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Old 11 Jul 17, 11:35 PM  
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#11
Tanzanite
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Originally Posted by BrightlyBob View Post
With a real lack of information on Shanghai Disneyland, and with Chinese travel on the increase I've decided to start this thread about my families Disneyland and Chinese trip.

This first post will be a repository of useful stuff I've learned whilst planning and whilst there. Later posts will be more general planning, and a kind of mini-trip report of interesting stuff whilst at Shanghai Disney and as we go through China.

First hint:
Read the trip reports-
So for those planning a first ever China or Shanghai Disney trip my first tip is to read thedibb trailblazer, Hannikins who went there in Nov 2016 and compiled a brilliant trippie with loads of useful info. You'll find her report here:
https://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/sho...d.php?t=990693

Second hint:
Shanghai Disneyland is too small to justify a trip to China to see it alone-
Shanghai Disneyland is a single park, if you're flying from the UK to China you'll not find enough to occupy you for a week or two at Disney, so you'll have to venture out. Most popular non-Disney destinations are:
1. Shanghai - it's just a taxi ride away. The worlds most highly populated metropolis has plenty to see and do. 2-days in Shanghai Disney and 5 in Shanghai itself should prove a very memorable week.
2. Beijing - the Chinese capital has plenty of tourist sites and is quite close to the Great Wall too. With the Forbidden Palace, Hutongs, Tiananmen Sq, Confucian sites and multiple museums there's enough to keep you going for a week.
3. Xi'an - a couple of hours flight from both Beijing and Shanghai, featuring the Terracotta Army and the attractions of China's oldest city, and one of the oldest in the world, there was so much history there that even Maos destructive cultural revolution couldn't find time to wreck it all. Walls, Drum tower, Big Goose Pagoda, there's plenty here for a couple of days at least.
4. Chengdu - A couple of hours flight from Xian, 3 or 4 from Shanghai and Beijing, home of China's Panda breeding program - need I say more? Ok, add to that Wenshu temple and Jinshu museum and you have another very interesting couple of days.

Third hint:
Check out the trains-
We are using an overnight Sleeper to get us from Shanghai to Xi'an and a bullet train to take us from Xi'an to Beijing. See the vast countryside and travel with the locals on some of the worlds fastest railways. These are proper tourist experiences in themselves.

Fourth hint:
Visas - here you have a choice-
1. 144-hour transit visa. If you're calling in on Shanghai as a stop en-route to another country then you can enter Shanghai for up to 144-hours without a pre-arranged visa. So let's say you've decided on a 2-Centre holiday visiting Shanghai and it's Disneyland for 5 days and say Hong Kong for a week (or anywhere else in the World, like Vietnam, India, South Korea, Australia, even the USA!) then you can take advantage of this paperwork saving option. On arrival you need to show your flight itinerary which will include a list of all your flights. Fee: free, granted on arrival.
2. 2-year tourist Visa. These are no longer available directly from the embassy, instead a few visa companies have the contract with the embassy to act as middlemen and help you to fill out the visa application. Once granted you can then enter and leave China as often as you like over the next 2 years. Fee: 175pp or more depending upon urgency.
3. A Group visitors visa for parties of 2 or more travelling together. The only company I know that handles this is 5-Star China, a Chinese tour company. Good for up to only 1 visit lasting no more than 17 days, it's big plus is its price at less than half the standard visitors visa, so if this is the only trip to China you're planning in the next couple of years then this visa is a money saving option. You need to have your flights and hotels booked so you can send the proof when requesting the visa. Fee: 80pp

Fifth hint:
Think flexibly about your flights-
Especially if touring China do you really want to arrive and leave at the same airport? Arriving at one and leaving at another airport (called open jaw) can be both convenient and cheap. When we were looking in November last year for July this year we were getting ordinary return prices at 600 or more. Searching flying into Shanghai and out of Beijing brought up a 400 fare with Cathay Pacific, and meant we didn't have to waste a day going back to Shanghai to catch return flights. Google Flights is a particularly good site for this, choose the multi-city tab.
Cant wait to hear about it i want to go to Chengdu so badly maybe 2019 .
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Old 12 Jul 17, 03:03 PM  
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We are now in the calm before the storm. Well I am, for others, DD especially the storm has erupted!

Tomorrow we can do our online checkin with Cathay 48 hours before departure. It's very important we do it early as my cheapo 400 flights are bottom-of-the-pile and we cannot, even by paying extra, choose our seats till OLCI. If we want to sit together getting an early online checkin done is essential. Then I'll be preparing my flight bag with all our passports, the group visa - one final check to make sure it all matches - and print out our hotel reservations, flight and train itineraries. Cross check the meet and greet transfer and that'll leave me happy.

