented itself after we booked the airfare that we hadn’t expected. We were staying ten days total, and while we knew we’d need a Visa we didn’t expect it to cost so much for the three of us (had we known, we’d have stayed within the 144 hours China lets you stay in Shanghai, as part of a larger itinerary). Then there was the Great Firewall of China, against which we had no knowledge of VPNs. And of course none of us spoke Chinese, which was a different sort of challenge compared to our times in Japan where most people (at TDS anyway) spoke enough English to communicate.

    In planning our Disney Day, I exhaustively researched the options for a one-day visit to the park and decided that mid-week would be the best for lines and crowds. Still, the information here and elsewhere for North American visitors is pretty scant, and the official website was not updated in some key places, so some guesswork was in order.


    Connectivity:

    Staying connected in SDR is key – you will not be able to manage your FastPasses without the app, and you need to activate the app with your tickets and a text to a phone number for it to work. Strictly-speaking, you shouldn’t need a VPN here as you will be on their local wifi and won’t need access to non-Chinese servers to do everything, but if you want to post mid-ride selfies to any social media, you’ll need it.

    We chose 3G Solutions for our SIM card provider and equipped my wife’s phone with it plus an included VPN. We also chose Strong VPN as a backup. Between the two VPNs, StrongVPN was much more reliable and shortly after our arrival we didn’t use the 3G VPN at all. Still, the StrongVPN app on my phone and laptop constantly kicked me off, while it worked almost flawlessly on my wife’s Android phone. The 3G SIM worked well, and included a phone number for local calls, but it didn’t work well when we ended up needing to make some calls for other reasons.

    Our hotel also provided to us a “Handy Phone” with internet free of charge (!), which proved useful for keeping in contact when our other phone turned out to be unusable. I put the StrongVPN on it as well and it worked out. I recommend using "WeChat" to communicate with others in China, it's the default Chinese messaging app and not restricted by the Great Firewall.


    Park Tickets:

    We booked our tickets through Klook. They offer a miniscule discount, but hey, every penny counts when you’re thousands of miles away and on a budget! We didn’t opt for any of the premium pass options, but getting them was being promoted at the gate for those who wanted them.

    On arrival, we took our Klook confirmation printouts and passports straight to the gate. The CM used the numbers and our passport to verify everything. Then she took our pictures (I think a camera was embedded in the wand she used to scan barcodes) to link to the tickets, and we were in!


    FastPasses and The Shanghai Disney App:

    Getting FPs is a major part of any Disney park strategy, so I was worried about doing it right. I ended up only securing one FastPass, but had I known what to do earlier on, I could have likely gotten at least one more. Key points:

    - You DO NEED the SDR app to get any FPs.
    - You DON’T NEED to have a Chinese phone number. If you’re on international roaming and can receive a text, you can received the PIN you need.
    - You MUST NOT have special characters in your username or password (i.e. $?!*&, etc.). I did, and it took a while to figure this out.

    The FastPass kiosks are centralized in SDR, meaning that in each area of the park there is a bank of kiosks to get your FPs for all the eligible rides in that section. However, at least on the day that I went, all the FP kiosks were closed and covered up, and a CM was there to answer questions. None of them spoke any real English, which made getting FPs a trying exercise. ALL FastPasses are managed through the app now, so we had no choice but to get a phone registered.

    To get connected to the SDR app, we connected to the wifi once we got our printed tickets, and registered our phone to it. Others here have suggested asking a CM in the park about connecting to it, and having them volunteer their phones to receive the PIN number needed to authorize the app. I had no luck with this.. Immediately on entering the park, I took a right to Guest Services and asked them about it. They directed me to the FP distribution kiosk in Adventure Isle. The CM there was busy, so with the kiosks closed I figured to walk to the FP center in Treasure Cove as Roaring Rapids was closed. The CM at THAT kiosk directed me back to the first guy, so ultimately I made my way back there.

    This time I cornered the CM and we communicated through the translation apps, and figured it out. Once online, it was simple and intuitive to register your printed tickets (keep them for ID purposes!) and access the FP process. Unfortunately, by the time I’d gotten online (by around 10am), the FPs for Soaring were booking at 7pm. The Seven Dwarves Coaster FPs were at 5, and the rest that I was targeting had manageable wait times, so I decided to get FPs for 3pm at Peter Pan’s Flight, given that it was the most “different” of the FP rides at SDR. By the time we got through PP, the PFs were done for the day.

