Saturday, 17 December 2016

4 Reasons To Visit Shanghai Disney Resort Now

Disney's newest resort opened to much ceremony in June this year. Having visited every other Disney resort around the globe, this was my sixth and final one (for now at least). Here's why I think this is the best Disney resort in the world to visit right now:

1. It's brand new.

The paint is still drying, everything is new, shiny and lovely. Sure, this can also mean some teething problems, but as this is the sixth park Disney has built, everything has been planned and fine tuned to perfection to create the ultimate Disney experience. This is a hybrid of what is good and works well in every other Magic Kingdom style park around the world, and it shows.

The technology used on the rides is the very latest, and attractions such at Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure are (quite literally) jaw dropping and incredibly immersive. The $5.5 billion price tag of the resort shows.

2. There is more than just Shanghai Disneyland park.

The Shanghai Disney Resort is huge. In the middle is a vast lake called Wishing Star Lake, surrounded by walkways winding through beautiful tranquil gardens, glass bottomed bridges, and outstanding landscaped beauty.

Opposite the park is the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, designed in a stunning Art Nouveau style. Inside are a selection of fine restaurants and bars, including Aurora, overlooking the lake and the huge castle. Add to this the huge Disneytown area, with shops and restaurants aplenty, the Toy Story Hotel the Ecological Green Park where one can go cycling or even canoeing, the Herb Gardens, and the nearby Shanghai Village shopping centre, there is more than just a day-trip's worth of things to do, not even including the park.

3. It's comparatively cheap.

Despite there being negative media attention of the prices at Shanghai Disney Resort, it's still a lot cheaper than any other Disney resort in the world, in my experience. An inexpensive meal including a drink and dessert can be purchased for around 60 yuan, or roughly £7. Not bad for Disney prices. Cost of entry tickets and hotels are also considerably lower than most Disney parks around the world.

4. Chinese people are brilliant.

If there's anything I learned on my visit, it's that Chinese people have a great sense of humour and passion that translates well for a Disney resort. The cast members all looked genuinely happy and proud to be there, and this really makes a difference when comparing to say Disneyland Paris, where the magic isn't quite up to the same level. 

Whether this is opening year enthusiasm remains to be seen, but right now this creates one of the most magical and genuine Disney experiences of any resort.

5 Crazy Things About Copenhagen

Copenhagen had been on my list for a while. Besides discovering how little the Little Mermaid statue really is on my visit, here are 5 things about Copenhagen you may like to know...

1. There are bikes. Lots of them.

It isn't car traffic you need to look out for in Copenhagen. About a third of all citizens in Copenhagen commute to work, school or University. In fact it is said that more people commute by bike in Copenhagen than in the entire USA. It certainly is one of the most cyclist friendly cities; although because of this perhaps the same can't be said for pedestrians. There are dedicated bike lanes, however I nearly got wiped out by cyclists on several occasions, as they appear to come from nowhere at times. Be warned...

2. The metro trains drive themselves.

In Britain this would cause strikes. In Denmark they just use logic. The trains are completely automated, stopping at each station just like any other metro system. No need to have a human doing it. I hopped on at the airport and arrived at the city centre in minutes.There are even large windows at the front and back, allowing action-movie-esque views as the train speeds through the tunnels. Cool.

3. It's expensive.

But not if you are organised. If you do some research there are plenty of places to eat that are less expensive, particularly to the West of the city. Also there are many places you can enjoy for free, such as Kastellet, a fantastic fortress with a beautiful windmill, and of course the statue of The Little Mermaid.

4. It's small.

Which is great, because if you are only planning on visiting the centre, you can pack a lot in to just one day. Most of the main attractions are within walking distance of each other. Despite the aforementioned bikes of doom, it is practical and quick to walk around and soak up the sites.

5. It's super connected.

If you wanted to explore further into Europe, Copenhagen is a good starting point. The Oresund bridge links Copenhagen directly to Malmo in Sweden, which could easily be done in a day. The superb rail links also make Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, and just about anywhere in Europe within easy reach. Of course the rail links within Denmark itself are also superb, with modern, frequent trains, putting the rail network in Britain to shame.