A Princess’s World

‘Disneyland will never be complete. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in this world’ – Walt Disney.Recently Josh and I took advantage of a national holiday and a long weekend to fly to Shanghai for three days. Shanghai is the business capital of China and a city we have wanted to visit since arriving. Shanghai also has a relatively new Disneyland. Josh has already been to DisneyWorld in Florida when he was younger, I have never been to one and being a huge fan of Disney, it made sense to spend one of our three days there.Shanghai is beautiful. Far more beautiful than Beijing. It is a well looked after, clean, metropolitan city. The architecture was so European with some buildings that I quite forgot I was in China, also helped by the armies of foreigners striding down the streets, both tourists and expats. The city is teaming with parks, gardens and well manicured flowerbeds. Beijing has a few parks and trees lining the streets, though these are not areas you can sit in the sun and sip a beer. Shanghai is much more suitable to lap up the good weather with numerous rooftop bars overlooking amazing views across the river. This skyline is my favourite part of the city, the walk down the river was beautiful albeit busy. The promenade was teaming with people, we often had to wait for the best spot at the railings in order to take a photo. On numerous occasions our photos were interrupted by Chinese men eager for a photo with Josh and groups of Chinese girls requesting a picture with me. We have become accustomed to this in Beijing but were more surprised it happened in Shanghai as it is so much more international. Despite the bustle of people – being a national holiday it was particularly overcrowded – Shanghai felt like a proper vacation. It was an easy city to be in, it was straightforward and we experienced no complications. China can be an exhausting country so it was a welcome relief to endure an easy city.The highlight of our Shanghai trip – specifically for myself – was finally entering the world of Disney. I have always wanted to go to Disneyland, a typical girls dream of being a make believe princess. The day was long and hot, the place was rammed, the queues seemed endless and everything was overpriced. I loved every minute. My day was made the moment I stepped in and saw the castle. I loved watching my favourites characters idle by, heard Disney soundtracks on a constant and even received a personal wave from Rapunzel in the parade. (We were the only foreigners in the crowd so it was not hard to pick us out). Shanghai Disneyland was particularly entertaining – and frustrating – with the dominance of the Chinese culture. Younger girls, though some were at least 16, had arrived in full princess costume. I lost track of the number of Elsa’s I witnessed. We were still required for photos (our popularity didn’t drop in the land of make believe), and the queuing system was lost somewhat. The queue’s for rides lasted up to three hours resulting in us only going on two – one of them twice. So we took advantage of the various theatre performances shown, an acrobatics version of Tarzan which involved all dance and music and a sketch of Jack Sparrow. This play was a little lost on us due to being in Chinese however we understood the comedy values enough for it to be amusing and enjoyed watching the reactions of the audience. The end of the day showed a variety of Disney film clips collaborated into one show projected onto the castle. This was absolutely amazing, the scenes and colours were breathtaking and fireworks brilliantly timed. I felt like a child again and found myself becoming overexcited and eagerly pointing out everything I could see. I was in a princess’s world and revelled in it. Finally at the age of 24, my Disney dreams came true.

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