In this fourth installment of my Shanghai Disney Resort trip report, we are going to take a look at Tomorrowland. In case you missed any of the previous parts, I have provided the links for you, below:
Shanghai, September 2016 Trip Report on Two Lost Boys
I shared my experience travelling to Shanghai, arriving at the airport, getting to the resort, and then visiting the Disney Store in the city.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part One on Character Central
In part one of my main Disney report I shared with you all of our experiences at the two Shanghai Disney Resort hotels, Disneytown, and character dining at Lumiere's Kitchen.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Two on Character Central
In this report I took an in-depth look at Mickey Avenue, with over 230 photos of all the details on the little entrance street to the park.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Three on Character Central
In this report I took an in-depth look at the Gardens of Imagination, Mickey's Storybook Express parade, the Golden Fairytale Fanfare castle show and the Ignite the Dream nighttime spectacular, with over 210 photos of all the details.
Approaching Tomorrowland you may feel as though you are really leaving behind everything you just experienced in Mickey Avenue and the Gardens of Imagination, and heading out into some uncharted territory! Tomorrowland sits, what feels like, so far back along the walkway, that it actually feels quite disconnected. There is even a vast open green area, which you can look back on towards Disneytown, which is a weird angle. You start to feel the future with some speaker and light posts, and eventually the Tomorrowland entrance sign, but still, you feel a little "out there".
The Jet Packs, when seen from nearly every angle, appear to to just sit in the green nothingness that proceeds Tomorrowland, and honestly, it feels really quite strange.
When you walk from the back of Fantasyland to Tomorrowland you don't really feel any more connected. There is a long pathway with just a blank wall, a remote sign that tells you that you are in Fantasyland and then an even more remote feeling cafe, which is part of Fantasyland (I'll discuss that in the Fantasyland part of this report, but am going to post a photo of it below for reference), before you finally see a sign that signals your entrance into Tomorrowland.
Let's skip back to to the main way of entry into Tomorrowland though, and work methodically through all it has to offer. So, the first thing you are going to see, as I said, is the Jet Packs attraction, atop its solitary plinth.
We actually rode this at night, and I have to say, it is a lot of fun - if extremely short. You get some nice views over the surrounding area, and generally, it is just fun.
Along the raised walkway you will get an excellent overview of Tomorrowland. Nighttime along this platform is especially spectacular, in particular the colours of TRON Lightcycle Power Run. I really like that Tomorrowland here is on multiple levels. It really gives it a sense of energy and depth that the others tend to lack.
On this upper tier there is one restaurant, the Stargazer Grill. They have generic fast food, but they do carry a veggie burger, which wasn't bad. The restaurant itself isn't themed in any special way, but is modern and somewhat "futuristic, I guess.
Carrying on along the upper level and we come to the main attraction in Tomorrowland - TRON Lightcycle Power Run. To even get to the entrance, you must walk beneath its vast canopy and witness the lightcycles zooming around it. It's really indescribable. At night it is especially awesome.
To ride TRON you will be made to put everything into a locker. There is no space for anything aboard the ride vehicles. If anyone tells you that you can put small items into a compartment on the top of the lightcycles, heed this warning - that compartment is next to useless, since it has a large hole in the top of it. I am not actually sure what the purpose of it is, but I would not feel happy putting anything there. The locker situation can be a little slow and frustrating, so be patient, but it is worth it, especially since they are free while you ride.
There is an exception to the locker rule and items you must carry with you, and that is if you get a FastPass. Obviously to enter into the FastPass line you must have your FastPass, but you will also need your park ticket. At any attraction that requires FastPass at Shanghai Disneyland, you will need your park ticket. They are serious about counterfeiting, and the numbers on your park tickets must match the FastPass. So, with that said, make sure you wear something with a deep pocket that is fairly secure, because that park ticket will be coming on to the attraction with you, unfortunately.
I did dare to take my phone with me upon our second riding of TRON, after judging how I felt about the attraction and pockets with items in. I felt confident that my shorts pockets were deep enough and tight enough against my skin that I could manage it; I really wanted some photos of the queue and loading area to be able to share here! For those who wear glasses, I did also keep my glasses on during the attraction, and I didn't have a problem. My glasses are a little on the heavier side and fit fairy snug to my face, so if you have rimless ones, or they are made of a light material, I would think twice about it.
So, what did I think? TRON is awesome! Will I go so far as saying it is the best attraction Disney have ever created? Probably not, simply because I am not a speed demon or a huge thrill ride fan, but I do now include it in my top ten. It is smooth, exhilarating, modern, and aesthetically mind blowing. I said at the start of my long TRON piece here that it is indescribable, and it really is.
Of course, you exit out into the gift shop for the attraction, Power Supplies. They actually have some really great merchandise here that is almost completely exclusive to the attraction, which is amazing!
Now we are going to make our way down to the lower level. Under the main staircase/ramp area is a small window location called, rather appropriately, Spiral Snacks.