Friday is bag packing. As Puddle5 noted, baggage allowances on the bullet train is slightly smaller than the planes. However, more relevantly to us, the space for baggage is very restricted in the Sleeper train cabin. If we don't want to be climbing over one another's bags we are going to have to pack light. In our case that means a single backpack and a small flight bag each.

Teenage daughters face dropped when we handed her backpack to her today! Apparently it's not even big enough to take her shoes! She typically takes a giant hard-sided Samsonite on a weekend trip. Well she did sign up for this, when we were planning last year she was warned that staying in 4 different hotels and a Sleeper without the use of a car, packing light would be essential. She has enough stuff laid in her bed to fill all our backpacks. She's currently thinning it out - well actually stomping around her room, stomping downstairs to tell us it's impossible, being told she HAS to fit everything into the backpack and then stomping back upstairs so she can stomp around her room some more! Rinse and repeat half-hourly.

Our baggage space is further depleted by the space taken up by gifts for all 3 of our guides, cash tips are impolite so we've gathered together some English gifts to hand over including a Union Jack pen, bracelet and pin (all made in China, obviously) a (made in Britain) tea-caddy (with Tetley, naturally), Tiptree Marmalade and lemon curd, antique bone China English teacups and some Sherbet did-dabs. There's a good amount of weight (and bulk) in all that! I'm not sure I dare tell teenage daughter she's got to make room for her share of that freight!

So all, well at least I'm, happy and relaxed - uh-oh, here she comes again, and she's still not happy
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Old 16 Jul 17, 12:11 PM  
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Well, we've made it to Shanghai Disneyland. But gosh, it's quite the journey!

Woke up 7am Saturday (as usual) for flight day with our MAN-HKG flight taking off at noon. Several minor delays here and there and a misdiarised meet-and-greet in Shanghai left us not checking into the Toy Story Hotel till 14:30 Sunday. We've forced ourselves to stay awake till this time in the hope we'll beat off much of the jetlag!

So that means I've been awake non stop for 29 hours - and I'm done in!

More info later, hopefully sans jetlag!

Edited at 12:12 PM.
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Old 19 Jul 17, 09:52 AM  
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Originally Posted by BrightlyBob View Post
Well, we've made it to Shanghai Disneyland. But gosh, it's quite the journey!

Woke up 7am Saturday (as usual) for flight day with our MAN-HKG flight taking off at noon. Several minor delays here and there and a misdiarised meet-and-greet in Shanghai left us not checking into the Toy Story Hotel till 14:30 Sunday. We've forced ourselves to stay awake till this time in the hope we'll beat off much of the jetlag!

So that means I've been awake non stop for 29 hours - and I'm done in!

More info later, hopefully sans jetlag!
Hope you have a great time.
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Old 20 Jul 17, 09:48 PM  
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Originally Posted by Ourdaybydesign View Post
Hope you have a great time.
Thankyou very much - and we did!

We spent 2 nights at the Toy Story Hotel and 2 days at Shanghai Disney.

TOY STORY HOTEL - Unmistakably Toy Story with the theme piped into all public areas. Our rooms were so exactly as the many photos show with lots of useful storage space and wonderfully comfy beds. Staff were all around and Disney-helpful. Buses shuttle back and forth and we literally didn't wait more than a minute to board a bus. The food options are however fairly utilitarian, as is the dining area. However neither stops them being pretty pricey. We were able to checkin an hour early at 2pm and checkout an hour late at noon.

SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND - summer hours 8am-10pm. Nothing prepares you for the human tsunami that is this place! It took us over half an hour to enter at 8:30am. We went on Monday 17th July which was the day after the Spring season passes expired, meaning all entries were full-paid, but the park felt rammed on our first morning. Soarin' and Roarin' fastpasses were via only an insanely lengthy queue that wound around the adventure Isle waterfront. We didn't bother and all fast-passes to those two rides for the day were distributed by 11am.

Queues were mad, 120m was a short queue. We were jetlagged and decided not to bother but jut enjoyed walking around and taking in the ambience which did improve as ride-queues absorbed the numbers. Nonetheless we made our way out for a nap at noon and by 5pm returned but this time to Disneytown where we had a great meal at the Blue Frog which runs a happy hour free refill on all drinks from 4pm-8pm. We entered the park via the Disneytown gate at 8pm and *wow* - what a difference! The park felt really pleasant, not at all crowded. Roarin, Soarin and Tron were down to 40m, Pirates and Buzz were walk-ons. By 9:30pm Pirates and Buzz had closed down but Soarin and Tron were walk-ons!

