NEW SHANGHAI SIGHTS: REMODELED OLD BUILDINGS, AMUSEMENT PARKS AND COOL TRAINS

NEW SHANGHAI SIGHTS

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Century Plaza
Shanghai is famous for its bustling metropolis atmosphere and rich cultural resources. Among the main tourist attractions are the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Mansion, Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Theater. Fudan University---one of China’s best---spreads out from a couple of 30-story, glass-and steel towers that resemble corporate headquarters. City officials have built a six-mile beach with sand shipped in from southern China.

David Devoss wrote in Smithsonian magazine: “Shanghai today offers few reminders of the ideology that inspired the Cultural Revolution. After the city’s Mao Museum closed in 2009, leftover statues of the Great Helmsman stood on a shuttered balcony like so many lawn jockeys. By contrast, many of Shanghai’s precommunist buildings look almost new. The former villa of the Green Gang leader lives on as the Mansion Hotel, whose Art Deco lobby doubles as a memorial to the 1930s, filled with period furnishings and sepia photographs of rickshaw pullers unloading cargo off sampans. The reopened Great World Amusement Center provides a venue for Chinese opera, acrobats and folk dancers, though a few bars are allowed.” [Source: David Devoss, Smithsonian magazine, November 2011]

Shanghai Stock Exchange is located in a 27-story glass building modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It is a bit of facade. the floor is largely empty because trading is done electronically. The Shanghai stock market is the largest stock market in China, It has business ties with Nasdaq. The Shenzhen stock market is much smaller. The Shanghai composite is made of all stocks traded on the Shanghai stock market.

Huangpu River

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Huangpu River is a wide, muddy river that splits Shanghai into two and then empties into the Yangtze river north of the city. Before the world's longest cable bridge was opened over the river in 1993, the only way to get from one side to the other was by ferry. Bridges weren't built any earlier so that large boats could navigate right up the city center.

Most places of interest to tourists in Shanghai are on the west side of the river, which is known as Puxi (xi means west side of the river). On the mile-long promenade between the river and the Bund, people stroll, eat snacks, smoke, and take pictures of one another. Tourist watch the ships pass by; elderly Chinese gather to perform tai chi in the mornings; and young adults congregate to listen to Chinese pop music in cassette players and practice ballroom dancing steps in the evenings.

Huangpu River is full of busy barges moving goods to this place and that. In the mid 2000s, a barge carrying a huge 30-meter-wide, 8-meter-tall video screen began cruising the Huangpu River, playing commercials without sound, in front of The Bund and other places along the river. Many regard the images an intrusion on the Shanghai skyline.

The Nanpu Bridge over the Huangpo River in the largest and tallest twin-towered draw bridge in Asia. It is illuminated at night with more than 6,000 lights and has eight computerized sightseeing elevators. The World Expo site will be on te Huangpu River just south of the city center.

Huangpu River Cruises are offered in comfortable boats. The Huangpu River divides the East and West of the city of Shanghai. A river cruise is a relaxing way to see the city away from the throngs of the traffic. There are many different cruise options, ranging from a quick 30 minutes jaunt to a four hour cruise with a delicious meal. Highlights are views of the Bund, Jin Mao Tower, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Huangpu Park. Some evening cruises also include dinner under the glittering lights of Shanghai's skyscrapers. Either by day or night the river cruise allows you to marvel at this incredible city. A cruise is typically one to two hours in duration.A three-and-a-half hour tour, which costs about US$25, travels from the Bund to mouth of Yangtze. More if a meal is included. A one hour, US$10 trip goes as far as Yangpu Bridge. Tickets are sold in the kiosk south of the multi-level disco/karaoke/ restaurant in the Bund. You can also take a ferry across the Huangpu to Pudong. Longer trips can be done on the Yunsun Steamboat between Shanghai and the Three Rivers Gorge. Web Site: Frommers

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (entrance behind the Convention Center on the River) is arguably the most interesting and trouble free way to cross the Huangpu River(taxis often get stuck in traffic when using the regular tunnel). Visitors travel in pod-like cars past multicolored lights that pulse, streak, flash and spiral, blow-up dolls while music plays and a voice over use term like “hell and paradise” and “nascent magma.” The ride costs about $5.70 and takes riders under the Huangpo River from near the Peace Hotel on the Bund to the Pudong district. Web Sites: Trip Advisor ; China Snippets

Despite its name, the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel offers no Shanghai sights other than its bright lights and psychedelic effects The entire ride lasts just under five minutes, but the mind-blowing light show could have much more lasting effects. If you want to cross the river the cheapest and most efficient way take the Metro. There are also road tunnels and ferries.

