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Old 10-15-2018, 03:06 PM   #31
PrincessSharon
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Park, Park, Park, Park

Iíll be visiting four Disney parks on this trip, so there was a lot to plan for. Iíve been to the two Anaheim parks before, so I didnít have to research much, but Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland were both completely new, so a lot more research would be necessary.

I was also quite excited to be visiting these parks when the fall and Halloween decorations would be on display. I have visited Disneyland in the fall before, but in recent years, theyíve amped up the celebrations, so I canít wait to see it! Iím disappointed that Mickeyís Halloween Party isnít happening on either night Iíll be there. But no worries, thereís plenty of other stuff to do.

Halloween Time means thereís something going on in both parks, Downtown Disney, and even the resort hotels. There are Halloween decorations everywhere, numerous attractions feature holiday overlays, characters in Halloween costumes, and oh so many fun, tasty-looking holiday treats throughout both parks Iíve made a to-eat list. I am very excited to see in person the Headless Horseman statue. There was a special on Freeform last night about the Halloween decorations in the parks and on the Disney Cruise Line and it made me even more excited to see it!

At Disney California Adventure, Radiator Springs (or rather Radiator Screams) gets a Halloween makeover, and the Cars even dress in costumes! I could die from the cuteness!

Guardians of the Galaxy is another thing Iím eager to check out for the first time. We all know that the Tower of Terror is my absolute favorite ride, but Iím honestly ok with the re-theme as long as the one at Hollywood Studios doesnít change. If that happens, then Iíll be sad. Iíve heard itís a lot of fun, and I canít wait to see it for myself. I have avoided spoilers, so itíll be completely new to me.

At night, it becomes Guardians of the Galaxy Ė Monsters After Dark, so Iíll have two new experiences in one! And I really love that Disney created a holiday overlay that still allows you to experience the attraction in its original form.

Over in Disneyland, Iím excited to check out the Plaza de la Familia. Disneylandís had Dia de los Muertos festivities for a few years now, and theyíve added Coco into the mix. Iíve been wanting to see this for a couple of years, so Iím glad Iíll get my chance.

I also plan to check out the SCAREolers in Downtown Disney and the edible Halloween display at the Grand Californian.

Because my Premier Passport expired long ago I needed to get tickets. I got a two-day park hopper and I plan to add Max Pass once I get to the park. Itís sort of Disneylandís version of My Disney Experience. It allows you to make FastPass reservations on your phone, check out your Photopass pictures, and do mobile dining. Iím looking forward to checking it out to see how it works.

There are plenty of Halloween festivities at Hong Kong Disneyland, too, but first let me talk about what attractions Iím excited about there. HKDL is a relatively small park (but growing as we speak), that was based heavily on the original Disneyland park. Their castle was identical to the one in Disneyland, but itís currently being refurbished to a bigger, unique castle. I am happy to hear that, but of course disappointed that the castle will be under construction when I visit. But that gives me another reason to go back!

There are many of the same (but slightly different) attractions weíre used to seeing. Some of the attractions offer FastPass, but most of them donít need it. Iím of course most excited about the stuff thatís unique to HKDL. Perhaps the one Iím most excited about is Mystic Manor. HKDL doesnít have a Haunted Mansion because in Chinese culture, spirits are kind of like your ancestors, so it wouldnít translate. Mystic Manor is HKDLís sort of spooky attraction instead. Iíve heard itís really a terrific ride. Iíd tell you more about it, but I didnít want to know too much myself!

I also look forward to the Iron Man Experience, which is a simulator ride similar to Star Tours. I have to say that itís going to be fun to get all these Marvel experiences that I donít get at WDW. The other thing I canít wait for is the stage show Mickey and the Wondrous Book, which Iíve heard is great.

For Halloween, the park has Journey Through Halloweentown, a walk-through attraction based on The Nightmare Before Christmas. There are also characters in Halloween costumes as well as villain meet-and-greets (which, for this villain-loving girl, is exciting news).

