Saturday, 7 October 2017

Shanghai Disneyland vs Hong Kong Disneyland

With the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, there are now 2 Disneyland resorts in Chinese speaking countries. However, there are some distinct differences between Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland, both in terms of concept and attraction lineup. For those of you who can only afford to visit one park, the question will be: which one is better?


Key differences

Before I continue with the actual park battle, let us first explore some key differences between the 2 parks.

Shanghai Disneyland
Hong Kong Disneyland
All attractions in Chinese
Attractions can be in English, Cantonese or Chinese.
A lot of walking between attractions
Minimal walking between attractions
Many walk-through/small scale attractions to complement large signature rides
Mostly mid-sized signature rides with a few kids rides
Large scale, Broadway style shows
Smaller scale theatre shows
Mostly Chinese guests
A lot of Chinese guests, but with a surge of Indian guests during their tourist season
Ticket price varies, cheaper during off season
Ticket price fixed throughout the year. Look here for how to save money at HKDL!

Roller Coasters


Mine Trains: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train vs Big Grizzly Mountain


This is a no contest win for me. Big Grizzly Mountain offers so much more: drop, launch, special effects and even a backwards portion. It is also a long ride. Seven dwarfs mine train does have some interesting features like the rocking seats, but the storytelling is weaker and gem stone scene feels quite out of place.

Current Tally: 0:1


Indoor Coasters: Tron Coaster vs Space Mountain


This is an interesting match up. Space Mountain has a longer ride but Tron is more intense. I think that Tron is a somewhat better ride simply because the motorcycle seats are quite interesting and the ride building is really, really beautiful. Not to mention, Tron Coaster is now Disney's fastest roller coaster!

Current Tally: 1:1


Water Rides


Thrilling water ride: Pirates of the Caribbean vs Jungle Cruise


Come on, I am sure you know the winner. We are pitting a 50 year old classic against one of the most innovative new water rides ever built. Seriously, Pirates of the Caribbean ride allows you to experience diving underwater, dodge cannonballs in a naval battle and even has a backwards water coaster drop!

Current Tally: 2:1


Family Boat ride: Crystal Grotto vs It's a Small World


I really struggled with this one, not because both attractions are good. Voyage to the Crystal grotto was one big missed opportunity for Disney the whole ride basically contains generic scenes from various Disney cartoons. Its a small world is not much better, repeating a single song for the entire ride and featuring relatively repetitive scenes. I give a slight edge to Voyage of the Crystal Grotto only because the ride is less repetitive.

Current Tally: 3:1


Rapids Ride: Raging Rapids


Shanghai Disneyland also has a rapids ride called Raging Rapids, which is unlike anything that Hong Kong Disneyland has to offer. Oh yes, the lizard like monster is scary!

Current Tally: 4:1


Family Rides


Indoor Dark Ride: Peter Pan's Flight vs Mystic Manor


Peter Pan's flight has some interesting scenes, such as the flying into the sky scene where you really see the buildings getting smaller and further away. However, I think it is blown away by Mystic Manor. Mystic Manor is a longer ride, has lots of special effects and the ride vehicles dance around each other. Not to mention: the ride experience is different each time.

Current Tally: 4:2


Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Lightyear



Both Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland features a Winnie the Pooh dark ride and Buzz Lightyear shooting ride. Although the Shanghai version has some new features, I think they are similar enough that both parks will get 1 point each for these rides.

Current Tally: 6:4


Simulator Ride: Soarin over the Horizon vs Iron Man


Soarin over the Horizon is better. For anyone who has seen my post on Hong Kong Disneyland's Iron Man Experience, you will know that it is quite a mediocre ride. While Soarin over the Horizon has some flaws, such as the distorted screen, it is a more enjoyable and unique experience.

Current Tally: 7:4


Shows


Fantasy: Frozen - a Sing Along Celebration vs Mickey's Storybook


This is an easy victory for Mickey's Storybook show at Hong Kong Disneyland. This is a real show, whereas the Frozen show is actually like glorified a sing along session.

Current Tally: 7:5


Adventure: Tarzan - Call of the Jungle vs Festival of the Lion King


This one is interesting. Festival of the Lion King used to be one of the best Disney amphitheater show productions. However, Tarzan - Call of the Jungle just blows it away. The Tarzan show combines acrobatics, speechless drama and a tinge of Chinese humour to deliver a visually stunning show with deep storyline. I think it is the best show at any Disney theme park... no...at any theme park.

