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Disneyland Shanghai on a 12-hour Layover

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Let me start by saying I LOVE Disney, like I go out of my way to have Disney experiences. It should be no surprise that on my way to Bali when I had a 12 hour layover in Shanghai, I made the decision to visit Shanghai Disneyland. I debated on what to do and see since it was my first time in China, and I wanted to see some of the city. I am happy with my decision to go to Disneyland as it was only a 25-minute taxi ride or 45-minute subway ride from the airport.  

All the metro signs are in Mandarin so have your Google translate ready to go so you don’t get lost…like I did. Going to Disneyland I opted for cost efficiency and took the subway. Coming back to the airport I opted for a taxi, I was running a little behind, so I had to eat the cost. 

It’s very important you SET the price before you take off. They will try to increase it once you get to your destination so be firm on setting price before you leave. 

Ticket costs are so affordable and are 360 Yen which is about $55 USD!  It’s so much cheaper than either Disneyland or WDW tickets. 

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Disney Shanghai grand opening was June 16, 2016, so it is a new park and I was there during their one-year anniversary. Something to note about the park is come prepared for hot and humid weather! I visited during summer and it was very humid and hot, so drink lots of water. Shanghai does experience quite a bit of rain so you will notice lots of locals at the parks with umbrellas. (I brought one as well as the forecast predicted rain, but I was very lucky my whole trip there was none!) 

Everything is in Mandarin, but they do have a good number of English speakers even though it may take a minute to find one. Be prepared for squat toilets…yeah that’s a real thing in China! Basically, it’s a hole in the ground and it threw me way off. It was very clean but still, I mean, it’s an adjustment, so dress with that in mind you don’t want to have to strip your whole outfit off in the bathroom. 

If you decide to visit on a layover which is really common you may have carry-on luggage. It’s not a problem at all as they offer luggage storage at the front of the park. I opted to do this and am really thankful I did! There is a fee by bag size, and you can get current fees here.

Though limited on time I did get a chance to try two of the restaurants. I arrived at the park right at opening at 9:00am and deiced to try Remy’s Patisserie which is right on Mickey Avenue. I love Ratatouille and am a big fan of Remy restaurant on the cruise so it was appropriate to try. 

It is the cutest bakery full of yummy snacks and all types of pastries. I opted for the spinach quiche and cinnamon mickey doughnut. (I’m a sucker for Mickey shaped treats.) 

Both were really good although the cinnamon doughnut was a lot thicker than a traditional American doughnut. They do have sandwiches for lunch, pretzels and different drink options. If you want to save on cost this is a great spot as you can load up for pretty cheap…well cheap by amusement park standards. 

For lunch I wanted to have more “traditional” Chinese food and went to Wandering Moon Restaurant.

It is located in Garden of Imagination. The outside of the restaurant is stunning, has gorgeous gardens and truly infuses local Chinese traditions and Disney magic. I really love how so much of the park was influenced by the culture. 

For lunch I had the Fujian Seafood Noodle and the Dim Sum Shao Mai. My favorite was definitely the noodle dish, but the Dim Sum was also very good. If you are a picky eater this may not be the place for you as its not westernized in taste. 

On limited time I only was able to ride a few things, had I been there longer I would have loved to have explore more of the park. The park is 963 acres which is 11 times the size of the Disneyland in California for reference. You can definitely spend a few days here and explore without feeling bored. There are some rides similar to those in California and Florida and others unique to Shanghai. If on limited time, make sure to hit the rides that you can only find in Shanghai!

Pirates of the Caribbean Battle for Sunken Treasure

Hands down, one of the best rides I have ever been on! It is completely different from any of the other Pirate rides and is truly an amazing experience. The ride is all in Mandarin but even not understanding what they were saying it was still amazing! This ride is like a combination of the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey, Indian Jones and the traditional Pirates ride. Without spoiling anything your boat will go backwards, forwards, side to side and utilize new technology you feel like you are truly in the middle of the ocean. 

Tron Realm

I really love the Tron movies and the ride transports you right into the movies. This is a fast roller coaster and goes both inside and outside. The bikes seat two people in each row, and secure you in by a back arm. (It doesn’t feel secure but trust me your locked in) You zoom off through what reminds me of Space Mountain but faster and with more twist and turns. This is a must do ride, it is not only fast and fun but so uniquely designed!

Peter Pan’s Flight

This ride is similar to the others but also has its own differences. Located in Fantasyland it is a must do attraction. The line can get long and it is prone to breakdowns (happened twice while I was there) but it is still a great experience. You are whisked away by Tinkerbell for a magical journey through Neverland. 

Although Shanghai Disneyland is modeled after the originals in America it has very unique touches. For one their castle is known as the Enchanted Storybook and is 197 feet tall making it the largest of all the parks in the world. It is so big it has a ride, restaurant and shops inside.  The food is also unique featuring traditional Chinese fare mixed with some Western food. It also has seven lands: Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Treasure Cove – the first Pirate themed land, Adventure Isle, Mickey Avenue and Garden of Imagination. 

Another fun thing is to get the free pins at Guest Services. They have pins that are unique to Shanghai and they are free so load up! You can even use them as free souvenirs for people back home! Shopping is also unique here and you can find one-of-a-kind items. They do offer a service to ship back home but it’s expensive so I would buy things you can travel around with. 

Though my trip was short and unfortunately, I had to leave before the firework show it was still an amazing day. I was able to see a foreign Disneyland (my first one ever) plus ride some great attractions.  I highly recommend it, if you have a long layover in Shanghai to visit Disneyland. Even if you are just visiting make this a stop while in the city!

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  1. Shelley says:

    Hi. I loved your post here! We are landing in shanghai ant 6am and flying out again at 6pm!!
    Can you tell me, we are going to Disney also, what time I would need to leave Disney by taxi to go through everything to make my flight with a bit of time to spare? We are hoping to taxi both ways as well.
    Thank you for any thoughts

    • The Blush Journal says:

      Thanks so much! I actually landed around the same time, the taxi is pretty quick maybe 20ish minutes. I would leave the park around 3:00pm to be on the safe side, two hours will be enough time because you won’t have bags to check. When you check back into the airport you just go straight to security and let them know you had the 24 hour visa which will be stamped when you arrive. So when you leave the airport you just let them know your here less than 24 hours and its super easy and quick. Hope that helps and have such an amazing trip its such a fun park to visit!

  2. maile says:

    I am going to have a 12 hour layover in Shanghai in July and I am so glad I found your blog! We are going to only have carry-on luggage. Is there a secure place to store luggage at the airport?

    • Hello!

      So glad to hear you are going to be utilizing your 12 hour layover to visit Disneyland you will not be disappointed. I can’t recommend enough riding Pirates of the Caribbean its amazing and a must do! For your luggage good news, they do have a dedicated space for luggage storage! I am attaching a link below with all of that information!


      Make sure to come back to the blog and let me know how the trip goes! Also make sure to subscribe to get some more fun and useful travel tips!


  3. Kizzy Rox says:

    Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. Now i am absolutely enjoying your blog and look toward new posts.

    • Hello Kizzy,

      Glad your enjoying my blog! I do have a twitter account @BlushJournal, you can also access it by clicking on my social media icon at the top of my blog. Lots more content coming soon, so make sure to stay tuned!


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