Located near the Oriental Pearl Tower, the tunnel was built to be one of the Bund’s major tourist attractions, and still manages to draw large numbers of travelers despite costing more than ten times as much as the metro. Although riders do get a rather mind-blowing (if dated) experience. After hopping into a small, futuristic rail car, riders are leisurely carried through a tunnel which is covered in pulsing, strobing lights that attempt to simulate flight through some acid-soaked version of space. The bombardment of flashing lights and colors is accompanied by a rather ominous soundtrack punctuated by an occasional intonation of English words such as “…shining star…” and “…hell…” It is unclear whether the ride is trying to evoke wonder or terror, but both reactions seem appropriate.

Nanjing Road

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Nanjing Road (near The Bund) is Shanghai's busiest street and some say the main shopping district of China. Beginning at the Bund and heading west for 10 kilometers, it runs through the former French Concession to Jiang'an Temple, and passes toy stores, music stores, bookstores, paper-cut stores, and artificial flower stores. Department stores selling Burberry, Bennetton and Nike items share the road with hawkers and stall owners selling bootleg CD's, boiled eggs, flowers and cheap Chinese-made merchandise. At the Shanghai Opera Sword and Rifle Store you can prop Colt .45s used in Cultural Revolution dramas for less than five dollars.

Nanjing Road is far busier than any shopping street in Beijing, and the wide selection of goods draws bureaucrats, yuppies and party members from all over China. More than a million pedestrians set foot on Nanjing Road everyday, and Sunday, the one day of the week that Shanghainese don't work, is far away the biggest shopping day. At night Nanjing Road becomes is lit up by neon-lit signs and glowing street lanterns and fills with drunks and scene-makers, yet the street remains remarkable clean thanks to a $3.50 fine for littering that has be paid on the spot. New World Department Store on Nanjing Road plans to open an outlet of Madame Tussad’s wax museum.

People's Square

People's Square (off Nanjing Road) is situated in the heart of downtown Shanghai and is also known as Renmin Park, Renmin Square or People’s Park. In the freewheeling colonial era it was the site of the Shanghai race course and the notorious sign "no dogs and Chinese allowed." Prominent landmarks on and around the square include JW Marriott, Shanghai, Shanghai City Hall, Shanghai Grand Theatre, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center and People’s Park.Major department stores on and around the square include Raffles’ City, Shanghai No.1 Department Store and Shanghai New World Department Store. Location: Wusheng Rd, Huangpu, Shanghai, China

People’s Square is a large public square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai. People’s Square is the site of Shanghai’s municipal government building, and is used as the standard reference point for measurement of distance in the Shanghai municipality. Prior to 1949, People’s Square was a part of the horseracing course of Shanghai. After gambling and horseracing were banned, a part of the race course became the People’s Square. Parts of the race course still remain today. The clubhouse buildings became the Shanghai Art Museum.

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Opened to the public in 1952 and overhauled in the 1990s. People's Square, is home of the home of the new Shanghai Museum, new Shanghai Grand Theater and Shanghai's new city hall. The buildings, trees, water and roads are organized in accordance with the principals of Feng Shui. In the 1990s, major changes were made to the square. The Shanghai Municipal Government was moved from the former HSBC Building, and the Shanghai Museum was also moved away from its previous site in a former office building. Before the overhaul in the 1990s, People's Square contained a large park and a barren concrete square used for military parades and mass rallies of Red Guards. Most of the new buildings were built on the old square. More recent additions include the Shanghai Grand Theatre and the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall.

In the park you can stroll on pathways past large trees, modern statues, a pair of old decorated sedan chairs, and Chinese-style pavilions set around a lake and find old men sitting at small tables playing cards; teachers watching over hundreds of children; and men and women practice wushu and tai chi. On Sunday many Chinese come to the "English Corner" near the clock tower to speak English among themselves and with foreign students, teachers and businessmen who show up. Fuxing Park also has an English Corner.

