Shanghai Tips & Observations

Discussion in 'Other Lands' started by bkmanhole, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

    Jan 27, 2015
    Hi Everyone,

    My wife and I just got back from Shanghai Disneyland, crossing the last Disney park off our list. I thought it might be helpful to share some of our experience for the planners out there who might have a trip planned.

    Our trip took place between Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2018. I would consider this low season as our wait times were quite reasonable.

    Airport Transport

    We stayed at the Toy Story hotel and arrived around 8pm on Oct 31 in the evening at Pudong Airport. Our original plan was to take the Maglev & Metro to the hotel as we were worried about Taxi scams, but in the end, due to a foot injury just before our trip, we decided to take our chances on a taxi as navigating the metro with luggage would have been quite a challenge.

    We used the Taxi line up and had the hotel address in Chinese to direct the taxi driver. He didn’t really acknowledge that he knew where we were going, but we ended up where we needed to go. I had my GPS on my phone out just to make sure we were heading in the right direction. The taxi ride to the hotel in the evening was 65 RMB and took about 30-40 minutes. This was cheaper than if we had gone with our original plan.

    When we left, he ride back to the airport around 12:30pm was around 95 RMB. We arranged it through Bell Services at the hotel desk.

    Toy Story Hotel

    Check in at the hotel was easy - they will scan your passports and take a photo of each person as they need to register foreigners. We loved the elevators!

    Guest Entrance Card

    You will be given ONE special hotel card for to use the Disneytown entrance to Disneyland. This card will have your checkout date printed on it and the number of guests. They explain that if you lose the card, it cannot be replaced. When you leave on the bus to the parks each morning, cast members are reminding guests to have this card.

    Food at the Toy Story Hotel

    We didn’t get a chance to eat specifically in the hotel, so here are just a few thoughts.

    There is a small quick service cafe (Sunnyside Market) that has drinks and pastries as well as a restaurant.

    The restaurant (Sunnyside Cafe) served a buffet breakfast (158 RMB for adults and 108 RMB for kids), counter service lunch and a buffet dinner (198 RMB for adults and 138 for kids). We found the prices for but buffets to be a bit high and opted not to eat at the hotel.

    We found the restaurant was most busy for breakfast and only had a few tables for dinner.

    We did end up ordering room service for dinner once as it was a more economical option. There were set hours where room service was available, but I can’t recall them at the moment, I want to say 11am-midnight) The meals came in little take out boxes and you must pay by credit card or cash. Billing it to your room was not an option.

    Character Greetings @ Toy Story Hotel

    Woody and Jessie were out usually around 11am - mid afternoon and there is usually almost no line.

    Resort Buses

    There will be shuttles to the Metro Station, Disneyland and other Disneyland Hotel. There is no direct shuttle from Disneyland to the Metro Station - you will need to catch this from a hotel.

    Main Gates

    Expect a line up at the main gates as the big bottleneck is getting through security and bag check. We arrived at around 8am, and spend about 40 minutes in line to get through bag check. I’ve heard nightmare stories about this area, but it wasn’t too bad for us. We did not use the hotel entrance the first day as we needed to purchase the ½ year pass at the ticket booths and were not able to get these the evening we arrived. Every day after this first day, we used the hotel guest entrance at Disneytown.

    When you go through the turnstiles each day you will need your passports as they check ID every time. You will not be allowed to bring in any outside food, and glass bottles. Selfie sticks are apparently okay as we saw them all over the parks and even on some rides.

    ½ Year Pass

    We ended up going with the ½ year pass as it made the most financial sense given the number of days we were planning on being in the park. Here are some things we learn that might be helpful to others who are considering.

    There are discounts on food and merch that are all redeemed by linking your pass through WeChat. Once your pass is linked, you will have coupons that you can scan to receive discounts. When you link your pass, it will ask for a phone number to activate, we used our north american numbers to receive the SMS code to activate. Each pass needs to have it’s own phone number if you plan to activate passes on different phones.

    The big ones we ended up taking advantage of:
    • 20% off Food (not including snack kiosks) - we learned that this could only be used 5 times a week. The coupons reset each Monday.
    • 20% off Merchandise - I believe there is also a limit on this one, but we did not hit it.
    • 100 RMB off 300 RMB purchase of Merchandise - Each pass is provided with 3 of these coupons to use. It’s a good way to save on souvenirs if you buy them all together.
    • 100 RMB off 3 course meal at Royal Banquet Hall - this worked out to better than the 20% off.
    • Food Republic at Disneytown (a food court type area) offers 10% off if you show your ½ year pass. This was not done through WeChat. I just showed my ticket.
    Snack Kiosks

    We noticed the most of the snack kiosks were closed most of the days we were there except for on Friday and Saturday. So if there’s a snack you want to try - it might be best to plan around those days.

    Counter Service in the Parks

    All the menus are posted at the doors with photos - we noticed most combo meals averaged around 100 RMB with a drink. Portion sizes are quite large.

    Royal Banquet Hall Photos

    You will take 1 photo with a character before you head up to your meal. The photopass photographer will scan your ticket, like most character meets. But for this meal, the photopass photos are included with your meal, be sure to download the Shanghai photopass app to get your character photos.

    Character Meets on Weekdays

    We found the character meeting line ups were substantially shorter on weekdays. On the weekends, lines for Duffy & Friends were about and hour, but on the weekdays the lines were less that 5 minutes for us. We found Duffy & Friends, Mickey on Mickey Avenue and the Princess Meet and greets to be most popular with locals.

