Culture Shocks and Disney Magic... in Asia!!! A TR on all Asia Disney Resorts! [Update Dec19!]

jesterrific

Mouseketeer
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
!!! 18 Jammed Packed Days of Far Away Disney Magic !!!
[ February 22, 2017 to March 11, 2017]
(Click here to skip to Table of Contents)

Hello all! And welcome to my newest TRIP REPORT!!! (I easily suspect this will be my longest one yet as it was full of travels and adventures!) Covering all the Asia Disney Resorts: Shanghai Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, and Hong Kong Disneyland!
Hope you all enjoy as you follow along with me as I relive my latest (and biggest) Disney adventure!

I've only ever written two cruise trip reports, and I also started on one WDW trip report. If you wanted to read those while I get this guy ready, feel free to visit them:
Disclaimer: If you have followed along on my previous TR's as I was updating them... you will probably have noticed that sometimes it takes me quite a while to get an update up. I apologize in advance for this!!! But I hope you'll still want to follow along anyways!


Okay! So here we go! The who/what/when/where/why etc:


WHO!!!

L to R: Glendon, Me (Jessica), Shanghai Grand Opening Mickey, Jenna, Brian
Quick background info about us:
We are all what I guess you would call in our mid to late 20s. Glendon and I have been together for 3 and a half years and have been on quite a few Disney trips together. Jenna and Brian have been married for 3 years this summer, and have also done a few trips together. Glendon has known Jenna and Brian a long time. The three of them have done 1 trip together (I think it was only 1?? but also I think they also all got the Premier Passport one year. I can't remember if it was the same time. Anyways...) And the trip that Glendon and I went to visit Disneyland for the 60th anniversary, Brian was there for the marathon at the same time so he joined in our day time ride adventures! This would have been our very first trip all 4 of us together.
We all live in Edmonton, Alberta, in Canada. And we all do different things for work. (Originally, Glendon met Jenna and Brian when they all at one point worked at Apple together! This also means all three of them are way more techy than I am.)



WHAT!!

[The 4 of us on the metro in Shanghai!]
Why, a trip to visit the Disney parks in Asia, of course! We definitely called this a Disney trip, and not an Asia trip, as the sole purpose was to visit the parks (with a few days here and there to see the cities as well.)



WHEN!!

[Jenna and I with Dale in DisneySea, with our not-the-warmest-weather wear]
Our trip started off on February 22, and we came back home on March 11. Total of 18 days, which was about 2 and a half weeks! We had prepared for this timing's weather to be roughly between 3 degrees celsius at the coldest, and 15 degrees celsius at the warmest in Shanghai and Tokyo, and finishing off in Hong Kong expecting the weather there to be between 17 to 25 degrees celsius. It's still the middle of winter in Edmonton during this time, so anything above snow temperatures sounded nice. (It ended up being colder than we were anticipating! More on that later as the days come.)
Originally, we had planned to do this trip specifically for the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland! But the park's grand opening date wasn't set in stone for the longest time... which made our planning near impossible. When the official date of June 2016 was announced, it ended up being the exact same time as Glendon and I's possession date for our new home.
In the end we had to scrap the idea of visiting for the official Grand Opening, and ended up with late February to mid March of 2017. These dates were specifically chosen because... between the 4 of us's work schedules we all had different blackout dates, and as well as coinciding with "slower" times at Tokyo Disney Resort. (Tokyo is notorious for hitting capacity at both parks numerous times throughout the year!)
DURING THIS TIME, we got to experience quite a few things! Shanghai was still doing Grand Opening celebrations. Frozen Fantasy in Tokyo Disneyland. Tokyo DisneySea 15th Anniversary: The Year of Wishes, and Grand Finale. The beginnings of cherry blossom blooming in Tokyo city. Easter Eggs at Hong Kong Disneyland!



WHERE!!