People's Square Station is the busiest station of the Shanghai Metro system is Lines 1, 2 and 8 converge here. ). Busy all day long and especially crowded during peak hours, it is located near major shopping and tourist destinations such as East Nanjing Road, a pedestrian street, the Shanghai Museum, People's Park, the Shanghai Grand Theatre and Yan'an Park on People's Square. There are 17 exits, so work out the best place to get out. There are maps in the station.

Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition

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Urban Planning Exhibition Center (near People's Square, adjacent to the city’s municipal government building, Metro Lines 1, 2 and 8 to People’s Square Station) boasts a 1:500 scale model of Shanghai that covers 6,400 square feet and is said to be the world's largest model. Housed in a ballroom-size room, it is surrounded by a walkways and can be viewed from a balcony above. Periodically the lights are switched off and thousands of building are lit up.

Washington Post architecture critic Philip Kennicott wrote: “It is surreal, and beautiful, a bit absurd, and it seems to offer, in one comprehensive glance, a sense of the city in its massive, skyscraping, outward spreading totality. Here, perhaps one can absorb what its means to build some 10,000 high-rise buildings in a quarter century." The model forecasts what th city will be like when all of the construction is complete in 2020. It altered every few months to keep abreast of changes.

Shanghai’s development has been meticulously planned for decades and continues to be. Here you see how the city looks now as well as in the future. The Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center is a six-story building, with two basement levels, which displays Shanghai ‘s urban planning and development. Exhibitions include models of planned and recent developments, as well as Shanghai ‘s history. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a huge scale model of the city of Shanghai, showing all existing and approved buildings. Visitors can view the model at “ground level”, or ascend a gallery running around it for views from above.The model is intended to represent the entire city, including all planned developments. However, a few stout pillars, necessitated by the building design, penetrate the scale model. This means certain areas are missing from the model, and views of the model are sometimes obscured by the columns. Location: 100 People Avenue, Tel: + 82 21 63184477

Yuyuan Gardens

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Yuyuan Gardens (north of old Shanghai, (Metro Line 10, Yuyuan Garden Station, 2 minute walk) is a classical-style garden located on the Yangtze River beside the Chenghuangmiao Temple. Established in 1559 and rebuilt after being destroyed in the Opium Wars, it occupies 20 hectares of land and offers 40 scenic attractions including beautiful lotus ponds, bridges, rock formations, walks and pathways, 400-year-old ginkgo tree, 200-year-old magnolias, pavilions, moon gates and towers.

Actually a garden within a garden, Yuyuan contains a smaller inner garden that is a replica of the larger outer garden. Yuyuan is not necessarily a place one comes for serenity though. On busy weekends it is swamped by 200,000 people a day. It is also known as Yu Garden. Yuyuan Garden is one of most the famous classical gardens in south China. Said to be 500 years old, it employs the four traditional Chinese gardening concepts of water, building, rocks and plants and is seen as a fine example of Ming garden design. It is home to the “kingdom of small articles of daily use”, and the “kingdom of delicacies”. There you will find the Old City God Temple, and the historical relic temple of Chengxiangge. A large number of rebuilt Ming and Qing dynasty-style buildings, together with the Nine-cornered Zigzag Bridge, Mid-lake Pavilion and Lotus Pond form an attractive scene for tourists. The whole place is stunningly lit up at night. Flanking the gardens is the popular Yu Yuan shopping area, bazaar, which showcases the beautiful designs of Shanghai’s ancient houses.

Interesting spots in the garden include the Beautiful Spring Hall, which commemorates the Society of Little Swords; Yu Ling Long, a large translucent jade-like stone found during the Song dynasty; and the Bridge if Nine Turns, which leads to a classic-style Chinese teahouse in the middle of an artificial lake. The bridge is built to confuse evil spirits which have difficulty maneuvering around the sharp turns.

At Suitang Hall there is a tablet inscribed with Chinese characters that read, "You are entering a scenic wonderland." Near a promenade decorated with ornamental paintings there is a famous artificial mountain made of 39 rocks placed together to convey valleys and peaks. Near the garden is Yu Yuan Bazaar, a labyrinth of narrow streets with many interesting specialty shops. Nearby at Fu You Lu there is a fascinating antique market and a Sunday flea market.

