Top Tips for visiting Shanghai Disneyland | Travel Guide

Planning a trip to Shanghai Disneyland can be complicated, with very little info currently available. Not only is there a language and cultural barrier to tackle, there also isn’t a wealth of planning information out there either.

Following our trip in November 2016, I’ve compiled a list of my top tips to help to make your trip as amazing as possible.

Plan on more than 1 day

Yes, it’s only one park, and yes, technically you COULD do it in one day. But planning for just a single day can be a stressful experience. Trying to crammed in the big rides, and fit in all the show times throughout the day is a big ask. What’s to say that’s even possible? On our second day Pirates of the Caribbean was closed for the entire day, how would you feel if on your “one day” that happened to you?

shanghai disneyland treasure cove

Also, the park is HUGE. Trying to fit everything in would mean a lot of back and forth to maximise time. Give yourselves two days, get your must do’s completed on your first day, and then use the second day to really appreciate the park, taking in some of the smaller attractions and shows. The detail there is second to none, you need to give yourself time to stop and take it all in.

Have a strategy

I think this is important, even if like mine, it’s only a loose plan of action. Know what the park has to offer, what rides are your “must do’s” and aim for those first. You may find you get those done very quickly, that’s great, but at least you’re not going to arrive without a destination in mind.

Use FastPasses to your advantage

Many of the top attractions utilise the FastPass system, use this to your advantage. For example, I recommend running (along with everyone else!) to grab a FastPass for Soarin in the first instance, before proceeding to ride it as well. Then, when you are within your FastPass window (providing the time suits), grab something like the River Rapids for early afternoon. Tron, in our experience, was usually the last ride in run out of FastPasses so those were the last we grabbed. Trying to time an evening FP for Tron is also recommended, as it’s a completely different ride in the evenings.

Shanghai Disneyland Soarin Fastpass Queue

Bear in mind that unlike Tokyo and some other Disney parks, you queue for FastPasses at a single location within the land, it’s hidden behind a guest services booth. This is especially handy for Soarin, as the machines are BEFORE the ride when running from the central hub, so don’t get carried away and miss it!

Get there early

Queues can get big, so arrive early. I recommend an hour before as a minimum. Once you’re through the first gate be prepared to run and queue again at the main gates ready for entry.

Shanghai Disneyland Queue

Go with and open mind

I’ve mentioned this before in a previous post, but it’s a very important one. At opening and still today, lots has been said about the cultural differences you can expect to find in Shanghai Disneyland compared to other parks, and this is rarely shed in a positive light.

Shanghai Disneyland Mickey Avenue

Yes, people will push in, but they do that in Disneyland Paris if you don’t use your elbows to your advantage. And yes, personal space is pretty much zero, they will stand mear millimetres behind you. But will this ruin your trip? of course not! As for the “dirty”, less savoury behaviour you are warned about in the press, we didn’t see a thing, maybe we were having too much fun to notice. What I will say though it that Shanghai Disneyland was one of the cleanest, well-kept parks I’ve visited, it puts Walt Disney World Florida to shame in that regard.

Separate exit for Disneytown

To the left of the castle, just passed Dumbo, is a second exit for Disneytown. This is especially useful if, after the fireworks, you are heading there to eat. You’ll avoid all the stampede heading for the main exit this way. So for the fireworks try and position yourself on the left-hand side in preparation for this exit.

Take time out

Shanghai Disneyland is BIG, but it’s also one of the most beautiful and detailed parks you’ll visit. It’s very tempting to spend your day sprinting between attractions, shows and FastPass slot,s but do take some time to enjoy it.

Shanghai Disneyland Treasure Cover Area

Go somewhere else

True when visiting Shanghai in general, not just Shanghai Disneyland. Recently China introduced a new visa scheme aimed to encourage tourism to certain areas. There are detailed rules to follow, and I recommend checking those out before travelling, but as a general rule, if you fly into Shanghai, stay for less than 144 hours in total, and continue on to a destination NOT in the country where you originated, you can do so completely visa free. So why not pair it with a trip to Japan like we did, you’ll have a lovely extended trip and save yourself some pennies (chinese visas are not cheap!) and time in the process.

Tokyo Disneyland

So what are your best Shanghai Disneyland travel tips? Anything you think I’ve missed?



  1. May 15, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Oh wowww. The crowd is insane! I never expected the park to be so huge, that 2 days are needed and recommended for visiting. I personally have heard so much about the cultural differences/shock experienced at Shanghai Disneyland. This isn’t on my bucket list yet though. Hahaha. I’m gonna have to take a while to get past that unwillingness in me. 😡

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      awwww you should, it’s an amazing place 🙂

    • Molly
      October 1, 2017 / 7:28 pm

      So I was thinking about taking the trip to Shanghai Disney maybe early 2018 and planning on a trip less than 6 days… That said would I still have to pay the $140 chinese visitor visa or is there something else beside my passport that is needed? Do you have a rough estimate of the park and hotel costs for staying on property?

