Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Voyage to the Crystal Grotto

When it was initially announced as the first Disney ride that would take guests inside a Disney castle, the attraction that would eventually be known as the Voyage to the Crystal Grotto was met with a lot of excitement and anticipation.  Given Shanghai Disneyland's lofty goals and expectations, this had the potential to be a charming and entrancing classic.

Unfortunately, real life doesn't always shape out to expectations.  Creative and logistical struggles with how to exactly bring this ride's concept to reality resulted in a much more ordinary attraction that is simply nice, but nowhere near incredible.  At the end of the day, that's fine--provided one's expectations are tempered.

Instead of cutting edge technology, the ride is mostly a cruise through various static Disney scenes.  It's almost like the inverse of the Storybook Canal Boats, wherein a narrator talks about the various Disney backdrops, but with full size scenes instead of miniature architecture.  The ride culminates in the actual Crystal Grotto, where projection mapping shows a chamber of jewels and riches--but not much more than that. 

I ended up taking one ride on this attraction during my time at Shanghai Disneyland, because other attractions became greater priorities.  The high guardrails in the boat and inward-facing seating arrangement makes this ride a little more challenging to shoot, simply because of people in the way and the position of one's body when shooting outward.  Nevertheless, here are some snapshots of what people can see on this Fantasyland ride.

Aladdin finds a magic lamp and frees Genie.
This results in endless riches.
Abu is certainly pleased.


Things get color with various floral arrangements.
Sorcerer's Apprentice Mickey is swept up in the splashes of the brooms.
There are no animatronics on this ride. Moving parts are limited to swivels and up-and-down bobbing.
The trademark scene from Tangled.
Giving Mulan a presence in Shanghai Disneyland is an obvious choice.
And of course, the Little Mermaid is certainly beloved.
This "Under the Sea" scene takes place above the sea.

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