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Important Shanghai Disneyland Tips to Know Before Your Next Visit

The world is watching them reopen.

There is a lot I wish I would have known before visiting Shanghai Disneyland park for the first time. The whole world is watching them reopen this week with enhanced security and sanitization measures in place.

While it may be some time before tourists can visit, I want to update this review post with information from our most recent trip along with advice for how to avoid lines — crowds have historically been an issue and will certainly be again when full capacity is permitted. I’ll also address some challenges that visitors who don’t speak Mandarin might face and tips for what to bring.

Shanghai Disney Resort is made up of the Shanghai Disneyland theme park, two hotels, Wishing Star Park and a Disneytown entertainment area. We’ll talk mostly about the theme park.

How to Buy Shanghai Disneyland Tickets

Right now, the only option for buying Shanghai Disneyland tickets is online. During normal times, the main reason to purchase tickets in advance is that the park often sells out ahead of time. The other reason is that the park is moving to a digital format to help combat counterfeit tickets and to increase sanitation initiatives.

The lines at Shanghai Disneyland can be long. Here's how to skip them.
The lines during normal times can look like this.

Even in normal times, a hotel concierge desk can’t issue you physical admission tickets in advance, as they can at hotels near Hong Kong Disneyland or even Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

There are a few ways to buy Shanghai Disneyland tickets online. Klook is one of my site partners so if you purchase tickets using the link to them below I may earn a commission.

Through Shanghai Disneyland

You can log into your account on the Shanghai Disneyland website and buy tickets there. You’ll fill out the required health form and enter passport details at the time of purchase. Right now, tickets are also timed.

It used to be that you would need to bring the confirmation number to the park in order to pick up the actual paper tickets. Now you can show your mobile ticket and passport at the gate.

Klook Discounted Tickets

Alternatively, you can also buy discounted tickets through Klook, which is a major seller of tickets and tours in Asia that I use personally. With Klook tickets you can also show your mobile ticket and passport at the gate.

A Note About Child Tickets

The way child ticketing works in China is based on height and not just age. child Shanghai Disneyland tickets are required for ages 3–11 years old or with a height above 1.0 meter and up to 1.4 meters on the day of their visit to the park. Children under the age of 3 or under 1.0 meter tall are free and do not require tickets. My tall daughter has required adult tickets in China since she was quite young.

Shanghai Disneyland Ticket Prices

There are three tiers of prices:

  • Regular: CNY 399
  • Regular Plus: CNY 499
  • Peak: CNY 599
  • Peak Plus: CNY 699

You can also purchase half-day tickets for entry after 2 p.m. and annual passes. The price for children is about 25% less. Annual passes are also available with special perks for annual pass holders.

English Can Be Limited

Many Cast Members speak English but it may be broken English. This made everything from ordering food to sorting out our tickets (we had an issue during our first Shanghai Disneyland trip with a paper confirmation) a little difficult. I had help from my daughter who studies Mandarin (though is far from fluent) and it was still tricky.

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

Guests walk toward the entrance to Shanghai Disneyland.

New Requirements for Entering the Park

All guests are now required to register online with Shanghai Disneyland before entering the park.

Cast Members will temperature check every guest. Guests will also be required to present green Health QR Codes. In addition, Mainland China residents must bring their PRC Resident ID Cards and foreign visitors must bring their passports and valid Mainland China visas or travel permits.

You will enter through a metal detector and have your personal belongings checked during security screening per usual.

Social distancing markers will help moderate line crowding and the park has announced increased sanitation methods. Masks are required except when dining.

Your photo will also be taken at the gate and it will be linked to your ticket. This is to avoid counterfeiting and resale.

Download or Update the App BEFORE Arriving at the Park

If you plan to develop a Shanghai Disneyland Fastpass strategy it is imperative that you download the app and create an account before you arrive at the park. The reason is that the second you step in the park, you’ll want to load your app, be already logged in, and be ready to beat the rush of people who will also be trying to skip lines by selecting Fastpasses and purchasing Disney Premier Access.

