Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai, China
Well shoot. Six months ago, we started a travel guide for a faraway Disney Resort and insisted that it wouldn't suffer the fate of our Walt Disney World travel guide years ago that lasted all of exactly one update. And now... well... it's been six months. But hey, you're reading this today, so we're actually going to best our previous Disney travel guide by 100%!
Yes, we're back at Shanghai Disneyland to belatedly continue our look inside the park. Our introduction post provided a lot of information for how to get to the Shanghai Disney Resort and the Resort amenities, so make sure to read that first if you missed it back in June. Today, we explore Mickey Avenue, the "Main Street" of Shanghai Disneyland, and take a look at its charming melding of aesthetics.
Like most Disney park entry areas, there isn't much in the way of actual attractions at Mickey Avenue. In fact, there aren't even any motorized rides. Guests entering the park will find a familiar giant Mickey floral that serves as a popular photo op. Shanghai Disneyland Guest Services is located immediately to the right.
Moving further in takes guests under the archways of what looks like a familiar-looking railroad station--only there is no railroad station in Mickey Avenue. There isn't even a railroad in the park. The traditional example of American iconography has been removed at Disney's latest Magic Kingdom in a gesture toward limiting overt Western influence and navigating the complex socio-political sphere of doing business in mainland China. It makes for a bit of an awkward pass-through for those who are accustomed to other Magic Kingdoms. Expecting something to be there, only to find it not, is a bit odd, to be sure. On the other hand, the framed view straight to the Enchanted Storybook Castle, unobstructed by any centered flag pole or gazebo, is certainly appreciated.
Looking for street cars or vehicles or horse-drawn trolleys? Unfortunately, those don't exist in Mickey Avenue or Shanghai Disneyland at all either. Again, these elements were left out to keep the park "distinctly Chinese."
Instead, at the end of Mickey Avenue and to the left, near the secondary park entrance from the Disneytown shopping district, there is Mickey's Film Festival, Shanghai's take on the traditional Main Street Cinema. Located inside the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, this little movie house curates a selection of short cartoons featuring Mickey and his friends.
The rest of the area--which is much more truncated than the traditional Main Street and actually stretches a length closer to that of Buena Vista Street--serves as storefront for a variety of stores and restaurants that serve arriving guests in the morning and the last departing guests at night.
There are 4 restaurants and quick serve locations in Mickey Avenue, all along or close to the Gardens of Imagination edge. (Well, 5 if you count Shanghai Disneyland's Club 33--yes, there's a Club 33 there, too.)
Mickey & Pals Market Cafe and Rémy's Patisserie--located next to each other on the right side of Mickey Avenue along the parade route that arcs around the central Gardens of Imagination--make up the quick serve meal options at Mickey Avenue. It should be noted that pretty much every sit-down restaurant in the park is quick serve, since the concept of a more formal and pricier longer-stay dining restaurant would be too expensive for most of Shanghai Disneyland's target demographic. Those who want ice cream and sundaes can opt for Il Paperino, which satisfies those with a sweet tooth. Rounding out the food offerings is Chip & Dale's Treehouse Treats, which offers basic snack items for those on the run.
As one would expect from the first land one enters going into a park, Mickey Avenue has plenty of stores and boutiques for people's souvenir-seeking pleasure. After all, it's not a magical and epic trip to a Disney park without coming home with bags full of mementos and gifts and merchandise!
The entire left half of Mickey Avenue forms the sprawling Avenue M Arcade, which functions effectively like the Emporium store at most other Disney Magic Kingdoms. A large collection of most of the Disney wares available can be found here, from clothing to pins to collectibles and jewelry. Even though the storefronts of this side show several imaginary facades--including a familiar-looking anchor that looks suspiciously similar to the Carthey Circle Restaurant tower--inside, they're all part of one long, singular shop.
The right side is a little more broken up. Carefree Corner, the first outpost guest see to their right after cross under the not-railroad bridge, is the place for Disney PhotoPass prints and photographic souvenirs. Sweethearts Confectionary is home to all thing candy and sweets and is a great place to take home some sugary delectables to share with family and friends upon returning from vacation.
The last two stores are located on the far right end of the Mickey Avenue area, bordering on the full transition into the Gardens of Imagination. Whistle Stop Shop is Shanghai Disneyland's Duffy Bear headquarters and also features unique bags and cute character collectibles. It's also the home for Shanghai Disney Resort Magic Passports, an RFID-embedded souvenir that allows guests to collect stamps around the park. Lucky Express functions as a satellite souvenir shop selling more generic items, such as light up bands and spinning light wands and such.
That wraps up what Mickey Avenue has to offer at Shanghai Disneyland. It's short on rides but high on atmosphere, and it's an eclectic and funky mishmash of architectural styles that simultaneously feels cartoony and nostalgic at the same time. It's "Main Street" meets "Mickey's Toontown," a land that recalls elements of other nostalgic Disney lands without feeling too specifically nationalistic, thereby maintaining a sense of harmless charm. Looked at individually, each facade might seem a little gaudy, and even linked side by side a couple stores at a time, the combination of everything may seem scattered. And yet, somehow, when the whole package is put together, Mickey Avenue works. It's a wonderful, unique introduction to a whole new type of Magic Kingdom park, and literally, it's just the beginning.
We'll move onto the Gardens of Imagination Next in our Shanghai Disneyland guide. Hopefully not six months from now (or more)!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.