This exclusive guest story comes from Mercedes Bull, whose experience with all sorts of Disney parks gives her the authority to speak on the newest addition – Shanghai Disneyland!
Mercedes was able to visit the park and give us an inside look (and a westerner’s perspective) on what the experience of the park is like. Check out her handy Shanghai Disneyland guide below to learn more about this newest Disney park! You can learn more about Mercedes on Instagram and Twitter @mercedeslois.
In June 2016, the newest addition to the Disney Park family opened in China’s financial capital, Shanghai. I was fortunate enough to visit the park in September, just a few months after the Grand Opening, and I couldn’t wait to see for myself exactly what Disney’s latest park had to offer.
The opening of the new park was greeted by a whirlwind of controversy and much negative media, and I tried my best to ignore the biased reports ahead of my trip and the bad feedback, concentrating purely on making the most of my magical vacation without any brainwashing – I am so glad that I did. I had a blast. Shanghai Disneyland is a wonderful place.
I really hope that anybody else who visits from the west also tries not ignore the slanderous press! For this reason, I have comprised a short list of fundamentally important things to know before you go. Yes, China has a different culture in comparison to some Western countries but that isn’t a bad thing – I was so excited to embrace the cultural diversities and I know I speak for the majority of people when I say this. It makes traveling that little bit more exciting.
So please enjoy and remember, to be prepared!
Shanghai Disneyland is expensive
Now, if you’re visiting Shanghai Disneyland, I would probably assume that you have some experience of China beforehand. I myself had spent 10 days in Beijing and Shanghai prior to entering the park so I had a pretty good idea of how much things should cost up until this point.
But Shanghai Disneyland’s prices are notably high. I’m not just talking about ticket prices or even the hotels, but the merchandise, food and beverages inside the park were in line with US Disney prices, making them up to three or four times more what they would cost elsewhere in China! For this reason, you can find many designated picnic areas in Shanghai Disneyland, and it’s considered the norm for many families to bring in packed lunches. Most eateries that I dined in were half empty and many stores had promotions on souvenirs.
I would, from my experience, suggest dining in Disney Town as an alternative; with restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck and The Cheesecake Factory. Though this is a pricier option than the Quick Dine offerings in Disneyland the quality of the latter was poor – that Hoisin Sauce and Duck pizza ain’t fooling anybody!
The park is clean and you won’t have to squat… unless you want to!
Many negative posts about Shanghai Disneyland say that the park is filthy and that the toilets are difficult for Westerners to use. Not the case! I cannot find fault with the cleanliness of this park: it was nothing short of perfection and I find it disappointing that some people now have an inaccurate view on the park based on the small minded opinions of others. Perhaps I got lucky and they were just having a good few days – who knows? All I saw was a brand, spanking new, glistening park and lots and lots of cast members cleaning!
As for the toilets: Shanghai Disneyland has a mixture of seated toilets and squatting toilets in each of its restroom stops. This actually worked in my favor, as the majority of the Chinese guests were queuing for the squatting toilets and kindly allowed me to pass through to get to the seated toilets, which are usually situated towards the back of the restrooms.
No problems here for my inactive thighs! We lazy westerners seemed to be the only guests using the seated toilets so, no squatting would be required on your trip!
You will do a lot of walking
Anybody that has done a two week trip to Orlando will tell you just how much walking is required to navigate Epcot, Magic Kingdom and the entirety of Walt Disney World Resort. In fact, a weekend away in Disneyland Paris hardly feels like any effort at all in comparison! This said, I was very surprised by the amount of walking that I did in Shanghai Disneyland; as the largest Disney park in the world, I probably shouldn’t have expected anything less! My iPhone has calculated that on my first day at Shanghai Disneyland, I walked 22,760 steps, and on the second day, a slightly smaller 20,027 steps…a lot more than usual, I can tell you!
Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing, sensible shoes and bring bottled water with you; you’ll need it. If you’re travelling with little ones, strollers are available to rent at the park.
The Roarin’ Rapids ride is surprisingly popular
Before arriving at the park, I had tactically figured that the Tron and Pirates of The Caribbean rides should be our priority with Soarin’ closely behind. Surely these would be the most popular attractions right? Wrong! With fastpasses gone an hour into park opening, and a wait time that always exceeded 90 minutes, Roarin’ Rapids is clearly the most popular attraction at Shanghai Disneyland.
And I honestly have no idea why.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant ride – probably on par with the rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but I still can’t understand why this ride proved so popular in comparison to the other attractions. We ended up biting the bullet and waiting 60 minutes for the Rapids on day two as it was the shortest wait time we saw (probably because it started raining intermittently!). I am glad that I experienced this attraction but if you visit the park with limited time and find no fastpasses available and a mammoth queue, this is one to give a miss.
Cast Members are super helpful
Disney has a reputation for delivering excellent guest service and I am so pleased that this is also the case in their newest park. The U.S. parks have set high standards when it comes to service, and I am so thrilled to share with you all that in China, this great guest service is just as evident as it is in Orlando or California.
Whenever you travel, for however many days, whatever questions you may have or problems you may encounter, the cast members at Shanghai Disneyland will be on hand to help you.
Nothing was too much trouble for them and their pride in what they did made our trip just that little extra bit magical and that, for me, is what Disney Parks are all about. From characters to concierge, cleaners to cooks, every single member of staff that I encountered at Shanghai Disneyland was a credit to the company and genuinely enhanced my enjoyment.
I know that with a positive outlook, and of course a little preparation and planning, your trip to Shanghai Disneyland will be just as magical as mine was. Embrace the squatting toilets, try the noodles and have an awesome time!
Thanks again to Mercedes for letting us see the new park through her eyes! We hope this Shanghai Disneyland guide proves helpful to you and all your travel plans.