Well we couldn’t help ourselves and went back to Shanghai Disney Resort! Jamie had to go up there for work again so we decided to make a weekend of it. It was all decorated for Chinese New Year (which starts Feb 15)! I am going to refer to it as “CNY” in this post. We decided to go because we didn’t think we would ever again get to experience a Disney park decorated for CNY. It was really cool!
Since it is the “Year of the Dog” this year, everything was decorated and designed for Pluto! He had a little parade, wore several different hats each time we saw him, and in the “Gardens of the 12 Friends”, his mosaic was all decorated for CNY.
The “Gardens of the 12 Friends” are where the 12 Chinese Zodiac are displayed using Disney characters. They had a “New Year Wishing Garden” and you could write your New Year wish on a card and hang it. So we did!
For some reason, when we decide to go to Shanghai we go at the most extreme times in regards to weather. Last time it was in the dead of summer and we had never experienced anything so hot (read about it here)…this time, middle of winter! It never got above 30 degrees F. I had to pull out all of our ski stuff: thermals, gloves, ear and hand warmers, scarves, you name it, we were layered up. It was cold! But it made the park pretty empty, and I will take that any day! We walked on to every ride, never had to wait. I have never been to any Disney park that was this empty, especially at night. During the day there were definitely people there, but nothing like the crowds of last time.
Another key difference to last time was they have implemented several new rules for the park, and they were enforced, such as guests are no longer allowed to bring in their own food. This was probably the biggest difference. Last time there were so many people, almost everyone, who brought in their own food and instead of throwing their garbage away in a bin, it landed on the ground…in mass quantities. There was trash everywhere, and couple that with the amount of people that were there, I’m sure it was hard for the park to manage it. So now, eat Disney food or don’t eat! Granted, there wasn’t near as many people there this time as in the summer, so the real test will be when peak season starts up again. But it was such a different experience this time due to that one, simple rule of no outside food. I also saw a few Cast Members enforcing the no smoking policy this time. Seems like they are trying to get the kinks worked out. It’s a new park, so it will take some time, but I have faith!
We ate lunch inside Storybook Castle this time and it was lovely! The food was actually really good – Jamie got duck confit and I got crab macaroni. Kind of heavy, but we also got a crab and corn chowder as an appetizer that warmed the insides! Felt good to sit inside and thaw out a bit.
Got my picture taken with Aurora on our way in, too! The dining area inside the castle is Sleeping Beauty themed, but as I said before, there is a story trail you can follow up into the castle that tells the story of Snow White. At lunch, the mice and the ducks came out to take photos in full royal attire (in Disney standards, anyway)!
It was really a character filled day! Earlier in the day we had breakfast at our hotel and all the characters (except the ducks) were there in their CNY outfits! I love how happy these characters make us! It’s like hugging a giant stuffed animal.
Before the parade, we went inside “Remy’s Patisserie” and got some hot cocoa and cookie. Look at these cute desserts they had!
After that we went and watched the parade, shopped a bit (we always overdo on souvenirs), then went back to the hotel to relax before both dinner and round 2!
Here are some more pictures from the day. We stopped in Disney Town right outside the park for dinner this time and ate at a teppanyaki and sushi restaurant called Hatsune. I highly recommend, it was delicious and not that expensive. Seeing as how Jamie has to go to Shanghai relatively often for work, I wouldn’t put it passed us to visit this park again! We are headed to Hong Kong Disney on Easter weekend then wrapping up our “Disney Parks Around the Globe” mission with Disneyland Paris in April! Look for those posts soon!