    One thing I didn’t realize was that even with the FPs on the app, you need to present your paper ticket anyway for visual confirmation (as your ticket is linked to a picture they take of you at the gate). It seems that they’ve been doing this to combat people scalping FPs as has been suggested here in other reports. When we showed up to Peter Pan, the CMs manning the scanning posts frustratingly repeated “Ticket! TICKET!!” to me when I produced and scanned the phone. I didn’t understand what they meant, and eventually they waved us on anyway. Then, the next person in line correctly scanned their phone AND showed their ticket, which the CMs waved at me. I felt pretty silly for a while, admittedly.


    Transportation and Arrival:

    We stayed at a hotel in downtown Shanghai, on the Pudong (East) side of the river, the Shanghai Novotel Atlantis. It was an above average hotel with an excellent buffet breakfast included in our price, plus the local smartphone we could take around with us. The only downside was that while it was within walking distance of the subway (5-7 minutes), it was otherwise not near anything really interesting, despite a stupendous view of the area from our 42nd floor room. They were ironically building a new subway line on the main road between the existing subway station and our hotel, making the walk with our luggage fairly difficult.

    From the hotel, it was about an hour on the subway with three transfers to get there. SDR is at the final stop of the line so it’s easy enough to find – the Shanghai subway system is easy to figure out. Everything’s in English (and the ticket kiosks have an English option) and at every station there’s a handy map to make sure you choose the right exit. It’s almost a copy of the system in Tokyo and works very well.

    On our day, we noticed at the last transfer that there was a sudden increase in the number of people dressed in mouseware. Similarly, at that point a couple people appeared on the train selling knockoff Disney merchandise, notably the Mickey and Minnie ears with Sorcerer’s hat or red bow that you see at other parks, for 20RMB / $4 CAD / $3.30 USD. The Minnie edition proved a popular seller, going by how many ladies we saw sporting them in the park, though a lot of them could easily be the genuine versions that were readily for sale at legitimate kiosks. I found a pair of Mickey ears someone had dropped on Buzz Lightyear and on close inspection they were clearly fakes, with no tags, glued-on ears and hat, etc.

    By the time you arrive at the station, the subway PA will suggest you buy your tickets for the return trip before you leave the station, so to avoid the inevitable crush of people leaving at closing. Not a bad idea!


    Line Jumping:

    After the FP thing, the stories of line jumping at this park were the source of greatest concern for me. The majority of the line jumping we encountered was in the security and gate lineups, so I’ll break our experiences out into a separate section at this point. We’d read about it here and elsewhere but it was still annoying to deal with - however it turned out to be a minor thing overall, and one for which I wouldn’t discourage people to visit this park.

    It’s true that compared to North America, there is no real concept of personal space in such a high-population country and culture. Lineups for things are rare to begin with - it`s most often a crowd around any bottleneck point and not an orderly line - and if you provide any opening, it’s an opportunity for someone to make a few inches into their closer space in the chaos. In the security lineup, we encountered this a couple times, notably a stroller pushing its way past into an available gap (the line pathways were wider at the beginning and narrowed progressively), and a younger couple who simply elbowed their way through, ignoring everyone in their way.

    This couple made their way to near the beginning of the security queue when an outburst occurred that stopped them in their tracks. It turns out that ANOTHER young couple ahead of them had similarly elbowed their way past a family of five, and they weren’t having it. The older parents started yelling at the young couple, pointing and shouting, and when the latter tried to ignore their way to the security checkpoint, the family’s father physically PULLED THEM out of the line and off to the side to keep shouting. The young couple never replied, they just looked at the ground shamefully as the parents verbally lashed at them. Shortly, a security guy came over and tried to mediate, which really meant letting the parents vent while the couple offered no defense. By this point the first young couple who had passed us had stopped their elbowing, and casually waited where they were and tried to avoid looking at anyone around them.

    Eventually the family’s parents stopped venting and went through the bag check, while the security guy held the young couple back. Not for long though, as the couple were through shortly after we were, having gone through one of the tables at the other side of the bank of checkpoints. The moral: line jumping may be more casually accepted in China, but even the locals have their limits!

