“I told you!” My friend has just commented on how the castle looked huge. I simply responded that it does not look that big. Turns out, this is the biggest Disney castle in the world. Can you guess where we were? SHANGHAI DISNEYLAND.
We planned to meet up at the campus gate at 6:30 so we could arrive at Disneyland around 8:30 when it opened. The trip to Disney was super simple. We literally got on the subway, transferred like one or two lines, then stay on Line 11 all the way to the happiest place in the world. Not that I went to Disney in Hong Kong, but I do know that the subway works the same way there. So, if you ever want to go to Disney in Asia, do not worry about transportation.
We literally arrived right when the amusement park opened. We got special tickets just because one of my friend’s roommate actually did the “Disney Academy Program” and got us a special discount. Our tickets were only 300RMB, which is roughly $43. I know that tickets for Disneyland in California are well over $100. China’s security is so strict. They took pictures of us as we entered the park. These pictures were then used whenever we used the Fast Pass.
I would definitely recommend getting the Disneyland Shanghai app. This gives us a map of the park along with the wait time for the attractions. The best feature is the Fast Pass! You are able to select to apply your fast pass on one ride every two hours. It gives you a specific time frame (usually an hour) when you can use the pass. For most of the rides, it is similar to the process in America when you enter a separate line. There was one where the fast pass was a “shortcut” to bypass part of the line. It was actually a bit awkward to cut in.
My Disney Experience
I have only gone to Disneyland California once. This was when I was so little, I do not even remember how old I was. The only memory I have is my mom and I chasing after Pluto with my autograph book in the rain. It sounds a lot more fun than how I described. This time was very different. I went with a group of friends from my study abroad program. It was more of a spur of the moment decision. One of the girls just messaged me on Friday asking if I was free Sunday to go to Disney. It was so random and sudden that I was unsure. We barely had two conversations, and now she was asking me to spend an entire day with her and her roommate. Nevertheless, it was Disney! With some Disney magic, I was about to go to the happiest place on Earth with three strangers and leave with some amazing friends.
The first ride we went on was Tron Lightcycle Power Run. I have to admit I have yet to watch the movie, but it is on my must-watch list now. The ride was so much fun. I think it was the most thrilling ride in the park. Speed was the main factor because there were not any major drops or loops. Nonetheless, we actually rode it twice. The second time, I was able to sit in the front row. The only downfall is that I had to take off my glasses, so I feel like I was not getting the full experience since I was visually impaired. However, this is definitely a personal problem and did not affect how amazing the ride was.
TOY STORY LAND
Since Toy Story 4 was just released, they had a cute promotion for Forky, who I assume is a new character I will be introduced to when I watch the movie. This section of the park was probably one of the most decorated. There were life-sized string lights, which gave the impression that we were toy-sized. It was as if we were Andy’s toys. Rex’s Racer is a great ride to get a one-second bird’s eye view of the entire park.
We entered the Alice in Wonderland Maze. This is the place to visit to get some cute pictures, aside from the castle itself, obviously. Walking through the maze, you will visit the Queen of Heart’s palace, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and a bunch of others. We followed the maze rule of keeping right, so we found the most efficient path, but did not get to see all the other scenes. While I would have liked to explore all the other parts of the mazes, but I am not a huge Alice in Wonderland fanatic, so I was fine with the two we visited.
The castle has the “Once Upon a Time” Adventure where you are able to roam a section of the castle and follow Snow White’s story. It was actually pretty cute a perfect opportunity to explore the largest Disney castle. Be wary that people will push to be in the front. However, toward the end of the attraction, it is more self-led, so you can take your time and watch the videos without someone else’s elbow in your personal space.
Peter Pan’s Flight was such a cool ride. This was one of the rides we used our fast pass on, which I would definitely recommend. The wait was about an hour and we were in and out within fifteen minutes. As for the ride itself, we were able to sail to Neverland and see Peter Pan’s adventure. I knew we were sitting in a cart, but the track was invisible, which just supported the illusion that we were flying. I still cannot wrap my mind around it.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a cute, little ride. We also used our fast pass for this ride. The ride was fairly straightforward, both figuratively and literally. It just took us through some caves, and we got to see the dwarfs at work. There were no major drops or scary turns, so it is very kid-friendly. This is not to say that it was boring because it was still a fun ride, just not for someone who is seeking an adrenaline rush.
Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure was probably the only ride that left me speechless. The cinematography was just breathtaking! Throughout the ride, it was as if our ride was dipping into the ocean and swimming through the sea. The visuals were so realistic that I felt like I was a pirate aboard Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship.
My top two all-time favorite rides are Tron and the Pirates of Caribbean. Tron is better because of the thrill factor (since the visuals were also super cool, but I love the adrenaline rush from drops on roller-coasters). However, Pirates of the Caribbean gave me such an immersive experience that I still cannot believe how real it looked.
Mickey’s Storybook Express. It was the cutest thing ever. It was about an hour of different Disney characters performing in the parade. A quick synopsis of appearances is the traditional Disney characters (Minnie, Micky, Goofy, Pluto), the seven dwarfs, Toy Story, Rapunzel and Flinn, Finding Nemo, Elsa and Anna, Mulan, and finally Winnie the Pooh and other animated characters. It was cute because the characters that were not on the floats would come near the audience and give out high fives and interact with you on a more personal level.
Summer Blast. The water show is right in front of the castle where everywhere is a splash zone. I kindly asked one of the cast members where she would recommend us to stand to have the smallest possibility of getting soaked. She told us nowhere in the front row or center. I decided to go in the second row off to stage left.
This was the best decision if you want a great view and experience some splashes but remain primarily dry. The show was so cute. Ariel, Moana, and other water-related characters sang their songs (some in English, others in Chinese). Performers would also come into the audience in the designated rows to spray the guests. If you want to stay dry, another time I would have is to avoid eye contact. Although it was hilarious to see how much the performers enjoyed spraying the audience.
Currently, they are performing Beauty and the Beast Musical. It would have totally gone to see it is I had known. Granted, it is all in Chinese, so I might have been lost for parts of the musical, but I have also seen the English version so many times that I would have just assumed. According to the online schedule, there is only one performance at 5, so I would recommend working other attractions around this time because it would have been so amazing.
I feel like the only other classic Disney experience I missed was the fireworks. The fireworks show was scheduled to begin at 8:30, but by 7 everyone was exhausted and ready to head back. They also had homework to finish because we had classes the next day. I heard the fireworks were not that specular, but I still think if you have the time and energy, it is a must see!
Overall, I loved loved loved Shanghai Disneyland. If you are anywhere close, I would most definitely recommend going, especially if you are with a group of friends. So far, this has been the highlight of my Shanghai adVUONGtures.
Followed the second star on the right.. to Shanghai Disney
Wished on a star to find bae..max
Found my castle. Next, where is my Prince Charming?
Don’t turn your back on love