If you already have the app, make sure that it’s updated before you arrive and that you are logged in and ready to go.

How Shanghai Disneyland Fastpasses Work

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

Shanghai Disneyland Premier Tour

The Shanghai Disneyland Premier Tour grants guests expedited access for 3–8 people to rides and shows, VIP parking, a VIP entrance to the park (valuable on crowded days), a merchandise discount and more. We’ve taken this tour actually and I would recommend it as a way to ensure a smooth visit with near-zero line waits, which is helpful in the summer heat. The price changes based on dates, but we paid CNY 18,000.

This tour makes it so that the best time to visit Shanghai Disneyland is any time. No matter how crowded it is, you can skip the lines.

Disney Premier Access

If not opting for a Premier Tour, get to the park early enough to purchase Disney Premier Access passes which grant Fastpass access to twelve rides. We have used these, too. They have also gone digital and can be purchased and accessed via the app. The prices vary by date. The eligible Shanghai Disneyland rides include:

  • Soaring Over the Horizon – Adventure Isle
  • Roaring Rapids – Adventure Isle
  • TRON Lightcycle Power Run – Tomorrowland
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – Fantasyland
  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue – Tomorrowland
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Fantasyland
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – Fantasyland
  • Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure – Treasure Cove
  • Rex’s Racer in Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land
  • Woody’s Roundup – Disney·Pixar Toy Story Land
  • Challenge Trails at Camp Discovery – Adventure Isle
  • Voyage to the Crystal Grotto – Fantasyland

Disney Premier Access passes are sold on a limited basis. You can buy per ride or buy a set. I would buy the set so that you know you can access rides throughout the day.

You may see talk online about needing to purchase Disney Premier Access in-store where you would also take a very awkward group photo that would be tied to paper passes. This used to be the case, and it was this way during our first park visit, but digital passes have replaced this.

Shanghai Disneyland Fastpass

Free Fastpasses work similarly to Fastpasses in other Disney parks. They allow you to return to a shorter line at participating attraction at a designated time. They are also now secured through the app. Here is your Shanghai Disneyland Fastpass strategy:

  1. Have the Shanghai Disneyland app downloaded and updated before you arrive at the park. Do not waste valuable time by trying to do this while waiting in line at the gates because there will be others tapping into the WiFi and 2G internet while roaming in China is notoriously slow. Every minute counts. Do this before you leave your home or hotel.
  2. Create your account on the app before you arrive at the park. Be logged in so that all you need to do is pull up the app once inside.
  3. After entering the park, open the app and tap “Get Fastpass.”
  4. You’ll then need to scan your party’s tickets into the app and link them together if you plan to ride together. Everyone will need to be inside the park when you do this.
  5. Select and confirm the Fastpass you would like to secure for your group. (I would pull Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or TRON first.)
  6. Go to the Fastpass queue at the selected ride within the selected timeframe. A Cast Member will scan tickets there and verify photo identity.

Every member of your party must have a Fastpass in order to ride.

The old Fastpass method, which I suspect will not be operational with the nearly paperless park reopening, was to queue at a Guest Services distribution booth in the land of the participating attraction. They would scan your ticket and a Fastpass for the ride selected will be distributed.

The FastPass lines at Shanghai Disneyland are incredibly long.
A Fastpass distribution line at a Guest Services booth.

The lines to wait for Fastpass distribution are enormous in normal times. Fastpasses run out quickly all over the park. To give you an idea, by 8:30 a.m. the only Fastpasses available for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was for entry between 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. 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. With the new mobile method of selecting Fastpasses, they will be exhausted at an even faster rate.

Fastpasses station at Shanghai Disneyland showing zero availability – they are limited in availability and are quickly exhausted.
Develop a Fastpass strategy because they become exhausted quickly.