Fangbang Lu around Yu Garden is lined with tea houses. Beyond Henan Lu are old neighborhoods with very narrow lanes with lovely carved entranceways called shikumen. Many of the homes are connected and lived in by extended families. Like the hutongs in Beijing, these old neighborhoods are being torn down to make way for new developments. Web Site : Travel China Guide Travel China Guide

Xintiandi

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Xintiandi (Metro Lines 10 and 13, Xintiandi station, near Xingye Road in the French Concession south of the People's Square) is a $200 million two-block, 560,000-square-foot shopping district and “entertainment environment”. Regarded as the prime party area of modern Shanghai, it opened in 2000 and it embraces restaurant, nightclubs and bars placed in renovated 1920s-era buildings with ornately carved wooden balconies and courtyards. On the weekends it draws 50,000 visitors a day.

Xintiandi means “New Heaven on Earth.” It has been one of the most fashionable shopping and entertainment areas in Shanghai for two decades and has become a model for similar development throughout China. Admired for the way it creates new spaces from old neighborhoods and incorporates traditional Chinese architecture with Western touches such as lawns and lampposts, it is owned by the Hong Kong developer Vincent Lo and was designed by American architect Ben Woods who was given the commission because he promised to save of old houses in the district rather than tear them down.

Critics of Xintiandi say it is too Disneyesque and resembles an American harbor-style development. Most of the houses were demolished and rebuilt, rather than renovated.. But locals don’t seem to care too much. They enjoy the large spaces to stroll around, and gather for ballroom dancing and listening to Canto-pop. Tourist like the clubs and outdoor cafes. The 4,500 former residences who were relocated to modern apartment buildings seem to have been fairly compensated and are happy about that.

Xintiandi is part of larger project called Taipingqiao that will cover 128 acres and contain offices, apartment blocks and a 12,000-square-meter artificial lake surrounded by parkland, Development is supposed to take place gradually over the next decade. Woods is currently designing a theater district with an artificial lake to accompany Xintiandi. Web Sites: Xintiandi site ; Trip Advisor ; Travel China Guide

First Communist Congress Museum (near Xingye Road and Xintiandi) is a two-story brick villa and former girl's school where Mao Zedong and 12 other delegates convened the first meeting of China's Communist Party on July 23, 1921. A sign reads "specially made by the capitalists in Shanghai to supervise the workers."Inside is a re-creation of the historic meeting with life-size wax likenesses of the delegates. Mao stands at the center of a long dining, Messiah-like, wearing a blue robe, with colleagues seated beside him around a table like apostles, sipping tea and smoking in scene composed like the Last Supper. The First Party Congress Site is now surrounded by a French cabaret, a McDonald's, a Starbucks, an English pub, Japanese jazz club and German beer hall.

Xintiandi Scene

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First Communist Congress Museum
At Xintaindi there are cafes selling French patisseries, boutiques selling hippie jewelry and candles, up market bars, cafes and restaurants and the obligatory Starbucks. Xintiandi biggest draws are its restaurants. It nightclubs and karaokes are also popular. Some karaokes have private rooms with their own private bathrooms. A museum in the complex on 75 Xingye Road covers 20th century Shanghai history. Particular attention is paid to the founding of the Communist Party 1921.

The setting is within traditional Shikumen Houses (Stone Gate houses) threaded through narrow alley ways. Although you are in the heart of the new China, the flavour is very international. David Devoss wrote in Smithsonian magazine: Formerly a two-block-long lilong, Xintiandi (New Heaven and Earth) was torn down only to be rebuilt in its 19th-century form. Now the strip’s chic restaurants such as TMSK serve Mongolian cheese with white truffle oil to well-heeled patrons amid the cyberpunk stylings of Chinese musicians. [Source: David Devoss, Smithsonian magazine, November 2011]

“Nobody arrives at Xintiandi on a Flying Pigeon, and Mao jackets have about as much appeal as whalebone corsets. “Shanghai is a melting pot of different cultures, so what sells here is different from other Chinese cities,” says fashion designer Lu Kun, a Shanghai native who numbers Paris Hilton and Victoria Beckham among his clients. “No traditional cheongsams or mandarin collars here. Sexy, trendy clothes for confident, sophisticated women; that’s Shanghai chic.”

