Shanghai Disneyland is Disney’s newest and biggest park in Asia. Since it opened its doors, it has been my goal to visit this park one day. As the sixth in the world and the first in mainland China, Shanghai Disneyland creates many records including the tallest and most interactive Disney castle, the first pirate-themed land of Disney, and the grandest fireworks and laser show display at night. With tickets priced at around 60 USD (cheaper than the neighboring Disney parks in Asia), it’s a steal and worth visiting for the iconic castle and exclusive themed attractions. We visited the park on a weekday and the waiting time for most rides is bearable. I actually enjoyed Shanghai Disneyland much more than I expected and it definitely is worth flying to Shanghai just for Disneyland, whether you’re a Disney fan or not.
I love how Shanghai Disneyland differs itself from the other Disney parks through its modern and exclusive attractions without losing the familiarity of a Disneyland park. No doubt, Tokyo DisneySea is the most imaginative and unique Disney park to date but being there feels like I was in a different kind of theme park. This is where Shanghai Disneyland steps up and convinces you that it is worth seeing its shining icon – the Enchanted Storybook Castle. Inspired by Germany’s real-life Neuschwanstein castle, the original attraction now in Shanghai has set the standard for future Disney theme park castles. From the 4-story aristocratic turrets to the magnificence of its glistening crystal grotto, the castle is just so nice to look at from any angle being the tallest and most interactive Disney castle to date. Inside, I also climbed one if its towers to experience the Snow White attraction at the top of the castle which, I might say, impressed me with its visual effects.
Another anticipated ride exclusive to Shanghai Disneyland is the TRON Lightcycle Power Run coaster at the park’s futuristic Tomorrowland. Based on the TRON films, this coaster (said to be one of Disney’s fastest) placed me as a rider atop a two-wheeled “lightcycle” that is launched into a giant space filled with adrenaline-pumping music, lights and 3D graphics. Waiting in line is already part of the attraction as I felt I was part of the TRON movie with neon blue lights and effects surrounding me. Anticipation heightens as the lightcycles lunge forward with sound building to a feverish pitch. Suddenly, I was throttling through a tunnel of flashing markers and, just as quickly, plummeting onto a turbo-charged track filled with brilliantly illuminated shapes and sleek color-changing TRON iconography. I kind of wished the ride went longer but it was definitely one for the books.
Treasure Cove is the first pirate-themed park in Disney Park with two giant pirate ships, a water-play zone, and a pirate themed restaurant. We had lunch here and it was cool seeing a glimpse of the Pirates ride as the view from the restaurant balcony. I was amazed by the epic settings and visual effects at the zone’s main attraction – Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for the Sunken Treasure. It is an indoor drifting ride where you are set to join Captain Jack’s swashbuckling band of buccaneers for a monster-meeting, treasure-seeking, high-seas adventure. Aside from the exclusive rides of the theme park, there are also the classic Disneyland attractions and one of them (and probably my favorite) is Soaring Over the Horizon. The flight simulation ride lets you enjoy a spectacular view featuring a few of the Earth’s most incredible sights. I was really inspired to travel more after trying this attraction.
Of course, a day spent at Disneyland is not complete without seeing its magical fireworks and light show. I’ve seen those in Hong Kong and Tokyo but Shanghai’s version is the most spectacular one. Indeed, it was an artistry that dazzles and inspires. Summoning breathtaking projections, lasers, fountains and classic Disney music, Mickey transformed the huge Storybook castle into an amazing new world—and awakened the dreamer inside us all!