What is your hobby? Do you collect anything? Do you play sports or play music? Do you like working on cars? What if you can do more of that?
It’s no secret. My wife and I are Disney fans. Ever since we got married, we’ve gone to a Disney park every single year. We went to Disneyland’s 60th anniversary with our friends in 2015 and 2016. We went to Disney World again because we couldn’t do everything on our first trip. We experienced the Summer celebration in Tokyo Disneyland with more friends. If you have any questions about Disney parks, just ask!
We had a fun goal of going to every single Disney park in the world. These are the goals that drives us when we are children, before we entered the real world and started thinking about adult responsibilities. Do you still have childhood dreams? If so write it down and make it happen! I never thought I would be able to visit every single Disney Park it before I turned 30!
We finished the last park this year!
Overcoming Obstacles for Shanghai Disneyland
There was a few obstacles. Shanghai Disneyland just opened in China last year. If you are a US Citizen like us, you need a Visa to fly there.
Because Shanghai Disneyland just opened in 2016, tickets were selling out fast during the time we went. We booked the hotel the minute tickets were available. We were fortunate to visit Shanghai Disneyland a month after it launched.
Overcoming Obstacles for Disneyland Paris
Growing up in Hawaii, going to Europe seemed like a dream. The average flight is around $2,000 per person and there is ton of traveling.
Most of my international business was in Asia not in Europe and it is the furthest Disneyland from Hawaii. When our friend invited us to for a business retreat at their hotel in the Czech Republic, we used miles to go there and we booked a flight from Czech Republic to Paris for less than $100 each.
There are a total of 12 Disney Parks in the world in 6 different cities.
- Anaheim, California – The Original Disneyland & California Adventure
- Orlando, Florida – Walt Disney World (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios)
- Tokyo, Japan – Tokyo Disneyland & DisneySea
- Hong Kong – Hong Kong Disneyland
- Shanghai, China – Shanghai Disneyland
- Paris, France – Disneyland Paris & Hollywood Studios
A couple years ago, I shared about our experience in the first three cities: Anaheim, Orlando, and Tokyo. Today, I am sharing about the last three cities: Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Paris.
Shanghai Disneyland – August 2016
Cassy and I saw the plans for Shanghai Disneyland at Disneyworld in 2015. We took a picture of us with the castle they were going to build for our “Dream Board.” A year later we were there.
Every one knew it was going to be massive. A lot of people feared that it was going to get crazy. Our experience was great and their quality is like every other Disneyland. There are a lot of highlights that may make this Disneyland stand out. The castle is HUGE. It is the biggest Disney castle in the world. There are a ton of shops and restaurants in it.
The rides are fantastic. It was the first Disney park to feature the Soarin Over the World (Instead of flying over California, you fly over the world).
It features the best Pirates of the Carribean ride in the world! I’ve gone to all of them. This isn’t your ordinary dark ride, the room is so massive, you feellike you are outside. I believe Buzzfeed misattributed this ride to Hong Kong Disenyland. I assure you the epic Pirates ride is in Shanghai, not in Hong Kong.
It has the TRON ride where you are sitting like you would on a motorcycle.
The food in and outside of the park was great and the merchandise was on point (afterall, this is China).
When the park opened, there was some bad publicity. There were reports saying that it was over crowded or a problem with Chinese cultures. I’ve seen Disney fans bash Shanghai Disneyland because the experience isn’t the same.
I’ve experienced these cultural differences, for example in line, people don’t give you personal space. I was in a show, where 15 minutes in, a whole bunch of people got up and left. There was a child urinating in public. I could choose to be offended or I could appreciate being there. I admit, i was a little upset at first. However, I saw this older couple with their family on the Soarin over the World ride. Their expressions were just like a child riding the ride for the first time. You can tell it was their first experience, when they were lifted off the ground, they reacted as if they were flying. They had so much joy. It was then I realized, this is the first Disneyland in China. This is the first time they’ve ever experienced something like this. Shanghai Disneyland wasn’t built for Disney snobs, it was built to the magic with the world. It was built for China, more than it was built for foreigners like me.
I enjoyed my experience. Although, I admit it is the hottest Disneyland I’ve been to. Shanghai in the summer isover 100 degrees Fareinheit. The good news is you can satay indoors and since everyone is in doors a lot of the walk ways aren’t crowded. The pollution wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, butif you’ve never been to China, you may not be used to the air quality. We stayed at the new Toy Story hotel which had the view of the castle. Most of the staff spoke English. Outside of Shanghai Disneyland is a different story.
Hong Kong Disneyland – August 2016
We attended our essential oil Asia conference in Hong Kong. We had a few business meetings so we only had one free day to go to Disneyland. Unfortunately, a typhoon warning was issued, the day we chose to go to Disneyland. We were bummed out. It looked pretty bad. A lot of places were closed. As we were eating in a restaurant away from our hotel, we checked our phone just in case Disneyland reopened. We thought it was a typo. It said it was open! It was hard to believe Disneyland would open just for a half day especially since there was a typhoon warning. We immediately took the MTR (Mass transit), to Disneyland. We went to the ticket booth. It was opened. The cast member told us that all the outdoor entertainment like parades, shows, and some of the rides would be closed. We didn’t mind, we just wanted to go to Disneyland.
The park was virtually empty. If you were to rent out the entire park, this is how it would feel like. Our first ride was the Mystic Manor (Their version of Haunted Mansion) ride. There was NO LINE. We were the only guest there. As the day progressed, more rides opened. We got to ride the outdoor rides in Toy Story land. These had rides only available there and Disneyland Paris. My favorite part of Hong Kong Disneyland was the Mickey and the Magical Lamp indoors show where they spoke Cantonese and English.
Not only did the rides re open, they had the fireworks show. We had a full Disneyland experience which was better because the park wasn’t busy! It was Hong Kong Disneyland’s 10th Anniversary.
Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disneyland. It has a lot of the rides guest are familiar with and the castle is virtually the same as California (they will change it in the future). It is the least expensive Disneyland. Senior citizens can go there for less than 25 USD! It exceeded my expectations. The first time I went to Hong Kong in 2007, I was advised not to go to Hong Kong Disneyland because Ocean Park, a Hong Kong theme park was better. If you are Disney fans like us and you are in Hong Kong, you have to at least go there once. It’s different. The empty park experience definitely made our visit magical!
Disneyland Paris – May 2017
The hotel AND the park tickets for the two of us was around 700USD for 5 Nights! Technically, Disneyland Paris is in Marne-la-Valee, a town near Paris, but the RER (Mass transit), made it easy to get around. We got an unlimited week pass for less than 25 USD.
We saw the Eiffel Tower, went to the Louvre and Versailles, and did some sight seeing. We also did a lot of DISNEY!!! We normally don’t stay at Disney for more than two days. This was our first time having passes for 5 days and being on site. It was definitely the way to complete our Disneyland run!
Disneyland Paris was celebrating their 25th anniversary. We also went to the Exclusive Star Wars Party! I wore my Mickey Ears from California which no one had. I bought some exclusive 25th anniversary merch.
What’s your hobbies? We’d love to hear from you? Make your childhood dreams a reality!
I look forward to hearing your stories of how your dream came true!
To read about the year we visited Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland, click here.