Shanghai vs Hong Kong: An Incredibly Detailed Breakdown and Comparison of China’s Disney Parks

Buckle up, nerds! This post is gonna be a doozy.

If you’re a Disney nerd, odds are that you’ve at least thought about visiting the international parks at some point. As of this writing, there are 12 Disney parks worldwide, and only half of them are located in the United States.

Each provides a unique experience with a wealth of rides, attractions, shows, and cultural influences packed in. The internet is filled with information and opinions about all of them, and there’s certainly no shortage of Disney sites willing to overwhelm you with the minutiae of every Disney park.

The purpose of THIS post, though, is to give a detailed comparison between the two Chinese parks – Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disney Resort. How do they compare? How are they different? If you can only visit one, which should it be?

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Kings Dominion Expands with Even More Fun for the Little Ones

It’s no secret that we here at The Roarbots love Kings Dominion. We’re huge theme park fans, big-time coaster fanatics, AND we still have a little one in the family. All of which, together, makes Kings Dominion such a logical choice.

Located just north of Richmond, VA, and just a couple hours south of Washington, DC, the park has an incredible number of rides, including 12 roller coasters and an impressive 19 rides in its kids area.

And it’s that kids area – Planet Snoopy – that really sets Kings Dominion ahead for families. Planet Snoopy is the largest Peanuts-themed area in the country (probably the world), and this season sees the area expand even further with three new rides.

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Planet Snoopy Expansion Coming to Kings Dominion

Planet Snoopy New Rides Map

If you’ve ever been to Kings Dominion (near Richmond, VA), then it’s no surprise that the park is already chock full of rides. Although it has an impressive 13 roller coasters (among its more than 60 rides and attractions), it also has an impressive amount of thought and design behind its various lands and plenty to occupy younger/shorter kids.

It’s this last bit that makes the park so special. Too many theme parks focus their attention on thrill rides geared toward teens and adults. Even though there’s nothing wrong with that (I love roller coasters), that approach can often leave the youngest members of the family feeling a bit neglected.

Not so at Kings Dominion. Planet Snoopy, their children’s land themed to the Peanuts gang, is already home to an impressive 17 rides. And they’ve just announced an expansion to the land that will bring three new rides, a new event space, and upgraded food locations.

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Kings Dominion: Big Thrills in Central Virginia

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It’s no secret that we here at The Roarbots are big theme park fans. It was therefore surprising that we’ve lived in the Washington, DC, region for as long as we have and never made it to Kings Dominion. It’s a couple hours south, just outside of Richmond, and we’ve certainly passed it a number of times. The sign is visible from I-95, and every time we’ve driven down to Busch Gardens Williamsburg or other points south, we comment that we really should check it out one of these days.

Well, this summer, we finally did it. And I’m so glad we did. It’s actually a great park with a lot to do for all ages!

The summer season for mid-Atlantic theme parks might be drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet! And now’s also the perfect time to pick up 2016 season passes, if you’re so inclined. As an added incentive, the park recently announced a new ride coming next season: Delirium — a powerful, spinning pendulum.

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015: The Recap

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In May of this year, I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DSMMC) at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. All told, it was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity.

If you haven’t already listened to my podcast or read my FAQ about my experience at DSMMC, you might want to go ahead and do that for some background.

This post is all about the recap — an image-heavy and pixie-dust-free recap. It’s the details of what happened and what attendees got to do and see during the event. It’s long, so buckle down and get scroll happy.

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Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2015: The FAQ

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In May of this year, I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DSMMC) at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. All told, it was a fantastic event and a wonderful opportunity. I’ve heard many fellow attendees refer to it as a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. However, I’ve had more than my fair share of legitimate once-in-a-lifetime experiences, so I’m fairly judicious when using that term.

Still, it was incredibly memorable and — as you’ll see — I have quite a bit to say and share about it. This is the story of my DSMMC adventure. As with many things Disney, there’s a heavy fog of mystery surrounding the event. I’m here today to try to dispel some of that mystery, pull back the curtain a little, and let you know what it’s all about.

Search Twitter for the #DisneySMMC hashtag or read other event recaps, and you’ll probably notice a heavy coating of pixie dust over everything.

That’s all fine and good if that’s what you’re looking for. But I’m much more interested in being honest, transparent, and helpful for those on the outside looking in. With that in mind, I’ll try to be as straightforward and honest as I can. I’m not going to hide anything.

I’ve already discussed some of my thoughts about the event on my podcast here. It caused a few ripples, which is good in my opinion.

But now I want to present a more detailed FAQ for those who are curious and want to learn more about it or for those who are interested in attending in the future. (I posted a detailed recap of the events separately here.)

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5 Questions with a SeaWorld Dolphin Trainer

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(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Jeannie Carder, a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld Orlando.

Let’s not beat around the bush. SeaWorld (and places like it) arouse a lot of passion in people…to both extremes.

Personally, I’m conflicted about how I feel. I recognize the criticism against keeping animals in captivity, particularly the dolphins and killer whales, but SeaWorld also does a lot of great work. They champion a host of conservation issues and do an incredible amount of education well beyond the confines of their parks.