Shanghai Disneyland is a larger park with more to offer. Here youíll again find attractions youíre used to seeing in the American parks. Iím concentrating on the ones you donít see in American parks (at least not yet). First and foremost: Tron Lightcycle Power Run. Iíve heard so many great things I canít wait to ride it. And itíll wet my whistle for when it arrives over here.

But the thing I think Iím most excited for is Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for Sunken Treasure. From what Iíve heard, itís amazing and not like any of the other POTC attractions around the globe. Iíd tell you more, but you should know by now that I donít know more! Spoilers, you know!

In Shanghai, thereís Disneytown, which is similar to Disney Springs/Downtown Disney with shops and restaurants and stuff. Iíll definitely be checking at least a few of the shops out.

Fastpasses are available for many of the attractions (though not Pirates, so Iíll have to plan for that). You also get a few FPs each day as a hotel guest.

I plan to spend at least a part of two days at HKDL in addition to the ABD time. That meant I needed to buy a 2-day ticket. I was able to add it to my hotel reservation. In Shanghai, they only sell park tickets 30 days in advance and I made my hotel reservations through the website well before that. Iíve heard reports that some of the perks you get as a resort guest are not automatically given to you when you buy tickets from a source other than the hotel, so Iíll wait until I check in to purchase my 3-day ticket. Or perhaps I can have one of my Adventure Guides help me purchase it.

I considered buying a Photopass package at both HKDL and SDL. Iím still considering. From what I read, there just arenít as many PP photographers throughout the park, so Iíll have to play it by ear.

My phone will be getting a lot of use on this trip. Aside from Instagram (hopefully ) there are a bunch of Disney apps Iíll be using. The Disneyland app, of course, and HKDL and SDL each have their own app, where you can make FP, check out show times, look at park maps, and see restaurant menus. I also canít wait to try out the Play Disney Parks app while Iím at Disneyland, which is new since my last visit to WDW this past May.

Up Next: Et cetera
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Old 10-15-2018, 03:18 PM   #32
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The park time sounds awesome! And I love that you’re avoiding spoilers. That’s going to make everything so much more fun and exciting!

Hope you weigh in on Max Pass when you get back. We'll be at DL Dec 21 & 22 and I think I’ll add that.
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Old 10-15-2018, 04:40 PM   #33
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Old 10-15-2018, 04:57 PM   #34
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OH, the trip sounds amazing! I'm loving the plans for the parks and I'm already ready to read the trip report and the details of these rides you don't know about!
They sound so cool!
You are going to come home one tired gal!
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:12 PM   #35
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I am so glad you are back and writing TRs! You always make me laugh.

China is my dream trip and sadly, I think it will forever remain a dream. I am looking forward to reading all about your trip and seeing all the wonderful pictures. I will live vicariously through you TR.

P.S. How are your nephews? I remember them from your TRs. I imagine they are all grown up and very tall.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:24 PM   #36
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Sounds like some great plans for the Disney parks and some how I figure you're going to fit it all in even with limited time!
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Old 10-15-2018, 07:47 PM   #37
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Your plans sounds wonderful!
You’ve been waiting for this trip for a long time! You must be so excited that it’s right around the corner!
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Old 10-15-2018, 08:51 PM   #38
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Excited to read about your plans. Have a great trip!!
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:29 PM   #39
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Your park plans sound wonderful, and I canít wait to read all the details!!


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Old 10-16-2018, 07:14 AM   #40
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I can’t wait to hear all about those new rides and experiences when you get back.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:19 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Eeyoresmom View Post
Well, although I am on FB (and very disappointed there is no P-Sha presence there) - I have never considered Instagram . . . until now!
I feel EXACTLY the same way!

Great report so far, Sharon!
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Old 10-17-2018, 01:37 AM   #42
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The Halloween stuff at Hong Kong Disneyland sounds interesting... I'd like to get back there one day, but not until they're done with that castle, so that throws it into the long grass for a while at least...

Interesting as well about the park tickets at Shanghai. A very different way of doing things!

