TRIP REPORT: Shanghai Disney Resort (Part 4 – Fantasyland and the Enchanted Storybook Castle)
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 fourth trip report, I will discuss the Chinese version of Fantasyland, and the Enchanted Storybook Castle including Royal Banquet Hall restaurant.
Adventures in the Shadows of the Enchanted Storybook Castle
In the shadows of the largest Disney castle, lies a huge Fantasyland that almost feels like a theme park on its own. Walking from one side to the other can take several minutes and this walk should not be underestimated. I really liked this, because the land feels like a distinct area from the rest, as a themed land should be.
Just behind the castle lie the attractions Voyage to the Crystal Grotto and Peter Pan’s Flight. These are located in the part of the land that resembles a medieval village, including souvenir shops like the Be Our Guest Boutique and Mickey and Minnie’s Mercantile.
Voyage to the Crystal Grotto is a boat ride with a skipper, that brings you to several scenes were famous Disney characters can be found. Fountains and lights (at night) bring kinetics to this ride that ends under the Enchanted Storybook Castle, in the Crystal Grotto.
The ride is very nice because of its uniqueness. Make sure you get a seat in the back, so you can easily watch left and right at the different scenes.
Peter Pan’s Flight was an improved version from the ones we know, and I loved it. Seeing this new version was incredible in comparison to the original.
The show building is much larger, so there is more space for the different scenes and that is a huge pro. The classic ride is enhanced with different technologies that facilitate Peter Pan and the Darling family flying with you over London. I am aware screens are not always the best option, but I believe it works out great in this new version of Peter Pan’s Flight.
Walking Further in Fantasyland
When leaving the medieval village, you come across a large theater where the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration takes place. We skipped this show because it is only in Mandarin and we do not speak this language.
A little further, there is a Winnie the Pooh mini-land, containing the Hunny Pot Spin (a spinning tea cup variant) and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (which was rebuilt as it was in 1999). This last one is a nice ride, but in comparison to Peter Pan’s Flight it is too bad that Disney did not upgrade this experience.
The shop at the exit, called Hundred Acre Goods, looks great!
After your visit to Winnie the Pooh, you’ll likely come to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This family coaster has a different last scene in comparison to the Magic Kingdom version, but the overall experience is mostly the same.
It is one of the most popular rides in Shanghai Disneyland and lines can be around three hours. Most of the lines in Shanghai Disneyland have fans over the waiting areas, but this one is outside, and I do not recommend entering it when the sun is shining in the middle of the day. We did the ride three times, two times with Fastpass, one time in the evening when the line was around 15 minutes. Again: lines become a lot shorter when the evening falls!
Our walk though Fantasyland ends at the right side of the castle, is an Alice in Wonderland Maze, this one themed to the Tim Burton movies. It is a nice walkthrough if you know the movies, but the maze itself is not that challenging.
Food and Beverage in Fantasyland
Spread out throughout Fantasyland are several food carts where you can grab a quick snack and a drink. There is also a picknick area called Festival Forest, but this was closed. I do not exactly know why, but it did not really fit since bringing your own food into the park is not allowed.
Before I go further about the Enchanted Storybook Castle, there are two restaurants I would like to discuss: Pinocchio Village Kitchen and Tangled Tree Tavern.
Once entering Pinocchio Village Kitchen, you get to choose between different counters where they serve different dishes. We chose to enter the line for pizza and took Mickey shaped pizzas with in the flavors Peking duck and Hawaii. Both tasted fine, and I definitely recommend the Peking duck if you like to try something new. Together with this, we received an Olaf ice cream that tasted like chewing gum. The dining area is nice and fits the Pinocchio theme.
Tangled Tree Tavern is also a counter service option, with a slightly different formula. There are two dining areas that are located outside. We do not remember what we ordered exactly, but as you can see on the photo it looked great and so was the taste. The tavern itself is decorated with many details and it really feels like The Snuggly Duckling from the movie. If you like Tangled, I would say this is a great place to look around and eventually have a meal!
The Enchanted Storybook Castle
Although you can see it best from the Gardens of Imagination, the Enchanted Storybook Castle stands in Fantasyland. The biggest castle of them all does not belong to one princess, but to all the Disney Princesses. The castle has three ‘attractions’, one restaurant, and two shops. I will discuss the Royal Banquet Hall Restaurant in the next part of this article.
You can walk around and in the castle. In the ‘courtyard’, there are murals of Frozen, Brave, The Princess and the Frog, and Tangled. This is a place where many people search for some shadow during the day, which makes it very crowded.
The first attraction in (or under) the castle is Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, where the boats enter a cave under the castle. If you wish to walk in it, you can do the “Once Upon A Time” Adventure. The line for this walkthrough goes through a hall where the emblems of the princesses hang on the wall. Once you enter the attraction, you come across multiple small statues of them.
Then starts the story of Snow White, that is told with screens and decors. It is a nice walk in the castle, especially fun if you like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (although the Dwarfs are skipped in this version of the story).
The third ‘attraction’ is the Storybook Court, the character encounter experience with the princesses. Also, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique can be found inside the castle, as well as Crystal Treasures. Artisans work on glass souvenirs and this is the place to buy some jewelry.
Dining at Royal Banquet Hall
The castle is also the location of the only table service restaurant in Shanghai Disneyland: Royal Banquet Hall. This is a Character Dining experience. We ate and drank for around $60 per person, which I thought was a very reasonable price for a three-course menu and a drink.
The restaurant has five different rooms, themed to Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Tiana and Mulan (the last one only for special celebrations with groups). We ate in the Aurora room. After dinner, we asked if we could walk around and our waitress gladly showed us all the rooms and explained the details about them. That was a very nice gesture!
Below you can see our meal. As a starter, we ate a crab cake topped with mango salsa, and the Royal Chef’s Salad with grilled chicken.
As a main, we got the braised abalone and pork belly in soya sauce, and the barbecue pork rib with Mickey hash brown. The first is an Asian dish, and our waitress politely asked me what I thought of it.
As a dessert, we took Cinderella’s Chocolate Slipper (I mean, look at that!) and Prince Charming’s Chocolate Trio.
When the food is good, you want to share this with friends. Luckily Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy were around in beautiful medieval outfits for a quick picture. See here some of our favorite photos of our trip:
During your meal, you get the chance to go downstairs where there is a princess waiting for you. Most of the time this is Aurora and we also got to meet her. The best thing of this meet is that there is a PhotoPass photographer, and you get to download these photos for free in the app.
Especially in Shanghai, a city with not that much opportunities to sit down, relax, and eat, the Royal Banquet Hall was a welcome change for us. We enjoyed our meal, and because the prices for a menu are not that high I recommend it to any other guest.
And this is it for Fantasyland! Next week, we will set sail, and I will discuss the first pirate-themed land in a Disney Park: Treasure Cove.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: