Aside from the shows, though, Shanghai was a fun city, even though we didn’t really get the chance to see a lot of it. On Thursday, with one show under our belts, Zack and I headed out early in the morning to go to Disneyland Shanghai. To be perfectly honest, this was the one thing I was really looking forward to. Knowing we were going to have a heavy schedule, I was hoping to get at least a few hours to explore this version of the Happiest Place on Earth. I had already asked Zack if wanted to go with me and we invited Anton (our sound guy) to also come along, but he had “studying” to do (which is like kryptonite for teachers – can’t argue him out of it).
Getting to the park took about an hour by public transport and we only got lost once
(although there was a weird moment where they made everyone get off the train and wait for the next train on the same line to finish the journey). Once at the park there was, yet again, lots of security, but we made it inside and began exploring. Disney parks are interesting because they are the same (well, similar) and yet they are full of local flavor and culture. Granted, my only exposure has been to Disneyland Paris, but it seemed like a safe bet. Sure enough, we entered past a railroad trundle and onto an abbreviated Main Street with a huge pink castle in the distance.
We didn’t have much time to spend, having to be back for the evening’s show, but we could certainly get the lay of the land. Our first stop, as well as should be, was Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. Wow! As you’d expect, the line was full of fun details to explore and experience but the ride itself was amazing. It was different than the passive experience of the Anaheim version in that the boats were on tracks and would be turned as needs be to face giant screens to create immersive action scenes. Absolutely phenomenal. There was a lot of us murmuring “oh shit, this is cool!” as we went through. For us, of course, the only downside was that it was in Chinese, but that makes sense so really, not a complaint, just an observation.
From there, it was just a wonder to see what we could see. We went on Peter Pan (in honor of Rasa and checked out several of the walk through character interactions, including Star Wars. Now, here’s where we really had some fun. Back in Tenerife, Zack and I had come up with the idea of the Red Nose Bandits since we had nosed from the comedy festival. Knowing I’d be seeing him again, I pocketed my nose and was ready to wear it at a moments notice. Which I did. I even offered it to our greeter in Zhengzhou (see above picture). Whenever I could, I’d pop on the nose. With Zack, though, it was like a geometric progression. The two of us, with noses (and an extra or two just in case), were a literal force to be reckoned with.
Like walking through the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction. Sure, we piloted the Millennium Falcon and saw (no we did not touch) R2D2. But the best was Darth Vader. Sure enough, he was there and while we couldn’t quite communicate that we wanted him to mime a force choke, we did get some good shots with the noses on. And after that, we were off and running. Any chance for a photograph was a chance to put on the noses. We got nose pictures as official ride shots and even on a hidden Mickey which Zack spotted in the tiling of a Tomorrowland walkway. And this is what we did for the rest of our time. We went on a few more rides and attractions, like the TRON Lightcycle Power Run and the Alice in Wonderland Maze (like I could refuse that one??) and even Pirates a second time, but the kicker, for me, was visiting the Marvel Universe.
We met Captain America and tried, in vain, to get him to put on a nose. He was so cool about not doing it (“I’m not allowed to while in uniform”) and took the time to do a lot of poses with us, it was awesome! We just had a really great time talking and wandering, not caring how many rides we went on because it was about the experience of just being there. Would I go back? Sure. Especially if I could spend a couple of days and really ride everything, but if I never make it back, I feel like we still did it up right and proper. We got some amazing photos, which, let’s be honest, is where the memories reside.
We had weirdly thin steaks for lunch, spent a bit of time at their version of Downtown Disney (Called DisneyTown) which was full of American shops (and of course, a Lego store where we were invited to walk the parapet and see, up close, some great Lego/Disney sculptures) and got stuck by a parade – all in all, we hit the Disney trifecta there. And we still made it back in time for prep and to do a killer show that night.