    Parade Route Tips

    The parade will start out by Toy Story Land and make its way around the park. It isn't difficult finding a front row seat along the parade route - we found spots around 30 minutes before the parade. We noticed that locals will sit and wait for the parade, but just before it starts, most people will stand to watch the parade even if they are right on the curb. This can be challenging if you expected a clear view to have an adult suddnely pop up infront of you.

    I'm sure there's lots I've forgotten. But hopefully this information is helpful to those who might have a trip planned. I'm happy to answer questions since we were there so recently as well!
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
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  2. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

    Jun 7, 2011
    Thank you for the tips. Did you get to visit Shanghai City?
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  4. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2014
    This is so helpful - thank you so much! How would you rank all the parks in order? I'm nosy to see!
  5. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

    Jan 27, 2015
    We did one day in Shanghai city. We originally had more planned but just before our trip, my wife injured her foot so mobility was a little more challenging. We took the metro from Disney and explored the Bund and some of the surrounding area - including the Disney Store!
  6. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

    Jan 27, 2015
    Our rankings would be:

    Disneyland Resort
    The parks here are home to us. It's easiest to travel to from Vancouver, Canada and it's just most familiar. We have our favourite things to do and eat, and there's always something new for us each visit. Plaza Inn Fried Chicken is my favourite! Dining at Carthay Circle is still one of our all time favourite dining experiences!

    Tokyo Disney Resort
    The level of detail in the parks and the quality of all the parades and shows are amazing! The merch alone is hard to resist. We find the Japanese love the parks it just adds to the Disney magic! The parks here also made us fall in love with Duffy & Friends. We didn't quite understand it all till we visited. If we spoke Japanese, it would be even more amazing. We can't wait to go back, and joke about how we need to bring an empty suitcase as we regret not buying lots of things our last visit! I love Sinbad!

    Walt Disney World Resort
    We loved the impressiveness and it was our first on property stay. Just being able to "live" in the Disney bubble. Animal Kingdom was our favourite park as it was so unique! Dining in the West Wing at Be Our Guest was a highlight at Magic Kingdom. We rope dropped one park and closed out our days at MK most nights but we joke how we probably wouldn't be able to do that anymore. We did WDW before FP+ so planning each day was more manageable.

    Hong Kong Disneyland
    We love how easy this park is. It feels Disney without the need to meticulously plan too much. The merch is unique as well. Mystic Manor and Mickey and the Wondrous Book are highlights! We even got to meet PUSH the talking trash can our last visit. As mentioned in the previous posts, my wife hurt her foot just before our trip and we utilized a wheelchair while in this park our last visit. The care & love we felt from cast members just made the one day visit quite magical! I wished the food at this park was better though.

    Shanghai Disney Resort
    We thoroughly enjoyed this park! Everything is pristine in the details. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere. It's about a 2-3 day park. We can't wait to see it grow into itself with more shows and rides. My mandarin is minimal, so I wish they would do more for non Chinese speakers like they do in Tokyo (like the translation cards etc) so there would be more insight to story on some of the experiences. Crowd culture in this park is very different, but wasn't a dealbreaker for us. We also did our very first character dining at this park. Although the park is very wheelchair friendly and cast members know how to assist, we found guests visiting the park would often give looks.

    Disneyland Paris Resort
    The highlight of this park is definitely Thunder Mountain! As was Phantom Manor! The castle is also very beautiful! Food is a big part of our experience and restaurants being closed at random made it hard to plan our days. Smoking in all areas is also something we had to get used to. We found Walt Disney Studios to be very dated. Overall, it just felt that there was a little less Disney magic than we were used to - both from guests and cast members.

    Perhaps others can share their rankings as well?
  7. OldSchoolReasons

    OldSchoolReasons DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2014

    Thanks for this!

    Mine would be:

    Tokyo - beautiful parks, amazing staff and the cutest merch. Really loved the atmosphere and the hotels were second to none. Also I love the weird flavours of popcorn and coloured beer!

    WDW - I think you can't beat if for scope and scale, we stayed for 15 days this month and didn't run out of things to do. I love Animal Kingdom and Pandora is awesome.

    Paris - Paris is my home park and I think it's the most beautiful castle, has the best Big Thunder, Space and Phantom Manor is great. Unfortunately maintenance and the very European service attitude let's it down. Plus even as a Londoner I find it painfully expensive. Aside from Ratatouille, Studios is awful.

    California - I loved Disneyland and the Alice and Toad rides are so cute but I wasn't wowed by California Adventure at all - there was lots of people of renovations going on so maybe that was the problem. I'd definitely return though!

    Hong Kong and Shanghai are upcoming!
  8. khsu

    khsu Earning My Ears

    Feb 17, 2011
    Thank you for these tips! It is so timely for us. How many days were you at Shanghai Disneyland? How many days would you recommend? We will be there next month. I have planned 2 days right after Xmas.
  9. bkmanhole

    bkmanhole Earning My Ears

    Jan 27, 2015
    I think 2 days sounds about right depending on crowd levels. I would say SHDR is probably a 3 day park at most. Soaring will be the longest line, so if you must do this ride, book a hotel fast pass or regular fast pass as soon is you are in the parks.

    We were in the parks for 5 days in some capacity because of our 1/2 year pass and change of plans due to my wife's foot injury limiting our in city plans. We originally were planning for 3 days in the parks.

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