Shanghai Disneyland - All your questions answered




As you may or may not know, Shanghai Disneyland opened on 16th June 2016. It has the largest Disneyland castle standing at 60 metres tall. Inside the castle are murals depicting Disney cartoons and dedicated to all the Disney princesses, including princesses from ‘Frozen’, Tangled’ and ‘Brave’. There is a restaurant called Royal Banquet Hall, and part of a ride called the 'Voyage to the Crystal Grotto'. The boat ride takes guests past scenes from the Disney films such as Tangled, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been totally redone and looks amazing, and there is a ride called 'Tron' too which is very popular, with plans for it to come to America.

This week we have a review of Shanghai Disneyland from a reader S.K who is in her early 20's and has been to Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea (and Universal Studios Osaka) many times. During July she visited Shanghai Disneyland. Her responses are below:

How close did you stay to Disneyland? Can you recommend? Did you catch a train? was that easy to navigate train stations and getting to the Park? (signs in English?)
I stayed at a Disneyland hotel. There is a boat which connects Disney hotel to the Park. So it was really convenient. But it seems like that there are many hotels around Disneyland.

I took the Subway to go to Shanghai city from Disneyland (not train). The Subway is less complicated than the train. It took at least 40 mins to go back to the city by Subway. I am not quite sure how people distinguish the Subway from the train in China, but they said  trains are for intercity transport and subways are for inner-city transport. Anyway the subway from Disneyland to Shanghai city is convenient and easy. The Subway was quite clean and comfortable. It is quite similar to the Japanese subway. One surprising thing at the subway was that security people checked people's luggage with X-ray machines at the entrance of the subway stations. So you might feel annoyed if you have a lot of luggage.

How much Chinese did you know and was it enough? (Do people speak English? Did it make it hard to get around)
I do not speak Chinese. I can understand Kanji, but I still had difficulties there. Most people including workers at Disneyland can't speak English. Some people showed an "angry face" when I asked in English for directions. But I think that is because they are tired by being spoken to in English which they don't understand at all. I recommend you to "research" before going there so that you will not need to ask many questions whilst you are there. If you need to ask something, you should ask young people, not old people. Some young people can understand English words. There was enough English signage everywhere to get around in general however.

Where did you eat? Recommend? Or not recommend. (I have read that Pork is a big item on the menu and all parts of chicken are used?)
I ate at Disneytown which is located next to the main park. You can go to Disneytown from the park through the back door (not main entrance) and go back to the park after lunch. At Disneytown, there are many choices. There is a food court where you can find cheap Chinese food. There was Italian restaurant at Disneytown, which serves a bit more expensive food. In China or Japan, pork might be more "regular" food than beef. Personally, I find pork in Japan or China tastes better than pork in Australia.

What was your strategy around the park? Did you have favourite rides that you did first?
The strategy is always the same! Just go early as possible and run when the entrance gate is open. I didn't do that in Shanghai, but I do this all the time at Osaka Universal Studios Japan with my sister. 


Fastpasses - what did you do? (Do they work similar to Japan?)
Yes. It is pretty much the same as Tokyo Disneyland (paper Fastpasses that you get inside the park). Make sure you get your Fast pass tickets for the day as quickly as possible as they run out. Also check your times of your Fast Pass tickets.

What are your favourite Disney rides (in any Park in the world)?
Haunted Mansion at Tokyo Disneyland. This has been my favourite ride for years! I like the atmosphere! The ride provides "scary" atmosphere but still is a lot of fun. I think this type of ride is quite unique. I can't find similar rides in Universal Studios Japan.

Which other parks have you been to and how do they compare to Shanghai
I have also been to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. I believe that the beauty of Disneyland is that you can forget your real life like study or work and soak yourself into a dream town. But in Shanghai Disneyland, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I found the cast members unhelpful with respect to answering questions, so it made it difficult to get around and find things.

How were the crowds? How long were the lines? Have heard they could be
3 hours long and the queues aren’t well managed like in other parks.
It was super crowded! It depends on rides, but popular rides require you to queue at least 2 to 3 hours. I didn’t experience any problems with queues being unmanaged inside the park. I think it is because there are ropes or signs that you are forced to queue. But at the front entrance to the park, the queuing was unmanaged by park staff and some guests weren’t queuing properly and some were pushing others. 

Would you recommend July in China being a good time to go?
Definitely No! You shouldn't go in July especially if you are not familiar with humid summer in Asia. I recommend you to go in Spring or Autumn.

General thoughts on Shanghai Disneyland (things you wish you knew before you went)
Personally I thought Shanghai Disneyland was still immature as a Disneyland park in comparison to other Disney parks.  Cast members (staff) couldn't deal with many customers and I think they were very frustrated. They didn’t seem to smile at all. 

Thanks S.K for answering all my questions on Shanghai Disneyland. 

Please take a look at the video footage for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, it is the most advanced special effects of its kind in any Disney Park in the world:

 




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Until next week,
KJ 







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