Important Tips for Visiting Shanghai Disneyland

Including how to skip the massive lines and avoid issues with tickets (we learned the latter the hard way)

This site generates income via partnerships with carefully-curated travel and lifestyle brands and/or purchases made through links to them. 

Shanghai Disneyland is unlike any other Disney resort in the world and we can say this now having been to been to all of them. It’s made up of the theme park, two hotels and a Disneytown entertainment area.

This Disney park in China is now a year old. While crowds are certainly an issue, we didn’t experience some of the growing pains I’d heard about. We also managed to have a fantastic time despite summer heat.

There is a lot I wish I would have known about visiting Shanghai Disneyland hence the entire reason for this post. I’ll tell you how to avoid ticketing issues, lines and general headaches someone who doesn’t speak Mandarin might face.

Shanghai Disneyland Location

The entrance to Shanghai Disneyland in China.

For those of you wondering where is Shanghai Disneyland, here’s the answer. It’s in Pudong but about a 45 minute drive inland from the famous Pudong skyline featuring the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower and more. (Pudong translates to East Bank of the Huangpu River, in case you were wondering.) This Disney park is close to Pudong Airport (PVG) which borders the East China Sea.

In fact, there is a shuttle direct to the park from PVG airport. We hired Blacklane (a car service I used worldwide) to take us there from Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai.

See also: The BEST Guide to Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland

Should You Buy Shanghai Disneyland Tickets Online?

The answer is yes, but it’s not as easy to buy Shanghai Disneyland tickets online as it sounds. The main reason to buy tickets in advance is because the park often sells out ahead of time. Unlike Hong Kong Disneyland or even our experience at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, concierge desks can’t issue you physical tickets in advance.

The lines at Shanghai Disneyland can be long. Here's how to skip them.

You will need to log into your MyDisney account on the Shanghai Disneyland website. You’ll enter passport details at the time of purchase and will need to bring your passport to the park in addition to the confirmation number in order to pick up the actual paper tickets.

Our printed ticket purchase confirmation said to proceed (with the confirmation number and passport) directly to the turnstile for park entry. This did not work for us. We were redirected multiple times to the main ticket queue to pick up our paper tickets. As you can see, it is not easy to navigate the crowds.

Your paper ticket is important because of counterfeiting issues. They tie your photograph to it. This way, at any time, staff in the park can can confirm it’s yours. I did not see any way for them to take these photos at the turnstiles but wondered why so many people skipped the ticket queue and headed straight here (any insight here is appreciated, please leave your experience in the comments).

This chaotic entry process is where we discovered the below.

English Is Limited

The fact that cast members spoke so little English surprised me a little because it’s a Disney park. This made everything from ordering food to sorting out our tickets much more difficult than it needed to be. I had help from my daughter who studies Mandarin (though is far from fluent) and it was still difficult.

The rides sing and speak in Mandarin. In my opinion, this isn’t an issue but some people find it a drawback.

The entrance to Shanghai Disneyland. Learn here how to navigate the crowds, what the rides are like and more.

How Shanghai Disneyland FastPasses Work

There are three ways to “skip” the lines at Shanghai Disneyland.

Shanghai Disneyland Premier Tour

At the time of this writing the cost for up to 6 people for a Shanghai Disneyland Premier Tour is 18,000 RMB for six hours (16,000 RMB during off-peak times). I suggest booking these tours as far in advance as possible because by the time I looked into it, they were sold out our dates. The Shanghai Disneyland Premier Tour grants guests expedited access to rides and shows, VIP parking, a VIP entrance to the park (skipping the hassles I described above), a merchandise discount and more.

Disney Premier Access

If not opting for a Premier Tour, get to the park early enough to secure a Disney Premier Access pass which grants FastPass access to seven rides. We would have been miserable without it.

For 600 RMB per person, we were guaranteed anytime FastPass tickets to seven rides:

  • Soaring Over the Horizon – Adventure Isle
  • Roaring Rapids – Adventure Isle
  • TRON Lightcycle Power Run – Tomorrowland
  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue – Tomorrowland
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fantasyland
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland

Disney Premier Access passes are sold on a limited basis. At the time of our visit, it was a cash-only transaction despite major credit cards being an option throughout the rest of Shanghai Disneyland. The Disney Premier Access pass is actually a pack of seven individual FastPasses for the rides listed above.

After entering the park, you’ll see a walkway next to the Avenue M store. Go directly there to buy the Disney Premier Access pass. You can buy for all seven available rides or just the ones you’d like to ride.