For our second day we arranged a late checkout at Toy Story and slept in till noon, then had lunch at Wolfgang Pucks in Dusneytown entering the park at about 2pm. We walked around the park and enjoyed the atmosphere till 5pm then went over to the Blue Frog for a couple of hours and some light bites before returning back to the park for our short queues and walk-ons!

We didn't see any unauthorised hawkers, people trying to sell fastpasses or queue jumping. We did notice a lack of loos and water fountains however bottled water was only 1 - cheap by any theme park standards. The fest food was undoubtably in Disneytown.
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Old 20 Jul 17, 09:59 PM  
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Shanghai Disney Rides -

Same-ish as Florida - Soarin, Roarin and Peter Pan. Still enjoyable though!

Buzz Lightyear was a more serious version of the Florida one with very effective aiming meaning even I could rock up some big numbers!

Tron was fabulous - smooth, fast and thrilling. A must do! The teenagers favourite!

Pirates of the Caribbean - our favourite - begins very ho-hum, but then, well, then - the effects are fabulous, it's an unmissable experience that will leave you gasping at Disney's imagination in putting it all together. Easily the highlight of the park for us - we rode it 6 times, and still couldn't figure out how some of the effects took place. Really, don't miss this - take it from me!
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Old 24 Jul 17, 01:19 AM  
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Shanghai - this city is massive, even by the standards of megatrpolis' such as London or New York.

It's tube system is well run, but whereas in London and NYC You're never more than a 10min walk from a station, here it can be much farther.

We stayed at the city centre Marriott and I'd highly recommend it, very plush with comfy beds, soaker tubs and separate shower. It's location is excellent next to the New World Plaza with its excellent restaurants on 9th floor and more local foods in the basement. It's also an easy walk to Nanjing Pedestrian St which is in turn about 20-30 mins (depending upon crowd levels) to the Bund.


Sun Yat Sens home and the first congress hall of the Communist party are very good museums, Yu Gardens are beautiful as is the Jang Temple (though part is currently under restoration).

Nanjing St and Yu Gardens market are crazy-packed, honestly, its like China's entire 1.3bill population rocked up for the day - every day!
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Old 24 Jul 17, 07:05 AM  
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Really enjoying you reports. Hope you continue to have a great time!
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Old 30 Jul 17, 09:36 AM  
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SLEEPER AND BULLET TRAINS

As part of the full Chinese experience these are great fun.

SLEEPER TRAIN - we went with Soft sleeper for the 1,000 mile 14-hour trip costing 55pp which is a private cabin with 4 bunks. We made sure we were at Shanghai station over an hour beforehand but there was no seating at all in our overcrowded and hot waiting area. Aircon is at a minimum in the station. If you're travelling in summer as we were you're likely to be very concerned when you step into the cabin that will be your home for the next 14 hours - it will be intolerably hot as the train will have been waiting several hours at the station before boarding. You'll find the Aircon dial at the bottom of the left bunk near the window. Switch it to 100 which means 100% Aircon. Some cabins are more effective then others and it took ours over an hour to cool down below unbearable and was just about tolerable after 4 hours. By 10 hours the creeping Aircon meant our cabin was frozen and hence every then started adjusting the 100 down eventually to about 40. Make sure you have eaten AND done a "number 2" before boarding as the shared toilets are appalling, grey airline loos stained deepest brown with urine soaked floors and an open sewer stench. Honestly, they are indescribably bad. The squat loos are very slightly better. If you must use them do remember the railway doesn't replace used looroll so you'll need to bring your own.

BULLET TRAIN - Here we chose First Class at 85pp for the 4-hour 800 mile joirney. And my, what a difference from the stop-start clackety-clack sleeper. Very comfy chairs watching the world zoom by this is very efficient, if not particularly cheap, travel. Toilet facilities are fine and trolley food is sold which is ok and not pricey by western standards.

We all really enjoyed our Chinese railway adventure and would definitely do it again!

Edited at 09:37 AM.
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Old 30 Jul 17, 10:12 AM  
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Thanks for the update Bob, we only went on the bullet train, first class again and it was lovely. After reading your report really glad we didn't have to go on a sleeper!

We only had a taster of China and after that and reading your report so far we are definitely planning on going back so any information is a real help.

Hope all is still going well and look forward to your next update
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