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What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland

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The newest Disney park on the block is the megalith Disneyland in Shanghai. Not only is it the largest Disney park in the world at 963 acres (that’s THREE TIMES the size of Hong Kong Disneyland), it also has the tallest and biggest castle at a staggering 196 feet. It’s based off The Beast’s castle from Beauty & the Beast and even has a ride inside.

It’s been plagued by some bad press and even had to close because tourists trashed the place and the Shanghai government and tourism bureau was forced to put out a theme park etiquette guide. No joke.

 

Because the park is relatively new (it only opened this summer), not a lot of people know what to expect when heading there. We sure didn’t, and even though Alston and I both read our fair share of articles not being super complimentary of the park, we had more Disney Adventures to do! So we book the flights, got a whole gaggle of people together (seriously there were fourteen of us, including our lovely videographer Jeff!), and decided to get magical~

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Shanghai Disneyland was an experience, a good one ultimately, but also a very intense one. So if you’re thinking of heading to the Happiest Place On Earth, Chinese edition, here are some tips and tricks that you are definitely going to need.

It’s time for another episode of Disney Adventures with Kristina and Alston!

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(Btw brings lots of towels for your cameras. Shanghai is HOT and HUMID and does not like glass.)

Lines. lines. and more lines.

One of the biggest complaints when Shanghai Disneyland first opened were that the lines were atrocious. Like 5 hours long atrocious. People were pitching fits, demanding money back, and more. Being a theme park veteran, I wasn’t too concerned. I had waited 3.5 hours for a ride before, an hour or two in lines didn’t scare me.

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However, when those lines are 2+ hours and also in the blazing heat and there’s no air circulation as hundreds of people (if not thousands) are crammed together in a relatively small area… it’s pretty damn miserable.

The line to get into Disney itself, just the bag check, was awful and took an hour and a half. Then you have to queue for fast passes at designated Guest Services pavilions, not at the rides themselves. This means that multiple rides’ fast passes are at only ONE building. Lines to get fast passes sometimes were wrapping around corners and trialing off into the distance. It was insane.

Thankfully Shanghai Disneyland has an app that updates you on all line times, and there’s multiple boards posted around the park with wait times.

Line Cutting

“It’s a cultural thing, it’s a cultural thing, it’s a cultural thing.” I had to say this to myself countless times as people pushed up against me in line and tried to weasel their way around us. Whether it’s the ‘My family is up ahead” trick or just blatantly trying to cut (which happened plenty of times), waiting in line at Shanghai is war. You’ll have to pick your battles, but with enough determination, dirty looks, and hopefully someone who can speak Mandarin, you’ll be fine.

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Just be prepared to glare a lot and be a bit aggressive, or at least paranoid.

Sweating To Death

There is no shade at Shanghai Disney. In fact, the architect seems to have wanted to create a concept that had as much sky visible as possible. However, when the theme park in question is located in Shanghai… which is very hot and insanely humid… he probably should have rethought this. Part of the fault lies with us in going in August, but still, you’d expect a few more places where you could hide from the sun’s glaring death ray. Alas, this is not the case. The sea of umbrellas from locals and other Asian attendees will be the only shade you will get at Shanghai Disneyland. Some of the rides have coverage of course, but because lines are so long, there are long portions of waiting in the sun.

You will feel miserable. You will be dehydrated. Don’t bother with makeup… it won’t last ten minutes. And you’ll be photographed like this.

What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland - it is HOT - Disney Adventures - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

In my defense, Alston SENT me this photo… which means I have permission to post it.

Love yooooou. Sorry you felt like dying.

Food Everywhere

One of the good things about Shanghai Disney is that food is literally everywhere. We never had to wander far. There’s a host of options in every land, some with multiple restaurants inside. And of course there’s the famous Mickey Pretzels and ice cream galore (which you will definitely need in the heat!).

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For my fellow veggies, there are slim pickings here unfortunately. There IS a veggie burger option in Tomorrowland and an egg tart in Fantasyland (if you eat eggs), but that was the whole of it more or less. For vegetarian options you’ll need to head to Disney Town where the chain restaurants are or pick meat out of other dishes.

I do recommend the buffet breakfast at the Disneyland Hotel though! Lotus bao forever.

