Here’s my very first Trip Report! It was a joy to write up, and I hope that others will find it helpful and encouraging in their own planning. The TL;DR of it is that The Shanghai Disney Resport was lots of fun, and while a few pro tips could have made it an ideal one-day visit, the pitfalls we encountered were not a significant detraction to our time there. Background: As context, I’m a 40-gleeberglarb year-old Canadian guy from Calgary, Alberta; I’m a white-collar, postgrad working stiff in a mid-size software company, with a secondary career as an improv comedian. My DW is from Quebec, and a small business owner; and our eight year-old DD has been with us on many trips around the world. We’re all bilingual in English and French, for what that’s worth in Shanghai. As of this writing, I’ve been to five of the six Disney parks around the world, with only Hong Kong remaining (DW and DD have been to four and three respectively). Gotta fix that eventually - in the meantime, we`re planning for our first Disney cruise in the Caribbean this fall. My family booked this trip in late 2017 as a sort of make-up vacation. In the middle of our previous vacation to Japan in September of last year, my father passed away unexpectedly and we had to abort everything to get back home. He’d be the last one to want us to dwell on THAT whole thing, so upon seeing some great airfare deals for a visit to China, we jumped on it and planned for a single day at the Shanghai Disney Resort. Dad, you took mom and my brothers to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and we had great times there – a highlight of my formative years. I’ve since been to Disney Paris and Tokyo Disney Sea, but this one’s for you. <3 This TR is divided into four overly long posts: - The Stuff I Think Visitors Should Know - Our Visit, Part The First - Our Visit, Part The Second - Other Stuff We Did in Shanghai, and Closing Thoughts I’m not an aficionado of posting pictures from third party hosted services, so instead I’ll direct people to our public Facebook albums on the trip corresponding to the parts of the report: Our Visit, Part The First Our Visit, Part The Second Obviously, everything I’ve written here is unofficial and anecdotal, and any opinions expressed are my own. With that, let’s get to it! The Stuff I Think Visitors Should Know Preparation: I posted in several threads here in preparation for our visit to Shanghai. It’s a new country for us, and a number of challenges presented itself after we booked the airfare that we hadn’t expected. We were staying ten days total, and while we knew we’d need a Visa we didn’t expect it to cost so much for the three of us (had we known, we’d have stayed within the 144 hours China lets you stay in Shanghai, as part of a larger itinerary). Then there was the Great Firewall of China, against which we had no knowledge of VPNs. And of course none of us spoke Chinese, which was a different sort of challenge compared to our times in Japan where most people (at TDS anyway) spoke enough English to communicate. In planning our Disney Day, I exhaustively researched the options for a one-day visit to the park and decided that mid-week would be the best for lines and crowds. Still, the information here and elsewhere for North American visitors is pretty scant, and the official website was not updated in some key places, so some guesswork was in order. Connectivity: Staying connected in SDR is key – you will not be able to manage your FastPasses without the app, and you need to activate the app with your tickets and a text to a phone number for it to work. Strictly-speaking, you shouldn’t need a VPN here as you will be on their local wifi and won’t need access to non-Chinese servers to do everything, but if you want to post mid-ride selfies to any social media, you’ll need it. We chose 3G Solutions for our SIM card provider and equipped my wife’s phone with it plus an included VPN. We also chose Strong VPN as a backup. Between the two VPNs, StrongVPN was much more reliable and shortly after our arrival we didn’t use the 3G VPN at all. Still, the StrongVPN app on my phone and laptop constantly kicked me off, while it worked almost flawlessly on my wife’s Android phone. The 3G SIM worked well, and included a phone number for local calls, but it didn’t work well when we ended up needing to make some calls for other reasons. Our hotel also provided to us a “Handy Phone” with internet free of charge (!), which proved useful for keeping in contact when our other phone turned out to be unusable. I put the StrongVPN on it as well and it worked out. I recommend using "WeChat" to communicate with others in China, it's the default Chinese messaging app and not restricted by the Great Firewall. Park Tickets: We booked our tickets through Klook. They offer a miniscule discount, but hey, every penny counts when you’re thousands of miles away and on a budget! We didn’t opt for any of the premium pass options, but getting them was being promoted