The Fastpass Shanghai Disneyland rides 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 and Lands

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, Star Wars, Space Mountain, Matterhorn or Haunted House, you’re out of luck.

However, there is TRON and it’s fantastic. Here is a list of the seven themed lands and the attractions in them. A Zootopia land is under construction.

Mickey Avenue

This is the street near the entrance that is the equivalent of Main Street USA at Disneyland. There are mostly shops and restaurants but the one attraction here is Mickey’s Film Festival.

Tomorrowland

TRON Lightcycle Power Run is by far the best ride at any Disney park worldwide, in our opinion. You must ride it.

Shanghai Disneyland TRON hurls down the track and is the best ride at any of the Disney parks.
It’s so, so fun.

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

A closer view of riders on TRON in Shanghai Disneyland's Tomorrowland.

In Tomorrowland, you’ll find:

  • Baymax Super Exercise Expo
  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue
  • Club Destin-E at Tomorrowland
  • Jet Packs
  • Stitch Encounter
  • TRON Lightcycle Power Run (Fastpass)

Fantasyland

The Shanghai Disneyland castle is the largest of any Disney park and celebrates all Disney princesses. 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 one of our visits, 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.
The water misters cool guests down in the summer.

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

Alice in Wonderland Maze in Fantasyland at Shanghai Disneyland

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

Gardens of Imagination

I love Dumbo.

This is the first land at a Disney park that was designed like a garden and it has multiple species of trees and plants.

Gardens of Imagination attractions include:

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Fantasia Carousel
  • Garden of the Twelve Friends
  • Golden Fairytale Fanfare
  • Marvel Comic Academy
  • Marvel Universe
  • Meet Mickey at the Gardens of Imagination

Adventure Isle

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

Roaring Rapids is a total blessing during summer. We did not get that wet (you can buy a poncho to cover yourself and any gear) but being on the water was cooling.

The other Shanghai Disney ride of note here 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 a 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)

Treasure Cove

A line forms outside of Pirates of Caribbean.
It’s completely different than any other Pirates ride.

I grew up riding the old-school Pirates of the Caribbean but it’s not something they could have replicated in Shanghai because the locals don’t have the same nostalgia for it. But, they are familiar with the movies.

What they did with this ride though is pretty fantastic with the high-tech screens and how they follow the Jack Sparrow storyline. Buy Disney Premier Access for it. Treasure Cove attractions include:

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

Disney•Pixar Toy Story Land

Rex's Racer ride at Shanghai Disneyland

This Toy Story Land is quite cool but it does feel much smaller than the version at Hong Kong Disneyland. Toy Story Land attractions include:

  • Slinky Dog Spin
  • Rex’s Racers
  • Woody’s Round-Up

Best Shanghai Disneyland Rides Ranked

If I were to rank the best Shanghai Disneyland rides, here’s how they’d shake out.

1. TRON

As mentioned earlier, this is the best ride in the entire park, if not all Disney parks. You will feel like you’re riding a TRON Lightcycle, just like in the movies.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure

I have nostalgia for the original but I’m not going to lie and say they didn’t knock it out of the park with the special effects and movie storylines on this dark ride featuring Jack Sparrow that is entirely themed to the movies.

3. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

It’s a mild roller coaster that simulates the buckling, twists, and turns of a runaway mine cart but is still a heap of fun. It quickly showcases highlights from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs including famous songs like “Heigh Ho” in Mandarin.

4. Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue

It’s the Buzz Lightyear ride where you shoot lasers at targets to try to throw off the attempts of Evil Emperor Zurg to basically steal batteries that power the space vehicles of the Little Green Men. Each target has a different value and your hits are tallied by your vehicle.

5. Soaring Over the Horizon

This flight simulator involves guests sitting in a “vehicle” that lifts them in front of a dome projection screen that gives the sensation of actual flight. Iterations of this ride appear in other Disney theme parks but in Shanghai, it’s a global version that takes you soaring over the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, and other famous landmarks.