Current Tally: 8:5


Stunt: Captain Jack's Stunt Spectacular


Shanghai Disneyland also has a Pirates of the Caribbean themed stunt show which Hong Kong Disneyland cannot counter

Current Tally: 9:5



3D: Mickey's Philharmagic

Hong Kong Disneyland has a 3D show called Mickey's Philharmagic, which Shanghai Disneyland has nothing similar.

Current Tally: 9:6


Signature Shows


Day Parade: Mickey Storybook Express vs Flight of Fantasy


Although both parades are quite impressive with a good lineup of floats and nice costumes, I have to give it to Hong Kong Disneyland's flight of fantasy for one reason: the actors are more friendly and actively interact with the guests.

Current Tally: 9:7


Night Parade: Paint the Night


Hong Kong Disneyland is one of very few theme parks in the world to have a night parade. Trust me, if you like the day parade, you will be truly mesmerised by Paint the Night Parade.

Current Tally: 9:8


Fireworks: Ignite the Dream vs Disney in the Stars


This is a tough one. Shanghai Disneyland's Ignite the Dream features musical fountains and screen projection on top of the standard fireworks. It is also a longer show. However, I will give the title to Disney in the Stars for several reasons. Firstly, the fireworks are more concentrated. Secondly, the show plays a lot of nice classic Disney songs. Third, the musical fountain at Shanghai Disneyland's show is only visible to the front few rows of guests.

Current Tally: 9:9


Special Attractions


Shanghai Disneyland has a far stronger lineup including a height elements adventure course, an indoor interactive play area and no less than 3 full sized play structures. This is on top of the standard kids rides that are found at both Shanghai and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Current Tally: 10:9


Other Considerations


Landscaping

Disney is known for impeccable theming, so the quality of the landscaping is a very important element. If you experienced in person, you will know that Shanghai Disneyland has much more extensive and immersive landscaping than Hong Kong Disneyland. I mean, just look at the volcano at Adventure Isle...


Current Tally: 12:9


Staff

I personally found the staff at Hong Kong Disneyland a lot more friendly and welcoming. The staff at Shanghai looks very overworked and many of them are very tired. Also, staff at Hong Kong can speak English, Cantonese and Chinese. How many theme parks around the world can offer a full multilingual staff?

Current Tally: 12:11


Operations

This is quite tough. Hong Kong Disneyland have a better queue management system. I also prefer Hong Kong's system of issuing Fastpasses at the entrance of the ride rather than a a centralised point. However, Shanghai Disneyland has some innovative practices like a toilet pass system that allows guests in long lines to leave for the toilet and return back to the same point in the queue. TIE

Current Tally: 13:12


Amenities

Both parks are very well equipped in terms of toilets, water coolers and family friendly amenities. However, I like the ones at Hong Kong Disneyland more because the locations are more intuitive and the capacity to guest ratio is better. Oh yes, Hong Kong Disneyland has 100% sitting toilets unlike Shanghai which is 50% sitting and 50% squatting.

Current Tally: 13:14



AND SO THE WINNER IS:


Basically, Hong Kong Disneyland won because it feels more like a theme park. You will really enjoy a day there even though the attractions may not be stellar. Shanghai Disneyland has a far better attraction lineup, but you can be really stressed out and worn out if you want to experience a day there. 

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

HK's Historic Transport: Ding Ding and Star Ferry

Hong Kong's modern public transport system consists mainly of buses and the MTR. However, tt is also known for it's historic transport systems: A electric streetcar called the Ding Ding, and the green coloured ferries that people used to cross the harbour, known today as Star Ferry. What makes these historic systems unique is that they are still used by daily commuters!


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Hong Kong Railway Museum and Tai Po Market

Before the widespread development of roads in the mid 20th century, the main form of transportation for many industrialised countries are railways. Today, I visited the Hong Kong Railway Museum to find out more about how the railway helped shape the city. While I was there, I also visited a couple of sites at Tai Po Market.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jet Ski in Dameisha Beach, Shenzhen

China is not well known for beautiful beaches...or is it? Shenzhen, a major city in the Pearl River Delta, has a decent collection of good quality beaches. Among these, Dameisha is one of the largest, is free of charge to enter and also the nearest from the city center! In addition to sand and sea, it also offers water sports activities like jet ski, snorkeling and parasailing, albeit in a very...theme park style...as I should explain later.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Jinjiang Action Park: the RCT3 theme park!

Jinjiang Action Park 锦江乐园 is a AAAA attraction located in Shanghai, China. It features a world class roller coaster, a huge observation wheel and several other attractions. But for me, this theme park has the distinction of being very similar to a theme park designed in Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, from the rides and ticketing system to the stalls and decorations.