    As for us, once at the security checkpoint, yet another pair of youngsters tried to bypass us – right at the table, ostensibly because these two women had no big bags to check. The first one made it through by placing her purse right in front of our bags on the table and then elbowing her way by – my wife saying “hey!” to her didn’t stop her. Fed up at this point, we blocked her friend from going by, by putting an arm across the metal detector until our bags had been checked and we could pass through.

    The only other significant line jumping we saw was in the Pirates queue, with one man trying to quietly push his way through us. We similarly blocked the way with an arm across the way and a “hard stare”, as Paddington the bear would say. He didn’t force his way past, but got on his phone and stayed behind us; eventually his wife and child came into view, having stopped where they were in line and letting people pass until we did and they could be reunited. I’m not sure what the story was – maybe he needed to hit the head, or he was off doing something else. Either way, he waited behind us when it was clear we weren’t going to let him pass.

    I don’t consider blocking the jumpers rude. It may be more permissible to the local culture, but it’s a far greater rudeness to feel entitled to jump the line at a kind of place that is defined by the queues. And as I described earlier, it’s not permissible to EVERYONE in this country, especially when there’s ample signage about encouraging proper line and park behaviour. Signing off on this topic, the line jumping practically disappeared for us after the Pirates incident. I think it became globally obvious to the visitors that day that the lineups were going to be short overall, and that being a jackhole in the queues wasn’t going to be worth the effort as the hours wore on.

    I think the report thus far should cover the main concerns foreign visitors would have in visiting SDR, at least from our experience there. We didn’t stay at an on-site hotel or get any premium stuff, so we can’t speak to those things. So, on with our actual visit!

    TO BE CONTINUED... RIGHT HERE.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  2. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Yay! What a great start to your TR! I am going to get started on my full TR soon. I’ve just been too tired this week!

    What a nice perk!

    How interesting! Not once did we have to show our park ticket for FPs. I just scanned our tickets on our app. Our pictures were in their system and showed up on these handheld devices the CMs had at the FP checkpoints. Maybe because it was so crowded? Maybe because we had Premier Access? :confused3

    So when are you and your family cruising? Our family will be on the Fantasy 10/27-11/2 (or is it 11/3?).
     
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  4. Nomarian

    Nomarian Mouseketeer

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    Awesome information! Thanks for writing. I look forward to more.
     
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  5. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Looking forward to it! Your initial post is very intriguing - our experiences were different, but we both clearly had some fun times!

    I'm not sure... In PP, we were checked twice. There was the FP check where the "TICKET!!" incident happened, then there was a SECOND checkpoint afterwards were we checked our paper tickets (and I was able to see our faces on a screen). Honestly it was pretty confusing.

    Well well... Looks like we will be able to compare our SDR visit notes in person..! :D

    Mark
     
  6. Disney_Fanatic

    Disney_Fanatic Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the report! We are leaving in a few weeks and it took a while for DH to convince me to go. My biggest pet peeve is line cutting and I know I'll have to manage my expectations!
     
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  7. MommaBerd

    MommaBerd DIS Veteran

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    Oh my goodness - that is so cool! Did you post on the cruise meet thread (or whatever it’s called)? I’ve kinda been AWOL on it when I started seriously planning our Shanghai trip. I look forward to meeting you and your family!!!
     
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  8. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Same here! It'll be my first Disney cruise - and if it's not yours, expect questions galore on your experiences, but not in this thread. ;) I'm on the cruise thread, which I've been ignoring as well while I've been focusing on THIS trip - and I've only just realized you've welcomed me there already. But now, once this review is put to bed, toot toot..!

    @Disney_Fanatic - The line cutting is as bothersome as you allow it, IMO... At the end of the day, it's something that is part of the local culture, and we're all visitors there - we get to go home to the sanity of North American lineup etiquette. I was happy knowing that at least a fraction of the locals don't like it either. As noted above, we were lucky that it died down when the adrenalized "morning rush" was over, so it may for your day(s) too.

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  9. Timchat2

    Timchat2 Mouseketeer

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    Great trip report so far! We'll be going to SDL for the first time next month so I have been trying to soak up as much information as I can.

    Did you use any of the single rider lines?
     
  10. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    We did once, for the Tron Lightcycle Power Run. The noted wait time was just 15 minutes, so DW and I swapped outside the ride instead of trying a rider switch. Worked well! The rest of the details are being written up. :)

    Mark
     
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  11. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Our Visit, Part The First

    In case you missed it, this post's corresponding pictures are in a gallery here.

