First stop... Starbucks in Shanghai Disneytown for a quick pick-me-upper
I found it really hard to get up on the morning of Shanghai Disneyland after that big feast we had from the night before. I was zoning out in the shuttle bus on the way to Shanghai Disneytown from our hotel. There was no doubt at that point that the first port of call after arriving at Shanghai Disneytown had to be Starbucks. Sumimasen, una vaso de cafe por favor, xie xie ni!
A closer look at the Starbucks in Shanghai Disneytown
It was a Sunday and we arrived at Starbucks about 30 minutes before park opening time. To our surprise, Starbucks was empty. You could count the amount of customers with one hand. Initially, we were gonna get our coffees to go, but since it was all quiet and comfortable, we decided to finish our drinks at Starbucks before walking over to Shanghai Disneyland. Being that uncrowded also gave me the opportunity to shoot this video of the inside of the store. You lucky rat you!
Welcome to Shanghai Disneyland
After finishing our coffees, we crawled for about 10 minutes and we were in. Going through security was a breeze and the lines to get in looked long, but they moved along smoothly. Firstly, we rented two strollers for the kids and we were off to get our first family shot in the park. By the way, the strollers costed us 90 Chinese Yuan each for the whole day. After taking our family photo, we waltzed around Mickey Avenue to the amazingly "Happy" music being played by the Shanghai Disneyland band.
Got to meet some characters along the way
As we were walking around Mickey Avenue, we bumped into Minnie Mouse (outside of Avenue M Arcade) and Duffy (outside of Whistle Stop Shop).
And we also got to witness some Disney magic being created
After taking pictures with Minnie and Duffy, I noticed a small crowd forming nearby. I walked towards it and found some cast members creating Mickey ears with leaves. It was a pretty neat sight and made our smiles a lil bit bigger. Little touches like this, in my opinion, elevates Disney above its competitors. Kudos to the cast members!
Wife-chan and I trying to add to the Disney magic
As we were walking from Mickey Avenue to Adventure Isle to secure our first Fastpasses for Soaring Over the Horizon, we stumbled upon an area in which we could create music. There were a lot of different percussive instruments and everyone tried their hands at making music. It was actually really fun. We spent about a good 30 minutes or so in this area. After our performance, we got ourselves those Fastpasses and headed to Barbossa's Bounty for some grub.
Lunch at Barbossa's Bounty
We arrived at Barbossa's Bounty at around 11am and it was close to empty. It's always good to avoid conventional lunch and dinner times at any Disney theme park restaurant. Since there were not many customers in the restaurant, we had a ton of seats to choose from. Of course, we chose a table next to the "river" in which the Pirates of the Caribbean boats sailed through.
Prime seating, good food and a special guest
My sister, Nadia (Vegetarian), got herself the Island Grilled Vegetables and Salad while my father (No pork) got himself the Snacken Kraken Squid & Rice. The kids got a kid's set each and the rest of us shared the Pirates' Feast. Overall, out of everything that we tried, I would say that I liked the BBQ pork ribs and the lamb chops in the Pirates' Feast, but the two best dishes were what Nadia and my father ordered. I highly recommend those! Sadly, those were the only food items that I enjoyed. The corn, chicken and fish in the Pirates' Feast tasted really weird. Their texture was rubbery. Even the apples that came with the kid's set had a weird texture to them. If you have kids, I recommend for you to stay away from the kid's set in Barbossa's Bounty as both sets that I tried were really bland. What's the bottom line Ratketeer? Go with what my father and Nadia ordered. You'll thank me later. Oh and by the way, halfway through our meal, Captain Jack Sparrow paid us a visit.
Time to get on our first attraction
After lunch, it was time to go on our first attraction. This was one of the attractions that I was most excited about. We walked to the entrance of Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure and realized that it only had a 15 minutes wait time! We joined the line and in exactly 15 minutes (I actually timed it and it was on the dot), we boarded a boat and went on our adventure... AND OH MY GOD, IT WAS BRILLIANT! Ladies and gents, this is by far my favorite attraction in any theme park that I've visited in the world. I was going Holy S@# throughout the attraction. Be prepared for your mind to be blown away. A must-ride for anyone visiting Shanghai Disneyland. The only person who didn't like this attraction was Little Mahina because of the drop, but Baby Haku loved it. He and I ended up going on this attraction 3 times in a row while other members of our party went shopping!
