A magical match! A comparison of the Disneylands in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris

A magical match! A comparison of the Disneylands in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris

It’s the most magical rumble out there – which Disneyland reigns supreme?

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The Tron Lightcycle Power Run ride in Shanghai makes the visit to the Disneyland there worth the visit. Photo: SCMP

Disneyland is known as the happiest place on Earth – but which, out of the Disneylands in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Paris, is actually the happiest? There can only be one winner and only one way to find out, so Tiffany Choi went to all three to compare what sort of experience each park gave their visitors. Aren’t you glad we’ve done all the necessary legwork for you?

Rides

1st: Shanghai Disneyland
2nd: Disneyland Paris
3rd: Hong Kong Disneyland

Being the newest kid on the block in the Disney Resort family, Shanghai Disneyland beats the other two soundly because it contains the latest technology. The Tron Lightcycle Power Run would earn Shanghai Disneyland the top spot, even without all the other rides.

The traditional roller-coaster ride seats you’d expect are replaced with motorcycle-style seats – so Tron Lightcycle is more like riding a motorbike than sitting on a ride. You are still strapped in, but you’re facing forwards as though you’re on a Harley.

Shanghai Disneyland, the newest kid on the block, offers the latest technology.
Photo: Xinhua

There’s no stand-out ride in Disneyland Paris, but to give the French capital’s theme park credit, they do have Space Mountain in their arsenal. The Paris-based version, unlike the ones in other Disneyland parks, has a section outside where you get to see the whole of the park from a high vantage point. You don’t get much time to appreciate the view though – after a few seconds you’re then shot, like a speeding bullet, out of a steampunk-like cannon and into the indoor roller coaster.

Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t a bad park – but the lack of space means they’ve had to make compromises here and there in terms of rides. The Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars that rumble through Grizzly Gulch is the park’s biggest thrill. It’s similar to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad attractions at many other Disney parks, and even has a section where the ride goes backwards.


5 best rides at Shanghai Disneyland and how to plan your day to avoid the queues


Food

1st: Shanghai Disneyland
2nd: Disneyland Paris
3rd: Hong Kong Disneyland

In Shanghai Disneyland, you can eat in the Enchanted Storybook Castle, just like real princesses do. Probably.

In the castle’s Royal Banquet Hall, Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse regularly pop by to greet you as you dine. The dishes are well presented and Disney-themed – but all that awesomeness doesn’t come cheap: you’re looking at about 500 yuan (HK$581) per person.

In Paris Disneyland, you have the Auberge de Cendrillon, or Cinderella’s Inn, which features “fairytale enchantment over fine French cuisine, all served in surroundings fit for little princes and princesses”, according to their website. Like Shanghai’s Royal Banquet Hall, Disney characters wander around for photo ops and autographs, but it lacks that extra special sparkle that eating in a castle gives you.

In Hong Kong, the best food spot is probably Corner Cafe, where you get a stunning view of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. The food is average though, and characters don’t stroll through.


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App

1st: Shanghai Disneyland
Joint 3rd: Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland

There’s no denying that apps make life so much easier – and having a Disney app makes a visit to Disneyland so much better. It’s something that can be said for all three park-specific apps. Some apps are more impressive than others, though, and Shanghai Disneyland wins again with theirs. Not only does it provide interactive maps and waiting time estimates like the other two do, it also offers you info on where to get Fastpass tickets, and provides an online catalogue of Disney merchandise available throughout the park.

Location and accessibility

1st: Hong Kong Disneyland
Joint 3rd: Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland

All three parks are situated a fair way away from the centre of the cities they take their names from, but when you look at accessibility, Hong Kong Disneyland beats them all hands down. With the city’s extensive MTR and bus networks, a trip to Hong Kong Disneyland is as easy as ABC. Unless you’re staying in their Disney hotels, the Disneylands in Shanghai and Paris are in much harder-to-reach areas, and transport to the parks can be much more expensive than you’d think.

Edited by Ginny Wong

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Battle of the Disneylands

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