[Cinderella Castle at Tokyo Disneyland]

SHANGHAI, TOKYO, AND HONG KONG!!!
Specifically... Shanghai Disneyland (2 days), Shanghai City (1 day), Tokyo Disney (4 Days), Tokyo City (3 Days), Back at Tokyo Disney (2 and a half days), Hong Kong City (1 day), and Hong Kong Disneyland (1 and a half days).
Disney hotels included on our trip: Toy Story Hotel in Shanghai, Disneyland Hotel in Tokyo, Hotel Mira Costa in Tokyo, Disney Hollywood Hotel in Hong Kong. (Other hotels during this trip included Sheraton Tokyo Bay, Citadines Shinjuku, and Sky City Marriott Hong Kong)



and... WHY!!

[Me standing in front of Tron Lightcycle Power Run in Shanghai Disneyland]
The "why" is easy. All four of us are Disney parks lovers. And this was our chance to visit all the Asia parks in one go, and to do it all together so we don't break our banks doing it. Glendon had been the only one of the 4 of us to have gone to any of the parks in Asia, and it was to Tokyo. His favourite park is Tokyo DisneySea, and he'd been wanting all of us to experience it so bad haha.
Originally, Glendon, Jenna, and Brian had started to plan this trip as soon as Shanghai's Disneyland was announced. Which means... this trip had been in the talks since before Glendon and I started dating! (After we first started dating, he had asked me shyly if I might be interested in visiting all the Asia Disney parks with his two friends. Obviously I can't say no to that, so of course I said YES! To which he immediately let them know he found the perfect girl because she loves Disney as much as he does)

Things that helped us NOT break the bank on this trip:
- We didn't get a Visa to visit China. We decided to try the 144-hour visa free travel rule to Shanghai (will explain more on this later)
- Glendon's parents are DVC members
- SPG
- Brian has a travel agent license
- bargain hunting
- Amex platinum card (access to airport lounges!)


Other background info:

  • After Shanghai Disneyland's original opening, we had read tons of reports and heard such horror stories of the Chinese visitors basically destroying the brand new park. Jenna and Brian have NEVER visited Asia before at all, and Glendon has only ever visited Tokyo (which is ridiculously clean). I've been to China before on tours, but I have witnessed the Chinese culture. While I didn't remember super terrible things, I did remember that you can definitely tell the difference between "class" in China. You can easily tell who had good education vs those that grew up in the villages. SO needless to say, after the horror stories we were a little bit worried it would be too much for us North Americans.
  • I don't know if you hadn't noticed... but I am of Asian descent. Specifically, I am a Canadian born Chinese. While in my parents' household we mostly speak English, my parents grew up speaking Cantonese. So I grew up speaking both Cantonese and English at home. Growing up, my parents also put me in Mandarin bilingual schooling so that I could learn the Mandarin language at a young age. I have since LOST most of my Mandarin, but we figured if I at least had some basic communication skills, the 4 of us couldn't get too terribly lost in Shanghai. We weren't too worried about Tokyo as Glendon remembered that the Japanese were always very helpful. We also weren't too worried about Hong Kong as we knew most of the people there were fluent in English as well. And if for some reason they weren't, my conversational Cantonese is more frequently used at home than Mandarin so it's not so broken. (If you were wondering, Glendon is also Chinese. But his parents don't speak either mandarin or cantonese so he would be of no help if translation was an issue.)




Now... here are some very random photos from this trip to tide you over until I can get everything put together! (Sorry, I don't have super beautiful photos. I've gotten really accustomed to only traveling with my phone. Out of the 4 of us Brian is the camera guy, but I don't have his photos yet haha. Also... so hard to choose what to show you guys first! Turns out I have over 2000 photos from this trip...)
































































Upcoming... Table of Contents and Itinerary
 
Last edited:
  • bcwife76

    DisneyMomma
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2014
    I'm here! I'm in!!

    I didn't realize you guys were gone for so long and visited 3 parks!!! I thought you were only doing one park. This is going to be an epic TR :thumbsup2
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    No time to read now, but marking my place. I'm reading a TR about an Aussie group doing Shanghai and HK, so it will be an interesting comparison from a Northern Hemisphere perspective!
     

    katt789

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 14, 2010
    I'm in!! I love to read about other people's experiences over in the Asia parks, love that you did what we did too! All 3 in one go!



