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Shanghai Disneyland is the newest Disney park in the world. It is the only Disney park in mainland China. Planning a Shanghai Disneyland trip can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. This guide gives you all the information you need to make your Shanghai Disneyland trip magical.
The first thing you need to know when planning a Shanghai Disneyland trip is whether you need a visa to be allowed entry into China or not. Most people are required to have a visa. If you are a citizen of one of these 53 countries, you are able to enter China visa-free and stay for 144 hours. That is the equivalent of 6 days.
You have to fly into certain airports to be eligible to stay for 144 hours. If you land at an illegible airport, you will only have 72-hours visa-free.
People that are not citizens of the 53 eligible countries are required to apply for and receive a Chinese visa before they land in China. You need to check with your consulate to see what the visa requirements are. The requirements are different for each country, so make sure you do your research before applying.
I always recommend getting a visa before you arrive in China because it makes the entry process much smoother. Check out my 20 Things to Know Before You Visit China post to learn more about why I suggest having a visa before arriving in China.
How to Get to Shanghai Disneyland
You should fly into Pudong airport in Shanghai. This will give you the easiest commute to Shanghai Disneyland.
Taking a Taxi
If you want the easiest and quickest commute, you should take a taxi. Taxis from Pudong to Shanghai are relatively inexpensive. The ride should cost you between $15-25USD. The ride should take approximately 35-40 minutes depending on traffic.
You can get a taxi at the airport. You need to have the address of where you’re staying written in Chinese characters to show your driver. Your driver will probably not be able to understand where you want to go if the address is written in English.
Taking the Metro
It will take you about 2 hours to get it Shanghai Disneyland if you take public transportation.
You start by taking Line 2 on the metro for 4 stops. Get off at Chuanshan Road Station and take exit 2. Next you get onto bus 50 for 7 stops and get off at Beifu Road Station at Guanghuang Road.
You will be at Shanghai Disneyland after you get off the bus. You can either walk to Shanghai Disneyland or the Shanghai Disneyland shuttle bus.
I recommend you take a taxi. It is way easier and doesn’t cost much more than taking public transportation.
If you are travelling to Shanghai Disneyland from Shanghai rather than the airport, you need to take metro line 11 to the last stop. You need to figure out how to get to line 11 from wherever you are staying. You will probably need to transfer once or twice, but once you’re on line 11, you ride it all the way to the end. After you get off the metro, you can either walk or take the shuttle bus after you get off the metro.
Where to Stay During Your Shanghai Disneyland Trip
On Shanghai Disneyland Property
I always recommend staying at a Shanghai Disneyland hotel. You can stay at either Toy Story Hotel or Shanghai Disneyland Hotel. The Toy Story Hotel is the less expensive option, and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is the expensive option.
Staying on property during your Shanghai Disneyland trip comes with a lot of advantages and conveniences. It will cut down on your commute time and allow you to get extra sleep, which might be the best benefit of all.
Benefits of Staying at a Shanghai Disneyland Hotel
- Free transportation from the park to the hotel and back
- Exclusive hotel guest only entrance
- Can pre-book fastpasses
- Guaranteed entrance even on busy days
- Disney-level guest service
- Cute Disney in-room souvenirs to take home
Staying Off Disney Property
You should book a hotel along metro line 11 or bus 50’s route if you are not staying on Disney property. This will make your commute to and from the park easy because you will not have to transfer lines.
There are not many hotels along metro line 11 near Shanghai Disneyland because the area is newly developed. You will have a fairly long commute if you choose to stay off property. It can take 45-60 minutes to get to Shanghai Disneyland from many hotels.
You need to give yourself extra time to get to the parks if you are taking the metro because it is a long walk from the metro exit to the park.
You will also be standing in the general entrance line, which is normally really long. If you are standing in the general entrance, you need to arrive at the park at least 1 hour early. This will give you enough time to get through security and be one of the first into the park.
Hotels with Public Transportation to Shanghai Disneyland
- Xin Jue Jiayi Hotel (has a free shuttle to Shanghai Disneyland)
- Marriott Hotel Kangqiao (short walk to metro line 11)
- Pudong Airport Chuansha Atour Hotel (near bus 50 stop)
You can purchase either 1 or 2 day tickets for your Shanghai Disneyland trip. You need to purchase a 2 day and a 1 day ticket if you want to spend three days in the park. It is inconvenient, but Shanghai Disneyland is still a new park and is still figuring everything out.
