Our First Visit to the Shanghai Disney Resort
Updated: Nov 11
After a couple weeks in Shanghai, we were way overdue for a trip to the most magical place in China! And you might think attempting Shanghai Disney in the summer is a little crazy—and you might be right. But was it worth it? Yes. Was it magical? Yes. Can you do a lot even with the crowds? YES! Here’s how.
Pixie Dust o’Clock (aka really early in the morning)
The alarm on my phone chirps more merrily than Snow White’s feathered friends and we hastily prepare in the dark for a magical day at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Sunscreen is applied, snacks are packed, and we rush out the door to meet with the Disney English crew at the metro.
The metro ride is about an hour from Shanghai to Disney and we manage to find seats. Anyone who has been to a Disney park knows the importance of resting ones feet in preparation for the miles (sorry, kilometers) of walking. We politely ignore purveyors of knock-off Disney merchandise as they solicit up and down the subway car and instead plan a course of action for our arrival.
The metro station is an oasis of magic in itself! Oddly bereft of people, we are able to stage copious photos before we remember there is an actual park with a castle awaiting us.
As we wait at the pre-appointed Steamboat Willie statue, we marvel as throngs of people pour in from all directions to line up at the park entrance. Our generous Disney English trainers have offered to escort us into the parks (since we are still waiting to receive our complimentary entrance passes) and we pass the time getting to know our new Disney family.
We pass through the welcome gates and I briefly register the sight of a gorgeous castle (and perhaps shed a couple glimmering tears) as we race to Tomorrowland. Our first priority is the state-of-the-art TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster. After we procure a fast pass (slated for 9:30-10:30), we hop into the twenty-minute line for our first ride of the day. And y’all, Tron does not disappoint! Andrew and I both enjoy the first and last row experiences.
The park is beautiful and we take our time meandering through Treasure Cove en route to Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The line is only thirty minutes long, and we enjoy the immersive queue as we await our voyage on the high seas. Pirates is my most highly anticipated attraction, and I hope it lives up to expectations.
OH MY GOSH!!!!!! Pirates…Battle for the Sunken Treasure is one of THE GREATEST THINGS Disney has ever done. Andrew and I are awe-struck at the complete immersion. Pirates of the Caribbean was one of Walt’s final projects and a version of the attraction exists in almost every park----but none of them are quite this caliber. Incredible technology perfectly married with excellent storytelling and an experience that is literally 360 degree immersion…Bravo!
After a brief interlude to shop and snack (sausage infused with cheese stuffed in a pretzel…yes, please!) it is time for the first parade of the day. Like excited children, Andrew and I sing and dance on the sidelines as our favorite Disney characters parade down the street. I almost pass out with excitement when I see one of my favorite characters, and classic Chinese heroine, Mulan!
Y’all, the heat is getting to us and the best way I know how to cool off at Disney is with a Mickey and Minnie inspired sweet treat. Andrew gets the classic, cherished, premium Mickey bar—but with a twist! The head is classic vanilla dipped in milk chocolate, but the ears are chocolate ice cream! I discover another fun Shanghai original---a Minnie bar! Strawberry ice cream dipped in white chocolate. Delicious!
Ok, you know another way to beat the heat? The brand new, totally adorable summer stage show. We meet up with other Disney English Cast Members and score front row spots—-where we proceed to get abso. lutely. drenched. As the warning says in the times guide, “you WILL get drenched”. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t take any photos, but all the classic Disney characters make appearances, plus one of my new favorites MOANA!
For those of you who might not visit Shanghai Disney this summer, here is the awesome castle show, I don’t know how this person didn’t get soaked.
After a serious bout of rain (seriously, hail was pelting me sideways), the park clears out and we are able to ride Pirates two more times (and we see new nuances each time) and see the Pirates stunt show. As the sun sets, the castle glows a rosy pink and I am struck by the feeling of the familiar juxtaposed with the fact that we are a world away from Walt Disney World in Florida.
Shanghai Disney Resort is beautiful and magical and we really only saw half of it! This will just be the first of many memorable experiences (and posts) about this incredible place.