    Okay…as if you're from Edmonton...I was born and raised there…in Vancouver now, but probably heading back to Calgary in a few months! SMALL WORLD lol.



    Though we took 6 weeks to do our trip…lol..though we spent about a month in Japan, and did Beijing/the Great Wall as well. Figured it would be our only trip out to Asia, so we may as well do as much as we can! (turns out the pull of Tokyo is too strong & we're headed back next spring…but just Tokyo/Osaka this time lol)

    Excited to read more!!
     
  • jesterrific

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2015
    No time to read now, but marking my place. I'm reading a TR about an Aussie group doing Shanghai and HK, so it will be an interesting comparison from a Northern Hemisphere perspective!
    Haha I'm reading the same one too, to see how our trips may have differed!
     

    jesterrific

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2015
    I'm in!! I love to read about other people's experiences over in the Asia parks, love that you did what we did too! All 3 in one go!



    Okay…as if you're from Edmonton...I was born and raised there…in Vancouver now, but probably heading back to Calgary in a few months! SMALL WORLD lol.



    Though we took 6 weeks to do our trip…lol..though we spent about a month in Japan, and did Beijing/the Great Wall as well. Figured it would be our only trip out to Asia, so we may as well do as much as we can! (turns out the pull of Tokyo is too strong & we're headed back next spring…but just Tokyo/Osaka this time lol)

    Excited to read more!!
    Funny because I moved out to Vancouver for 6 years before coming back home! True small world haha
     

    jesterrific

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2015
    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    [will update as posts go!]

    Itinerary and Plans, Little bit of Background info

    [Day 1 Wed Feb 22]

    [Day 2 Thurs Feb 23] Shanghai Day 1 (Evening): Disney Town
    [Day 3 Fri Feb 24] Shanghai Day 2: Disneyland
    Reference: Map of Shanghai Disneyland

    [Day 4 Sat Feb 25] Shanghai Day 3: Disneyland

    Reference: Map of Shanghai Disneyland

    [Day 5 Sun Feb 26] Shanghai Day 4: City, Travel
    Reference: Map of the Metro


    [Day 6 Mon Feb 27] Tokyo Day 1: DisneySea
    Reference: Map of Tokyo Disney Resort
    Reference: Map of Tokyo DisneySea


    [Day 7 Tues Feb 28] Tokyo Day 2: Disneyland

    Reference: Map of Tokyo Disneyland

    [Day 8 Wed Mar 1] Tokyo Day 3: DisneySea

    [Day 9 Thurs Mar 2] Tokyo Day 4: Disneyland, City

    [Day 10 Fri Mar 3] Tokyo Day 5: City - Shinjuku

    [Day 11 Sat Mar 4] Tokyo Day 6: City - Shinjuku, Shibuya

    [Day 12 Sun Mar 5] Tokyo Day 7: City - Akihabara

    [Day 13 Mon Mar 6] Tokyo Day 8: Disneyland

    [Day 14 Tues Mar 7] Tokyo Day 9: DisneySea

    [Day 15 Wed Mar 8] Tokyo Day 10: DisneySea, Travel

    [Day 16 Thurs Mar 9] Hong Kong Day 1: City

    [Day 17 Fri Mar 10] Hong Kong Day 2: Disneyland

    [Day 18 Sat Mar 11] Hong Kong Day 3: Disneyland, Travel

    Conclusion


     
    Last edited:
  • PrincessInOz

    Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    No time to read now, but marking my place. I'm reading a TR about an Aussie group doing Shanghai and HK, so it will be an interesting comparison from a Northern Hemisphere perspective!
    Haha I'm reading the same one too, to see how our trips may have differed!

    Snap!

    I was doing a random fly-by and look at what I found!!!! :rotfl:


    Ok. I'll de-lurk so that I can openly join in the merrymirth and hi-jinks.
     


    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top