You can also purchase an annual pass if you are planning to visit the park multiple times during the year. There are multiple types of annual passes that cost varying amounts of money. You have to purchase an annual pass either through the official Shanghai Disneyland WeChat or at the entrance to the park.
If You’re Staying on Property
I recommend purchasing your ticket directly through Shanghai Disneyland if you are staying at a Disney hotel. You can purchase it either when you are booking your hotel or when you arrive at the hotel. You need to purchase your tickets directly though Disney in order to use some of the benefits like the exclusive hotel guest entrance.
If You’re Not Staying on Property
I still recommend buying tickets directly through Disney if you aren’t staying on property. This will ensure you are getting legitimate tickets and not counterfeit tickets.
If you choose to purchase discount tickets from someone other than Disney, do your research to ensure it is a reputable company.
Klook is one site that sells discounted Shanghai Disneyland tickets. I have never used this company, but TDRExplorer the ultimate guru on all Asian Disney parks recommends them, so they must be reputable.
How Many Days in the Park
You need at least 2 days at Shanghai Disneyland to experience everything. If you’re a huge Disney fan, you will want to spend 3 days in the park.
You will be able to experience nearly everything and ride your favourite attractions multiple times in 2 days. Having 3 days will allow you to take your time as you explore.
Shanghai Disneyland App
You need to download the Shanghai Disneyland app before you enter the parks.
You can make fastness reservations and check wait times directly from the app, so it is extremely useful. In order to make fastpass reservations, you need to scan the ticket of everybody in your party after everybody enters the park. When all the tickets are scanned, you are able to make fastpass reservations for everybody in your party from a single phone.
The app is a must-have item on your Shanghai Disneyland trip. It helps you maximize your time and plan your day.
What to See and Do
You will have lots to see and do on your Shanghai Disneyland trip. The park isn’t huge, but it has a number of unique attractions and shows that you don’t want to miss.
The lines are often long- especially in the afternoon. You should get to the park right when it opens to make the most of your time. The afternoon is a great time to go to shows, meet characters, or explore Disney Town while the lines for attractions are long.
- Tron Lightcycle Power Run: You will want to ride this multiple times because it is amazing!
- Pirates of the Caribbean: This ride uses new technology and is incredible.
- Seven Dwarves Mine Train: it is the same as the Magic Kingdom version but still a great attraction for the entire family.
- Soaring Over the Horizon: This is also identical to the versions in Disney California Adventure and Epcot, but it is still a fan favourite.
- Voyage to the Crystal Grotto: This is a boat ride that takes your through a number of fairytales and through the castle.
- Once Upon a Time Adventure: This is a walk-through attraction that lets you go up the castle.
- Camp Discovery: These are obstacle courses of varying degrees of difficulty.
Characters to Meet
There are a lot of characters to meet while on your Shanghai Disneyland trip. Most of the characters you can meet can be found in other Disney parks around the world, but there are a couple that are unique.
You can meet Mickey in his Shanghai outfit. This is a unique meeting, and Mickey looks super handsome in his blue jacket and gold shoes. You should definitely make the time to meet Mickey while on your Shanghai Disneyland trip. His line gets long, so you should try to meet him in the morning.
You can meet a number of Star Wars characters at Shanghai Disneyland. They are located in the Star Wars Launch Bay near Tomorrowland. The Star Wars characters normally have a short wait, so they are perfect to meet when the park is busy.
Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, and a number of droids are all waiting for you to meet them. There are even a number of interactive things to do in the Star Wars Launch Bay.
You can meet Spider-Man and Captain America from the Marvel Universe. They are located in a pavilion near Star Wars Launch Bay, so you can see characters from 2 of the most iconic franchises of all time one after the other.
The Marvel characters tend to be busier than the Star Wars characters, so be sure to check your app to see how long the wait is.
Happy Circle is located in Adventure Isle near Soaring Over the Horizon. You are able to meet more obscure jungle/animal characters here. There is hardly ever a wait, so it is a great place to go during peak hours.