6. Roaring Rapids

This an exclusive Shanghai Disneyland ride and a much welcome respite from the summer heat. You will get a little wet though many wear ponchos to avoid this. You’ll travel in a circular raft with rubber bumpers that bump you back and forth along the river as you go.

7. Rex’s Racers

While rides that send butterflies into my stomach are not my favorite, the horseshoe-shaped Rex’s Racers (a version of RC Racer at Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland) is popular for being a mild roller coaster and modeled after Hot Wheels cars and their tracks.

Disney Characters and Parade

You will see Disney characters sprinkled throughout the park, taking photos with guests using their mobile photos or PhotoPass photographers. However, the most efficient way to see them all is at the Mickey’s Storybook Express parade which happens usually in the late morning daily.

Shanghai Disneyland Dining

We’ve eaten at multiple dining outlets now having been repeat visitors. Overall, the food is just okay. The desserts are fun and I like them but the taste doesn’t always suit Western palates.

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 I think are both a blessing and a curse. If you’re not on a Disney Premier Tour, the summer heat and wait times make planning around a set time extremely difficult. And, if you’re on a Disney Premier Tour, do you really want to waste that expensive time eating?

Stargazer Grill for Western Food

Once, after finishing TRON, in the late morning, the kids were starving so went straight to the Stargazer Grill next door. Options included a cheeseburger, pork burger, vegetarian burger, fries, and a few specialty items. It’s counter-order and pick-up.

It was so crowded during our visit that there was no place to sit indoors, so we endured a hotter-than-you-know-what lunch in the heat. The upshot of 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.

We’ve also eaten at the Mickey and Pals Market Cafe. Lunch on the earlier side wasn’t too crowded and I appreciated the selection of Asian fare with a few Western options sprinkled in. Seating is indoor and air-conditioned.

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.
Coconut has electrolytes.

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

Shanghai Disneyland frozen ice cream treats on display at a snack cart.
A popcorn cart at Shanghai Disneyland
The popcorn cart menu at Shanghai Disneyland.

I also am a huge fan of stopping into Remy’s Patisserie at least once per visit. Even the pickiest kids can find something here they’d like in this fun counter-service spot with bread, dessert, snacks, and more.

Pastries, breads and desserts at Remy's Patisserie inside Shanghai Disneyland.
Treats at Remy’s Patisserie

Best Shanghai Disneyland Tips for Before You Go

Bring a Power Bank

A successful visit relies on your smartphone staying charged. Do not forget to bring a power bank.

Download or Update the App

Download the Shanghai Disneyland app before arriving as you’ll need it to check wait times, view the Shanghai Disneyland map, check dining options, and more. Make sure the app is updated before entering the park.

Lanyard for Disney Passport

The souvenir Disney passport is a passport-sized book that 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. You can buy passport-sized lanyards at Avenue M near the entrance.

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

Given the more sanitary paperless strategy the park is enforcing lately, I am not sure if they will continue issuing the souvenir passports.

Arrive EARLY

Arrive at 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 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 a.m., try to arrive curbside by 7:30 a.m. You can also take the metro to the park.

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 a Cast Members saw us waiting in the same spot we were dropped off at, they informed us that we needed to go elsewhere.

He spoke to our driver in Mandarin through my phone and directed him to pick us up at the Toy Story Hotel bus stop. This 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 as credit cards are not always accepted (though this is improving).

All guests need to bring their passports and travel visas (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!

See also: 10 Things to Do in Shanghai with Kids

Shanghai Disneyland Hotels

The benefits of staying at the two Shanghai Disneyland hotels include priority entrance to the theme park 30 minutes before it opens to the general public. You can walk, take a resort shuttle, or take water taxi to the park. Hotel guests may also select Fastpasses in advance and receive priority dining reservations at Enchanted Storybook Castle (Royal Banquet Hall) and hotel restaurants.

