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Julia’s Best Week Ever, March 24, 2016: Shanghaied!

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2016-03-13 12.11.44What do Floridians do on Spring Break? They travel away from Florida, of course. (At least that’s what I did this week.) Meanwhile, as I mentioned in my last BWE article, my husband is in Shanghai, helping get some finishing touches ready for the big launch of the Shanghai Disney Resort opening in June. As his pictures and experiences in Shanghai are more interesting than my trek up the I-95 corridor, I figured I’d share some of what you might see if you plan to visit Shanghai.

Something to keep in mind is that the city of Shanghai is the 3rd most populated city in the world. With almost 23 million people, Shanghai city has a higher population than the entire state of Florida. Hotels and restaurants are plentiful, mass transit is inexpensive and convenient, and there’s always something to see and do. Although some people speak English, the Shanghainese dialect of Chinese is the primary language, and you may be at a disadvantage trying to read signs in stores and restaurants.

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When it comes to dining, there’s more traditional foods, like this dish of noodles and spicy minced mushrooms.

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And then there’s places like Cozi Hotdog, which specializes in corn dogs — in flavors such as crisp potato, “explosive plasma cheese”, wasabi fish roe, dried meat floss, and lobster salad (which apparently are slathered all over a traditional corn dog). The motto of the place, written in English, is “Hot Dog is Not Dog”. Very reassuring.

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Grocery stores are not the easiest to find, although they were able to locate a Wal-Mart for basic supplies. Hotel rooms are also what you’d expect, both in terms of amenities and price.

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Although with some interesting in-room literature.

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Most of my husband’s time in Shanghai is tied up with work of course, but he did manage to do a bit of sightseeing at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, where they have a huge model of some of the city of Shanghai. Think of it like the Florida Project model for Walt Disney World on steroids in terms of its jaw-dropping size and detail.


It also goes through a “night phase” where you can see different sections of the city featured.



Aside from having a grand and safe adventure, the only request I had was if my husband could make a trip to the Shanghai Disney Store, which he did.

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Out front of the store is a giant clock tower with statues of some familiar faces around the base.

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Inside, there’s the type of merchandise you’d expect for a Disney Store, including Tsum Tsum.

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There’s also some merchandise now appearing for the new park.

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Of course it also has a lot of Disney touches throughout.

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There’s also something new to both of us — Disney UniBEARsity. Apparently these bears are based on a cartoon series from Japan where the Disney gang run a store where they make different kinds of teddy bears themed around the different characters. (If anyone can explain more about this, feel free to chime in at the comments!)

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Whip (left) and Puffy (right) are the counterparts to Donald and Daisy.
Mocha (left) and Pudding (right) are the counterparts for Mickey and Minnie.
Mocha (left) and Pudding (right) are the counterparts for Mickey and Minnie.


The other fun shopping that he did was a trip to a rather insane M&M’s World store.

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Seriously, how can you go wrong with a store that has The Great Wall of Chocolate?

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Although Star Wars isn’t quite as popular in China as it is in the United States, they still have some Star Wars-themed M&Ms merchandise for sale.

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There’s also more….traditional…Chinese-themed M&Ms merchandise, too. (Yes, those are Terracotta Warrior M&M souvenirs.)

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For most of the trip, the Shanghai Metro has been the primary mode of transportation, but for a day off, it was time for a ride on the Maglev train.

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And as a special treat, here’s a little snippet from the Maglev Train, traveling through Shanghai at 184 mph. Although the air pollution and fog was not ideal for filming that day, the Shanghai Disney Resort castle is visible off in the distance as the train zips by.

Special thanks to my husband Erwin for not only working awesomely hard for very long days to make sure that Shanghai Disney Resort is ready for its big debut, but also for taking the time to send these pictures that I can share with everyone. Enjoy the rest of your time in China, and come on home safe so we can continue having the Best Week Ever!

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

16 thoughts on “Julia’s Best Week Ever, March 24, 2016: Shanghaied!

  • This was very interesting Julia, thanks for posting! I loved the hotel room literature 🙂

    • Julia Mascardo

      After a 20+ hour flight to get there, seeing that as the first thing in the hotel room made it even more hilarious because it’s so….unique. 🙂

  • Two important take-a-ways….
    1) “Hot Dog is not Dog”
    2) “Dry nothing on the lamp”

    Thanks for the peek into the Chinese tourism scene!!!

