I eat, breathe and live Disney! So on a recent trip to Shanghai, I of course jumped at the opportunity to spend a day at Disneyland. Theme park enthusiasts will likely have their own personal preference on how to best navigate this environment, but for the less experienced, I will share with you Shanghai Disneyland tips to conquer it like a pro!
1. Shanghai Disneyland Tips: Remember to bring your passport.
When visiting Shanghai Disneyland, the most important thing to remember is your passport! Without it you won’t be able to set foot in the park. This applies to all tourists that do not have a Chinese ID; and is true for visiting any attraction in China. Many places require you to provide your passport when buying entrance tickets, and Disneyland is no exception!
2. Shanghai Disneyland Tips: Bring snacks at your own risk.
It’s not a secret that food, drinks and souvenirs in theme parks are always well over-priced. So it is only natural that you would want to pack a few snacks to munch on during the day. Entrance into the park requires everyone to go through security where bags are checked for hazardous equipment, and FOOD! They are quite strict on this rule. Individuals carrying any consumables are ushered into a corner to either dispose or consume it before they are allowed to enter. The only exception is if you are travelling with young children that require baby food. In my opinion, being sternly spoken to because you are carrying a few munchables does ruin the experience a little bit, especially when you are just walking into the gates ready to start a great adventure. But I’m sure people have come up with some creative ways to hide those nibbles (I’d love to hear some ideas!).
3. Shanghai Disneyland tips: Save your shopping for the end of the day.
If you are anything like me, you will want a little something to take home with you from your trip to Disneyland! And why wouldn’t you?! Disney makes the most adorable keepsakes! Right when you enter the park, shops that specialise in all things Disney surround you. And it is HARD to resist! Of course you want you own pair of iconic Mickey ears to wear around the park, just think about those Instagram photos! I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself; after all you are in Disneyland, the only place socially acceptable for your inner child to shine. But my suggestion would be to save the majority of your shopping for the end of the day just before the park closes. After the fireworks display (which we will talk about later), you are ushered back through the souvenir shops in order to exit the park. This is their last ditch attempt at getting you to make a purchase, because you really needed more convincing… But here is where it gets better, they give you coupons for 10% off your purchase! I know 10% isn’t a whole lot, but you were already going to buy that cute Mickey mug, that adorable Baymax jumper, and even that Frozen key ring, so why not get 10% off?!
4. Shanghai Disneyland tips: Just do it!
You walk in and see that enormous roller coaster soaring through the air and hear the screams of people flying past. You get those butterflies in your tummy, and the nerves start to creep up on you. You know that you will eventually go on that ride, but feel like you need to easy your way up to it. Start with something small, then something a little faster, and then maybe after lunch you will have worked up enough courage to ride the beast. Well I’m here to tell you to just do it! Beeline straight to the biggest baddest ride there and take the plunge! The ride in question at Shanghai Disneyland is the Tron Lightcycle Power Run (turn left after Mickey Avenue). Everyone has the same feelings of anxiety at the start of the day, which is why the wait time is normally A LOT shorter. So take this opportunity and maximise your ride time at Disneyland, don’t spend your day waiting in line when you don’t have to.
5. Shanghai Disneyland tips: Bring a raincoat.
Preferably a longer one with a hood and that can cover your butt. There is always that one ride that comes with a warning that you might get wet, in the case of the Roaring Rapids the warning is “You will get wet – You may get soaked”! There are shops that will sell you disposable raincoats, but expect the quality to be that of a plastic bag. You will be lucky if they last you more than two rides. Having your own raincoat will also mean that the fun continues rain or shine! And having a longer one that covers your butt means dry pants when sitting on wet seats. In Shanghai Disneyland, you can also find random people walking around trying to sell you raincoats (and other souvenirs) for cheaper, these will not be authentic Disney merchandise and their value fluctuates depending on the weather condition.
I cannot stress how important it is to wear comfortable shoes! Disneyland is HUGE, and you really do want to explore every part of it! Every nook and cranny is always so well decorated to bring all your most loved fairy tales to life! The most ideal pair of shoe would also be waterproof, there isn’t a lot worst than squishing around Disneyland in wet socks. So plan ahead! If you know that your comfy shoes are not waterproof, then remember to pack some waterproofing shoe spray. This comes in handy for any travel destination!
7. Shanghai Disneyland tips: Closer does not always mean better.
At the end of the day Disneyland is well known for their spectacular fireworks display. And Shanghai is no exception! There are areas set up in the middle of the Gardens of Imagination to view this spectacular, and everyone tends to gravitate as close to the castle as possible to get the best view in the house. I am here to tell you that closer is not always better. I found that the most ideal location to marvel at the castle and the fireworks that light up the night sky is from the edge of the Gardens of Imagination across the little lake by Mickey Avenue. If you stand or sit by the fence around the lake you can get a view undisturbed by heads. A crowd will still gather here, but far less than compared to the middle of the Garden.
No matter where in the world, I will always love spending time at Disneyland! For me it brings all the stories in books and on screen to life. If you have ever wondered what it would be like under the depths of the ocean by Davy Jone’s ship, to fly with Peter Pan to Neverland, to explore Snow White’s castle, or to ride a Lightcycle, Disneyland Shanghai is the place to be! I left with a smile on my face, and eager to return. Disneyland shows me what it’s like when imagination runs wild!
Before you embark on your next magical adventure, be sure to keep this Shanghai Disneyland tips in mind!