Shanghai Disneyland Grand Opening

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Jesse Jia
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Before I begin, I just want to let you guys know that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to me and I was not going to miss out on it. This was like seeing a solar eclipse to an astronomy enthusiast. Well… probably not that extraordinary, but when am I ever going to see another Disney Grand Opening in my lifetime? This was an opportunity to be a part of history, looking back decades from now of course and was truly a dream come true.

Anyways, I just had to explain how special this was to me.

Disneyland shanghai grand opening

So let the story begin…

To start off, the whole experience started when trying to obtain opening day tickets. The plan was to spend the first 2 grand opening days at the park and everything was planned around that. Unfortunately, we ran into a few hiccups trying to obtain tickets. The presale was done online ( but unfortunately opening day tickets were sold out before we could even get the website to load. It was as if the entire population of China was trying to get tickets! So as a bummed out Westerner awake in the middle of the night, we settled for the next best thing. Fortunately, we were able to able to get our hands on 2nd day tickets and settled for an opening day Lion King Show. Which were actually more EXPENSIVE than theme park tickets, but I’ve realized that this was just a mix of stubbornness and retail therapy. Overall, 50% of our plan was successful! This was all months before the official opening date.

Couple weeks passed by as I optimistically checked each day to see if any tickets happened to miraculously show up. Then one lucky day, I was fortunate to find a hotel room that suddenly became available! Disneyland Shanghai has this policy where if you are able to book a hotel room, you are also guaranteed theme park tickets! So LUCKY us! We were headed to the grand opening of Disneyland Shanghai!

This just proves… that all you need is a little luck!… faith, trust and pixie dust. Sorry, couldn’t help myself there.

Toy Story Hotel Disneyland
disneyland shanghai opening day

Now, all we had to do was get there! A 13-hour flight later, we landed at Shanghai’s Pudong airport, one of the busiest airports in the world. Not too long after, we stepped foot in the Shanghai Disney Resort. Checked into our Toy Story themed hotel and we were ready to explore everything they had to offer!

Toy Story Hotel Disneyland Shanghai

Sorry just a quick note, look how cute the beds were! Gosh, I’m a sucker for anything Disney themed.

shanghai disney opening day line

Honestly speaking, we had prepared for the worst because it was the opening day and the magnitude of people was definitely going to be an issue, especially when you can sell out an entire theme park!

Disney Shanghai Grand opening day

The gates were scheduled to open at 12 pm local time and you can see the crowd waiting to get into the parks! Above, you can see the view around us while waiting in “line”.

Disneyland Shanghai Opening Day

We waited for over 2 hours before we could even step foot into the main park. 2 hours later, we were finally at the footsteps of the entrance!

Disneyland shanghai entrance grand opening

As you enter, you will inevitably get that excited childlike feeling. Looking down Main Street Mickey Avenue and seeing that incredible castle in front of you!

Fun Fact: The Enchanted Storybook Castle at Shanghai Disneyland is actually the largest Disney castle in the world!

This was the first day for everybody; the guests and the employees. Evidently, some employees lacked the training and knowledge from on the job experience. Many times we would ask questions about a certain show or any general information, but we were only given an unsure response.

shanghai disney opening day

Anyhow, we slowly chipped away at the large theme park. The wait times at every attraction was incredibly long but we had enough time to spare. Since we would be spending 2 full days at the park as well.

disneyland shanghai parade

Another classical Disney parade! Same old Disney excitement, just on the other side of the world.

frozen sing along disney shanghai

One of my favourite shows at any Disney park, but I felt as if I was singing in the wrong language.

disney shanghai

Even the grandparents got into it. Just goes to show that nobody is too old for Disney!

lion king show disney shanghai

The first day, we left the theme park early just to catch our Lion King show that we purchased earlier. It was an amazing Broadway-style show but in mandarin. Definitely, something you should check out if you have the time!

The next day was spent exploring all of the parts we didn’t get a chance to visit on the first day. Shanghai Disneyland is one of the most, if not most, high-tech Disney there is. Some of the new technologies they are able to implement into their rides are unbelievable!

disney shanghai pirate of the caribbean

Especially the updated Pirates of the Caribbean ride! This isn’t your typical Pirates of the Caribbean right you’ll find at any other Disney Parks! You’ll have to come see for yourself!

TRON disney shanghai

Another exclusive ride only at Shanghai Disneyland is the TRON Lightcycle Power Run! This isn’t like any roller coaster I’ve ever been on. It unique in the fact that you’re not exactly sitting on this ride. Something to check out for sure!

disney shanghai fireworks opening day

Like any other Disney, there is a daily firework show. A perfect way to end your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth!


At the end of the day, Disneyland Shanghai is no different from any other Disney Theme Park around the world, I say in the best way possible. As you enter, you will still get that excited Disney feeling and when you leave you’ll always feel slightly bitter. Everything in between is exactly what you’d expect from any Disney around the world; the world class service, cheerful and hardworking employees, amazing shows, unbelievably themed rides, and of course everything and anything Disney!

world of disney shanghai

Overall, this was an amazing experience. To be able to attend a Disney theme park’s grand opening still seems surreal to me. Attending the grand opening was definitely a dream come true experience and will always have a place in my heart! Disney never fails to disappoint me.

I will, without a doubt attend the next grand opening if they decide to build another theme park in my lifetime. So after this, I have been to 4/6 Disney theme parks in the world. Just another park to check off my list.

Now, there’s no better way to end this trip, than a shot under the Enchanted Storybook Castle.

disneyland shanghai enchanted storybook castle

Thank you for following along!

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