    The hours of the park on this Wednesday were 8-8. We thought to arrive early, but our hotel's breakfast opened at 6:30 and even after ripping through that and heading for the trains right afterwards, we didn’t arrive onsite until almost 8:30. The entry lines were still pretty manageable, even with the aforementioned jumpers. We easily entered the park before 9am and got right to it. On this day the weather was pretty good, the sky wasn’t blue but it was warm enough to go around in long sleeves. The wind picked up later in the day but wasn’t distracting.

    The overall crowd size was low, compared to the videos I’d seen. There was no real sardine-ing to be had, and we didn’t feel pressed to fight through throngs of people as we would have elsewhere. Going mid-week in April after a national holiday weekend seemed to work in our favor.

    As with many recommendations, we started at Adventure Isle and worked our way counter-clockwise around the park. Our first stop was the at the closed FastPass kiosk; we had hoped to get online with the CM there and get our first FP on our way to Pirates before it got too busy. When that proved fruitless (see “connectivity” above), we decided to press on to Pirates on seeing that Roaring Rapids was closed for the day.

    On the way, we passed Camp Discovery and saw only a sparse number of people there. Thinking we could jump into the Challenge Trails right away, we dived in, only to discover that while the self-guided parts of the "camp" were open for people to wander around, the trails themselves were closed until further notice for “maintenance”, as the app confirmed later. Disappointed, we returned to the original plan and got into the 25 minute queue for the SDR Pirates ride.


    Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure

    Ah, POTC! I’d read and head about how unique this ride was in the Disney cabal of attractions, and was not let down. I’d adequately prepared my DD8 by watching the first movie; she’d been to the one at Disney Paris without context and enjoyed it, so knowing this ride would be based on the movies based on the ride, I made sure she was aware of the Curse of the Black Pearl before embarkation. She loved seeing Jack Sparrow literally come to life, and the integration of ride animatronics with sprawling CG screens and enormous (looking) set pieces was without parallel in any Disney park. This ride is wholeheartedly recommended, and a can’t miss.

    After emerging (and snapping the requisite pictures of our pictures from the ride), we skipped the other walkthrough attractions and continued on. The CM at in this area had pointed me back to the first kiosk, and so I spilt with DW and DD to return there. In the meantime, they headed to the Fantasyland area via the Alice in Wonderland Maze. When I’d finally gotten online with the app, I rejoined them for a quick tour of the Storybook Castle, but we didn’t do the walkthrough attraction. Seeing that our FP options were limited by that point in the morning (almost 10:30am), we chose the FP for Peter Pan’s Flight for 3pm. We also discovered that the Challenge Trails were open now and with a short wait period, so we returned there to jump in.


    Camp Discovery: Challenge Trails

    By the time we got there, the line had extended from the entrance around one of the trails leading up to it, but we got into the queue anyway and it moved fairly quickly, though a number of people left the lineup for some reason when a CM came by barking something on a loudspeaker (possibly because of the need to stow your things?). As we approached the entrance, we saw the bank of lockers off to the side and a bit of chaos as people fought for open ones as soon as they were vacated.

    Luckily, another CM came by extracting people from the lineup. We asked what was up, and he asked in broken English “Locker, have coin?”. Having said coin (a 1 Yuan coin is needed for the lockers, which are the standard coin-op ones you’ll find in North America that let you take the key on an elastic wristband), he led us back around the suiting-up area to another locker area. The lockers are not large – we needed two for my backpack and my wife’s shoulder bag – but we got through and navigated back to the actual entrance. The line was also mercifully short, so much so that we had little time to enjoy all the usual details Disney crafts into their lineups to keep the mind occupied.

    The Challenge Trails are so fun! Once harnessed up, the course first diverges into two separate pathways which then attack various obstacles with a bypass / easy, medium and “hard” option. I’m a reasonably active person (I’m hoping to do the Castaway 5K on my first Disney Cruise this fall!) and chose the toughest option for each one, and I’d say everything is perfectly doable from the physical standpoint, and even the “hard” option is pretty safe and engineered to look difficult without actually BEING hard. I’d only caution doing this attraction if you’re afraid of heights.

