I was super excited to visit the Shanghai Disneyland resort last year. Since it opened, I was intrigued by the park and all it offers – Tron! – so when I was finally able to plan a visit I couldn’t wait to get there. Of course, I had the best time, but there were definitely some things I didn’t know beforehand that would have helped. Hopefully these tips help you before you make your first visit to Disney’s newest park – Shanghai Disneyland.
GET TO SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND EARLY!
Getting to any Disney park at rope drop helps you avoid a lot of lines. But the crowds at Shanghai Disneyland start even before you enter the park! Make sure you arrive 30 – 40 minutes before the park opening time, or you’ll be stuck at the back of a very long, winding queue to get to the turnstiles. My first day I arrived about 10 minutes before the park opened and it took 20 minutes just to get to the bag check. Don’t make my mistake – get there early!
WEAR CLOSED TOE SHOES
This one is super hard for me. If you listened to our most recent podcast then you know I wear flip flops into the park. I do NOT do sneakers. But what I didn’t know is that there are some attractions at Shanghai Disneyland – like the Camp Discovery Challenge Trails – that will only allow you access if you have closed toe shoes. Which led to my sad little self sitting out on the fun while the rest of my group got their adventure on. And if you’re unlucky in the weather, you might not get another chance to ride the attractions again. So wear those foot prisons, people! Which leads me to my next tip…
CHECK THE WEATHER
This seems obvious because I’m sure we all look into the weather before a vacation so we know what to pack. But it’s especially important here. It can be super hot and humid in the summer. And when I went in September it was so rainy (I’m talking monsoon rainy) that there was a night where the water was over my ankles as I ran through Disneytown! That rain didn’t stop for the entire three days I was in Shanghai, which made for a seriously soggy trip. Do some research into the time of year that you’ll be going. Realize that if it says there’s a chance of rain, they mean non-stop rain. On the plus side, I did get a really adorable Shanghai Disneyland umbrella that I still love to use!
ENGLISH IS LIMITED
This seems obvious since the park is in a foreign country. But it is a Disney park, so you may assume that most cast members will speak English. That’s not really the case! The language barrier here was greater than anywhere else I visited in China, so be prepared. Thankfully, there are pictures on all menus so it’s easy to point to what you want to order for meals. Most signs do have English under the Mandarin, so that helps with finding your way around. And of course all of the attractions are in Mandarin – which I never found to detract from my experience. So make sure you learn some basic phrases in Mandarin before you arrive. That will really help with you communicating to the cast members!
STAY ON PROPERTY
This is obvious to all of you Disney Parks veterans – there’s no other place to stay, right!? But when you’re visiting one of the foreign parks you might be tempted to stay at a nearby hotel to save money, or because they seem close by. But trust me, you want to stay at one of the Shanghai Disney resorts.
Not only are they gorgeous, but they are close! You are within a 10 – 15 minute walk of the front entrance, no matter which one you choose. That’s important because those long lines I mentioned above are really annoying and the faster you can get to the front of the line, the better. Plus, if you stay off property even if a hotel seems close, traffic will really slow you down. Add in time to park the car and walk to the entrance and you’ve really just added in 30 – 40 minutes of lost time.
Hopefully this will all help you have a fantastic visit to Shanghai Disneyland, and you’ll go into your first trip having some insider knowledge that I wish I had known about before my first visit!