Nick and Judy from Zootopia, Rafiki from the Lion King, and King Louis from the Jungle Book are frequent characters that are greeting guests. This is a great location for Disney fans that are wanting to meet characters that are more difficult to find in the US parks.
Woody and Jessie from Toy Story
Toy Story Land was the first Shanghai Disneyland extension. It has 3 attractions as well as a place to meet Woody and Jessie.
You can also meet the characters from Toy Story if you’re staying at the Toy Story Hotel. The characters roam around the lobby area throughout the day. Check with the concierge if you want to know when they will be out and about meeting guests.
What would a Shanghai Disneyland trip be without meeting a Disney princess or two? You can meet the princesses at the back of the castle. Different princesses meet at different times during the day, so you will have to go by the line to see who is meeting guests.
The line to meet princesses is always long. From park open to park close, there is always a line. You aren’t able to get a fastpass to meet them either.
If you want to meet the princesses, you should check the app to see how long their line is. Normally first thing in the morning and at the end of the night are when the lines are the shortest.
The princesses are not in any special outfits, so it you have already met them in other parks, it may not be the best use of your time to wait to meet them on your Shanghai Disneyland trip.
Characters on Mickey Avenue
Mickey Avenue is the equivalent of Main Street in other Disney parks. It is the part of the park that you first see when you enter through the main guest entrance. If you enter through the hotel guest entrance, you will be entering the park near Tomorrowland and will not see Mickey Avenue when you walk in.
Mickey Avenue is where you will be able to meet your favourite classic Disney characters like Minnie, Donald, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and Goofy. They meet at varying times throughout the day, so check your app or guide map to see when they greet guests.
The lines on Mickey Avenue can be long or short depending on the time of day and how busy the park is. If the character you want to meet has a long time, find something else to do for 30-60 minutes then go back to meet that character. The line should be shorter by then.
The classic Disney characters normally wear their standard costumes; however, during special times of the year like Easter, Christmas, and Lunar New Year, they wear special costumes. Getting a picture with your favourite character is a special outfit is an amazing memory.
Shows and Entertainment
There are a number of shows and entertainment you can enjoy on your Shanghai Disneyland trip. Most of the shows are unique to Shanghai Disneyland, and you won’t be able to see them anywhere else.
Shanghai Disneyland Shows and Entertainment Options
- Songs of Arbori: A 15 minute dance show
- Tarzan Call of the Jungle: An acrobatic show and my personal favourite entertainment at Shanghai Disneyland
- Frozen A Sing-Along Celebration: The most popular show
- Baymax Super Exercise Expo: A exercise show for children lead by Baymax from Big Hero 6
- Eye of the Storm Captain Jack Stunt Show Spectacular: I have never seen this show but have hear you stand for most of it, so it isn’t a good option if you are looking to rest your feet.
- Fantasy Festival: A castle stage show featuring all your favourite characters
- Tai Chi with Characters: Chip ‘n’ Dale lead guests through Tai Chi
The parade in Shanghai Disneyland is called Mickey’s Storybook Express. It takes place at 12pm and 3:30pm most days, and it is 14 minutes long.
It starts by Toy Story Land, goes by Tomorrowland, around the castle by the Gardens of Imagination, and ends between Treasure Cove and Fantasyland.
You can normally get a good viewing location 5-10 minutes before the parade starts. The best place to get a last-minute viewing location is in Tomorrowland.
The parade has catchy music and a couple good floats, but it isn’t a great Disney parade. It certainly isn’t worth staking out a spot and waiting an hour to see. It is worth seeing if you are able to get a decent last-minute viewing spot though.
The Nighttime Show
The Shanghai Disneyland nighttime show is called Ignite the Dream, and it is 20 minutes long. It is a castle projection show that also has fireworks. It is a pretty good show all things considered.
Unlike the parade, the nighttime show is extremely popular, and you need to get a viewing spot early. I have seen people saving a spot 2 hours before the show began.
You should try to get a spot near the Gardens of Imagination. The nighttime show projects images onto the castle, so you want to have a good view of the castle. The further back you are, the more likely it is that you will have an obstructed view of the show.
Where to Eat
Your Shanghai Disneyland trip would not be complete without trying all the great snacks and meals the park has to offer. Many of the restaurants inside the park have a heavy Asian influence, but trying new foods will make your Shanghai Disneyland trip unforgettable.