“Xia Yuqian, a 33-year-old migrant from Tianjin, says she knows “lots of Shanghainese women who save all their money to buy a [hand] bag. I think it’s strange. They want to show off to other people.” But Xia, who moved to the city in 2006 to sell French wine, also relies on Shanghai’s reputation for sophistication in her work. “When you go to other cities, they automatically think it’s a top product,” she says. “If you said you were based in Tianjin, it wouldn’t have the same impact.”

Tian Zi Fang

Tianzifang (Metro Line 9, Dapuqiao Station, Exit 1) is a touristy arts and crafts area that has developed from a renovated traditional houses in the French Concession area of Shanghai. You can find boutiques, shops, small craft stores, coffee shops, trendy art studios, bars and restaurants. The district comprises a neighborhood of labyrinthine alleyways off Taikang Road, a short street known only for Tianzi Fang. Tianzi Fang is held up as an example how to preserve local Shikumen architecture and is sometimes compared to Xintiandi and considered superior to it because in Tianzifang houses have been renovated and restored while in Xintiandi they have been demolished and rebuilt.

Tianzi Fang is largely hidden from the neighbouring streets, as it grew from the inside of the block outward, although there are now shops on Taikang Road itself. Historically Lane #248 was a key entrance that, in order to gain access to the commercially developed area, required walking about 50 meters through whilst be surrounded by local residents' life, including bicycles, hanging laundry until finally emerging in the 'new' area.

David Devoss wrote in Smithsonian magazine: “In Tian Zi Fang, a maze of narrow lanes off Taikang Road, century-old houses are now occupied by art studios, cafés and boutiques. The Cercle Sportif Francais, a social club in the colonial era and a pied-á-terre for Mao during the communist regime, has been grafted onto the high-rise Okura Garden Hotel. “A decade ago this structure would have been destroyed, but now the municipal government realizes that old buildings are valuable,” says Okura general manager Hajime Harada. [Source: David Devoss, Smithsonian magazine, November 2011]

“The old buildings are filled with new people: Nine million of Shanghai’s 23 million residents migrated to the city. When I met with eight urban planners, sociologists and architects at the Municipal Planning, Land and Resources Administration, I asked how many of them had come from outside the city. They greeted the question with silence, sidelong glances and then laughter as seven of the eight raised their hands.”

Maglev Train

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Shanghai is the home of the world’s first commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) train. Opened in early 2004 and built by German engineers at a cost of US$1.2 billion, it reaches speeds of 260mph (415kph) and covers the 19 miles distance between Pudong International Airport to the 88-story Jin Mao Tower in downtown Shanghai in less than eight minutes.

The maglev is regarded a prestige project intended to boost the standing of Shanghai and China as whole, not necessarily to make money. The stations look like futuristic lace tubes. The streamlined trains, which look like crosses between space-age fighters and conventional trains, hoover millimeters above a single gray track that is several stories above the ground and imbedded with powerful magnets that produce a faint humming when the trains pull in the stations.

Passengers are told by a loudspeaker voice when they enter the train that they will be “flying without wings.” As the train accelerates there are few indication that the train is traveling extremely fast other than the buildings blurring by. You don’t even feel any vibrations until the train tops 400lph. The Chinese are so proud of the train they have even opened a little museum that explains how it works at downtown departure terminal.

The trains depart every 15 to 20 minutes from 8:30am to 5:30pm, which means it often isn’t running when many flights arrive and depart. Tickets are US$6 each way. Foreign tourist are thrilled by the ride, saying it is better than Disneyland. Business travelers and local people are less excited. They often just take a taxi from airport, saying that is more convenient than taking the maglev downtown and working out a taxi or public transportation from there to their hotels or home. They also complain about the long walk to the airport maglev terminal, the inconvenient times of operation and say the route isn’t very well marked. Prices have been slashed by a third to encourage more people to take it but still many people opt for other forms of transport. When the maglev opened it ran at 20 percent capacity. After ticket prices were lowered it ran at 27 percent capacity. A new highway linking the airport to downtown Shanghai is being built.

The Maglev train line was supposed to be extended eight kilometers to the World Expo site by 2010 but that didn’t happen. The Shanghai government has proposed spending $4.5 billion to expand the maglev train to Hangzhou. The project has outraged local citizens, for its cost, waste, relocations, the danger presented by such powerful electromagnetism and plans to route it through an area already filled with train lines and highways. The Shanghai-Hangzhou corridor already has a new super-fast bullet train similar to Japan’s Shinkansen.

