In this fifth installment of my Shanghai Disney Resort trip report, we are going to explore Enchanted Storybook Castle. 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.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Four on Character Central
In this report I shared with you the futuristic world of Tomorrowland, with over 150 photos.
Set in the heart of Shanghai Disneyland, Enchanted Storybook Castle watches over the park with a grandeur and majesty unlike anything before it. Enchanted Storybook Castle is nothing short of gigantic, and when seen in person, is spectacularly stunning in every aspect. Enchanted Storybook Castle breaks from tradition and does not exclusively belong to any one princess, but instead celebrates the stories of all the Disney Princesses.
Inside Enchanted Storybook Castle you can find a table service restaurant, a walk-through attraction, princess greetings and a retail location. Underneath the castle, the boats of Voyage to the Crystal Grotto reveal the magic in the caves below.
To start, let's take a look around the outside of the castle from various angles.
Stepping through one of the breezeways into the heart of its vast structure, you find yourself standing in a dauntingly large atrium, filled with beautiful details. It really cannot be captured properly in photos, and has to be seen to be appreciated.
From the atrium you can visit the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where your child can get a royal makeover. While during our visit this was the only retail location inside the castle, the guide map states that another one will be opening soon - Crystal Treasures. Crystal Treasures will be very much like the other crystal arts shops found at the other parks around the world, no doubt staffed by Arribas artisans.
You can meet the Disney Princesses here at the castle, at Storybook Court. During our visit we saw Belle, Princess Aurora and Rapunzel, but I believe that Snow White often visits here, too.
The main attraction that is located within the main part of the castle itself is Once Upon a Time Adventure. Once Upon a Time Adventure is a walk-through attraction that retells the story of Snow White. I was actually surprised with how much went into this attraction, based on my experiences with other, similar attractions around the world (namely the castle walk-throughs at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, but other attractions, too).
Utilising the magic mirror technology first seen in Enchanted Tales with Belle, at the Magic Kingdom, you step into the story and soon find yourself amazed at really pretty, detailed, and technologically advanced scenes. Things come to life before your eyes, and it is quite dazzling! The entire thing is in Chinese though, which of course is obvious since we are in China, but there seemed to be no subtitles or English alternate. Luckily, we all know the story of Snow White, and the animated scenes revealed more than enough without understanding Chinese.
For what it was, I really enjoyed this attraction, and it seems to be one of the few in the park that actually commands fairly long lines throughout the day. We did it first thing in the morning one day, and there was zero wait, but later in the day people were waiting in the heat in switchbacks outside.
For me, the crown jewel of our experiences at Enchanted Storybook Castle was dining at the Royal Banquet Hall.
Royal Banquet Hall is a table service restaurant that offers Disney character dining. Here, you can meet a Disney Princess, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck. Mickey and friends even wear gorgeous royal costumes, which are probably amongst my favourite costumes for them that I have ever seen.
Your experience at the Royal Banquet Hall begins in a downstairs lobby when you check in. There is a waiting area in case you have more party members joining you (or for whatever other reason), then you get directed into a room where you meet a Disney Princess. On our visit this was Princess Aurora. After you have your photo with the visiting princess, you make your way up the stairs to the main dining room.
There are rooms dedicated to several of the Disney Princesses. We were seated in the Sleeping Beauty room, but our server was incredibly nice and gracious enough to give us a tour of the restaurant, and we also got to see the other rooms, which are themed to Mulan, Snow White, Cinderella and Princess Tiana.
The food and service here was really exceptional, and I cannot compliment the cast members enough. I will admit that we had a slight issue with one of our dishes that we ordered, but it was rectified in a more than accommodating fashion, and we came away from here really feeling as though we had been given the royal treatment. You get a starter, a main and a dessert choice from a set menu. There was a vegetarian dish, which was pretty decent, and I know our meat-eating friend had no complaints about his food, either.
The desserts were really pretty, and had a lot of detail and care put into them. We each tried a little each of at least three different ones, and we were all impressed.
While I would have been more than impressed with everything I have mentioned so far, if that was all of it, the main reason to dine here was to meet Mickey and friends in their special outfits. As with any other character dining around the world, the characters visit each table and spend time taking photos and signing autographs.
Some people have commented on the similarity of Daisy Duck's outfit to the one she wears during Halloween at Walt Disney World, and I admit, it is remarkably similar, but there are differences. In Florida she has gold sleeves that come down to her hands, and the belt is different between both dresses. I am going to share an image from Walt Disney World, below, just for your reference.
What is remarkable about this restaurant is that it sits on the mid-level of the castle, bearing in mind that there is a massive atrium that goes from the floor to the roof, which we saw earlier in this article. The fact that the castle is wide enough to accommodate a fairly sizable restaurant on one of its flanks is nothing short of incredible, and really gives you a sense of the scale of it.
So, that is everything that is physically located within the castle, but I do want to discuss one more thing - Voyage to the Crystal Grotto.
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is not accessed from the castle directly, but instead just across from it along one of the main Fantasyland walkways. The reason I have put it here with the castle discussion is because the waterways of the attraction not only fall within the castle's vast shadow, but actually go underneath, into caverns below it.
We managed to sail through the grotto twice during our visit, both times early in the morning with virtually no wait (in fact, the first time we had a boat all to ourselves!).
The attraction itself, I admit, doesn't look particularly spectacular in photos, but when you ride through it, it has a charm to it that has to really be experienced. Is it the most amazing attraction ever? Certainly not, but it does have some really pretty scenes, which come more to life with music and water effects than can be gathered from a static photograph.
The finale is what makes the attraction special, though. The boats enter underneath Enchanted Storybook Castle, where the walls come to life with colourful images that depict the stories of the Disney Princesses. You have to look closely, though, as some are hard to catch, and they are made out of crystals - hence the "Crystal Grotto" part of the name.
So, that's it for this part of my report! In the next part we will delve into Fantasyland proper, and discover the magic of things such as Peter Pan's Flight, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Hunny Pot Spin, and so much more!
Have a great day everyone,