Friday, June 1, 2018

How 10 Yuan Helped Me Survive Roarin' Rapids at Shanghai Disneyland

On our second day at Shanghai Disneyland, Kinley really wanted to do Roarin' Rapids.  It wasn't a warm day (in fact, Josh wore his down coat most of the day), and I didn't really want to get wet on a cold day when I wasn't sure we'd dry out.  But Kinley made the point that we might never come back, and besides, she and Josh had gotten FastPasses for the ride early in the day.  Our FastPass time had arrived, so Kinley campaigned hard to convince us to do it.I could see her point about this possibly being a one-time trip, so we headed to Adventure Isle to ride it.

It was still chilly, and I was none too thrilled, but we got in the queue for a locker so that at least our stuff wouldn't get soaked.  There were four or five people in front of us for a locker, so we waited.  And waited,  And waited.  For some reason, the kiosk that assigned lockers wasn't working.Just when we were about to give up, the line started moving, and we crammed in our stuff and hustled off to the FastPass line.  By this time in the day, all of the FastPasses for Roarin' Rapids had long since been given out, so this was clearly a popular ride in spite of the cold.  But all day I had been scanning the massive crowds for evidence of dripping-wet patrons who had just finished the ride.  I wanted to get a sense of just how wet I was going to get and how long it would take to dry out.  But all day long, I hadn't seen anyone who appeared even remotely wet.  In the FastPass line, the reason for this became evident.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, wore a poncho.  There were actually people - not Disney employees, just random people - selling ponchos in the line for 10 Yuan each.  Mystery solved.  But I wasn't sure I wanted to encourage these people by buying from them.  I mean, this behavior would not be tolerated at any other Disney property in the world, so I didn't really want to participate in this particular entrepreneurship exercise.  We talked about it as a family, and stood in line for maybe 15 minutes hemming and hawing back and forth - should we or shouldn't we?  The longer we stood, the chillier it got.  And in line, we could see the people on the ride getting drenched with water, saved from sogginess only by their cheap Chinese ponchos.

But, still, it bugged me.I mean, this wasn't the only example of random people selling things at Shanghai Disneyland.  As I mentioned in a previous post, there are guys scalping tickets every morning outside the guys without even trying to hide it.  There are people selling knock-off Minnie and Mickey ears or other little doodads in the queues for attractions.  There are even people selling FastPasses to high-demand attractions!  (This explains why the FastPass lines are so long in the morning and why people get in line for FastPasses in the morning at all when they could just jump on the ride right then when the line is minimal.)  Here's an entire post from another blogger about the phenomenon.

So we caved.  Josh went back in the line and bought four ponchos.  We sheepishly put them on and continued to wait.  We were in sight of the boarding area when the ride broke down.

These riders were stuck for quite a while before they officially closed the ride.  We were SO close to the boarding area.

I can't express to you how annoyed I was.  Here I was, using a precious FastPass on a ride I really didn't want to do, waiting a half an hour in the FastPass line (which is usually less than 15 minutes), preparing to get wet, and then compromising my principles to buy a flimsy piece of plastic from a Communist opportunist only to be told the ride was broken.  Ugh.  We exited the ride and were given FastPasses for later.  

You may think this isn't a bad deal, but here's the thing.  We had burned a FastPass to do this ride.  And now EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN LINE was being given a FastPass for later. Not just the people in the FastPass line to start with, but EVERYONE.  That meant that all of these people would be in the FastPass line later making our next wait even longer.  For a ride I didn't want to do.

I call this "Poncho Sadness."
What to do to make myself feel better?  TRON.  Definitely TRON.  Off we went.  And it worked.  Gosh, I love that ride.  Feeling significantly better after TRON, we checked the app to see if Roarin' Rapids was open again.  I certainly didn't want to wait to do it after the sun was down since then there would be no chance of drying out.  The app indicated that the ride was operational again, so back to Adventure Isle we went.

Sure enough, the FastPass line was exceptionally long because of all of those people who got freebies when it broke down.  But we got into the line anyway with our ponchos prepared.  But this time, there was an actual Disney employee with an actual name tag selling ponchos!  Go figure!

This looked much more official, but it was still kind of strange!

I'm doing a pretty good job of looking happy about waiting again for a ride I wasn't to thrilled about.

Eventually our turn came and we sat down in our already-soggy seats.  And you know what?  The poncho helped.  A lot.  We emerged from the ride only a little bit drippy and actually had a good time!  It was 10 Yuan well spent.


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