People had already been evicted and relocated and in many cases given compensation well below market value and settled in suburbs that are half finished to make way for the World Exposition and various infrastructure projects, In January 2008 — after angry demonstrations by local residents were held despite official bans — the Shanghai government acknowledged there were problems with the project and promised to take into consideration public concerns. Web Sites: Shanghai Maglev official site wikipedia.org

Amusement Parks in the Shanghai Area

Shanghai Happy Valley (Metro Line 9, Sheshan Station, about an hour from central Shanghai) is Shanghai's first big amusement park. Belonging to Happy Valley chain of theme parks built by OCT Group, it opened in 2009 and has big rides like those found at big Western amusement parks, including China’s first wooden roller coaster. The park covers an area of 863,500 square meters (213 acres) and is landscaped with gardens, trees and a pond. [Source: China Highlights]

The seven theme area in Shanghai Happy Valley are Sunshine Beach, Happy Times, Typhoon Bay, Gold Mine Town, Ant Kingdom, Shanghai Beach and Shangri-la Woods. At Shanghai Beach, there is a drop-coaster with a 60 meters (197 feet) plunge and the Gyro Swing, which 15 stories and cost US$150,000 to construct. The wooden roller coaster, called the Fire Ball, reaches speeds of 56 miles an hour. There are also water rides. The large OCT Grand Theater hosts various performances and movies. One of the main shows is called Magical Destiny. Price: around US$30 for adults and US$15 for kids between 1.2 and 1.4 meters tall. Free for kids less than 1.2 meters tall. It is also free for women who can show that they are over the age of 65 and for men who can show that they are over the age of 70. Open every Time: Daily 9:00am to 6:00pm. There are KFCs and McDonalds and Chinese snacks.

Jinjiang Amusement Park (south of Shanghai South Railway Station) is one of the oldest theme parks in Shanghai. Established in 1985, it has four thrilling roller coaster rides, with two going backward, a a huge Ferris wheel, a boat adventure, and a long inverted boomerang ride. Opening hours: 8:45am - 5:00pm, Admission US$9.

Hello Kitty Anji (in Anji, 150 kilometers west of Shanghai) opened in 2015. One person posted on Trip Advisor in 2017: “We went on the weekday the park was ver quiet for most of the time. If you love Hello Kitty then it will a fun place to visit. The park itself is really small, you walk through the less than 2hrs. The rides were very tame and suitable for 5 - 10 years old. There were 3 rides that suitable for older kids. We really enjoyed their magic, acrobatics and musical shows. They were trying to mimic the disney theme parks. The cost is was reasonable for 2 adult and a child (under 1.5 m) was 680¥.” It is the first Helloy Kitty Parl outside its native Japan. Website” www.hellokittypark.cn

Legoland Shanghai is expected to open sometime in the near future. Andrew Chin wrote in That’s Shanghai: “The world’s second highest attended theme park operator, Merlin Entertainment, has already committed to opening its first Mainland Legoland amusement park in Shanghai. Already, a Legoland Center has been built to whet the appetite.” [Source: Andrew Chin, That’s Shanghai, July 28, 2016]

Six Flags Zhejiang (in Haiyan, on the coast of Hangzhou Bay, 70 kilometers from downtown Shanghai) will feature original rides and attractions, along with attractions mainly themed around Looney Tunes, Garfield and Friends, and Tuzki, among others. In addition to a theme park, the park will be accompanied by a Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park. As of 2020, construction on the park has came to a halt, as the Riverside Investment Group has been unable to pay their debts. It’s unclear whether or not the park will finish construction and open. [Source: Wikipedia]

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Japanese Pavilion

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland (southeast of Shanghai, Metro Line 11, the final stop, Disney Resort Station, Exit 2 or 4) opened its first phase in June 2016. Disney had been trying for years to get approval for the park. In November 2009, the Chinese government finally approved Disney's request. Ground was broken in April 2011 on a former farm and factory ground southwest of the city. The theme park will cost $3.7 million and take more than 10 years to be fully realized. It will be part of an “international tourism resort” zone located near the main international airport in Pudong. Disney has a 43 percent stake in the endeavor. A consortium of government-backed local companies owns the majority 57 percent. There is also a Disneyland in Hong Kong..

