We booked Shanghai Disney on a whim, we had talked about it for a while but we spontaneously booked in February and visited in the beginning of May.
We planned 3 nights and 4 days in Shanghai Disney and 3 nights and 4 days in Hong Kong Disney. We left on the Sunday and landed in Shanghai first thing Monday morning . Although we were tired it gave is the opportunity to get to the park as it opened.
As we were flying from the UK, to Shanghai, to Hong Kong and then back to the UK, we were eligible for the transit visa. The transit visa is free and allows you to spend 144 hours in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu as long as you can provide flight information out of those cities within 144 hours of landing, you do not have to apply for a visitor visa. The whole process in the UK and Shanghai was extremely easy and no issues. I have read a few horror stories online about the process but honestly it was a breeze.
The flight was long (about 11 hours) and there is a big time difference between the UK and Shanghai. Shanghai is 8 hours a head of the UK. We both slept a small amount on the plane so we weren’t tired and ready for our day when we landed. We had booked a taxi through Mr TDG’s friend who lives in Shanghai before we arrived. The driver was waiting for us when we got off the plane. He spoke no English but knew where to take us. Do not get in to any unmarked taxis, people will ask if you want one everywhere you go, when you are at the airport, leaving the parks, anywhere really. Only get in to registered vehicles, if not the drivers might end up ripping you off or leaving you in the middle of nowhere.
We booked three nights at the Toy Story Hotel, it is considered a value resort and cost us about £420 which I found extremely reasonable. We had realised after booking that the Monday we landed was a bank holiday so prices were almost double that night compared to the other two. We checked in and left our bags with the bell service and got one of the complimentary buses to the park. The park is on a few minutes by bus, however I wouldn’t have wanted to walk on the roads or paths there.
(The Toy Story Hotel entrance).
Shanghai has 2 hotels, The Toy Story Hotel and the Disney Resort Hotel. The Disney Resort hotel is stunning and has great views of the park from the grounds of the hotel. They also have great tables service and counter service options. We had a buffet breakfast at Lumiers Kitchen and met the fab five too. All the breakfast options were amazing, they had standard breakfast items like hash browns and bacon, but also have samosas and curry options. The Toy Story Hotel is incredibly well themed and you are fully immersed in to the Toy Story world. There are giant characters based around the grounds of the resort. The hotel also had a counter service restaurant and a little cafe.
(Shanghai Disney Resort grounds. In the second photo you can see the castle and the park).
Included in the hotel is 30 minutes early access through a separate gate in the Downtown Disney area. This 30 minutes is crucial for fast pass booking and getting to attractions sooner. The location settings built in the app are very clever and don’t actually let you book any fast passes until you are through the gate. Most people will run for Soarin’ and when I say run, I mean run. The first day we visited we were not eligible for the 30 minute early access so had to go through the main gate, it was brutal, long lines and lots of people. We had pre booked out tickets before our arrival and picked them up at the gate, which is what I think slows down the entry process. You need to take your passport with you along with a print out of your tickets, they take your photo and attach it to your e-ticket and this allows access to the park and fast passes.
The first day we were there was a bank holiday so spent the day walking round the park and looking at things, getting our bearings, visited the merchandise shops and meeting some characters. The fast passes were all gone and the lines were so long. Shanghai Disney offers the premier access pass which usually cost 440CNY, which is a bundle of top tier fast passes cost 990CNY that bank holiday day. Which was crazy. Although the park was busy, I was glad we had no specific plans as were under no pressure or stress, we just took it at our own pace and took everything in. Because it is all so different to WDW we just looked at everything. The level of detail within the park and hotels is amazing.
One thing to note about Shanghai Disney is the locals will run to the rides, while all the Disney characters are out for meet and greets, no one goes to meet them, I thought everyone would be queuing to meet Mickey, Minnie and Duffy, and to have their photo taken in front of the castle, this is not the case. We took advantage most mornings to meet the characters and have a photo in front of the castle. It is a ghost town in hub area. I loved it.
(A very empty castle photo).
Soarin’ is one of the popular rides in Shanghai Disney, it is the same as the EPCOT version except for the end scene you fly over Shanghai city. It can often have a 2 hour wait. The Seven Dwarf Mine Train is very similar to the MK version. Again it is not uncommon for it to have a 2 hour wait. The rapids also top a 3 hour wait daily. Pirates Of The Caribbean ride is phenomanal. It is a dark ride with scenes, anamatronics and screens that make it THE best attraction I have ever done. I will happily pay the airfare to go and ride it again and then come home. How it only has a 20/30 minute wait daily is beyond me! If it was in either of the American parks I know it would be over an hour wait every day. Shanghai Disney is the home of Tron, which will be coming to WDW in 2121. It is best ridden at night due to the way it lights up when it is dark. Peter Pan’s flight is better in Shanghai too, it is all in Chinese but you still know what is being said, animation and better scenes than the other versions at other parks.
Shanghai has lots of amazing Mickey shaped food and treats. Most of the meals contain Mickey shaped items. I love how they take the time to present their food and the effort that goes in to it.
(A Mickey waffle and Mickey cake).
The Enchanted Storybook Castle is HUGE, there is a wonderful walk through experience looking at all the princesses stories. It has a restaurant inside similar to CRT, The Royal Banquet Hall, you can meet the fab five dressed up in royal attire. There are gorgeous themed rooms to eat in. At night there is a projection show on the the castle similar to Happily Ever After, we stood far back away from the crowd, while we enjoyed it the amount of fireworks for such a spectacular castle and park were extremely underwhelming. We later found out that the airports flights path in right above the castle so it is understandable that they were very minimal.
(The castle has noone around it for the first hour or two after opening).
(The Royal Banquet Hall inside the castle, more Mickey shaped food. Prince Mickey and Priness Daisy. The Mulan room and Snow White room).
Before I went to Shanghai, I was worried about the cultural difference, language barrier and food options. I should not have been so worried. All restrooms in resturants and about the park had western toilets (I never had to queue, it was great). Everything that was written in Chinese also had the English translation above it. Food was easy, I found eating extremely easy, they carried lots of options for a picky eater like me.
The afternoon parade is incredible. It features Finding Nemo, Frozen, Toy Story and Mulan among other characters. I find it odd that this is the only place you can see Mulan. There is no meet and greet. I would have love to have seen her and spoken with her.
There is a Tarzan acrobatic show which is out of this world, gymastic dance performances which will make your eyes pop. The skills and training they have are incredible. There is also a Pirates show with Jack Sparrow, we had read great things about this however I didn’t think much too it. There is a full Chinese stage show of Frozen sing along which is good. I would say better than the WDW one but the DLP is still a winner for me.
Have you visited Shanghai, what was your favourite thing to do? Do you want to visit Shanghai? Let me know in the comments.