I want to hear about MaxPASS as well. I'm considering it for our visit to Disneyland in March and am looking forward to what you make it of it and whether you feel it's worth getting....
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Old 10-17-2018, 04:49 AM   #43
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I’m currently in an Uber on my way to the airport. I wanted to post my final PTR update yesterday but the boards were not having it! I’ll post it shortly when I’m not on my phone.

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The park time sounds awesome! And I love that you’re avoiding spoilers. That’s going to make everything so much more fun and exciting!

Hope you weigh in on Max Pass when you get back. We'll be at DL Dec 21 & 22 and I think I’ll add that.
I will definitely weigh in on Max Pass.

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Well, although I am on FB (and very disappointed there is no P-Sha presence there) - I have never considered Instagram . . . until now!
Come join us, it’s fun!

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OH, the trip sounds amazing! I'm loving the plans for the parks and I'm already ready to read the trip report and the details of these rides you don't know about!
They sound so cool!
You are going to come home one tired gal!
Oh heck yes, I’ll be tired! I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation!

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Originally Posted by MayraLR View Post
I am so glad you are back and writing TRs! You always make me laugh.

China is my dream trip and sadly, I think it will forever remain a dream. I am looking forward to reading all about your trip and seeing all the wonderful pictures. I will live vicariously through you TR.

P.S. How are your nephews? I remember them from your TRs. I imagine they are all grown up and very tall.
The boys are great! Noah is a freshman in college now! Daniel is in 11th grade and Isaiah is in 7th. And Isaiah still hasn’t outgrown me yet, so I lord it over him every day Their baby sister started preschool last month. She’s already almost as tall as I am.

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Sounds like some great plans for the Disney parks and some how I figure you're going to fit it all in even with limited time!
I am sure gonna try!

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Your plans sounds wonderful!
You’ve been waiting for this trip for a long time! You must be so excited that it’s right around the corner!
I may or may not have done cartwheels down the driveway to meet my Uber driver this morning.

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Excited to read about your plans. Have a great trip!!


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Originally Posted by pamcarey View Post
Your park plans sound wonderful, and I can’t wait to read all the details!!


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I’m so excited. There’s been far too little Disney parks time for me this year!

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Originally Posted by purplegal View Post
I can’t wait to hear all about those new rides and experiences when you get back.
I’ll give all the details, so I can “spoil“ it for people like me!

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Originally Posted by DyanKJ130 View Post
I feel EXACTLY the same way!

Great report so far, Sharon!
And I love Instagram because it’s so low key. You can check in, look at some photos, and then resume playing Disney Emoji Blitz!

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The Halloween stuff at Hong Kong Disneyland sounds interesting... I'd like to get back there one day, but not until they're done with that castle, so that throws it into the long grass for a while at least...
I booked before they announced the castle refurb, but I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be back. I plan to add a few days to the beginning of my Japan trip for HKDL & SDL. So now I’m less disappointed and more interested to see history being made - a Disney castle “under construction.”

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Originally Posted by chezp
Interesting as well about the park tickets at Shanghai. A very different way of doing things!
There will be more details about the ticket situation in the full TR.

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Originally Posted by chezp
I want to hear about MaxPASS as well. I'm considering it for our visit to Disneyland in March and am looking forward to what you make it of it and whether you feel it's worth getting....
Your research assistant is on the job!
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Old 10-17-2018, 05:25 AM   #44
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Your plans for the parks seems awesome. I like that you're visiting unique to that park attractions! Have a safe flight and have a great time!
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Old 10-17-2018, 07:24 AM   #45
PrincessSharon
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I am so ready for this trip! It’s been a long time in the making and I’ve been through a heck of a lot on the way. There are so many things I’m excited about it’s kind of funny. There are lots of things on my “always wanted to do” bucket list that’ll finally get checked off.

I’ve always been interested in visiting China, it just has been a fascinating country to me. Also, even though I don’t like rice (probably the only person on earth who doesn’t), I do love the flavors of Chinese food and I’m really excited about eating authentic Chinese. But nothing too exotic. Like I’m not eating deep-fried scorpions or anything!