Adventure Isle attractions include 1) Camp Discovery; 2) Roaring Rapids, a water thrill ride with drops and can be dark, loud, scary; 3) Soaring Over the Horizon, an indoor ride; 4) Among the rides an Pixar Toy Story are: 1) Rex’s Racer, an outdoor thrill ride; 2) Slinky Dog Spin spinning ride; 3) Woody’s Roundup, a spinning, outdoor ride;

In Fantasyland you can find 1) the Alice in Wonderland Maze; 2) Hunny Pot Spin outdoor spinning, outdoor, ride; 3) Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, an indoor ride; 4) Peter Pan’s Flight a dark, indoor, ride; 5) Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, an outdoor thrill rides with big drops; 6) Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, a slow outdoor ride; 7) Enchanted Storybook Castle, indoor attraction; and 8) Once Upon a Time”, an interactive indoor attraction. Adventure. In Gardens of Imagination are the 1) Dumbo the Flying Elephant spinning ride; 2) the Fantasia Carousel; 3) Garden of the Twelve Friends; and 4) Marvel Universe, and interactive, indoor character experience,

Attractions Tomorrowland include: 1) Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue, a dark, interactive, indoor, ride; 2) Jet Packs, a spinning, outdoor ride; 3) Stitch Encounter, an interactive, indoor attraction; 4) TRON Lightcycle Power Run, a dark, indoor thrill ride with big drops; and 5) TRON Realm, Chevrolet Digital Challenge. In Treasure Cove you can try 1) Explorer Canoes, an outdoor water ride; 2) Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure, a dark, loud and scary, thrill ride with small drops; 3) Siren's Revenge, an interactive attraction; and 4) Shipwreck Shore, an interactive attraction. In Disneytown there is a Giant Donald Duck.

As far as ticket price, according to Travel and Leisure: “Shanghai Disneyland’s pricing is actually well below that of the California parks. One-day adult tickets are $56 and $76 during peak season; in Anaheim, single-day admission ranges from $95 to $119. (The park is also said to be priced 20 percent cheaper than Hong Kong Disneyland).

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Romanian Pavilion

The Shanghai Expo 2010

The Shanghai 2010 World Exposition was an event with pavilions from all over the world that thrust Shanghai into the spotlight, and, in the view of some, attempted to revive the tradition of the great world’s fair like those in New York in 1964, in Paris in 1889 and London in 1851. Featuring a giant five-ton octopus, an alpine meadow and an apple-shaped “green city,” it was far and away be the most expensive World expo ever. Billions of dollars was spent and building it and running it. In a country where most people were still too poor to hop on a jet and travel the globe, Expo 2010 hoped to revive the old spirit of world fair’s being a showcase for the latest and newest stuff and a means of bringing the world to one place — in this case Shanghai.

Many inside and outside China saw Expo 2010 as an opportunity for Shanghai to show off and stand out as China “s premier city. Organizers expected 70 million people to visit the event — with 95 percent of them Chinese — making it the largest congregation of people ever for a single event. It ran for six months from May 1st 2010 to October 31st.

The expo slogan was “Better City, Better Life.” Yao Ming and Jackie Chan were selected as goodwill ambassadors for the event. The pianist Lang Lang was chosen to help promote the event. Haibao, the blue Gumby-like mascot and another “goodwill ambassador” was featured on everything from the tickets to key chains. Website: en.expo2010

Up to 450,000 visitors could be admitted at one time, five times as many as at Disneyland in California. Among Expo’s green features were zero-emission electric vehicles, funnels that collect rain water and arrays of solar collectors. Most of the structure were made from materials that could recycled when the event was over and buildings were torn down. Eats included Belgian chocolate, fiery Sichuan cuisine and Japanese sushi and octopus balls. Altogether there were 200 food outlets, capable of feeding 40,000 people at one time. Admission tickets for Expo were $28 for peak days and $22 for off-peak days.

Expo 2010 was not without its controversies. A big deal was made about Denmark sending Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue to the World Expo, with some comparing the move with sending the Statue of Liberty there. It was the first time the statue has left Copenhagen’s harbor to be taken abroad. The theme song was said to were plagiarized from the 1997 hit Sono Mama no Kimi de Ite by Japanese singer Mayo Okamoto.