    My DD8 is on the short side, just at the 120cm cutoff for going solo on this course; but she managed just fine on the easy or medium options, though admittedly she had trouble pulling the harness along the rails at various points due to her size. Both she and my wife skipped the highlight of the course, the waterfalls in the cave, but I found them easy and not remotely slippery despite the water splashing about – the material you’re walking on is VERY grippy and standard running shoes will not slide on them. Still, it was at this point that I saw the consequence of bringing your own stuff on the trails instead of leaving them in a locker - at the bottom of the falls were no fewer than three sets of those Mickey/Minnie ears!

    On exiting the Trails, we headed back to the lockers to retrieve our stuff. Just in time, we headed back to Treasure Cove (our second time around the lake) for the POTC live show.


    Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular

    This attraction is definitely a higher caliber production compared to some of the other stunt shows in other Disney parks - maybe not THE highest, but it’s up there. Working against it is the setup and relative wordiness of the show – there’s a sort of setup in the waiting area where the "show" is explained before Jack's shenanigans inevitably mess things up), and then a "first act" in the actual theatre before the stunts begin. The first two sections are more about silly wordplay and pantomime than actual action, and the fact that it’s presented entirely in Chinese can understandably turn off those who don’t speak it. I’d still recommend this attraction though, as the stunts are legitimately spectacular and worth the wait.

    A particular highlight is the transition between set pieces as the stunts kick off, which caught me by surprise! My DD8 (whose enjoyment of any attraction is my real yardstick for judging its merits) loved it, and as she’s always one to volunteer for stuff she’s always waving at them to get their attention, and loved it whenever they waved back. She didn’t comprehend the details of the story either, and honestly it’s not required. The website’s description is really all you need to piece together what the deal is:

    “When the real Captain Jack discovers an actor is portraying him onstage at El Teatro Fandango, he vows to show this imposter—and the audience—what a real pirate can do. But Jack’s appearance draws the attention of British Naval forces, who storm the stage in pursuit. The hilarious mayhem soon spills out into the theatre as pirates, sailors and actors are caught up in a fast-paced flurry of incredible stunts and dare-devil duels.”

    Basically, a bunch of actors are putting together an inspired-by-true-events show with panto pirates and British military types, which gets the “real” Jack Sparrow to appear (it’s funny how everyone, himself included, constantly refers to him as “Jack Sparrow” in full and not just “Jack” – it’s a lost-in-translation thing). When the “real” Admiral the show was lampooning shows up, all heck breaks loose, fights happen, Jack wins the day against those dastardly Brits, the actors resolve to become pirates, Jack doesn’t get the loot he was after (again), and everyone swears to live the jolly life of a pirate.

    Getting out of this show, it was close enough to lunchtime that we wanted to find a sit-down place for a meal. The nearby Wandering Moon restaurant was closed, so our desire for a Disney-fied Chinese meal was quashed. The app pointed us to the Tangled Tree Tavern as a suitable option, so we picked up and headed that way, only to be delayed by the sudden appearance of…


    Mickey’s Storybook Express

    The mid-day parade is standard Disney fare. We came into it about halfway through, and they’d already blocked the main pathway for us to get to lunch, so I hefted my DD onto my shoulders for a decent view around everyone else doing the same (or, ludicrously, trying to capture the parade on their iPads and blocking the view of everyone behind them – when will people learn?!). This was probably the most crowded it got for us during the day, and while it was not particularly uncomfortable, there were a LOT of people jockeying for a place to see the floats pass by.

    The show itself is the usual assortment of floats and characters, some spectacular, some less so. Mulan is a favorite of my DD, so I was glad for a float dedicated to her entry to the franchise (and in a park otherwise devoid of Asian-inspired attractions, it was a small diversion from the Anglo-Saxony of everything else on offer). But I digress – the Frozen float entertained as always (Marshmallow the snow monster was awesome!), and the Tangled entry was amazing too. You could tell that the parade was winding down when a caboose float with a random assortment of characters from various franchises came into view, and soon we were on our way, to infinity… and Beyond! Well, after lunch.


    Buzz Lightyear: Planet Rescue

    There really isn’t much to write home about the Tangled Tree Tavern. Standard Americanized fare: I had fish & chips, DD8 the chicken nuggets, and DW a sort of stir fry. We also picked up the “seasonal” drink of a fruity concoction in a collectable bulb which we took home as a keepsake. I’d wanted to do Barbarossa’s Bounty as we were already in that area and I wanted to eat while seeing / definitely not taunting the people floating by in POTC, but the menu didn’t look appetizing to the family so I was voted down.