    • Julia Mascardo

      I for one wish that American hot dog places could reassure me that Hot Dog is Not Dog…. 😉

  • The smog in those photos looks horrible. Hopefully it wont be noticeable when walking around Shanghai Disney

    • Julia Mascardo

      There’s no way to sugar coat it — China has major air quality issues. Shanghai isn’t as bad as Beijing, and being on the coast means that it does get breezes that help the area stay better than other parts of the country. Because it is a port city, however, there’s often a lot of fog…and a lot of smog. I asked my husband whether those pictures were smog or fog, and he said it is a combination of both.

      The Shanghai Disney Resort is in the city of Shanghai itself, so on days when it is smoggy or foggy, that’s what you’ll have in the park.

      My husband brought a mask to filter out particulates on bad air quality days, but he hasn’t used it yet. He says that the air quality doesn’t feel a whole lot worse than DC on a bad air quality day (where he worked for most of his adult life). What he did notice is that a LOT of people smoke, which coming from places that tend to be more smoke-free than not, it is really noticeable for him.

      If you have breathing issues, you’ll want to bring a filter mask when visiting the Shanghai Disney Resort.

  • Steven Sanders

    Thanks for writing this article and thanks to your husband for what he is doing in Shanghai. I am looking forward to being there June 16. Is English spoken a lot in that area?.again thanks to you both

    • Julia Mascardo

      Primarily Chinese is spoken, although you may be able to find people in the hospitality industry (hotels, etc.) that speak some English. Having a good translation program on your phone would be a good thing.

      FYI, if you’re planning to go to Shanghai Disney Resort for the grand opening period (from opening day through the end of June) and possibly for a few months beyond that, you’ll need to buy your tickets this week when they go on sale (March 28). Odds are VERY good that they will sell out of tickets for the first several weeks very quickly. Tickets are date-specific, so naturally grand opening day will sell out fast, then weekend days will sell out, and then weekday tickets will sell out. Once the tickets are sold out, that’s it…you won’t be able to get into the park. With 24 million people in the city wanting to get into a park, SDR will literally be the hot ticket in town.

      • Steven Sanders

        Yea I’m keeping my hopes realistic and I’m using a TA.what’s going to be harder is getting a hotel room on site. If not I’ve been scouting hotels in the area. Thanks for the info anything helps

      • Fair warning — Shanghai Disneyland is close to the international airport and little else. The area is rapidly developing, and I am sure additional hotels will pop up soon, but the area was essentially farmland and factory before those living and working on the land were displaced. And the nearest areas around SDL are primarily residential with little to no sites for tourists. However, if you want to see the core of the city and main attractions, you may be over an hour away from Disneyland by metro. If you are unable to find something close that is comfortable, consider the area around the Lujiazui Financial District or Century Avenue. It won’t be the cheapest and there will still be a commute to Disneyland, but it is the best halfway point I can think of between the resort and the city.

      • Julia Mascardo

        Awesome suggestion! Just looking at leaked photos of the on-site hotels, that would absolutely be my first choice–not just because of location but because they look amazing. I think that for the first year, it will be interesting to see numbers for people who go from their homes to the park versus tourists staying in a hotel somewhere. A lot of thought has been put towards making it more of a “local place”, but there is so much international curiosity, too.

      • Catherine

        Thank you for this great post!! I was in China adopting my daughter when Shanghi Disney was announced and have the newspaper from that day!

        I looked at the link and find it neat that their pricing (other than seniors) is based on height rather than age. It’s neat to see how other areas of the world do things!

      • Julia Mascardo

        I’m wondering if that’s because birth certificates aren’t issued for everyone. I seem to remember that there was some issues for that at the Olympics when some gymnasts couldn’t provide birth certificates to prove their age because where they were born didn’t have them. Going by height eliminates that issue altogether.

  • 欢迎来到上海!Posts like this are great. I’ve been following Touring Plans since I first used it in 2010 and have been living in Shanghai for over a year and a half. Crazy to see the two colliding. Does Touring Plans anticipate doing a lot of coverage when SDL opens?

    • Julia Mascardo

      I wish that was in the cards. For me, the idea of 20 hours in a plane to go anywhere is panic-inducing, so it will be quite a while before I get the nerve to get over there. Everyone on the TP staff is a Disney nut (obviously), so I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks end up making a trip there within the year. And if they do, they better bring back lots of pictures and trip reports for those of us stateside!

      (But to answer your question, nothing planned yet that I know of.)

      • Totally, totally understandable. It’s kind of funny — living here, I know what sort of crowd situation to expect, which is very different from crowding in the US or even Japan (I sadly don’t have Japan park experience, but I have busy Japan experience). And because of that, I am really curious to see how people with a better sense of planning create strategies for Shanghai Disneyland, so I can just use them and make my life much easier 😛

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