Amazing New Rides

 

Shanghai Disney is home to two brand new rides not seen in any other Disney park. The video above is from TRON, wherein you get on your own light cycle and zoom off on a thrilling race. The ride itself is short, but it’s high adrenaline, especially since you’re almost laying down!

What To Expect At Shanghai Disneyland -TRON - Disney Adventures - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

The Fast Passes for TRON tend to go first, and it’s easy to see why, so if you want to hit it up, immediately get your butt over to Tomorrowland’s Guest Services and get fast passes for your whole party.

Get there early as well because you’ll need to put ALL your stuff in lockers, and there were lines for the lockers because they sold out constantly. Hopefully they get a better system in place or at least about 500 more lockers.

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The other new ride is really a revamp of an old one. Pirate Of The Caribbean: Battle of the Sunken Treasure is AMAZING. It’s a 4D adventure that takes the original Pirates ride and just makes it magical. Honestly, Alston and I almost cried. It’s incredible.

Not only is the ride great, there’s a whole pirates LAND. Yes, Treasure Cove is all about pirates and there’s multiple ships to explore as well as a mini water park area (which was amazing on the super hot day we went).

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PRO TIP: The ride doesn’t open until around 11AM-12PMish. There’s not a set time, but it says around noon. Get there around this time and just waltz on in. Otherwise prepare to wait a very long time. There is no Fast Pass.

 

For Alice In Wonderland fans there’s a maze based off the Tim Burton films for you to enjoy as well, and the Peter Pan ride has got a special effect upgrade and is a bit longer.

A Wonderful Time

In the end… it’s Disney. You’re going to enjoy the crap out of it. The park is huge and there’s lots to see. There’s rides from all of the different parks around the world and it is distinctly Chinese, which will give you an entirely new experience in itself.

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So get ready for an adventure, because Shanghai Disneyland definitely is one! You can grab tickets and more information at the Shanghai Disneyland Resort website.

Photos by Maurizio Cortigiano [Instagram]

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Disney Adventures is a collaboration between The Nerdventurists and  Alston Stephanus of Alston Stephanus Accessories. Check him out on Instagram & his company!

How I saved $3k going to the dentist in South Korea - A+ Dental Apgujeong - The Nerdventurists - www.thenerdventurists.com

How I Saved $3k By Going To The Dentist In South Korea

I have saved over $3,000 in Korea. No, it’s not from penny pinching and transferring money home (although I do that too), no, it’s because I went to the dentist.

Yup. The dentist.

Dental care in South Korea is cheap. It’s not insanely cheap, no, but it’s much cheaper than back home in the United States, and the standard of care here is phenomenal. The offices are clean, the procedures well done, and everything is just all around a lot more inexpensive.

I hadn’t been to the dentist in seven years. That’s right, seven years. It was too expensive in the USA, even when I was covered under insurance. It was completely impossible to even think of going when I had to leave my mother’s insurance when I came of age, so I just didn’t go. Yes, I had cavities, but I monitored them and never had any pain, so I figured everything was okay. And more or less things were.

However, I knew I needed to get a bit of work done, so when I was thinking of making the move to Korea I looked up how much dental care was there. To my surprise it was a lot cheaper than even I had been expecting, 1/3 if not lower than USA prices WITH insurance. It was a no brainer for me. I stuck it out and waited until I was settled in Seoul before heading to get my teeth fixed.

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Make your own soap at Innisfree Jeju House - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

Make Your Own Soap At Innisfree Jeju House

Vacations are definitely earned in Korea and I just spent the most wonderful five days on Jeju Island, South Korea’s own little Hawaii. Volcanic beaches, white sand, clear water, rolling mountains, and tons of tangerines and green tea. It was pretty much paradise and rest assured, I’ll be writing a lot about it.

Hyeopjae Beach on Jeju Island - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

I mean… look at that.

To kick things off, I want to let you all know about one of my favorite things we did on the island. Did you know you can make your own soap on Jeju?

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Best Attractions At Disneyland

So first: big news! Alston and I are going to Shanghai Disney!! Yes, that mega park that just opened; we’re going! Our Disney Adventures continue around the world and I can’t wait to share the experience with you all!

