Shanghai Disneyland has been open for nearly a year now, and crowds have started to dwindle, making this the ideal time to take a trip abroad and check out the newest Disney Theme Park.
If you’re unfamiliar with Shanghai, you might be surprised by just how far out of the city the Shanghai Disney Resort is. You can take the mass transit system, hire a private taxi and negotiate the rate, or do a metered cab. It’s best to have your hotel call the taxi versus hailing one off the street as they have regular drivers they work with who are not as likely to price gouge you. And, plan ahead – traffic can be a nightmare in Shanghai. In traffic, the drive can be an hour or more, and then you still have to walk into the resort as taxis drop you at the “Transportation Center.”
If you plan to spend multiple days at Shanghai Disney, considering staying at one of the two official hotels. However, note that neither one is a close walk into the park or Disneytown, Shanghai’s version of Downtown Disney. If you stay at the more budget friendly Toy Story Hotel, for example, you’ll need to take the hotel bus to the resort transportation center and then walk to the park itself.
Download the official Shanghai Disney App before you go, which gives you wait times and most importantly, updates on when rides break down. Opening week saw a lot of main attractions shut down regularly. Keeping abreast of what rides are open beats walking from one end of the large park to the other, just to find out the attraction is currently not operating.
The app offers a lot more as well, including the ability to explore attractions, read up on other official Disney content for the resort, browse the stores, learn about the hotels, and even purchase tickets.
Since the resort has been open nearly a year, crowds have been smaller than initially predicted. However, if you can plan to visit during a weekday, it may be far less crowded than weekends were during the summer months following the opening.
If you’re considering a trip this summer, remember that summer is typhoon season in China and it’s also incredibly hot and humid. And, always bring layers – it can easily rain for hours in Shanghai so be prepared for all weather conditions.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest complaints seems to be the food and the associated costs. The food can be pretty pricey at the resort, which is echoed by many locals who are opting to bring their own food and take advantage of the resort’s ample picnic areas.
You won’t find the array of table service restaurants that you find at the other resorts, unless you head out to Disneytown where sit down restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and other familiar outlets are located. Inside the resort, you will find a variety of different food available, including some Chinese and Western specialties.
If you want to cut down line time, utilize the single rider line for the biggest attractions like Tron, Roaring Rapids, the Seven Dwarves Mine Ride, and/or Pirates of the Caribbean. The single rider lines are a great way to cut down on your waiting time if you can’t get a FastPass for some of the most popular attractions.
You’ll find some of the same merchandise from the US Parks, so focus on the Shanghai exclusive stuff that you can’t buy elsewhere. The prices on theme park souvenirs can be pretty high, so use a currency calculator to understand what each item costs. Don’t miss some of the best park souvenirs like Chinese embroidered Mickey ears.
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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