Shanghai Disneyland Hotel

Shanghai Disneyland Hotel is considered the luxury option. You can experience Magic Kingdom Club benefits that include breakfast, evening cocktails, snacks, and an elevated level of service. Character dining happens at Lumiere’s Kitchen inside the hotel and there’s a Mickey Mouse playroom.

Toy Story Hotel

This colorful hotel allows guests to immerse in all things Woody, Jessie, and friends. The rooms are Toy Story themed and the lobby is decorated like toy packaging. It’s a great option for younger kids as there is an outdoor splash pad and an interior Playroom.

Where Is Shanghai Disney Resort Located?

The entrance to Shanghai Disneyland in China.
The entrance to Shanghai Disneyland

For those of you wondering where Shanghai Disney Resort is located, here is the answer. It’s in Pudong but about a 45-minute drive inland from the famous Pudong skyline along the Huangpu River featuring the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and other famous sights.

There are two international airports in Shanghai. The closest airport to Disneyland Shanghai is Pudong Airport (PVG) which borders the East China Sea. During normal times, there is a shuttle direct to the park from PVG airport. The drive without traffic usually takes 30 minutes.

We usually hire Blacklane (a car service I used worldwide) to take us from Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai to Disneyland Shanghai. Didi is another rideshare app with van, black car, and regular car service with an English translation and the ability to use an overseas credit card. We have also taken Didi to/from Shanghai Disneyland.

You can also take Metro Line 11 from North Jiading/Huaqiao/Anting to Disney Resort station. Trains arrive and depart every few minutes from early morning to later at night.

See also: The BEST Guide to Visiting Hong Kong Disneyland

What are your best tips for visiting Shanghai Disneyland?

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11 thoughts on “Important Shanghai Disneyland Tips to Know Before Your Next Visit

  1. Thank you for this post. We are San Diegans heading to Shanghai for the first time with kids. Although this post is a little overwhelming I am very thankful to know these things prior to our Disney trip. Thank you!

    1. You really just need 24 hours in advance or so. I book my transfers before I leave but the rest can be done with just a little advanced notice! Have fun!

  2. Out of all rides, you did not ride Pirates of the Caribbean 🙁 That’s hands-down the best ride in any Disney parks. Next time, next time 🙂

  3. Thanks for the information! We are headed to the park tomorrow. Luckily we have 3 children who are competent Mandarin speakers and it sounds like that will come in handy.

  4. I have lived in Shanghai for 10 years but I would never go to Disney Land in Shanghai sad to say. With 40 million people in Shanghai and 1.7 Billion people in China I couldn’t imagine the horror. Let’s not even talk about the bathrooms.

    I tried to go to Disney Land in Shanghai off-peak. A Tuesday 8:00 A.M., mid-November(midterm tests) It was still packed to the brim. Maybe in the next life.

    I don’t know how you did it .

    1. I would have been miserable without the Fast Pass. I will say that everything was much cleaner than I thought it would be, including the bathrooms.

  5. Hi..I’m planning a trip there by mid Apr this year and from shanghai Disney website it mentioned Fast Pass is Free and you mentioned it’s need be purchase.Pls advise.Thks

    1. Hi! The free Fast Pass has massive queues and they can only be pulled at various stations around the park. They also run out of these free Fast Passes. I would recommend purchasing the guaranteed Fast Passes that I mention here.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to write your blog! We went there two months after it opened, in July, the heat/humidity was the worst ever, but we had a blast!! You’re right-on about everything, Tron is my favorite of all Disney rides (we’ve been to all Disney parks in the world). I will say that the Pirates of Carribbean ride along with Tron are hands-down the two best rides there, so much to say if you waited in line and saw just those two rides for the entire day, do it?! The Pirates technology is amazing, unbelievable.
    Did you use your cellphone? I read something about VPN. Is using your cellphone safe in Shanghai? We’re going again to Shanghai Disneyland next month! Thanks!

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