    Anyway, with the tummies satiated we moved past the not-yet-open Toy Story Land and into Tomorrowland for the main attractions there, starting with the Buzz Lightyear shoot-em-up as the wait period was the lowest and we wanted to do something with the DD8 before taking turns on the Tron coaster. The lineup was a scant fifteen minutes by the time we joined it, and we went most of the way to the loading area without a pause, stopping only to let in the FastPass holders who were probably wondering why they’d bothered getting one. :)

    This Buzz attraction is very much like the other ones I’ve experiences in WDW and Paris. Those two are pretty much carbon copies as I recall, and this one largely apes those, with the notable exception of the targets being actual video screens that display when you hit them with your guns. The points systems are different too – I’m no gamer by any definition, but I notched 80k points in Paris (I actually have the picture on my desk as I write this), and on this ride I was solidly in the 900k range without breaking a sweat. Furthermore, in Paris I had the luxury of the ride stopping motion a couple times, allowing me to pummel the same target without moving for up to a full minute. Here I was solo in my space cruiser and was able to blast away without distraction. So much fun.

    Emerging from the closest thing Disney will have to an FPS in their parks, we move on to the most unique ride (for now) in this park:


    TRON: Lightcycle Power Run

    I’m a YUGE Tron fan. My dad and I watched the movie when he rented it on a Betamax from when stores rented movies. On videotape. In multiple formats. Anyone remember the Tron 2.0 game? Those types of game make me motion sick, and I finished it. I even loved the 2011 sequel, flawed as it was, and I truly enjoyed the Tron: Legacy animated series that accompanied it. So even with the questionable logic behind making a big coaster attraction from a relatively obscure and unprofitable Disney property, this was the ride I was most looking forward to.

    Technically my DD8 would have qualified to do this ride, but the wife and I agreed that such a grown-up ride could wait until she was a little taller than borderline. As we had to leave her behind, we ended up doing Single Rider line instead of all going in and doing the rider switch. So, my wife went first, and my girl got the consolation prize of a picture taken in the cool lightcycle mockup they have outside. Estimating the time it would take for my wife to do the ride, we then headed back downstairs to do Buzz Lightyear again, as its wait had shrunk to ten minutes (and we almost walked on, really). By that time the wife was done, and my daughter assisted in bringing her heart rate down as it came to my turn. Blasting through the single rider line, I was in the loading room and at the bottom inside of two minutes. They have the bin system in play, so you just drop your bags in there and the whole thing is returned to you at the end of the ride for everyone to pick through – not the most secure, but practical enough. But on to the salient point here:

    THIS. RIDE. IS. AWESOME.

    I had done everything possible to avoid watching on-ride videos for everything at SDR, and this was the one I was most eager to keep spoiler-free. But even if I’d watched any of the videos I’ve since seen, nothing would prepare you! From the novel “ride like a motor bike” seating, to the clever stop and dip design of the run that BARELY allows you to catch a breath before going into the next rush, to the visual cacophony of the TRON universe you’re propelled through… Amazing!

    Only the Aerosmith coaster can vaguely compare within the Disney universes, being a fast, dark ride with various lights and signage being the visual cues, but IMO this is a much more immersive experience. The loading area is of special note, as it felt lifted directly from the movie; the way they were able to recreate this look so specifically was genius.

    Pro tip: make like you’re riding a bike, and “lean” into the turns even if it doesn’t do anything. Don’t try to lock yourself into the seat and be immobile. The ride is designed to allow your neck freedom of movement, and your upper torso gets some degree as well. My wife advised me to loosen up my body, which I did after the initial segment (which is shocking enough!), and after the exterior part I just let the ride take me through. It made the experience so much more realistic! The single rider next to me barely moved a degree, and I think that would be less fun than taking in the surrounding sights as much as possible.

    There’s not much more I can say about this but I think this ride will be gangbusters when it is premiered in WDW. It should be on every coaster lover’s bucket list. Heck, maybe it’ll be awesome enough to inspire a continuation of the franchise. One can only hope.

    TO BE CONTINUED... RIGHT HERE.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  12. Timchat2

    Timchat2 Mouseketeer

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    Do you still get to see the preshow at TRON as a single rider? Or are you bypass it somehow on the way to the ride platform?
     