Pin trading, a long-winded preshow, ice cream, coconuts and Soaring Over the Horizon
My sister, Natasha, is an avid pin trader and on this trip, she got the kids into pin trading too. In Japan, pin trading is not a big thing. In fact, I don't even think that it's a thing. Throughout this trip, the kids and their auntie Natasha traded them pins whenever they could. After indulging in it for a bit in Doubloon Market, we headed to the Fandango Theater to watch Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular. Ratketeer, I really liked this show. It was really entertaining and the stunts were amazing. There was even a point when Captain Jack Sparrow was flying around like it was a Chinese kung fu movie. Brilliant! I highly recommend it, but the preshow was just too long. Halfway through the preshow, all members of our family looked at each other and went, "Is this the actual show?" Thank the stars it wasn't, but wow, that was one long a@#ed preshow. Be prepared for it if you ever decide to watch this. After Eye of the Storm, we got ourselves some Mickey Ice Cream and coconuts (yes, you heard me right) and headed back to Adventure Isle to use our Fastpasses for Soaring Over the Horizon.
It's off to the castle we go
After Soaring Over the Horizon, which by the way Little Mahina loved and requested to go on again but we politely turned down because we were ready to explore other parts of the park, we headed towards the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Don't judge me! We've only explored Adventure Isle, Mickey Avenue and Treasure Cove and it was already coming to 5pm! We did promise that we would take her on Soaring Over the Horizon again the next day and she caved in to our counteroffer. Muahahahahaha! In the castle, we did the "Once Upon a Time" Adventure and the kids really enjoyed that. Would I do it again without my kids? No! But, my kids really enjoyed it, so there's that.
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto and Peter Pan's Flight
After burning a lot of calories climbing up and down the castle, we were all ready for something more relaxing. We boarded a boat at Voyage to the Crystal Grotto which I found quite enchanting and after that, we boarded another boat, one that could fly, and flew across London in Peter Pan's Flight. I really really liked Shanghai Disneyland's version of Peter Pan's Flight. It was a souped up version of the others that I've been on. It used modern technology, but managed to preserve the essence of the attraction. Really well done.
Baby Haku battling it out with a cast member
After Peter Pan's Flight, we did a little shopping around Fantasyland and another one of those Disney magic moments happened. A cast member saw Baby Haku being really interested in a toy sword and he started a fake sword fight with him. He even put the crown on Baby Haku and it was just the sweetest thing. I still sometimes watch this video below and smile to myself at work. A really big thank you to this cast member. You have created an amazing memory for me and my boy.
Dinner at Mickey & Pals Market Cafe
All that sword fighting has gotten us all hungry. It's time for dinner and we decided to get some noodles at Mickey & Pals Market Cafe. We arrived at Mickey & Pals Market Cafe about an hour before park closing and guess what... no crowds. Time your meals right and you'll get to enjoy them that much more. I can honorably vouch for that.
Slurp it up
In total, we had 3 adult dishes and 2 kid dishes. My sister Nadia did not eat dinner because she was on a diet and I sampled a bit of everything, but not too much because I was and am on a diet too. I'm trying to get sexy for the beach when we visit Aulani next week. If you are craving for noodles, you cannot go wrong at Mickey & Pals Market Cafe. All the dishes were good. Also, they served Laksa! Laksa is a Singaporean dish and Mickey managed to capture the essence of this dish. It's not top notch, but it did the job. Also, look at that egg! Once again, Disney magic at its best. Everything that we ordered were good, but the dishes that stood out were the Laksa and the Beef Short Ribs & Udon. Take note Ratketeer!
A chance encounter
After dinner, we left the park and made our way back to the hotel. As we exited the park, I saw this bright red sign that you can see below.
What happened to your diet?
Screw it! I still have a week to Aulani and I promise to hit the gym everyday when I am there. How could I say no to Cheesecake Factory?! How?! Anyways, our first day in Shanghai Disneyland was really fun and I was surprised at how big the park was. We didn't get to explore the whole park on our first day, but thankfully we had another day and I can't wait to share about it with you next week. Thanks for reading and I hope that you will dream of my Cheesecake Factory face tonight. Sleep tight Ratketeer.