Friday, August 11, 2023

Disney around the World - Day 4 Part 1 - Flying to Shanghai China 2018-10-17

Ian - Daddy, when are you going to stop writing about taste tests and write up our big Disney trip? 

I know, I know. That one has gotten away from me. I'm already behind on writing up other travels, and this one is super daunting, knowing there's Shanghai Disneyland, Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland still to go. And after that, Paris Disneyland too! But the kids really want to see the pictures and hear the stories, so, here we go again!

Where were we? What's this trip all about anyway? Well years ago now, Theresa, Ruston, Jacob and I thought it would be awesome to do a trip to all the Disney parks in the world! We held back until Shanghai opened, then waited a little bit for them to get all the kinks settled out. By that time, Theresa and I had kids! Why not go ahead and bring them along! So, we decided to travel to Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Japan all in one massive trip to visit all the Disney parks, plus a little bonus travel. 

I've previously written up our 3 days of travels around Korea, but stopped before we got any further. Now it's time to continue our journey as we fly into China to visit Shanghai Disneyland! And just a reminder that during this trip Alli had just turned 3 the day before this, and Ian was 4 years old.

The kid had both fallen asleep super quick the night before. It had been a busy day exploring the Korea, visiting Namsangol Village, and Lotte World. But the time change is still something they're adjusting to. Ian was awake at 3:30am and Alli wasn't far behind at 5am. Since we had 2 separate rooms, I went over to play with them while T got a little more sleep. If you look, those pencils spell out ALLI. Nice work girl! 

The four of us went upstairs to the lounge for a quick breakfast before starting the day, then it was downstairs to meet Ruston and Jacob. 

All squeezing into an elevator. The kids are in strollers somewhere in there. 

We were rushing to the station to get on the 7:30am express train to the airport. Ruston and Jacob each grabbed one of our suitcases while we pushed the strollers and we took off!

We purchased tickets at 7:18am and rushed down the platform and made it with just a little time to spare! We talked about all the fun we had had at Lotte World the day before. And we hoped that today wouldn't have any unfortunate surprises. You're allowed (at the time we did it) to go into China without a Visa as long as certain conditions are met. Don't meet those conditions and you might not get in! Hopefully our planning was correct!
We also talked about the food in Shanghai, how you're not supposed to drink the water, etc. Theresa suggested fruit, like grapes. Ruston suggested washing them in grape soda. Great idea!

Recycling our metro tickets and getting our deposit back. We planned all our paper money perfectly and only had 5000 ($5) left! 

At the airport with all our stuff. Jacob and Ruston were super helpful to pull our bags along. Not bad though that we're all pretty much living out of 1 bag each for the whole 2 week trip! Including folding up the strollers and making them fit in a bag too!

Pushing the stroller with one hand and pulling a suitcase would have been difficult. 

Checking in for our flight. The agent checked our passports, asked about the Visa for visiting China, understood we were doing the 144 hour no Visa travel, and took the bags that can't go in the overhead. 

Ian wanted to make a tag for his bag. 
Ian - CALUFENU - (Random Numbers) - FLAWRS
I'll definitely be able to recognize that tag buddy. Excellent work. 

A short time later we had made it through security, thanks to the kids. The security personnel saw us with the two of them and waved us into the priority lane. Excellent! Where do we go from here? 

Well it wasn't too long before we noticed a very helpful robot making her way through the terminal autonomously! This is AirStar

Not only can we take pictures with her...

But she can also take pictures of us! 

Thank you AirStar!

Wait, is there something else you can help us with? 

Ian has been seeing advertisements for special donuts at Dunkin Donuts while we've been here. Is there a Dunkin here at the airport? 

There is! AirStar helpfully showed us a map of where to go along with expected walk time and distance! You're so helpful AirStar! 

And here we are!

Just the donuts we are looking for! Sesame Street! Aren't they adorable? We'll hold on to these for just a little bit until we got on the airplane. 

The kids took some time to explore one of the playgrounds in the terminal. 

We've got one more place we want to check out in the airport before our flight leaves. As we walked there we saw where AirStar takes a rest. 

Here we go! The Priority Lounge! Theresa and Jacob were able to get most of us in, but since Alli just turned 3 yesterday she's over the age limit and has to pay $17! That's okay though. Look at all this tasty food!

So many fixins.

Ooooh. I spy meat! A giant pot of Korean bulgogi! I've been missing out on the meat while we've been here!

I might have gone back for 2-3 plates of it... And look at the Milkis drink! Ian has really fond memories of that delicious soda! We just did a taste test to try 6 different flavors of Milkis!

Between Theresa and the two kids, they ate so much seaweed and rice! Definitely in their happy place right now. It was a really good stop and the lounge here in Seoul. 
As we left the lounge, Alli was repeating Kamsamnida (Thank You) to the workers there a lot! 

We left the lounge just as they started boarding for our flight. No, that's not our door going into the First Class section. We're a little further back in coach. 

This is us! Four seats in the middle and 2 by the window for Ruston and Jacob. As soon as we sat down, the stewardesses brought the kids activity books to keep them entertained for the 2.5 hour flight to Shanghai. 