As was true at the Beijing Olympics metal detectors were set up in subway stations, volunteers were recruited to be on the lookout for troublemakers and manners campaigns were launched to discourage people from hanging their laundry outside, jaywaking, spitting on the streets and wearing their pajamas in public. A couple week before the May 1st opening, 6,000 people were detained in an Expo crime sweep. Among those taken in were people involved in gambling, prostitution, selling pornography and illegal street hawking. All but 1,300 were later released after being “educated.”

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Swiss Pavilion

The Expo site covers 5.28 square kilometers (1,300 acres or 990 football fields) and was twice the size of Monaco or the World’s Fair in New York in 1964 and five times the size of the Aichi Expo in Japan in 2005. Situated on both sides of the Huangpu River, it occupies a prime piece of riverfront land that was occupied by unsightly factories that were cleared away along with the flyover bridge to the Bund. Protest organized by some of the 17,000 people who had their homes cleared away were quickly suppressed.

More than 40,000 workers, most of them migrants, were involved when the construction phase of Expo was at its peak. To get the project done in time workers were given bonuses for coming back early for the New Year holiday or skipping it completely. On the weeks leading to the opening heavy rains produced large swathe of mud, muck and water and many showcase pavilions didn’t look as if they were going be ready in time.

The theme of Expo 2010 was urban technologies and heritage preservation under the title “urban best practices.” In Pudong, on the east side of the river, giant white funnels provide shade, channel sunlight to underground walkways and collect rainwater for recycling. Most of the national pavilions and big facilities were located here. Most of the corporate and local pavilions were on the other side of the river in Puxi. There was no vehicle parking at the site. Visitors arrived via subways and buses and have to go through security checks before they were let in.

An effort was made to avoid mistakes made during the Beijing Olympics — namely producing a lot of trophy structures like the “Bird’s Nest” that wowed the world when the event was held but now sits largely unused. After Expo was over most of the buildings were quickly torn down and the Expo site was converted to host exhibitions and conference, a business section Shanghai wants to develop. Among the structures that will remain after the conversion were a new stadium and a clamshell-shaped cultural center. The official cost of Expo was listed at $4 billion but when all the infrastructure costs were added in some estimate the true cost was $58 billion. But planners say that most of the money was well spent on things like new train lines and airport facilities that will benefit people for a long time.

Expo Pavilions: More than 180 countries and some Chinese provinces and companies took part, with most having their own pavilions. Some countries spent quite lavishly on the event. Japan spent $133 million to build its large purple, cocoon-like structure. Saudi Arabia reportedly spent more to re-create the Arabian desert complete with palm trees. Other notable structures included the seashell-shaped Israeli pavilion the basket-shaped Spanish pavilion.

The United Arab Emirates pavilion featured a luminescent sand dune. The Swiss pavilion was topped by a four minute chairlift ride over a rooftop alpine meadow. The Romanian pavilion resembled a green apple. The British pavilion had 60,000 acrylic rods that swayed in the winds and was compared to an oversized dandelion puff.

To make sure no country was left out China provided $100 million to subsidize exhibits by developing countries and built a pavilion for African countries to set up exhibits. The United States almost didn’t make it due to political and bureaucratic obstacles but at the last minute came up with $63 million for a Hollywood-produced “4-D” spectacle on initiative.

20100430-UK Shanghai Expo 2010 2010041751321.jpg
British Pavilion

The Chinese Pavilion was the largest. Standing almost 70 meters tall and mostly imperial red in color. It is still there and now occupied by an art museum. It resembles a traditional city gate but some say it looks more like a giant mai jong table. In any case, it towered over smaller pavilions for Hong Kong and Macao. The former looked like a ice cube; the latter a crouching rabbit. Taiwan had a pavilion nearby.

Image Sources: 1) CNTO (China National Tourist Organization; 2) Nolls China Web site; 3) Perrochon photo site; 4) Beifan.com; 5) developers, architecture firms, tourist and government offices linked with the place shown; 6) Mongabey.com; 7) University of Washington, Purdue University, Ohio State University; 8) UNESCO; 9) Wikipedia; 10) Expo Pictures, official Shanghai Expo website

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), UNESCO, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in May 2020

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