The grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort is finally here! The first Disney park to open in Mainland China, “Mickey Mouse with Chinese Characteristics” took over 5 years of construction, $5.5 Billion USD in investment and employs over 10,000 workers. Read on to get into the Disney spirit and make the most out of your visit.
Celebrating the new park with Mickey Mouse. Photo by pinkpunkdesign via instagram.
What to Expect From the Rides
If you’re an international Disneyland veteran, you’ll find both re-imagined versions of old favorites and some new surprises at the Shanghai brand. Disney’s goal has been to blend the classic Disney style with elements of traditional Chinese culture and mythology, to create something that will both make foreign guests feel at home and delight locals.
The Enchanted Storybook Castle. Photo by eric218 via instagram.
Wander through Adventure Isle, Fantasy Land, the Gardens of Imagination, Tomorrowland and Treasure Cove to enjoy classics like Pirates of the Caribbean with heightened experiential effects that put you under the ocean and right in the middle of a pirate battle. Just don’t get too excited for the classic surprise drop at the end of this ride. The experience has been tamed down to be appeal to a broader local audience.
Don’t miss TRON, a ride you’ll find nowhere else on earth and by far this park’s most thrilling ride. TRON puts you in a motorcycle position and speeds you indoors and then back outside at lighting speed.
Another favorite during the soft launch has been Soaring Over the Horizon. On this internationalized version of the US ride, you’ll whisked up over the Great Wall and fly by the Sydney Opera house.
Friendly Faces, Pricey Food
The impeccable service you’ve come to expect from Disney is not missing from its Shanghai park. You’ll find a friendly employee at every shop door, waving their over-sized Mickey glove in greeting, ready to help. All signs are in English as well as Chinese, and it is easy to get around the park in either language.
Food options are mostly localized and you’ll find the eateries are a bit more upscale than your typical American theme park. If you’re not prepared to pay through the nose for a Peking duck pizza, you can always bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn of the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
Managing the Lines
There are a lot of Disney fans in China. And if you head to the park in the next few months, you might feel like you’ve met every single one of them. In a country of 1.3 billion people, particularly long lines will inevitably be one of this park’s distinctly Chinese characteristics. Know that this is part of the experience going in and keep in mind these tips to reduce some of the long line blues:
- – Rise early and get to the park before the main crowds
- – Pick your rides in advance so you know where to go
- – Grab a fastpass for the most popular rides. Here’s the 7 rides they’re available for.
- – Avoid restaurants and head for a ride during peak lunch hours, between 12:00pm and 1:00pm.
- – Dress comfortably and stay hydrated
- A Disney princess finds her throne. Photo by Matt Chitwood
Where to Stay
If you choose to stay in Shanghai city center, then it will be reasonably easy for you to commute to the theme park. Metro line 11 goes directly from Shanghai City Center to Shanghai Disneyland.
To avoid the commute entirely, consider staying at Disney’s official resort located within the park itself. Just be sure to avoid the fakes that have cropped up around the area hoping to ride the Disney wave. There are two official hotels: Shanghai Disney Resort, and The Toy Story Hotel. They each offer an enchanting immersive experience.
Don’t Forget About Shanghai
Disneyland is a whole world unto itself, and you’re encouraged to get lost in it for several days. Just remember that Shanghai, China’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, lies on your doorstep. Check out our blog on how to extend the Disney magic into your whole Shanghai stay.