at the gate for those who wanted them. On arrival, we took our Klook confirmation printouts and passports straight to the gate. The CM used the numbers and our passport to verify everything. Then she took our pictures (I think a camera was embedded in the wand she used to scan barcodes) to link to the tickets, and we were in! FastPasses and The Shanghai Disney App: Getting FPs is a major part of any Disney park strategy, so I was worried about doing it right. I ended up only securing one FastPass, but had I known what to do earlier on, I could have likely gotten at least one more. Key points: - You DO NEED the SDR app to get any FPs. - You DON’T NEED to have a Chinese phone number. If you’re on international roaming and can receive a text, you can received the PIN you need. - You MUST NOT have special characters in your username or password (i.e. $?!*&, etc.). I did, and it took a while to figure this out. The FastPass kiosks are centralized in SDR, meaning that in each area of the park there is a bank of kiosks to get your FPs for all the eligible rides in that section. However, at least on the day that I went, all the FP kiosks were closed and covered up, and a CM was there to answer questions. None of them spoke any real English, which made getting FPs a trying exercise. ALL FastPasses are managed through the app now, so we had no choice but to get a phone registered. To get connected to the SDR app, we connected to the wifi once we got our printed tickets, and registered our phone to it. Others here have suggested asking a CM in the park about connecting to it, and having them volunteer their phones to receive the PIN number needed to authorize the app. I had no luck with this.. Immediately on entering the park, I took a right to Guest Services and asked them about it. They directed me to the FP distribution kiosk in Adventure Isle. The CM there was busy, so with the kiosks closed I figured to walk to the FP center in Treasure Cove as Roaring Rapids was closed. The CM at THAT kiosk directed me back to the first guy, so ultimately I made my way back there. This time I cornered the CM and we communicated through the translation apps, and figured it out. Once online, it was simple and intuitive to register your printed tickets (keep them for ID purposes!) and access the FP process. Unfortunately, by the time I’d gotten online (by around 10am), the FPs for Soaring were booking at 7pm. The Seven Dwarves Coaster FPs were at 5, and the rest that I was targeting had manageable wait times, so I decided to get FPs for 3pm at Peter Pan’s Flight, given that it was the most “different” of the FP rides at SDR. By the time we got through PP, the PFs were done for the day. One thing I didn’t realize was that even with the FPs on the app, you need to present your paper ticket anyway for visual confirmation (as your ticket is linked to a picture they take of you at the gate). It seems that they’ve been doing this to combat people scalping FPs as has been suggested here in other reports. When we showed up to Peter Pan, the CMs manning the scanning posts frustratingly repeated “Ticket! TICKET!!” to me when I produced and scanned the phone. I didn’t understand what they meant, and eventually they waved us on anyway. Then, the next person in line correctly scanned their phone AND showed their ticket, which the CMs waved at me. I felt pretty silly for a while, admittedly. Transportation and Arrival: We stayed at a hotel in downtown Shanghai, on the Pudong (East) side of the river, the Shanghai Novotel Atlantis. It was an above average hotel with an excellent buffet breakfast included in our price, plus the local smartphone we could take around with us. The only downside was that while it was within walking distance of the subway (5-7 minutes), it was otherwise not near anything really interesting, despite a stupendous view of the area from our 42nd floor room. They were ironically building a new subway line on the main road between the existing subway station and our hotel, making the walk with our luggage fairly difficult. From the hotel, it was about an hour on the subway with three transfers to get there. SDR is at the final stop of the line so it’s easy enough to find – the Shanghai subway system is easy to figure out. Everything’s in English (and the ticket kiosks have an English option) and at every station there’s a handy map to make sure you choose the right exit. It’s almost a copy of the system in Tokyo and works very well. On our day, we noticed at the last transfer that there was a sudden increase in the number of people dressed in mouseware. Similarly, at that point a couple people appeared on the train selling knockoff Disney merchandise, notably the Mickey and Minnie ears with Sorcerer’s hat or red bow that you see at other parks, for 20RMB / $4 CAD / $3.30 USD. The Minnie edition proved a popular seller, going by how many ladies we saw sporting them in the park, though a lot of them could easily be the genuine versions that were