Inside Shanghai Disneyland
Remy’s Patisserie is the best place to get breakfast. It has lots of delicious pastries to choose from. Most of the pastries are shaped like Disney characters, so they are delicious and cute. My favourite is the Mike Wazowski bun (I think is better than the Tokyo Disneyland version).
There are lots of great quick service restaurants to choose from in Shanghai Disneyland. Mickey and Pals Market Cafe is one of the most popular locations. It offers a variety of dishes including rice bowls, noodle bowls, chicken, and ribs.
If you’re looking for a unique place to eat lunch, go to the Royal Banquet Hall. You get to eat inside the castle and meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy in their royal outfits.
The best place to grab a sweet snack is Il Paperino. This is the only place in the world you can get Donald waffles rather than Mickey waffles! This location also serves a variety of ice cream treats and sweet pastries.
In Disney Town
Disney Town is Shanghai Disneyland’s version of Downtown Disney or Disney Springs. It is a shopping and restaurant destination that is steps away from the park. It should definitely be on your must-do list for your Shanghai Disneyland trip.
Disney Town is where you are going to find more Western options. Most of the restaurants inside the park are Asian, but there are a couple of sit down restaurants in Disney Town that have classic American food.
My personal favourite is the Cheesecake Factory, but there is also a Wolf Gang Puck Kitchen & Bar. Both of these locations are normally busy, so you should try to eat during off-peak hours to cut down on your wait time.
There is a Starbucks in Disney Town, so if you are craving Starbucks during your Shanghai Disneyland trip, that is where you can find it.
There is a bakery in Disney Town located adjacent to the World of Disney store that sells great baked goods. The green tea cake pop is amazing, so you be sure to check it out if you have a sweet tooth.
Souvenirs to Buy
No Shanghai Disneyland trip is complete without purchasing a few Disney souvenirs to remember your trip by.
A lot of the merchandise at Shanghai Disneyland is standard and can be found at any park around the world; however, there is lots of merchandise exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland as well.
The merchandise at Shanghai Disneyland costs roughly the same as it does in every other Disney park, so I recommend only purchasing items that are exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland.
You can determine what is exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland by looking at the tag. If it exclusive to Shanghai, it should be marked on the tag and easily identifiable.
All the merchandise that is branded with the Shanghai Disneyland logo is exclusive. It is normally easy to tell what items are exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland because they tend to look more traditionally Chinese than the other merchandise.
A lot of people are concerned that there is going to be a language barrier during their Shanghai Disneyland trip. This isn’t the case at all.
Many cast members speak English, and the ones that don’t will find an English-speaking cast member to assist you when you need help.
The signs are all in English as well as Mandarin, so you will be able to identify what the restaurants, attractions, and stores are easily. At quick-service restaurants, there are pictures of the food as well as English menus the cast members can give you. There are English menus at all sit-down restaurants. You will never have a problem ordering food at a restaurants during your Shanghai Disneyland trip.
There are also English guide maps you can get. You normally have to ask a cast member for one when you enter the park, but you will be able to get a map you can read.
The shows and attractions are in Mandarin, but you will still be able to enjoy the show or attraction even if you don’t understand what is being said. You will be able to understand what is going on by the context and visual effects.
All in all not being able to communicate or understand cast members is not something you should be concerned about when planning your Shanghai Disneyland trip. It isn’t much different than going to any other international park where English is not the first language.
Shanghai Disneyland is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. While it is unlikely that you will get hurt, you should always purchase travel insurance rel=”nofollow” when you travel.
Travel insurance is essential if you fall ill in another country, but it also covers you for unexpected things like toothaches, lost baggage, and having to cancel your trip before you leave because you’re sick.
It is an inexpensive investment that you hope you never need to use but are always happy to have if you ever need it.
Shanghai Disneyland is on of the most unique Disney parks in the world. It has lots of unique attractions and experiences as well as a lot of local, Chinese theming that cannot be found in any other Disney park in the world.
A Shanghai Disneyland trip should be on every Disney lover’s bucket list. Casual Disney fans will love it too! I have been to every Disney park in the world, and Shanghai Disneyland is my favourite park. I promise you won’t regret your Shanghai Disneyland trip and will want to go back again and again after you experience it!