What happens after purchasing the pass is unusual. A cast member ushered us into a corner of the gift shop and asked for my cell phone. She took a photo of our group and in the photo is another cast member holding up a sign with the date on it. This photo served as proof that we were legit Disney Premier Access pass holders. I had to show this photo prior to each FastPass ride, sometimes twice. If you’re the type that takes a ton of photos with your cell phone, this can grow annoying as you constantly scroll through your camera roll to find this ridiculous photo.

Shanghai Disneyland FastPass

The other way to pull a Shanghai Disneyland FastPass is similar to the way FastPasses work in other Disney parks. You will need to find a Guest Services booth in the land of the participating attraction. Scan your ticket and a FastPass for the ride selected will be distributed.

The FastPass lines at Shanghai Disneyland are incredibly long.

These lines are enormous. FastPasses run out quickly all over the park. To give you an idea, by 8:30am the only FastPasses available for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train were for entry between 3:30—4:30pm. This is because so many people had pulled them already. We walked by a Guest Services building around noon and most FastPasses were sold out for the day.

FastPasses at Shanghai Disneyland are limited in availability and are quickly exhausted.

The FastPass rides are the same rides that the Disney Premier Access pass is good for. Again, these are:

  • Soaring Over the Horizon – Adventure Isle
  • Roaring Rapids – Adventure Isle
  • TRON Lightcycle Power Run – Tomorrowland
  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue – Tomorrowland
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fantasyland
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland

Shanghai Disneyland Attractions

I suggest scrolling through the list of Shanghai Disneyland attractions in advance of your visit. Some of the greats are missing. If you’re looking for Shanghai Disneyland Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Matterhorn or Haunted House, you’re out of luck.

However, there is TRON and it’s awesome.

Tomorrowland

TRON Lightcycle Power Run is by far the best ride at any Disney park worldwide, in our opinion. It’s currently exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland though apparently headed to Orlando. You must ride it.

Tron at Shanghai Disneyland is the best ride at any of the Disney parks.

It’s fast, unique and one of the best thrill rides I’ve ever experienced. You’re hunched over a speeding motorcycle, basically. Talk about butterflies.

TRON in Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland is the best ride in any Disney park worldwide. It's awesome.

In Tomorrowland, you’ll also find:

  • The Stitch Encounter
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Jet Packs
  • Stitch Encounter
  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue (this is always a favorite)

Fantasyland

The Shanghai Disneyland castle is the largest of any Disney park. It’s called the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Inside is the Royal Banquet Hall, a boutique and even a boat ride below the castle.

The Shanghai Disneyland castle is called the Enchanted Storybook Castle and is the largest of any Disney park.

During our visit a special castle show called “Summer Blast” was both fun to watch and kept guests cool.

The Shanghai Disneyland castle show called "Summer Blast" used water displays to help cool down guests.

A Fantasyland attraction that is unique to Shanghai Disneyland is the Alice in Wonderland Maze.

Alice in Wonderland Maze in Fantasyland at Shanghai Disneyland

A Fantasyland attraction that is unique to Shanghai Disneyland is the Alice in Wonderland Maze. The full list of Fantasyland attractions include:

  • Alice in Wonderland Maze
  • Frozen: A Sing-Along Celebration
  • Hunny Pot Spin (Like the Mad Hatter Tea Cups)
  • “Once Upon a Time” Adventure
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (FastPass – very popular ride but not a fast roller coaster by any means)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (FastPass)
  • Voyage to the Crystal Grotto

Adventure Isle

The Roaring Rapids ride at Shanghai Disneyland keeps guests cool in summer.

Roaring Rapids was a total blessing during summer. We did not actually get that wet (you can buy a poncho to cover yourself and any gear) but being on water was cooling. The other ride of note that is quite spectacular is Soaring Over the Horizon, a motion simulator attraction (I can get motion sickness in rides like these but was fine). Guests sit in sort of a hot balloon-like swing and glide over various places around the world. It is very well done.

Adventure Isle attractions include:

  • Camp Discovery
  • Roaring Rapids (FastPass)
  • Soaring Over the Horizon (FastPass)
  • Tarzan: Call of the Jungle

Treasure Cove

The one ride we simply didn’t have time for is Pirates of the Caribbean. I am told by many people that it is awesome and even better than Pirates of the Caribbean rides in other parks. It is unfortunate that this ride does not participate in FastPass.