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  13. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Technically yes, the ride "Briefing" is played on screens above you on the single rider line. In my case though, I walked directly to the big room and didn't pay it much attention - the single rider line terminates at the point you are directed to one side or the other of loading area. I was already super stoked just to go on the ride! But you can see the preshow on various YouTube sources, so I didn't regret missing it. However, the single rider line on Tron is entirely separate up until you hit the main loading room, so you do miss a lot of the decor in the main line.

    Mark
     
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  14. Pugsly

    Pugsly DIS Veteran

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    First off, I very much appreciate your report as we are headed to SDR soon and I honestly haven’t done much research. But this part of your report brings up a question for me. We ordered our park tickets through the SDR website. Neither the email we received, which confirms our tickets, or the confirmation which was linked within the email contain a barcode. It simply contains my name, the date of our visit and 2 adults. I feel like there should be one (something for them to scan at the gate) and am a bit concerned. Were they looking for/using a barcode on your paper tickets?
     
  15. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    We had a confirmation number from Klook, but I actually think they just entered the passport number that was on the printout, and brought up our record that way. I definitely remember them entering a passport number at least, but not all three of them. Booking through SDR directly may have a different methodology, but I'd definitely take my passport regardless.

    Mark
     
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  16. Pugsly

    Pugsly DIS Veteran

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    Thanks, Mark! I read the reminder that everyone in our party has to have their passports. This completely explains why that’s necessary.
     
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  17. cschaaf

    cschaaf Mouseketeer

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    Great write up so far! Tron and Pirates are both best-in-class. I've said it before - as much as I love WDW PoTC, I would not be upset at all if they announced they were replacing it with the SDL version. Everyone needs to be able to experience that version. I wish we could have done it more than once.

    Tron was the only ride we got to do more than once and it's fantastic. I see a lot of complaints about it going in Magic Kingdom. Those complaints will slow down once coaster fans get to ride it. Those who aren't coaster fans will continue to complain. ;)
     
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  18. cschaaf

    cschaaf Mouseketeer

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    I agree with Mark. When we checked in at the park, I kept trying to show them the receipt I had on my phone. They weren't interested in it; they entered our passport numbers and found us that way.

    The briefing screens were pretty cool, they were in 3D and you didn't need 3D glasses. I don't know how they pulled off that effect, it was like they layered screens. And the 'reveal' wall was really cool.
     
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  19. Jasrhon

    Jasrhon Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Messages:
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    I loved your TR and the photos from your link. We are a family of four from Vancouver and I would appreciate any insight you have into the Visa application process. All the info I have seen is American. We are booking a trip on ABD this summer and we now hav all our flights and pre and post hotels booked. Will it be an issue that our first hotel booking is in my name only? I hope to skip your experience with the Canadian consulate in Shanghai but my husband now wants me to carry our passports in waterproof bags.
     
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  20. Impromark

    Impromark Mouseketeer

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    Hi Jasrhon, glad to hear of your upcoming trip! We don't regret stepping out of our comfort zones and I expect you'll find lots to enjoy as well. I'm not sure what ABD is (Adventures By Disney?), but regarding hotels, you should be okay. On entry, they will need to have your hotel name entered (it was okay that they didn't have an address), and then at any hotel you'll be staying they will be verifying your passports anyway. If possible, I'd make sure that your whole family's names are registered to every hotel, as I'm not sure what would happen if they're not, but I wouldn't imagine it to be much worse than simply adding their names to the record.

    Our visas were actually pretty straightforward - we filled everything out online, got our appointment downtown, we all went (though I could have done it myself, I work downtown), and then I came back a couple weeks later to pick our passports back up with the visas applied therein. Here's your equivalent of the online page we used:

    https://www.visaforchina.org/YVR_EN/

    The visas are good for ten years (five in the case of our daughter). Given how much they cost though, I feel almost obligated to go to China again to get our worth out of them - at least until two of the passports were rendered unusable.

    And yes - definitely transport your passports in a waterproof bag! Even a ziplock ought to help simply keep water off in soaking wet conditions. In all the time owning passports, it's NEVER happened to previous ones we've had - and then one downpour destroys two of our three. Ironically, the visas came through the rainstorm without any damage... We just can't use them anymore as the passport they're attached to is gone.

    Mark
     
  21. Jasrhon

    Jasrhon Earning My Ears

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the Visa link. Good to know we don’t all have to go in together.

    Yes, sorry I did mean Adventures by Disney. We are starting to get very excited. It starts on Hong Kong and ends in Shanghai.
     

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