I also recently learned of another advantage of taking this ABD at this time. Apparently, it’s baby panda season. I guess most pandas give birth in the fall, so there’s a good chance I’ll see newborn pandas in Chengdu. NEWBORN PANDAS!!! I’m dead!

The final preparations for this trip were more challenging than any other I’ve taken because I’m also moving to a new home right after I land in New York. So when I had to pack, I had to pack everything. Add to that all the things you need to take care of before a move. And I decided to squeeze in doctor and dentist visits too, so there’s no rush to find new ones once I’ve moved. For those curious, I’m staying in New York, just moving from Long Island to Queens. It was important to make sure that every detail was taken care of ahead of time because I can’t count on being reachable while I’m in China.

I’ve picked up some Hong Kong dollars and Chinese RMB so I’ll have cash on hand for smaller purchases and to tip my ABD guides. I bought an additional SD card for my camera because I expect to take lots and lots of photos. And if I take more than 7,000 photos, I guess I can buy another SD card in China.

I’ve learned a few basic phrases in Chinese and I’ve got a Mandarin phrasebook, but I don’t expect I’ll have to use it much. HKDL has a lot of English speaking CMs and even some of the shows and attractions have English versions. Signs in both parks have English translations. In Shanghai, fewer people will speak English, but if there’s an issue, a CM will always be able to find an English-speaking CM for you. And of course, during the ABD, a guide will be able to speak the language if the occasion arises. I only need to worry about my OYO time, and in that case, I’ll be shopping and they just type the price on a calculator for you. You’re supposed to haggle with the merchants, so that might be a little challenging. We’ll see how it goes!

I have a 10-hour layover in L.A. on my way home. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I thought about another visit to Disneyland, but it’s a Saturday, so I don’t think just a few hours in the park would be worth the hassle and expense. I might take an Uber and go shopping somewhere, but I’d have to stow my luggage somewhere. Perhaps I can check it in early? Anyway, I might be so exhausted by then that it won’t matter and I’ll just curl up in a chair and take a nap.

This is going to be a long trip and an epic TR, so I hope to write most, if not all, of it while I’m traveling. There are a lot of flights, so I plan to do at least a little writing on each one. I also plan to watch a few movies (I’ve already checked both JetBlue and American’s websites and there are some films I want to see). Most of you don’t know this, but I’m also a knitter, so I’ve got a few projects I can work on when I’m not writing, watching a movie or sleeping.

I’m looking forward to doing some shopping. I love a good tacky souvenir, but I’m also hoping to bring home something nice, perhaps some art for my new home. As far as Disney merch, I’ll be looking to pick up some exclusive stuff when I can. And there are cute souvenir cups that I might have to get one or two of. I have to plan my purchases, though. I have a 50-lb limit on my flights on American Airlines, but ABD has notified me that for the flights within the cities in China, I’m limited to one case under 44 pounds (and one carryon). I’ll be using my small duffel bag (from my last ABD) as my carryon instead of the small backpack I usually carry.

Finally, here’s my full itinerary.

Day One – Wednesday, October 17

My Uber pickup is at 4:45 a.m. The early flight is worth it because I land in L.A. at 10:30 local time, giving me pretty much an entire day to enjoy the parks. I expect to bounce back and forth a bit, but I’ll start the day at Disneyland. I’ll check in at the Camelot Inn & Suites before hitting the parks.

Day Two – Thursday, October 18

I’ll start this day at DCA, but again, there will be park hopping. I haven’t made any meal plans for either day because there are a lot of seasonal treats I want to try and I don’t know how much of a formal meal I’ll be wanting.

Day Three – Friday, October 19

I have a red-eye from LAX to Hong Kong. Because of the time-zone difference and the 13-hour flight time, the entire day is flying.