Opposite Spiral Snacks there is a popcorn cart that sells sweet popcorn (like Disneyland Paris' sweet popcorn - the best kind!), served in cool lightcycle popcorn buckets! They even light up, which is neat. If you are undecided or just want a bottle of water, they will even give you a small sample cup of popcorn to tempt you!
Just along the walkway are some tables and chairs, lightcycle themed, of course, and a gift cart called The Light Stuff, which sells more TRON items, amongst other things.
Continuing in a circular motion back towards TRON, we come to a stage which presents a show called Baymax Super Exercise Expo multiple times per day. It stars Hiro and Baymax from the Disney movie Big Hero 6, and allows kids to come on stage and learn some sort of routine.
Past the stage and more or less directly in the shadow of the mighty TRON canopy is the Tomorrowland guest services station, which has the wait times for Tomorrowland attractions, and where you can get those all important FastPasses for TRON and Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.
Facing back towards Spiral Snacks, to the right of it you will find the entrance to Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue.
Immediately upon entering the attraction's queue you will see how different it is. It has a much less whimsical tone, and a more serious, darker feel to it. It actually works well with their Tomorrowland here.
Similarly, the interior of the attraction has the same feel to it. I actually really like this take on it - and boy was the technology here a massive upgrade! Guns that work! Lasers that you can see properly and have different colour guide lights! And they are pretty accurate, too! Amazing! I rarely take a spin on Buzz in the other parks any more because it feels dated and you can never seem to hit anything with the appalling quality of the guns, but this one, I really enjoyed. Even though I was taking photos, I still managed to get a really decent score because the guns work so well!
To the right of Buzz, under the upper walkway leading to TRON, is a pathway that leads to the Star Wars Launch Bay, which houses exhibits and character meet and greets.
I have to say, I really like their Launch Bay. I like it much better than the one in Florida, at least. It feels a little less bland and not quite as sparse as the Hollywood Studios version. Here you can pose for a photo inside the Millennium Falcon cockpit, build LEGO Star Wars models, watch a short clip show about the Star Wars saga, look at various exhibits, and meet Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, C-3PO and an X-Wing Pilot. They also have R2-D2, but unfortunately we are not going to classify him as a character for the purposes of Character Central's listing, since he seems to be permanently fixed to the floor, and doesn't really interact other than seemingly randomly turning his head and beeping. The numerous times we went inside the building there was virtually nobody there. We didn't wait at all for any of the characters.
There is also a store inside the Launch Bay, called Imperial Trading Station. Here you can buy Star Wars themed items and build your own lightsaber.
Back outside in the main lower level courtyard, near the Stitch Encounter attraction (which we'll come to in a moment), you can meet the little blue alien himself, in a space that on the map is called The Interface. As with all the characters in the park, there was nobody there to meet him, except us.
So, back to that Stitch Encounter attraction. The queue is really nice. They designed some new artwork for the walls which have that "distinctly Chinese" feel to them that Bob Iger loves so much. If I'm honest, I do love these pictures, too. I wish they sold these as prints or postcards or something, because they are really pretty.
The show itself, aside from being in Chinese, is absolutely identical. If you have experienced this attraction in Hong Kong, Paris or Tokyo, then you know exactly what to expect.
Well, we come to the last location to discuss for Tomorrowland - Intergalactic Imports, which is the main store in the land, and resides between the Stitch and Buzz attractions.
It sells a lot of Stitch merchandise, as well as other items, but otherwise is a fairly standard store. You can purchase your on-ride photo from Buzz here, too.
Before I conclude this part of my report, I wanted to mention a few things that cover the resort as a whole, and haven't really talked about so far.
First of all, the cast members. The cast members at Shanghai Disney Resort are exceptional, and we loved every one of them. They all really seem to want to be there and make this brand new park work; to make it stand out. They are all friendly and helpful, and while English isn't obviously their strong point, they sure try as much as they can to accommodate you and provide exceptional guest service.
Second, the park hours. When we booked our trip back in February the park hours had been scheduled to be fairly short. While I kept checking to see if there would be last minute changes up until our departure earlier this month, they didn't change - until the very last minute when they suddenly added a couple of hours each day. Then, while we were there, they extended them even further, and by the last day, we were getting what we felt like were fairly normal Disney park hours, having gone into the trip expecting them to be even shorter than Hong Kong's! I thought it was worth mentioning in case any of you find yourselves looking at short hours during your own trip - just be aware that they may change as last minute as on the morning itself, and you could get several extra hours!
Finally, toilets. Ok, not the nicest thing to talk about, but there is so little out there about this park right now, I feel I need to share it all. Yes, there are "Western" style toilets in all the bathrooms etc. We had no problem at all finding somewhere clean and suitable to go. If you find yourself looking at a hole in the floor, keep walking to the end of the row and look in the last door - there is a regular toilet there.
Ok, that's everything for today! The next part of this report will be about Fantasyland, and it'll be a big one! I hope to get it up in the next two days, so look out for that here on the blog.
Have a great day everyone,