Well, here it is - the final part of my ongoing Shanghai Disney Resort trip report series! In this part I will share with you all our adventures through Adventure Isle, and then give my final, over all concluding thoughts on our trip and the resort.
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.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Five on Character Central
In the fifth part of my report, I shared with you our time at Enchanted Storybook Castle and the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, with over 140 photos.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Six on Character Central
In the sixth part of my report, I detailed our adventures through Fantasyland, with over 210 photos.
Shanghai Disney Resort, September 2016 Trip Report - Part Seven on Character Central
In the seventh part of my report, I detailed our adventures around Treasure Cove, with over 120 photos.
Entering Adventure Isle from the Gardens of Imagination we are welcomed by a fairly large welcome sign overhead. If we enter from over by Treasure Cove, there is just a small sign on the right hand side to denote our transition from one land to the next.
Taking the approach from the "main entrance" (via Gardens of Imagination), the first location we encounter on our voyage into Adventure Isle is a counter service restaurant called Tribal Table. The outside of the building reminded me a lot of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World. Inside, it has a very natural and organic feel to it, and reminded me again of Animal Kingdom Lodge. As with nearly all main dining locations in this park they have a vegetarian option, which pleased me!
Opposite Tribal Table we find Adventure Isle's Guest Services location, where you can get wait time information, and FastPasses for Soaring Over the Horizon and Roaring Rapids. If you have wondered in the past seven parts where all the people have been, well, they're here, in Adventure Isle! By far Adventure Isle was the craziest place in the park when we visited. From open to close there were throngs of people trying to get in and out, and waiting to experience the two main attractions here. We wanted FastPasses for either Soaring or Roaring Rapids one morning, and hadn't yet really been into the area to figure it all out - we arrived shortly after park open, not particularly rushing based on our rest-of-park experience, and boy were we surprised! Minutes after park open the lines for both main attractions were well over an hour, and the Guest Services line to get FastPasses was enormous (and FastPasses literally disappeared as we were standing there trying to understand the madness). The following day we were much more organised and efficient, and managed to get to the FastPass line before it was full, collected a ticket for later that day, then proceeded to run to the other attraction we didn't get a FastPass for, so that we could ride it with "minimal" wait. Phew!
I want to continue to work around the land in a logical order, so the next port of call is the first main attraction in Adventure Isle - Roaring Rapids. Roaring Rapids can be equated to something akin to the Kali River Rapids at WDW's Animal Kingdom, or Grizzly River Run at Disney California Adventure. The setup is pretty much exactly the same, and the over all experience is fairly easy to assume. However, there is one thing that makes this version unique - Q'araq, the massive crocodile that resides in the caves of Roaring Mountain. Since it was our first (and only) time riding Roaring Rapids, with all the spinning and water and high speed thrill, it was sadly impossible to get a photo or video of Q'araq, but if you Google I know there are people who have had more success than we did. Personally I think that the attraction wasn't worth the epic hassle it took to try to ride it. It is way too short and even though I do not generally like water rides, I actually felt you didn't get as wet as you could have, which made it not quite as fun or thrilling as I expected.
Continuing along the main pathway, we come to the one and only main store in Adventure Isle, Laughing Monkey Traders. While it is a really small store, it does sell some unique items, mainly themed around Roaring Rapids' resident, Q'araq the crocodile.
Next door to Laughing Monkey Traders is a small kiosk location, Piranha Bites, and a popcorn cart. Piranha Bites serves savoury wraps.
On our right we arrive at Camp Discovery, which is a series of exploration trails through Roaring Mountain. There are different levels of ability for this attraction. There is the regular walk through attraction, which just leads you around the mountain, into some caves and back down again, and then there are some more skilled trails that require harnesses. I like these sorts of attractions. Having caverns and hidden trails to explore adds a sense of depth and adventure to the park.
Further along the main walkway, we come to the only other retail location in the land - a small cart by the name of Rainbow Frog Trinkets, which sells generic merchandise.
While exploring Adventure Isle we passed by some wandering entertainers. They aren't listed on the park schedule, and unfortunately getting any information out of guest relations proved somewhat a challenge several times during our trip, so I guess we'll never know their name!
