Since returning from Shanghai Disneyland, I have been asked by several friends, readers, and relatives to answer some questions about what the park is like and traveling tips. What follows is a list of questions I have been asked thus far, so I hope this helps.
What travel documents do I need in order to travel to Shanghai?
In order to travel to China, you will need a passport as well as a China tourist visa. A passport alone will NOT be enough documentation to enter and exit the country. In order to obtain a tourist visa, you need to have a flight and hotel booked along with confirmation to send to the China consulate. There are several companies online who will handle your paperwork for you to make sure your visa process runs smoothly. I used Visa Express and it cost me around $100, but it can be more expensive if you’re looking to have your visa expedited.
If I don’t speak Mandarin (Chinese), will the language barrier be a problem?
On Disney property? Not at all. All signage is in both Chinese and English, including prices for food and merchandise. All Disney employees seem to go through training that teaches them enough English in order to do their job. In other words, you’ll be able to order a meal fairly easily and tell the person at load how many people are in your party and they will tell you what row to enter in English. In my experience, many employees were excited to see me so they could test out their English and try to have a conversation with me, which was really funny and even charming at times.
What about all that bad behavior I keep seeing online? Should I be worried about everyone pooping in the streets?
Personally, I experienced no bad behavior while I was in Shanghai Disneyland. Keep in mind, I have reported on some of this behavior several times at Theme Park University, so I was ready for the worst. Instead, I experienced the same type of tourists you’ll find in the United States. No shouting, no pooping in the streets, no trampling in places guests shouldn’t go…. seriously saw no major issues. Your results may vary, but believe me, I was surprised. The only thing it took a while to get used to was the personal space issue. While waiting in line, Chinese like to squeeze very close to one another and often brush up against you. They might even push you a bit if they are not looking at where they are going. With a country that has a population of over 1.3 billion, this is just a way of life for them, so don’t take it personally.
How expensive is Shanghai Disneyland?
Tickets are based on seasons, much like Walt Disney World’s new ticket strategy. I would visit the Shanghai Disneyland website and see how much tickets run. Based on my research at the time this article is written, the park is the cheapest Disney theme park ticket you can buy anywhere in the world: around $75 US. On the other hand, food prices are on par with what you’ve seen in other Disney parks. For example, the rib platter seen in the picture above is 95 RMB, or roughly $14.50 US.
I’m a picky eater and am not interested in eating scorpions on a stick or actual dog meat. Will I starve?
You’ll be fine. There are many western options in the park, from pizza to corn dogs, and more. You will find some quick service options that you would never find in a Disney park, like squid or pork buns, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try something new.
Are the rides that different from what I am used to at Disneyland and Walt Disney World?
Hell yes. As a matter of fact, the only exact clones you will find are The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and Seven Dwarves Mine Train. All other attractions may have familiar themes, sets or ride vehicles, but are a completely modern twist on classic attractions.
Is it worth flying all the way around the world for Shanghai Disneyland?
Absolutely. Considering there are so many unique attractions, restaurants and hotels, it is definitely worth the trip. If you are like me and a fan of detail, you will not be disappointed in Shanghai Disneyland. This is the kind of detail the stateside Disney parks only wish they had. I know you may be thinking that Tron or Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Sunken Treasure may be somehow added to a park in the States, but that would be incredibly costly. These are unique ride systems with massive show buildings that would take up a lot of room that Disneyland and Walt Disney World simply don’t have.
Do you think the parks will expand?
No question. There are lots of open spaces throughout the park that are destined for future development. The park is absolutely massive and Disney bought a space that has much future room for growth that we will cover in a future article here at TPU.
Is it worth it to stay at a hotel on Shanghai Disneyland property?
If you’re going to fly all the way to China and you are a true Disney fan, I say go for it. The Shanghai Disneyland Hotel may be my favorite Disney resort I have stayed in anywhere. Great views of the park, excellent service, wonderful detail and so much more. You’ll want to give it a shot for at least a night and if not, try and carve out some time to visit the hotels while you are there.
How many days do I need to visit Shanghai Disneyland?
Considering how crowded the park is anticipated to be, I would say you need a minimum of three days to see the highlights of the property. If you’re a completist and want to do everything right down to paddling a canoe, I would budget for five or six days which will allow you to ride attractions like Tron and Pirates several times.
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