It wasn't long before the meals came out. The kids were able to get special meals ordered ahead of time. A Cheeseburger for Ian and Fried Rice for Alli. Seeing mine after it came out, next time I want to order a kids meal! 
Theirs did come with a cookie though. Ian saw the package and asked what it was. Theresa, having already tried Alli's said it was a d-i-s-g-u-s-t-i-n-g cookie.  
Ian -ooh yum! 
All he heard was cookie.

The kids meals also came with a banana smoothie juice box. That's not a flavor I'm used to seeing in a juice box here in America. Like most juice boxes though, it was a little weak, but it did have a unique flavor. 

With the meals out of the way it's time for donuts! 

Elmo for Ian. 

And someone is really looking forward to her donut. 

At least the topping from the donut. 

I just had to laugh when she was "done" with it. That's a really good job eating the frosting and barely any actual donut Alli. 

The rest of the flight was uneventful. Having two kids between us made for a very spacious flight in coach. 

Ruston took a few pictures as we flew. 

And look at that. We're in China!

Exiting the plane, we got a feel for the pushing and shoving that was to come. It's interesting how different cultures do things. We let it slip right on by as just how things are done here and eventually made it off the plane. 

But check it out! We're in Shanghai! 

I don't have many pictures of the security areas after getting off the plane since it's frowned upon. I know we walked through a thermal scanner (this was back in 2018) that took our temperature. We were fingerprinted then walked over to the Visa check. When we were visiting, there was a rule (might still be) that is you have a flight in to China, then were leaving to another new destination (so not a round trip), you didn't need a visa as long as your stay was less than 144 hours. We had filled out the form that was handed to us on the airplane, but turns out we need something different for the 144 hour visa. The officers checked to see our departure flights and that everything was in order and a short time later (way shorter than any of us had expected) we were officially in China! 

In preparation for the trip, we'd watched many travel videos of things to be mindful of while you're in different places. One of them was the Taxi scam where people hang out in the departure area trying to get you into their cars where they charge non-standard rates to take you to the hotels. We walked past a few offers from people wanting us to go with them and made it to the official taxi stands. It was color coded based on the zones you were going to. Police officers worked the area making sure things were proper there. Because there's 6 of us, we hopped into 2 cars and showed the drivers our destination. Disneyland! 
Jacob, Alli, and I were in 1 car, with the other 3 in the other car. Jacob followed our route on the phone to make sure we didn't go on an extra long path. 

I was surprised she stayed awake on the airplane. It didn't take long before she fell asleep on the ride to the hotel. 

Theresa and Jacob had a play-by-play going for the whole car drive. I think the travel videos we watched made us a little spooked, but everything worked out great. We made great time to the hotel and the rides were relatively cheap. 

Bellhops quickly took our luggage and we were led inside the lobby of the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel! That's right! We are staying in style! (also helped that Ruston got Friends and Family discounts at the hotel)  

The kids were quickly given two suckers each. I can't be sure, but I think since it's near Halloween everyone has extra treats to give away. 

Arriving around 1:30pm, our rooms weren't quite ready yet. The concierge took our luggage and offered to give us a tour of the hotel. 

The grand lobby. 

Giving stickers to the kids. 

Going over a few park maps. 

Walking over to the pool. It's a very small pool, but it's nice and clean. 

With lots of details about the quality of the water. 

Even the person working the pool had suckers to give away. 

Thank you!

So truthfully, we were expecting things to take a whole lot longer this morning. The luggage, customs, the taxi, everything! Our plan was to lie low and recover for the day and hit things hard tomorrow. But since our rooms aren't ready yet and because everyone is feeling good, why not go visit Shanghai Disneyland early!

Our concierge James has been awesome. He showed us around the hotel and the pools. Waited for the kids as we stopped by the restroom. Once we decided we were going into the park today, he started handing us bottles of water and bottles of water into the stroller. He walked us to the elevators, rode down with us, and walked us over to the ferry. Actually when he saw the ferry was leaving soon, he started running to get the ferry to wait. Really above and beyond! 

Ready to board the ferry. 

Here were are! It's been a busy morning, but now we're about to go to a brand new Disney park! Shanghai Disneyland! 

I spy with my little eye something blue and white! It's a giant Donald Duck! 
And what else do I see poking out over the horizon. Shanghai Disneyland Castle! I'm so excited! 
We'll end this post here with the next one to follow soon (I really hope!)

1 comment:

  1. Nice job, Ian, for giving Daddy a "little nudge" to write some more on the big Disney trip, instead of another taste test (lol) :-) :-) Wow...your concierge, James, was amazing...running & holding up the ferry so your group could make it safely onboard was definitely going above and beyond his duties! The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel grand lobby looked spectacular...very "grand"!! Your entire group planned so well for this overseas trip safety-wise (e.g., Jacob followed the route on his phone to make sure an unexpected "scenic" tour didn't happen on the way to the hotel, the play-by-play between T and Jacob to discourage any "unusual" happenings)...better to be overly cautious than under!!...impressed! Amazing, too, how you managed to pack/carry two strollers and 1 suitcase each for a 2 week trip. Those Sesame Street donuts are one of the cutest things I've seen...Alli knows the best and only part of a donut to eat :-) Can sense the excitement building up for those first steps into Shanghai Disneyland, now that the castle is in view! EOM