Day Four – Saturday, October 20

I land in Hong Kong at 7:25 a.m. local time, so I’ve got the entire day ahead of me for fun. Hopefully I’ll have gotten some sleep on the plane and I can hit the ground running. I plan to take a taxi from the airport, which I’ve heard should be simple and relatively inexpensive. I’m hoping the taxi driver will speak some English, but just in case, I’ve got a little card with the name and address of the hotel printed out in Chinese, just in case. That’s a tip I learned from Pinterest!

After I’ve checked into Disney Explorers Lodge, I’ll head over and enjoy the park. I’m going to wing it for meals for the same reason I’m winging it in Anaheim, but I have made a note of some restaurants that I’ve heard are good.

Day Five – Sunday, October 21

This is the official start of the ABD. I will probably spend the morning in the park before getting a taxi to The Peninsula Hong Kong. I’ll check in, meet my Adventure Guides, and get a bit settled and maybe do a bit of exploring around the hotel before the welcome dinner tonight at the hotel.

Day Six – Monday, October 22

Today (and every ABD day) starts out with breakfast at the hotel. The group will begin the day with a visit to Stanley Market. Lunch is at the Peak Lookout. We get a ride on the Peak Tram and can check out the amazing views from Victoria Peak. We’ll take the Star Ferry to Kowloon and visit Victoria Harbour. Then we’ll head over to Hong Kong Disneyland for the rest of the day on your own (OYO). Dinner is also OYO. I think I’ll scope out a place on one of my first two days in the park. Disney likes to withhold details about the trip, but I know they give us some FastPasses to enjoy and there’s usually reserved spots for a parade or something. Because HKDL’s castle is being refurbished, there aren’t any fireworks or castle shows to see.

Day Seven – Tuesday, October 23

After breakfast, we leave for our flight to Beijing. Thankfully, ABD will handle the messy details and all I have to do is show up. Lunch will be on the flight. After we’ve landed in Beijing, we’ll get our rooms at the Peninsula Beijing and enjoy a group dinner at Duck de Chine, a restaurant famous for its Peking duck.

Day Eight – Wednesday, October 24

After breakfast at the hotel, the group will visit the Temple of Heaven. This is what the China pavilion in Epcot is based on. It’ll be very cool to get to see the real thing, after dreaming about it on every trip to Epcot! Then we’ll have lunch at Huajia Yiyuan restaurant, another Peking duck place (Peking duck originated in Beijing). After lunch, we’ll go on a walking tour of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The evening is OYO time. I will probably head to one of the markets and perhaps sample some street food for dinner.

Day Nine – Thursday, October 25

After breakfast, the group will head out on a Hutong Pedicab tour, exploring the Hutong neighborhoods. We have lunch at the Schoolhouse restaurant, that claims to have the best homemade ice cream in all of China. I’ll be the judge of that! After lunch we take a cable car up to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. I get goosebumps just thinking about this! So exciting to be able to see one of the Wonders of the World. The rest of this day is OYO time. I may make it a low-key evening or I might venture out.

Day Ten – Friday, October 26

This is the day on the regular itinerary that we’re supposed to have a Tai Chi lesson. I’m not sure if it’ll still be this day or when we’re in Guilin (with the picturesque “Gumdrop Mountains” as a backdrop, as Disney intended). After breakfast at the Peninsula, we’ll head to the airport for our flight to Chengdu. We’ll have lunch on the plane. Once in Chengdu, we’ll get our rooms at the Ritz-Carlton. We have the afternoon as OYO time. I have a few ideas about what I want to do, but I’m playing it by ear. I’ll meet back up with the group for dinner at Ba Guo Bu Yi restaurant.

Day Eleven – Saturday, October 27

I’ll wake up with a big smile on my face and then head down for breakfast. After meeting up with the group, we’ll head out to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. You may hear me squee’ing all the way from China. Especially if there are any tiny babies. Lunch is with the group at a Sichuan Hot Pot restaurant (you’re given fresh vegetables and sliced meat and the broth to cook it in your own individual hot pot). We’ll have some OYO time in Chengdu, including dinner. I will probably find some street food again, if I know myself at all. I’ll rejoin the group for the evening at the Sichuan Face-Changing Opera. I’ve seen photos of this and it looks really cool, even if it is in Mandarin.