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5 Questions with a Legoland Master Builder

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(previous interviews in this series can be found here.)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. Today, Zoey chats with Jason Miller, Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND Florida.

Having previously chatted with master builder Chris Steininger, Zoey went into this interview with a bit of existing knowledge about LEGO master builders. Still, I don’t think she was prepared for what waited inside the LEGO Factory.

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Sesame Place: A Very Furry Christmas

IMG_2540In the great tradition of my post about Sesame Place’s Halloween event, this is posting after the relevant holiday has come and gone. But like I said in that post, the Internet is forever…and A Very Furry Christmas will be back next year.

Sesame Place is one of the best “family-friendly” theme parks around. It generally appeals to the very youngest kids—up to about 5 years old. My daughter is at the upper end of that range, and though she doesn’t choose to watch Sesame Street anymore, she still loves Sesame Place.

Only a couple rides have height restrictions, and they’re very generous for shorter kids. (The one roller coaster in the park actually has a lower height restriction than the similar, but tamer, ride in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.)

In short, if you’ve got little kids, and you like to have fun, and you’re in the Philadelphia area, make sure Sesame Place is on your list.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Christmas Town

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg is already one of the prettiest theme parks in the country, so it doesn’t really take much to make it truly spectacular. Millions of sparkly Christmas lights and decorations?

Yep, that’ll do it.

From late November through the end of the year (check calendar here), the park transforms into Christmas Town. Everything is draped in lights and other decorations, shops turn into Christmas stores, and all of the shows switch to different holiday-themed shows, among other changes.

On the surface, these are all remarkable changes that really beautify the park and put you in the ol’ holiday spirit. But are all of the changes good? Is the event worth it? Let’s dig a little deeper.

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Sesame Place: The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular

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OK, so Halloween is technically behind us, and Sesame Place is already gearing up for A Very Furry Christmas. But I still wanted to post about The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular.

  • Reason #1: It was simply awesome.
  • Reason #2: It’ll be back next year. And the Internet is forever.
  • Reason #3: Did I mention that it was awesome?

We’ve been to Sesame Place several times this year. The kids (3 and 5) are the prime age for the park, and they just love it. We’re actually Busch Gardens Platinum Pass holders, which means we basically have season passes to all 11 of their parks (including Sesame Place, Sea World, Busch Gardens, and the water parks). We live about halfway between Sesame Place and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, so it’s a great deal.

This was our first time attending one of the special holiday events, though. Sesame Place is located just outside of Philadelphia, and as such, it gets cold weather. At the end of the summer, the park closes down and only reopens on the weekends through October and December for the Halloween and Christmas events.

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Ticket Giveaway for Diggerland USA!

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Diggerland USA is a brand-new construction-themed theme park in South Jersey, mere minutes from Philadelphia and an easy daytrip from New York, Baltimore, DC, etc.

In case you missed it, check out the Roarbots review of the park here. It’s a wonder this hasn’t been done before, and if your little ones are at all interested in big trucks, getting dirty, and having fun, then you owe them a trip to Diggerland USA.

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Diggerland USA has made a family 4-pack of tickets available to Roarbots followers and readers. Use the raffle widget below to enter.

Spread the word, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Santa’s Workshop (North Pole, NY)

“Christmas in July” is one of those phrases that has kind of lost whatever meaning it originally had. A couple weeks ago, though, we decided to make it a reality with a visit to upstate New York’s Santa’s Workshop theme park. Located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, mere minutes from Lake Placid and several ski destinations, the park is truly a step back in time.

It originally opened in 1949, and–I can’t stress this enough–very little has changed. Walking through the park is like stepping back to the 50s. There’s a small museum in the village that showcases vintage photos of the park, any of which could have been taken this year. When a majority of theme parks continually try to reinvent themselves, add new attractions, or otherwise try to keep themselves “fresh,” Santa’s Workshop has clearly decided to rely on nostalgia.

And it works.

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Diggerland USA

A theme park. With construction equipment. That kids can actually drive and use. Why has this not been done before??

Diggerland USA is a brand-new park in West Berlin, NJ, about 30 minutes from Philadelphia in South Jersey. The Diggerland adventure parks first opened in the UK in 2000, soon spread to four different locations, and has now come to the States. This is the company’s first location in the U.S., and I’m fairly sure it’s the only such park in the country (some Googling didn’t turn anything else up).

Again, why has this not been done before? It seems like such a no-brainer.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg: London Rocks

The first land visitors to Busch Gardens Williamsburg pass through has always been England. It’s the home of such “fine attractions” as guest services, lost and found, and several gift shops. It’s not exactly the most welcoming of entrances for such a fantastic theme park.

However, smack in the middle of England is the Globe Theater, which until recently was the home of various 4D attractions, such as Pirates 4D and R.L. Stine’s Haunted Lighthouse. The theater hasn’t been used as a live performance venue in 20 years. In short, this area has been begging for some sprucing up and updating for a long time now.

The wait is over.

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