How To Tackle Shanghai Disneyland in One Day

Disneyland Shanghai is the sixth and newest Disney park on Earth, having opened less than a year ago at the time of writing this. I was lucky enough to make a trip out there recently, spending a day and a half at the park. 

When planning my trip to the park I found it quite hard to find tips on what order to hit the attractions, so I wanted to share what I found out in the hopes that everyone can get the most out of this fantastic park! 

I will say - the crowds at this park are insane. It’s super popular, and I went on a weekday in April and was still faced with up to three hour queues for the most popular attractions. However, there are a few ways that you can make sure you get everything in! 

Get There Early 
If you’ve ever been to Tokyo Disneyland you might have experienced the insane crowds that can gather at that park before opening, and Shanghai is no different. So just like its Japanese cousin, being early for opening is absolutely necessary! I’d recommend arriving an hour before opening, and make sure you pre-book your tickets online before arriving. The park does a pretty cool thing where it links your pre-booked tickets with your passport, so you just need to take this with you to the gates and they’ll hand you your ticket (it’s also required to buy tickets on the day). 

The security lines are less an orderly queue and more a mob fight to get in to the park, with people shoving and cutting left right and centre. Don’t be afraid to fight back, because God knows no-one will think twice about pushing in front of you so you might as well join in yourself

Once You're In - Run! 
Once you’ve managed to push yourself to the front of the line and got in to the park, you’ll notice everyone else running off to Adventure Isle - and make sure you follow them! In every park the majority of crowds head to a certain few attractions, but at Disneyland Shanghai this is taken to the next level and EVERYONE runs to the attractions in Adventure Isle, Soaring and Roaring Rapids. 

Unlike most Disney parks the Fastpass distribution centres are not at every ride, but instead are in special ‘Guest Services’ in every area, where you can get passes for every ride in that area. This actually works really well, and you can see the queue times and options for a few rides at once, and the Adventure Isle distribution centre is directly opposite the entrance to Roaring Rapids, so nab a Fastness for Soaring straight away and then jump in to the queue for the Rapids. 

If you’ve done this quickly you should be on the Rapids shortly after they open, with a Fastpass for Soaring a little later in the day (I got on the Rapids at 8am when the park opened, with Soaring at 9:20). 

Nab Seven Dwarfs
After hitting the Rapids, your next priority should be Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - if you cut back towards the Castle you can reach Fantasyland quickly and jump in the queue (or single rider!) for Seven Dwarves. When I visited, the other areas of the park remained quite quiet for the first hour or so whilst everyone rushed to Soaring, so was able to knock off Seven Dwarves with a fifteen minute queue (it later rose to 2 hours!).

Use Your Soaring Fastpass
After you’ve been on Seven Dwarves you just need to pop around to Soaring and saunter past the queue that’s probably already a million hours long, using your Fastpass to get the ride done. It’s quite fab, but hopefully you don’t like it too much because it’s unlikely it’ll go below two hours the rest of the day!

Cross The Park
Now you’ve basically got the right hand side of the park done bar Pirates (I know - it’s torture leaving it!) it’s time to head over to the other Coaster in the park, Tron. You should by now be looking at a Fastpass for the early afternoon and whilst you’re there, either grab a ride in the SRQ or hit Buzz - Tomorrowland should still be quiet enough to get it done now.

Save The Best For Last 
Pirates of the Caribbean - Battle for the Sunken Treasure is the best thing at Shanghai Disneyland by a long way, and it’s probably killed you to leave it until now, but it’s got an excellent SRQ and attracts some of the shortest queues in the park, so by now when you’ve got most of the rest of the park done, it’s time to head over and enjoy it yourself. And trust me, it’s fucking fantastic.

Enjoy The Rest Of The Park
Now you’ve gotten most of the big E-ticket rides out the way you can finally spend some time relaxing, using up your Tron Fastpass, doing the Fantasyland rides and enjoying whatever else takes your fancy. It’s a really great park, so hopefully you’re lucky enough with crowds that you can get a lot of things done!

Save Some Time For Snacks! 
The rides at Shanghai Disneyland are great and all, but like every other Disney park, really, it’s about the snacks. For a full meal I’d recommend heading to Disneytown, which actually has an entrance which directly links to the main hub of the park, meaning you can go from Tron to Cheesecake Factory in a matter of minutes. Disneytown has some great local and Western food options, an amazing bakery and some insane Chinese food, all reasonably priced. 

In the main park you can get amazing Mickey shaped dumplings, the best spring rolls ever from next to Tron and some insane popcorn in super cool Tron souvenir holders! If you’ve managed to tick off the attractions relatively quickly you’ll have more time to grab snacks, and lets face it, that’s the most important thing! 

I hope all of the above helps - as usual, this is just based on my experiences at the park, so hopefully followings these tips you can have as successful a day as I did! 

If you have any specific questions just leave a comment below and hope you get to visit the park soon so we can sit down and gush about HOW FUCKING GOOD TRON AND PIRATES ARE. 

I'd once again like to thank Ben for taking the time to write this and for providing excellent first hand insight into the cultural differences found within these parks, will definitely be useful for my visit next year!

Talk later xoxo