I am especially looking forward to the new rides! The TRON Lightcycle is like a roller coaster you have to power (well, partially) and race against other teams!

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Credit: Disney

Sora is bound to be jealous, because there’s a new Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Shanghai as well!  Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure!

Set sail for seafaring fun that takes you on, over and under the deep blue in search of Davy Jones’ sunken plunder—all while crossing paths with pirates, mermaids and even the savage Kraken.

In honor of this, and to continue our magical adventures around the world, I thought I’d highlight the best attractions at the original Disneyland. Naturally these are just my opinions and such, but maybe you’ll agree?

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Between The Sheets: Sheraton Grande Walkerhill

This edition of Between the Sheets will be a little different. The majority of the time when I travel it’s by using hostels and the occasional budget hotel. This is typically because I am generally destitute and the fact I see my accommodations as a place I simply sleep; I don’t intend to hang around and so why would I waste money on amenities? Well, sometimes you need a staycation and a random hostel won’t cut it. So if you’re looking for comfort and luxury in Seoul… you should head to The Sheraton Grande Walkerhill.

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Haunted Disneyland

“People DIED on this ride!”

It’s a phrase I would say to the camera over and over again on our Disney Adventures. Apparently I’m rather macabre because death at Disney, ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ fascinates me.

And just to start this off, this is meant in no way to be disrespectful of the people who have died at Disney. RIP.

Did you know you can’t actually be declared dead on Disney grounds? Okay,that’s not wholly true, it’s more of an urban legend… but the fact such a legend exists is a testament to the almost cultish life that Disney embodies. As with many places of note in the world, there are always rumors of hauntings, ghosts wandering the corridors, and weird happenings. Disneyland in Anaheim, California is no exception.

So next on our Disney Adventures, Alston and I explored a bit of haunted Disneyland. If you’re easily spooked… you’re in good company.

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Learning Korean With Talk To Me In Korean: Hangeul

안녕하세요!

It’s coming up on two months in Korea. It feels like two years and at the same time only two weeks. Moving to a new country, especially one that speaks a different language, is a stressful time. Even visiting a country where you can’t read or write the language can be a nightmare. That’s why I really wanted to dedicate myself to learning as much Korean as I can. So I’ve partnered up with the amazing folks at Talk To Me In Korea to do so!

I cannot stress enough the importance of learning Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, before coming to Korea. It has been a lifesaver; not only will you be able to actually read everything you see, but you’ll be able to sound out words, making learning them a lot easier.

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Lanterns at Bongeunsa Temple in Seoul - The Nerdventurists - www.nerdventurists.com

Sounds of Seoul: Bongeunsa Temple 봉은사

Sounds of Seoul is a series for Curly In Korea where I’ll be making short soundscapes of locations around the capital. First up is Bongeunsa Temple, a Buddhist temple in the heart of Gangnam; a surprising oasis of calm.

Please feel free to listen to the soundscape as you read.

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Off-track betting lounge at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill. Lets Run CCC. The Nerdventurists. www.nerdventurists.com

Seoul’s New Foreigner Only Off-Track Betting Lounge

When I was invited to go check out some off track horse racing betting facilities that had just opened up, my mind sort of froze. I had never been to a horse race before, I had never bet on anything other than the clunky slot machines at a resort’s casino; I had no idea what it even entailed. So as I joined other Korean expat bloggers at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill one cloudy afternoon, I had literally no idea what to expect. Tucked away in the mountains just a stone’s throw from Jamsil, the hotel was immediately beautiful and lush and any pre-conception of grimy betting rooms with grumpy old men in stained t-shirts shouting at the television were immediately wiped away.

This was nice.

Off-track betting lounge at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill. Lets Run CCC. The Nerdventurists. www.nerdventurists.com

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XIA concert XIGNATURE. Kim Junsu. Seoul 11.6.2016. The Nerdventurists. www.nerdventurists.com

My KPOP Concert Experience – XIA (Kim Junsu)

So something magical happened: I went to my first KPOP concert here in Korea.

It was loud, bright, full of flashing lights, screaming fangirls, and one very charming and goofy singer with a killer voice and the ability to out dance all his back-up dancers. Yeah, I went and saw XIA aka Kim Junsu (김준수).

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