Somehow, I’d managed to get to the ripe old age of 22 and had never visited a Disney Park. So on a trip around China, how could I pass on an opportunity to spend the afternoon at Disneyland Shanghai? Disneyland Shanghai is very easily accessible from central Shanghai. The metro line 11 takes you straight into the park for 6¥, and takes around 50 minutes from the city centre.
As this was my first ever experience of a Disney park, it’s safe to say I had pretty high expectations for the day as a whole. Disneyland Shanghai isn’t as expensive as the other parks around the world, but it still sets you back around 400¥ for a day ticket, which is a pretty hefty charge for a day out by Asian standards.
When we initially arrived it was immediate carnage. Admittedly, this was not helped by the absolute torrential downpour that was going on. The queues were not existent, it was just a mass of people shuffling towards the security barrier. Once through security it was a relatively easy process to pass through the ticket gate, would it have not been for the pushing, shoving and kicking, and that was just the adults.
Upon entering the park you wander down Mickey Avenue towards the centrepiece of the whole park, the princess castle. The castle is absolutely magical. Shanghai Disney castle is a representation of a combination of all of the Disney princesses and plays backdrop for the fantastic firework display that happens at 8pm each night. Seeing the castle from the inside and out what definitely one of the highlights of my day, along with watching the Disney parade. The parade consisted of lots of floats with many of our favourite Disney characters and the atmosphere was buzzing!
A massive part of what let the park down for me, was that I thought that there would be more interaction with characters around the park, especially for the children. As Disney is such a popular place there was over a 3 hour queue for some of the rides which would have been broken up if there was some sort of interactivity. Other than during the parade I didn’t actually see a cast member around the park, which did make me feel like it could be any amusement park in the world, as opposed to the famous Disney.
The atmosphere as a whole on the day was just not nice. There seemed to be some sort of tension in the air which almost didn’t feel so child friendly. To some up the day, we actually watched 2 fully grown women get thrown out of a queue, by the Disney Police, for having a physical fight. Now I know this isn’t the companies fault but is a accurate representation of the day as a whole.
Disney has the reputation of being a fantastic day out for everyone. Children and adults alike. But I couldn’t help but feel a sense of exclusivity when we watched the fast pass queue get straight onto a ride we had been nearly 3 hours for. I understand that these people have paid for this privilege and many other parks have also adopted a similar system, but a system that hinders the regular customer seems somewhat unDisney. Surely, only being able to fit 3 rides in throughout an 11 hour day suggests that the capacity of the park is exceeded.
As mentioned above, the display in the evening was absolutely fantastic and enabled us to end the day on a high. I couldn’t help but feel that a day that was created for the children was ruined by adults, desperate for the perfect Instagram pic.