I love reading others trip reports, so this is my first shot at doing one. I'll go through some of our planning and hopefully finish it up with our post trip report. It's just DH & I traveling, we have no kids. DH is 41 and I'm 39. We're from north central United States. DH & I are usually on the same page with where we want to travel except Asia. He spent a lot of time throughout Asia in the military so his draw is other parts of the world. Where I would see his pictures and hear of the culture and wanted to visit. We traveled to Japan 7 years ago and that has been my only time to Asia. But after everything I've read for the past 10 years said how hard it was for Americans to visit China, I figured I'd settle for Hong Kong (which we haven't been but I'd still love to). So China was always on the back burner. Fast forward many years until D23 2015. We saw the Shanghai exhibit and we were amazed by Pirates and Tron and we knew we'd figure out a way to visit. Back in summer of 2015, travel for Americans without a tour company or being invited by someone in China was pretty new (I think late 2014 they opened it up). I spent months researching it and finally figured out how to do it on our own. We researched the best time of year to go. We knew we would not attempt to go for opening day, as seemed too tricky incase pushed back. But we wanted to go within one year of opening. Which we settled on May 2017 as our trip date, which we have booked now. We spent months researching various travel plans. We looked at ABD, but we'd have to extend time before and after to be able to fully see both Disney's in HK and Shanghai. Plus we wanted to spend more time when we would go to HK non-Disney over what ABD was giving you. We initially were going to visit Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai. But that was coming in close to a 3-week trip. Which would only leave us 2 weeks for the rest of the year. We then axed Guilin. Lastly we eliminated Xi'an. We figured we'd concentrate on Beijing and Shanghai and at a later point we'd go back and see Xi'an and Guilan. 10 days is really our limit for how long we like to travel at a given time. Our first part of the detailed planning, once we narrowed down just Shanghai and Beijing was to determine order of the cities. We decided to end at Disney. These are the reasons we chose that; wouldn't have to lug the souvenirs around for transferring hotels and if we couldn't find decent food we'd have some safe bets at Disney. Plus we'd have the excitement the entire trip looking forward to Disney. Next step was to figure out exactly how many days in each city and where to stay. What we do with all places we travel is a custom Google map for each city. We plot all the attractions we want to visit and find the hotel based upon the best location for the attractions. We use Viator mainly to see the various attractions in each city (but usually book on our own) as well as Trip Advisor reviews. Knowing we could book airfare at 11 months out (June 2016) we started our detailed trip planning in February 2016. Next up..... I'll go through our Beijing planning.