Treasure Cove attractions include:

  • Explorer Canoes
  • Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure
  • Shipwreck Shore
  • Siren’s Revenge

Shanghai Disneyland Dining

Shanghai Disneyland Character Dining

Character dining at Shanghai Disneyland happens at the Royal Banquet Hall (and Lumiere’s Kitchen at Shanghai Disneyland Hotel). After purchasing tickets, you can make a reservation here, if one is available. Reservations were not available at the time of our visit but, in our case, it would have been a mistake to make them. The summer heat and wait times would have made planning around a set time extremely difficult.

Stargazer Grill for Western Food

As we finished Tron in the later morning, the Stargazer Grill was their choice. Options included a cheeseburger, pork burger, vegetarian burger, fries and a few specialty items. It’s counter order and pick-up. The problem is that it was so crowded that there was absolutely no place to sit indoors so we endured a hotter-than-you-know-what lunch in the heat. The upshot to a reservation at Royal Banquet Hall is that it’s guaranteed climate control. At Stargazer Grill, the burger and fries were decent but not mind-blowing.

A variety of other Shanghai Disneyland restaurants offer regional specialties like noodles and dim sum. If you’ve eaten at a restaurant that was particularly notable, please share why you liked it in the comments!

Shanghai Disneyland Snacks

Ice cream and popcorn carts are prevalent throughout the park. I took advantage of delicious and hydrating coconut water.

Coconut water at Shanghai Disneyland hydrates you in the heat of summer at this popular China theme park.

There isn’t any Dole Whip, unfortunately, but rest assured frozen desserts come in very handy during summer heat.

Tips Before For Visiting Shanghai Disneyland

The App

Download the Shanghai Disneyland app to check wait times, view the Shanghai Disneyland map, check dining options and more. It is not quite as useful as the other Disney park apps but it is helpful.

Lanyard for FastPasses and Disney Passport

Buy a lanyard so that you aren’t constantly digging around to find various FastPasses. You can buy them at Avenue M in sizes that fit just the Fast Passes (about the size of a credit card) or in sizes that fit the passport.

Lanyards are a good idea for holding your FastPasses and paper ticket at Shanghai Disneyland.

I recommend that you buy the Disney passport and a lanyard that is able to hold it and the FastPasses. The pouch for this lanyard is about the size of a standard passport. The Disney passport is a passport-sized book guests can stamp in various places around the park. It’s a fun way to keep the kids walking and will allow you to explore parts of the park you might not otherwise see. A few of the machines were broken during our visit, so just warn the kids there could perhaps be some technical difficulties.

Arrive EARLY

Arrive to the park early. It took us about 40 minutes without traffic to arrive from Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai which is located right on the Huangpu River. We tried to arrive right at 8:00 a.m. but it takes a good 15 minutes, walking at a very swift pace (I’d budget for more time with smaller kids in tow), to reach the entrance from the parking lot drop-off point. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be near the front of the queue. If the park opens at 8:00 a.m., try to arrive curbside by 7:30 a.m. You can also take the subway.

Pick-up and Drop-off Advice

If you are dropped off by a taxi or car service, you will not be picked up in the same place. We learned this the hard way. After cast members saw us waiting in the same spot we were dropped off at, they informed us that we needed to go elsewhere. The cast member spoke to our driver in Mandarin and directed him to pick us up at the Toy Storyland Hotel bus stop. This that wasn’t easy for him or us to find. It was hot and we got lost (as did our driver). This is the last thing you want at the end of a long day of walking, trust me.

Items to Bring

Bring cash for FastPasses, drinks and snacks as credit cards are not always accepted.

The person who purchased the tickets needs to bring their passport (a copy will not do).

If it is summer, bring a UV umbrella, sunscreen, a travel misting fan (it sprays mist… a lifesaver when in Asia during summer). The umbrella suggestion is no joke. It will help prevent sunburn and you’ll crave the shade.

Many, but not all, of the rides with indoor queues are air conditioned. It is wise to carry snacks and bottled water just in case hunger or thirst strikes in a long line.

Learn the best tips for visiting Shanghai Disneyland including how to skip the lines and buy tickets (without hassle).

Most importantly, have fun! We’re likely headed back there next year, heat and all.

See also: 10 Things to Do in Shanghai with Kids

What are your best tips for visiting Shanghai Disneyland?

These are the things you must absolutely know before visiting Shanghai Disneyland including how to buy tickets and skip the lines.
Previous post

Everything You Need to Know About Chinese Hot Pot

Next post

Kids Go Free in San Diego to Over 100 Attractions, Restaurants & More

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *