Top Things to do at Shanghai Disneyland
Top Things to do at Shanghai Disneyland
We visited Shanghai Disneyland for 4 days. In this post we share our top things to do at Shanghai Disneyland. For us, these are the things that you must do during your trip, regardless of if you visit Shanghai Disneyland for a day or for a week.
1) Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for the Sunken Treasure
The Shanghai Disneyland version of Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the best Disney rides in the world. It is easily one of the top three Disney rides we have been on (and we have been on just about all of them). First, if you have been on Pirates at any other Disney park, know that the Shanghai version is nothing like the classic Pirates ride at Disney World or Disneyland. Yes, there are pirates and Jack Sparrow, but it is so much more. The ride is in Mandarin Chinese, but the visual storytelling and music is great. We enjoyed the ride and were able to follow along with the experience without knowing any Chinese.
What the Ride is Like
Like the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Shanghai version is boat-based attraction where guests are carried through the ride on water. The beginning of the ride is similar to the traditional version where guests ride by various scenes. Also similar to the traditional ride, Pirates of the Caribbean in Shanghai includes animatronics. The Shanghai version has more emphasis on the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. If you aren’t familiar with the movies, you can still enjoy the ride.
In contrast to the original ride, the Shanghai version is more thrilling. While there is 1 minor backwards drop, the thrills come from a combination of large sets and screens. Disney did an amazing job combining the screen portion of the ride with the animatronics and the set of the ride. When it comes to the overall experience, the closest ride comparison is Rise of the Resistance in Disney World and Disneyland. The reason for this comparison is that both rides are bigger than life. Also, any videos of these rides do not do the rides justice. However, if you want to see a full HD ride through of Pirates in Shanghai, see our video below.
Wait Times for Pirates
We visited Shanghai Disneyland the week before Christmas. The average wait time for Pirates was around 15 minutes. We honestly could not figure out why the wait was so short for this ride when there were much longer waits for Soarin’ and Seven Dwarfs. (If you are pressed for time skip Soarin’ and Seven Dwarfs because they are like the rides in Disney World.) As expected, the wait times were shortest right at park open. We also walked on Pirates just before park close on our first and last nights at Shanghai Disneyland.
2) Challenge Trails at Camp Discovery
The Challenge Trails are unlike any other Disney park experience. The trails consists of a variety of ropes courses. There are three trails to choose from. Each trail is considered doing the experience once, so to do all 3 you have to wait in line 3 times. We did all three trails and they each are different and a ton of fun! The uniqueness, adventure, and fun of this experience make it a must do for us!
Each of the 3 trails has an easy, medium, and hard version built in. You can change levels with each obstacle. The various difficulty levels are not labeled, but we believe the hard level is on the left (don’t 100% quote us on this one). The range of difficulty depends on the part of the trail you are at. Examples of the various parts of the course are an easy walking across a rope bridge to a difficult path along a narrow cliff. It is a bit hard to describe the Challenge Trails and you cannot bring phones for photos or videos. However, we were able to get some video of the Challenge Trails from outside the experience. The trails are are at minute 13:30 in our vlog below.
Reasons to Skip the Challenge Trails
If you are afraid of heights, you may want to skip the challenge trails. When doing the trails, you are high up at times and there are only a couple of cast members around to help. Honestly, given the way the system is set up, we do not know if there is a way to bail out of the experience if you have a panic attack partway through. Relatedly, the challenge trails were a bit tricky at times. As we mentioned, there are three different levels. If you are not sure about your balance or have reservations in general, just be sure to pick the easy version (at least for the first couple of parts of the course).
Be Sure To Pack Sneakers and Shorts!
In order to do the Challenge Trails, “Closed-toe shoes with secured heel strap are required.” We visited Shanghai Disney in the winter, so we already had sneakers with us. But if you go in the warmer months, be sure to still bring closed-toe shoes so you can do the trails. We did see some people doing the trails with dresses or skirts on. Since you have to wear a harness, those guests had to alter their look to make the harness work without giving the world a show. We would recommend shorts or pants if you plan on doing the trails.
3) Try All of the Snacks
While Tokyo Disney is probably the most famous international Disney park when it comes to snacks, we were impressed with the quality and variety of snack options at Shanghai Disneyland. While Shanghai has some great twists on classics, they also have a lot of unique options. That being said, the food items are definitely best if you are an adventurous eater. The unique foods items are not necessarily “scary,” but they do include things like cheese-flavored soft serve ice cream and corn juice. The cheese-flavored ice cream (minute 8:30) and corn juice (minute 20) are both in the vlog above.
Our favorite snack at Shanghai Disneyland was the ice cream. We both loved the Mickey and Minnie ice cream bars. The traditional Mickey had both chocolate and vanilla ice cream in it. There is also a strawberry Minnie ice cream bar which we like even more than the Mickey ice cream bars in the US parks. (See minute 9:30 in vlog below.) The other ice cream Sara loved, but Jeff hated, was the cheese-flavored ice cream. When we first saw it, we assumed it would be a cream cheese flavor. To our surprise, it was more of a cheese whiz cheese flavor. It was unique and Sara is obsessed with it. The cheese ice cream is the photo of the blue Elsa soft serve.
Lastly, Sara loves corn. So when she saw corn juice listed, she had to try it. This drink came with the cute Chip and Dale canteen. The drink was sweet, but still unique and fun to try. Our best advice is when in Shanghai Disneyland is to try all of the different foods, especially the snacks!
Tron is a thrill ride at Shanghai Disneyland that is most widely know for its unique seats. You sit on the ride like you would a motorcycle. Tron is a fun ride that we recommend doing but, of the items on our list we purposefully put this last. There are two reasons why Tron is at the bottom of our list. First, this ride is coming to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. While it is a great ride, if you think you will ride it in Florida then we wouldn’t set it as a priority. By all means, still do it if you have time, but make sure to get the things that are unique in Shanghai done first.
Second, the ride is quick. In contrast to Pirates and the Challenge Trails which are pretty long experiences, this ride seems to be over in a blink of an eye. For these reasons, Tron is still a great ride to do in Shanghai, but for us it’s not as high of a priority as the other items on our list.
Our Overall Recommendation
We had an amazing time exploring Shanghai Disneyland. For us, the items in this post are the things that make Shanghai Disney unique and are not to be missed. If you have any questions about Shanghai Disneyland, please leave us a comment below!
Adults in Disney to get back home!