Day Twelve – Sunday, October 28

Breakfast is at the hotel, and then we get the Maglev bullet train to Xi’an. I’m excited about my first ride in a levitating (sort of ) train. The train’s top speed is 268 MPH, so it should be a quick voyage. We will have a boxed lunch at the Terracotta Museum and I’ll be able to see the fascinating Terra Cotta Warriors in person after having seen replicas at Epcot. Then we head to the airport for our flight to Guilin. Dinner will be en route. Once we arrive in Guilin, we’ll get settled in our rooms at the Shangri-La Hotel. And probably face-plant onto the bed after this crazy day!

Day Thirteen – Monday, October 29

Breakfast. Then, we’ll head out for our cruise on the Lijiang (Li) River. The legendary “Gumdrop Mountains” are quintessential Chinese landscape and I’m excited and happy to get to enjoy them. Lunch will be on the boat. We have OYO time in Yanshuo and I plan to do some shopping here. There’s a White Elephant exchange at the BBQ dinner at our hotel this night, so I’ll be picking up something for that. Then they’ll show a Disney movie that we can watch (I’m thinking it’s probably Mulan, which is one of my favorites).

Day Fourteen – Tuesday, October 30

After breakfast, we’ll take a flight for the final leg of the trip in Shanghai. Lunch will be on the plane. We’re staying at the Peninsula Shanghai (and can I say again how happy I am that Disney, ahem, Tinker Bell, handles all the luggage transfers?). I’m going to use my OYO time to do some shopping on Nanjing Road. Dinner is at Din Tai Fung, specializing in Shanghai (soup) dumplings. After dinner, the group will see a Shanghai Acrobat show.

Day Fifteen – Wednesday, October 31

This is the last full ABD day. After breakfast at the Peninsula, the Adventurers will take a tour of Old Shanghai and Yu Garden. Then we go to Shanghai Disneyland. We will get some FPs and have OYO time. We’ll meet back up for our farewell dinner and then enjoy the fireworks with the group.

Day Sixteen – Thursday, November 1

After breakfast and saying goodbye to my new friends, I’ll head over to Shanghai Disneyland. ABD will provide transfers for me. Once I’ve arrived at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and checked in, I’ll get my ticket situation sorted, if I haven’t already. Then, I’ll hit the park again. I don’t have any meals planned for any of my days here (see DL/DCA and HKDL).

Day Seventeen – Friday, November 2

I plan to spend the entire day in the park. Hotel guests can get early entry, so I’ll be sure to take advantage of that. I’ve heard many, many horror stories about the process of getting in (crowds, pushing, queue jumping, etc.) but I’m hoping things will be calmer at the hotel guest entrance. If not, well, I’m prepared to stand my ground!

Day Eighteen – Saturday, November 3

My flight is in the afternoon, so I will most likely hit the park at opening. I will explore Disney Town if I haven’t already. I plan to take a taxi to the airport for my fight back to L.A. I land in L.A. earlier than I leave Shanghai thanks to the time zone difference. I’ll find a way to occupy myself until my red-eye flight back to New York.

Day Nineteen – Sunday, November 4

I land at 8:00 a.m. and will have to head home and prepare to move. Everything is packed up and ready to go for the most part. I’ll just have to pack up anything I needed to use and do a last cleaning. I expect to sleep well on Sunday night.

So that’s what’s in store (but maybe not so long-winded and with way more fun photos). Just don’t expect daily updates. I may want to be chezp when I grow up, but I’m not grown up yet! I’m not going to post updates here, but if you follow me on Instagram, I’ll post pictures and Insta stories hopefully daily. Send me a request @shastevenson.

See you in 19 or so days!
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Mickey's so happy to see me back, he can barely contain himself!

I'm going to China! And doing a Trip Report!!
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Last edited by PrincessSharon; 10-17-2018 at 07:38 AM..
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