TRIP REPORT: Shanghai Disney Resort (Part 3 – Tomorrowland and Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land)
In the summer of 2018 my partner and I visited the Shanghai Disney Resort as part of a two-week trip to the Chinese city Shanghai. In seven articles, appearing every weekend here at wdwnt.com, I will share our adventure through this newest Disney Resort that opened in 2016. I am writing about the park and its theming, Disneytown, and the hotels. In this third trip report, I will tell you about two lands of Shanghai Disneyland: Tomorrowland and Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land (that opened in 2018).
A Tomorrowland That Will Stand the Test of Time
When going left once you enter the Gardens of Imagination you enter Tomorrowland, a land that is white and shiny throughout the day but really comes to life at night. With two levels, the land feels very open but small. Not that that is a bad thing.
The brightness can be very annoying when the sun is shining, but once it gets darker the land comes alive with neon lights that illuminate the TRON Lightcycle Power Run and the rest of the land. It feels futuristic in an old-fashioned way, and I do not think this is going to be outdated soon. Perhaps this is a Tomorrowland that will stand the test of time.
The main attraction is the TRON Lightcycle Power Run that is also coming to the Magic Kingdom. It is a launch coaster, were guests sit on a Lightcycle. After the launch, the track goes outside and inside again, where you are racing against the yellow team.
The ride is very smooth and filled with thrills. It is definitely one of my favorites and one of many guests in Shanghai Disneyland. Lines are up to 120 minutes throughout the day but fall back to 30 or 40 minutes at night, which is also the best time to go. With the neon vibes of Tomorrowland, you want to make sure you ride this attraction in the dark!
Close to the TRON Lightcycle Power Run is the Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue. This is the Chinese version of a Buzz Lightyear shooter attraction and the technology is very advanced. In contrast to earlier versions of the ride, you can clearly see what targets you are aiming at and which ones you hit. The ride is filled with set pieces of a planet, and although it feels short it is a nice addition to the land (considered space travel still fits in Tomorrowland).
Two attractions we did not do were the Stitch Encounter and the Jet Packs. The Stitch Encounter was only in Mandarin so not really for us, and the Jet Packs are an example of a classic carousel-style ride, only you sit in a jet pack.
The land has two more ‘expos’: the TRON Realm Chevrolet Digital Challenge and the Star Wars Launch Bay. The first is a hall where sponsor Chevrolet exhibits some futuristic designs and were you can play mini-games. The second, located at the back of the land, was closed when were at the Shanghai Disney Resort.
On the Pepsi E-Stage (yes, the Shanghai Disney Resort serves Pepsi instead of Coca-Cola!) Baymax and Hiro appear a couple times a day for a dance show, the Incredibles show up for a photo and at night there is a DJ Party every evening.
For food and beverage, you can grab a snack at Spiral Snacks, the Corndog Cart, or the Popcorn Cart. On our second day, we wanted to have a burger and we went to Stargazer Grill. This restaurant is located on the first floor of Tomorrowland and serves the most Western dishes in the park. We were surprised by the quality of the burger, that we really enjoyed!
There are four shops in the land, located at the exits of the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, and the Star Wars Launch Bay. The merchandise cart called ‘The Light Stuff’ is located close to a pathway that leads to the only land in the park, fully based on just one franchise: Toy Story Land.
Shanghai Disneyland’s First Expansion: Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land
This land is a Toy Story Land as we know it. Guests shrink to the size of toys: attractions are toys, benches are made of wooden ice cream sticks, and Christmas lights are illuminating the land at night. We can also spot the larger-than-life statues of Woody and Jessie welcoming guests.
The land has three attractions. The first you see when entering the land from Tomorrowland is the Slinky Dog Spin, a caterpillar-style ride comparable to the ones in Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland.
The second is Woody’s Roundup, a ride that features horses and carriages and has the same idea as the Alien Swirling Saucers ride. The soundtrack and the theming are nice, and I experienced it with more fun than I thought because of the speed.
The third ride is Rex’s Racer, another copy of Paris and Hong Kong. This is a popular and fun ride, but it is too bad you can see the large, orange track from a lot of places in the park.
So, the attractions are copies and not that special. The land is still fun to visit, in my opinion especially because of the Toy Box Café. This quick service restaurant offers three different counters (themed to Buzz Lightyear, Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head, and Lotso) with different meal options. We took an alien-shaped pizza, with the Mr. Potato Head Lime Honey-Pomelo from the combo. We also tried the Sweet Miranda Float a dessert, a Fanta-like beverage with ice cream in it.
There is one merchandise shop in the land: Al’s Toy Barn. Knowing this place from the films, it is nice to enter the barn that has shrunk to the size of a box for carrying toys. Obviously, most of the products are related to the Toy Story films.
Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land is a nice addition to the park. Considering capacity, it is very welcome there are three more attractions in the park after this expansion.
Next week, we are going behind the Enchanted Storybook Castle, and I will tell you more about Fantasyland.If you have any questions regarding my trip or the Shanghai Disney Resort, do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]
Click below for the earlier trip reports in this series: