Igniting the Dream
We showed up at Shanghai Disneyland intending to close down the park. It is unlikely we will ever make it back there so we needed to make the most of it. We did.
After my TRON experience we decided it might be time to eat and the kids had already scoped out a food item that they don’t have at Tokyo Disneyland – corn dogs. Don’t judge us. They were delicious. Michael had two. Besides what else are you going to eat on your way to meet Captain America? Lunch and Marvel experience behind us it was time to use our fast passes for Soaring Over the Horizon. We probably didn’t need to use the fast pass line, but it probably cut at least five minutes off of our wait time. The ride was…disappointing. At the beginning is a long video in Chinese that sets up the ride. I didn’t know the story at the time, but the Soaring Ride is in Adventure Island (a Disney land that only exists in Shanghai) and the island’s native people are called the Arbori. They seem to be some nondescript primitive tribe and I think we were being turned into a great Thunderbird to fly around the world and…see stuff? The ride mechanics are exactly the same as Soaring Over California, which is to say we were in a pretend hang glider not a Thunderbird. The large screens are filled with scenes form around the world instead of from California and instead of smelling Orange groves you get the smell of grass pumped in over the African savanna. I like Soaring and this was an OK ride too, but after the use of technology to improve Pirates I was hoping they had upped their game on this ride too. Glad I didn’t wait in the two hour lines we had read about for this ride.
As consolation we went and rode Pirates again.And then we found something in Adventure Island that did not disappoint. Michael asked if we could go and do the ropes course. To which we all said, “Ropes course?!” And yes in a Disney Park without signing any type of waiver we all put on harnesses and made our way through a sometimes easy, sometimes terrifying ropes course. Michael enjoyed it so much that he went twice. There were multiple paths to choose from and the first time through we all stuck together. He swears that the path he took his second time through was much cooler. To enter the ropes course you have to go through the same locker rigmarole as we did at TRON and we even had to go back and put our iPhones in the locker when they saw Sarah’s sticking out of her pocket. They don’t want you carrying anything. The efficiency of putting on the harnesses and unharnessing at the end were very impressive. The route we chose was fairly tame, with one exception, the Hidden Falls Chamber. You can choose to go around the chamber to the left or right (or if you are smart like Kira and Sarah you can skip it all together), but either way you go you have a five inch wide ledge to walk along with the rock face pushing you out towards the middle and water falling loudly in the middle of the fake rock chamber. The woman in front of me was moving very slowly and I got stuck behind her at the one place the water dripped onto the climbers. Luckily my jacket was waterproof, if it had been anyone else in the family, all wearing sweatshirts, they would have been soaked through. The skinny ledge, lack of handholds, and budging rock formations meant that the only way to make it through the chamber was to trust your harness rope with your whole weight. A good time was had by all.
After the ropes course we made our only tactical error of the day, we split up the party. Michael did the ropes again, Kira went in search of some cash, and the girls and I went over to ride the Seven Dwarves Minecart ride, a mini roller coaster that is fun, but nothing amazing. We got caught by a parade trying to get over to the ride, but there was non line so we still had a little time to kill before Kira and Michael were supposed to meet us. We took a chance and ran over to Tomorrowland to get fast passes for TRON. It was a move that paid off later when we got to ride TRON in the dark, but it caused us to miss Kira and Michael who were waiting very close to the Minecart exit looking for us to come off the ride. We of course sat on the closest bench to the exit and never saw them. We waited about twenty minutes before we figured it out. At least we were sitting. We then rode the Winnie the Pooh ride. We were not sure what to expect for this ride. The Pooh ride in Tokyo is pretty amazing so we were hoping that they had copied that one, but the ride in Shanghai is like the one at Disneyland in CA. We then rode on Pooh’s Honey Pot Spin, which is like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups ride except honey pots. Either I am getting older or the honey pots were much harder to spin than the Tea Cups. Perhaps both.
We then raced back across the park hoping to catch the Captain Jack Sparrow Stunt Show. We got in line in plenty of time for the next showing and waited for the show to begin. They let us into the first staging area (which reminded me of the entryway for the Hall of Presidents before you enter the theater) and we waited some more. And we waited. And we kept waiting for almost a half an hour before they made an announcement in Chinese, everyone laughed and started filing out of the doors. We will never know why the show was canceled, what the show was even going to be about, or how they got everyone to laugh after keeping us waiting so long. Oh well. Time for some food.We ate at Barbosa’s Bounty, which in Shanghai is the restaurant you can see when you are riding Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s not as fancy as the Blue Bayou restaurant in Disneyland, but they make some mean BBQ ribs.
After dinner it was getting dark and chilly so we started planning our end game. We were getting tired, but we convinced ourselves to stay for the evenings fireworks show, Ignite the Dream, A Nighttime Spectacular of Magic and Light. We had some time before and after our TRON fast passes and we filled it by walking onto the Peter Pan ride, discovering the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto ride, a second time on Buzz Lightyear ( a third for Kira and Michael while the rest of us did TRON), eating some ice cream and shopping.
After our ice cream we made our way over to Imagination Gardens and found a decent place to stand for the coming show. The show was a combination of animation projected on the Enchanted Storybook Castle (that’s what they call it) and fireworks. It was a good way to end the day. The show included a dozen or so Disney songs from different movies with more than half of them in English. The show was a little heavy on Frozen, but was still a great way to end the day.
We caught a bus back to the hotel and remembering we had coupons for “free” drinks at the Bacchus Lounge (themed from Fantasia and right next door to the Ballet Cafe where we had breakfast). We each enjoyed a beverage with Hot Cocoa being the most popular order after standing around in the chilly night air for an hour.