dos + don'ts of Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland was never on my China Bucket List. I'm not into theme parks. I'm not a Disney fanatic {though I have my favourite classic films}. However, at the start of my latest travels, Luke wanted to see how the Chinese park compared to Disney World. Also, we found decently priced tickets and were in the area. 

Here's a list of dos and don'ts if you ever spend a day at Disney...

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DO download the app //

The Shanghai Disney Resort app is free and full of user benefits. With the app, you can see estimated wait times for rides and shows, purchase Premier Access packages, skip lines with wait times by snagging a Fastpass {see below} to the rides you're eager to get on, view entertainment schedules, and see descriptions and interactive maps of attractions before trekking around the park only to be disappointed. You can even buy tickets to the theme park on the app! That being said...

DON'T pay full price for tickets //

You can find discounted tickets using China's leading online retailer app, Taobao, instead of purchasing them with the app or on the Disney website. This is key if you're on a budget and want to make your dollar {or in this case, yuan} stretch as far as possible. 

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Do make use of fastpass selections //

By utilizing the Disney app, you are able to select something called a Fastpass for free. A Fastpass allows a person to skip the long lines and wait times. This is the theme park's way to strategically control the crowds as best as possible. You can grab a Fastpass for particular rides within the time slots allotted. You can, however, only have one Fastpass at a time and you must show up to the ride you have your Fastpass for within the window of time you selected or your Fastpass loses validity. The Fastpass QR Code on your phone will be scanned by the ride attendant to ensure its legitimacy. You might think you know a thing or two about theme park wait times, but in a land of billions of people, all making precious use of their few vacation days {most Chinese nationals from urban communities get 10 days a year} during peak travel season, trust me when I say you have no idea. One of the rides had a 4-hour wait {which we obviously skipped because ew}. Get a Fastpass, guys. It'll save you loads of time. 

DON'T FORGET YOUR REUSABLE BOTTLE //

You are allowed to bring your own water bottle. There are multiple refill stations around the park. This not only helps the environment by reducing the number of plastic water bottles dumped into landfills, but it also saves you money. A water at Disney costs 15RMB, which is nearly USD$3. Bring your own bottle and enjoy fresh, filtered water for free! 

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Do take the metro //

Shanghai's Metro Line 11 will take you literally to the park's gate. It's incredibly straightforward: take the train to the stop fittingly marked Disney Resort. You can use public transport from 6 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., making it cheap and easy. Make sure you purchase a return ticket before the last train since lines get long and you don't want to miss your train. 

DON'T UNDERESTIMATE WAIT TIMES //

It's true that wait times at most theme parks are pretty annoying, but Shanghai Disney doesn't have a huge selection of rides, making the lines at the few it does have extra long. Bring your iPod, a light book, or something else to keep you busy while you wait. Even a 40-minute wait goes by faster when your listening to a killer playlist. 

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I wouldn't dare tell you to add Disneyland to your list of China "must-dos", since it wasn't on mine and after going there myself I still wouldn't make the amendment. However, if Disney is something you live for, Shanghai Disneyland does a good job of creating a fun environment to spend a day on the rides.

If you've ever been, give me a shout in the comments below!