      • hannah
        October 3, 2017 / 7:58 pm

        if your trip is 144 hours (6 days) or less you can use the transit visa, but only providing you are in transit. You have to have arrived from 1 country and be leaving to another, otherwise, it won’t count. You also have to be visiting from one of the participating countries so be sure to check the list.

        cost wise we paid £379.26 for 2 nights which included 2 days tickets for two adults as well. That was for the toy story hotel which is the cheaper of the two options.

        hope that helps!

  2. May 15, 2017 / 10:18 am

    Wow Shanghai looks beautiful, would like to go one day, thanks for sharing.

  3. May 15, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    Aw this looks beautiful!! Ive visited both the Paris and Florida parks but I can imagine this is a whole different experience. Definitely worth a read if youre planning on going here!!

    Sarah | xx

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      VERY different, but well worth it

  4. May 15, 2017 / 11:30 pm

    Love the insider tips! As a veteran of Disneyland in CA, I know that tips like that can make all the difference. The photos are beautiful and make me want to go!

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:11 pm


  5. May 16, 2017 / 12:27 am

    I think that having a strategy and using fast passes will definitely help you get the most out of your visit to Disneyland x

  6. May 16, 2017 / 1:20 am

    I didn’t know that Shanghai had a Disneyland

  7. May 16, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    Such great info! I’ve been to the Tokyo Disneyland, but you’re right, every country is very different. This is so helpful.

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      I love how each park is a completely different experience

  8. May 16, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    Looks like an amazing trip! Love the pictures!!

  9. May 16, 2017 / 3:27 pm

    This looks like so much fun and beautiful pictures! I went to disney in Florida But definitely would like to try this one someday! Thanks for sharing


    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:12 pm

      stick it on the bucket list 😛

  10. May 16, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Ha! I would NEVER think to go to Disneyland in other countries/cities when traveling abroad but honestly, that would be such an awesome experience and a culture shock too! What a genius idea!

  11. May 17, 2017 / 3:16 am

    Oh wow. I’d love to visit hear one day. It sounds like I’d have an amazing time. I’ve only been to Disney World down in Florida, and I think that place is incredible, so I can only imagine what I’d think of this place!

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:13 pm

      you would love it!

  12. May 17, 2017 / 11:17 am

    I love a good theme Park! And your tips are great it makes so much more fun when you go prepared and get the fullest out of it.
    Lea, xx

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:14 pm

      it so does, my family laugh at the amount of time I spend planning but it’s so worth it!

  13. May 18, 2017 / 5:49 pm

    This place looks so beautiful! I would love to go but I’ve been Shanghai before and hated it, haha. I might just stay in the park. What are the cultural difference you were talking about. I think I have a feeling what they might be, but I’m curious.

    That visa thing you mentioned. You said that you went Disneyland Shanghai and then Japan visa free. Does that mean you didn’t need a visa for either country?

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      nope no visa for either just and entrance card on the way in and out. culturally it’s alot about the personal space, or lack off mainly. Some of it seems rude, like pushing in, but to the locals, it’s really not.

  14. May 18, 2017 / 6:12 pm

    That looks AMAZING! And seriously seriously busy! xx

    • hannah
      May 24, 2017 / 8:16 pm

      very! but you kinda get used to it

  15. L
    July 4, 2018 / 7:25 am

    Just got back from a visit here! We were already in Shanghai and as SoCal folks we couldn’t pass up a one day visit to the park. Tips: show up at least a hour early to enter, use your umbrella to create personal space (the Chinese respect the umbrella!), buy tickets online in advance, ride pirates twice, buy the extra fast pass package (fast passes were all out for the day by 9AM) it’s SO worth the extra $60 since your park ticket is only $60, spend time in the back streets looking at details, don’t expect anyone to speak English not even cast (signs will be in English). We did personally see a lot of shocking trash in the security line, but the park itself was spotless. I did also see several kids peeing in bushes, but whatever. Research food beforehand- we didn’t and missed out. I did find the Dolewhip stand though, exiting futureland, covered in blue sprinkles with a candy Stitch stuck in it! Castle was something else! Rides in Mandarin were actually funnier that way. Buzz giving instructions in Mandarin is excellent!

  16. February 15, 2019 / 3:26 am

    Great post! I’ve been to every Disney park in the world, and Shanghai Disneyland is by far one of my favourites. It is such a beautiful park, and I love that it is so unique. Having a fastpass strategy is essential! Thankfully it is so much easier now that you can get fastpasses on the app rather than having to run from one end of the park to the other just to get a fastpass. I also love that hotel guests that purchase their tickets through Disney are able to use the Disney Town entrance in the morning rather than the main entrance. It makes the wait time so much shorter! One day I was running a bit behind and got to the Disney Town gate 15 minutes before the park opened, and I was 5th in line! This was right when this perk was introduced, so I doubt it would still be this quiet, but it is still a great perk nonetheless. It makes me so happy that Shanghai Disneyland is evolving and expanding so quickly. I can’t wait for Zootopia Land to open- I will definitely be going back to see that!

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