Last August, Zach’s Chinese grandfather treated him to a visit to the newest Shanghai Disneyland. Zach had been looking forward to the trip for a couple of months. The expectation was high.
We booked a hotel enroute to Disneyland with a convenient subway connection.
It was a Saturday. We left the hotel at six o’clock in the morning in order to catch the earliest train.
If you have been to Shanghai subway. You know it is a rare occasion that there is hardly anyone on the station. We were early!
After twenty minutes of queuing to get into the park, finally, we were there.
It all seemed peaceful, colourful and magical. Then everything went downhill from there. There were just too many visitors than the facilities could cope with. One out of three water fountains were broken. This resulted a 20-30 minutes water queue. The toilet was over populated and even ice lollies stands were crowded. Majorities of the major attractions had a waiting time over an hour, some of them had up to 5 hours queuing time.
It was not easy with a five-year old and Zach’s 60 years old grandparents.
The next day (Sunday), we left the hotel room at six O’clock as planned. Unexpectedly, it was even busier than the previous Saturday. The queuing time seemed doubled in all the attractions. A couple of rides were broken in the morning which may contribute to the number of people waiting for other facilities. Zach’s grandparents could not bear the 40°C heat and regrettably left the park soon after arriving there.
In summary, my recommendation of the time to visit Shanghai Disneyland as follows
If you can avoid hot steamy Shanghai summer and school holidays in China to visit Disneyland, please do.
If you have to visit Shanghai Disneyland in summer like us, please choose week days.
If you can only visit Shanghai Disneyland in a weekend in summer, please choose a Saturday rather than a Sunday because most of the people who live outside Shanghai tend to travel to Shanghai on a Saturday and visit Disneyland on a Sunday.
In terms of different attractions:
We did not try
The above attractions were either closed or the waiting time was too unbearable.
As a family with a young child, our experience of rides as follows:
- Soaring over the horizons, where we sat on a flight simulator watching a giant digital screen, “flied” around the world. The whole experience was impressive for our five-year old. However, in my opinion, it did not worth a 2-hour wait. You could enjoy a similar experience in IMAX.
- Peter Pan’s flight. We only waited for about half an hour to get on Peter Pan’s flight which led us to London, a familiar scene, indeed. It was short but sweet.
- Buzz Lightyear’s planet rescue. It was definitely fun for a little boy who likes shooting games. The spaceship we sat on could turn about 360° which allowing us to target and shoot various alien targets on the way to the destination. We also got our scores at the end of the game which was a bonus for my competitive boy.
- Voyage to the crystal grotto. After an hour waiting, we finally got on a boat which took us to animated water features scattered around the lake. I am NOT sure if it was the heated temperature or the fact I waited for an hour in a 40°C heat. I felt I was in a roasting oven, slowly melting. unfortunately, this boat trip did not match my expectations.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. We loved it, although, our 5-year old was tiny a bit scared. We were on a trip in the middle of Caribbean witnessing a battle amongst pirates. There were sound effects, up-to-date image effect and splashs of water which kept us cool.
- Seven dwarfs mine train. I managed to get three sets of fast passes for this ride during the course of two days. This possibly was the best thing that I did in Shanghai Disneyland. Zach really enjoyed the ride every time.Please watch the video to experience the excitement with Zach.
We also watched three live shows:
- Tarzan: Call of the Jungle. A great performance combined acrobatics and music, unfolding a classic tale.
- Eye of the Storm: Captain Jack’s Stunt Spectacular. I cannot remember much about the show. It was clearly not impressive.
- Frozen A Sing-Along Celebration. As the title suggests, it is a sing-along session of Frozen songs which is great for any Frozen fans.
- Ignite the Dream Fireworks. We missed the fireworks. We were exhausted by 5 o’clock after spending most of our time in Disney queuing.
Last but not the least, TRON lightcycle power run, the only ride that Zach could NOT get on. It was fun for Ben and I. Instead of a traditional rollercoaster ride, we rode a motor bike. The whole setting was futuristic and I would recommend you to give it a go.
I hope you find some of the information is useful. Would you like to know a bit more about our experience in getting fastpasses, please comment below.