readily for sale at legitimate kiosks. I found a pair of Mickey ears someone had dropped on Buzz Lightyear and on close inspection they were clearly fakes, with no tags, glued-on ears and hat, etc. By the time you arrive at the station, the subway PA will suggest you buy your tickets for the return trip before you leave the station, so to avoid the inevitable crush of people leaving at closing. Not a bad idea! Line Jumping: After the FP thing, the stories of line jumping at this park were the source of greatest concern for me. The majority of the line jumping we encountered was in the security and gate lineups, so I’ll break our experiences out into a separate section at this point. We’d read about it here and elsewhere but it was still annoying to deal with - however it turned out to be a minor thing overall, and one for which I wouldn’t discourage people to visit this park. It’s true that compared to North America, there is no real concept of personal space in such a high-population country and culture. Lineups for things are rare to begin with - it`s most often a crowd around any bottleneck point and not an orderly line - and if you provide any opening, it’s an opportunity for someone to make a few inches into their closer space in the chaos. In the security lineup, we encountered this a couple times, notably a stroller pushing its way past into an available gap (the line pathways were wider at the beginning and narrowed progressively), and a younger couple who simply elbowed their way through, ignoring everyone in their way. This couple made their way to near the beginning of the security queue when an outburst occurred that stopped them in their tracks. It turns out that ANOTHER young couple ahead of them had similarly elbowed their way past a family of five, and they weren’t having it. The older parents started yelling at the young couple, pointing and shouting, and when the latter tried to ignore their way to the security checkpoint, the family’s father physically PULLED THEM out of the line and off to the side to keep shouting. The young couple never replied, they just looked at the ground shamefully as the parents verbally lashed at them. Shortly, a security guy came over and tried to mediate, which really meant letting the parents vent while the couple offered no defense. By this point the first young couple who had passed us had stopped their elbowing, and casually waited where they were and tried to avoid looking at anyone around them. Eventually the family’s parents stopped venting and went through the bag check, while the security guy held the young couple back. Not for long though, as the couple were through shortly after we were, having gone through one of the tables at the other side of the bank of checkpoints. The moral: line jumping may be more casually accepted in China, but even the locals have their limits! As for us, once at the security checkpoint, yet another pair of youngsters tried to bypass us – right at the table, ostensibly because these two women had no big bags to check. The first one made it through by placing her purse right in front of our bags on the table and then elbowing her way by – my wife saying “hey!” to her didn’t stop her. Fed up at this point, we blocked her friend from going by, by putting an arm across the metal detector until our bags had been checked and we could pass through. The only other significant line jumping we saw was in the Pirates queue, with one man trying to quietly push his way through us. We similarly blocked the way with an arm across the way and a “hard stare”, as Paddington the bear would say. He didn’t force his way past, but got on his phone and stayed behind us; eventually his wife and child came into view, having stopped where they were in line and letting people pass until we did and they could be reunited. I’m not sure what the story was – maybe he needed to hit the head, or he was off doing something else. Either way, he waited behind us when it was clear we weren’t going to let him pass. I don’t consider blocking the jumpers rude. It may be more permissible to the local culture, but it’s a far greater rudeness to feel entitled to jump the line at a kind of place that is defined by the queues. And as I described earlier, it’s not permissible to EVERYONE in this country, especially when there’s ample signage about encouraging proper line and park behaviour. Signing off on this topic, the line jumping practically disappeared for us after the Pirates incident. I think it became globally obvious to the visitors that day that the lineups were going to be short overall, and that being a jackhole in the queues wasn’t going to be worth the effort as the hours wore on. I think the report thus far should cover the main concerns foreign visitors would have in visiting SDR, at least from our experience there. We didn’t stay at an on-site hotel or get any premium stuff, so we can’t speak to those things. So, on with our actual visit! TO BE CONTINUED... RIGHT HERE.