Disney and its many parks around the world are loved and cherished by people of all ages. Millions of people visit Disneyland parks every year. With so many attractions and activities at every corner, a common problem while visiting Disney is not knowing what, where and when to do everything.
The first step to a successful Disney trip is to do some research in advance; print the map of the park, and jot down the rides that you are most keen about. An outstanding way to do this is to download the Disney app specific to the park you are visiting. The app can further help you navigate around the park and give you information on the waiting times of each ride. Disney apps also have details on unique events happening in the park.
The last two decades have seen two new Disneyland parks open in Asia. Hong Kong Disneyland started in 2005, whereas Shanghai Disneyland Park welcomed its first visitors in 2016.
I have been to Hong Kong Disneyland thrice, and in the Spring of 2019, I visited the park in Shanghai. Below I’ve mentioned a few tips that can help make your Disney trip more comfortable. While these tips are from my vacation at Shanghai Disneyland Park, most apply to other parks as well.
Wear Good Walking Shoes
Disneyland parks, irrespective of their location, are typically spread over acres of land. Wearing comfortable walking shoes is extremely vital. At Shanghai Disneyland, there is a 10-minute walk from the parking to the entrance, and another 10-15 minutes to enter the park. The same is also true for Hong Kong Disneyland. If you are traveling with a toddler, this walk can be exceptionally tiring. Thus, it is a good plan to bring a stroller along with you. There is also a shop near the parking from where visitors can rent strollers for the day.
Reach as Early as Possible
Shanghai Disneyland usually opens at 8am (the times change according to seasons, so please check in advance). If you come at around 10-11am, you will most likely end up standing in lines all day. It is best to arrive as early as possible to be one of the first few people in the park. This way, you can go straight to your favorite rides and complete them before the crowds arrive.
Get A Fast Pass
Getting a Fast Pass might just be one of the most important things ever. A Fast Pass helps you skip the regular line and enter the ride as soon as you reach its entrance. It is especially useful for popular rides. However, there are a few limitations; you can only get a Fast Pass once you enter the park, you can just book one pass at a time, and lastly, you can claim a maximum of three Fast Passes per day. Moreover, you have to complete the ride that you have booked a Fast Pass for before scheduling another one. There are a select number of Fast Passes available per ride, per hour, so you must be quick or lucky to get one.
Play Along with the Weather
Most people will tell you that the best time to visit Disney is on a bright and sunny day. But according to me, the ideal day is when it is cloudy and a little bit chilly. On cloudy days, people are more inclined to stay at home, and as a result, you can enjoy the rides without waiting for too long. Sunny days usually attract more crowds and tourists which can make the park quite busy.
Keep Entertainment Handy
The lines at Disneyland parks can often be long, boring, tiring and irritating. I remember my brother getting very restless while standing in one line, and getting irritated to the extent that he made a large scene. To overcome this problem, it is useful to carry something small like a toy to keep children busy. If nothing else works, you can always hand over your phone to them as that should take care of the matter.
Pick a School Day
Large crowds are the most significant deterrent to visiting Disneyland. It is best to plan your trip on a school day. This way, at least the local visitors are not in the park, and you can enjoy shorter lines.
Head on Down to Disney Town
Shanghai Disneyland has a separate entertainment complex called Disney Town, situated near its entrance, which consists of restaurants, shops, and a cinema. Entering Disney Town does not require a ticket. You can visit this area on a day you don’t plan to go inside the actual park.
Snacks are a problem in Shanghai, especially if you are a vegetarian. Almost everyone in China is non-vegetarian, because of which most of the food stalls have non–veg dishes. That is why it is a great idea to carry your own snacks in case you get hungry. The only place to get vegetarian food is at a few restaurants in Disney Town.
You should also carry your own water bottles as they are not frequently available in the park, as one would expect. Although, there are drinking water fountains at regular intervals, so if you have a bottle, you can fill it up.
Use the Parade for Your Benefit
If you are visiting Shanghai Disneyland Park over a couple of days, you can skip the parade on one day and use this time to complete a famous ride or two. Since most visitors gather around the parade route to catch a glimpse of the beautiful floats and jolly characters, the lines at the rides are a lot shorter.
Similarly, if you are watching the parade, make it a point to quietly slip out before the end and head straight to your next ride. By doing this, we managed to save half an hour on an attraction that initially had a wait time of 1 hour.
Waiting Time Dilemmas
If any ride has a waiting time of under 40 minutes, you should just go for it, especially if it is popular. It might seem a lot, but often the lines move fast, and you get in a little earlier.
Ride the Single Rider’s Line
Using the single rider’s line comes handy if you don’t want to wait too much. You can use this line even if you are traveling in a group, but don’t mind sitting separately. These lines are generally short, and even if they aren’t, they tend to move quite fast. As most people want to experience the rides with their family and friends, the single rider’s line can be your little trick to jump ahead of them.
Watch Out for the Characters
Disney characters at the parks appear as fast as they vanish. Shanghai Disneyland is no different. If you want to take a photo with a cartoon character, and you see them at one of the designated photo areas, don’t waste any time, and head straight towards them. With some of the famous characters, you might have to stand in line, but in the end, it is all worth it.
Visiting Disneyland parks is a dream come true for children as well as a lot of adults. By planning a little ahead, and being prepared, you can make the most of your holiday. But remember that even after spending time in lines and walking all day, you will end up with beautiful memories to treasure for a lifetime.