Next to the Rainbow Frog Trinkets cart is the Happy Circle. Happy Circle is a meet and greet location where you can meet Baloo, King Louie, Rafiki and Timon. There are two lines, and you meet one character at a time, with there being two characters at any given time. So, in one set you have Baloo on one side, and King Louie on the other, and then in the next set there is Timon and Rafiki. As with nearly all the character meet and greets in the park, there was absolutely nobody there. We walked up and met them all at least three times during our trip; I actually felt pretty bad for them!
While I didn't get a good photo of it, there is a corndog cart next to the Happy Circle, too.
We now come to the other main attraction in Adventure Isle - Soaring Over the Horizon. The lines it commands are insane, and people seem to love it, but I am just going to flat out say it - Soaring Over the Horizon was a massive disappointment for all of us on our trip. I had heard a lot about how amazing it was and how pretty the queue is, etc, but I walked out wondering if I had rode the same attraction as other people. The queue for the most part is a tunnel, with a small area that is "outdoors" under the night sky. While it is pretty, I wouldn't go overboard about it. The pre-show video is entirely in Chinese, which while I understand we are in China, it is a video. The weird thing is that the safety part of the video - after we spend ten minutes watching the pre-show - has English subtitles! So why not subtitle the main story part of the video?! From what I could gather, it was something to do with some mystic woman and a mythological bird, but beyond that I have no idea. The attraction setup is exactly the same as the other ones around the world, though it was deathly slow to load. Once in the air we encountered a couple of problems. The screen distortion is utterly dire. This is a brand new version of this attraction - why is is so warped and out of shape?! Also, the smells were not working - if there are any at all in this one. Quite simply, don't waste your time.
Finally, we come to the last location in the whole park, Tarzan - Call of the Jungle. Long, long lines, disappointing rapids and horrendous flights may dog Adventure Isle, but Tarzan - Call of the Jungle is the King of the Jungle for sure. This show was completely enthralling and absolutely wonderful to watch. It ended up being my favourite show in the park on the whole trip. The performers are so talented and the stunts they perform literally made my heart skip a beat several times. A stunning and impressive show from start to finish, and definitely worth waiting for.
That's a wrap folks! We have now covered all six lands of Shanghai Disneyland, Disneytown, both hotels and the other resort areas!
Sure, I had complaints about the lack of theming in the Gardens of Imagination and Fantasyland (some of the worst locations at any Disney Park are in Fantasyland here!), and yes, some attractions were disappointing (Pooh, Mine Train, Rapids and Soaring being the main ones), and the over all resort look is very gray and military (the hotels and main entrance plaza need a lot of help, as I discussed way back near the start), but there is enough in the park that truly shines, and made it completely worth it over and over again. TRON, Peter Pan's Flight, Enchanted Storybook Castle, Buzz Lightyear, the Tarzan show, and so much more, not to mention the amazing cast members, the wonderful character interactions and the cool merchandise and food, were all impressive and worth the price and hassle of travelling all the way to Shanghai for. I do feel bad for the cast that work so hard here to make it so magical, that the guests don't yet seem to quite "get it" yet. The non-lines for nearly everything was a surprise to me, not only at the attractions and characters, but even for merchandise and food. Nobody appeared to be buying anything, except us, and yet all the cast members were not at all disheartened - they gave it their all every single time, even when the language barrier created some interesting problems for us! My closing thought and ultimate advice would be this - I came to Shanghai cautious and dubious about what I may find, and all my expectations were either met or absolutely smashed by a mile. If you're on the fence, just do it. Shanghai Disney Resort has its own magic, its own soul, and a spirit that really captured me in a way that I didn't anticipate.
I really hope you have enjoyed following me on this journey as much as I have loved sharing it all with you. If you would like to see many more photos of each location in more detail, you can visit our dedicated Shanghai Disney Resort guidebook, here on Character Central. Every location (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc) can be clicked, and you will be taken to a page with a gallery just for that item.
I never share photos of myself on here, because it nearly always isn't necessary, but I think that experiencing a brand new park less than three months after opening was special enough, that I want to close with a photo of myself having the most magical time at Shanghai Disney Resort, with the Big Cheese himself!
Have a great day everyone,