Thanksgiving Day was downright magical because I got to spend it at Disney Land Shanghai!
It was the perfect time for us to go. On a weekday so we wouldn’t experience the 人山人海 or literally “mountains and sea of people” that tend to overcrowd the park on holidays and weekends. On a sunny day and of course on a day where we didn’t have class, so we could spend hours having fun. We decided to go at the last-minute for these reasons, since I knew we didn’t have many free days left in the semester.
Both me and my boyfriend had never been to a Disney Land and it’s been years since either of us have gone to Disney World in Orlando. Though we decided Thursday morning to go, I wanted to be mentally prepared for this theme park that I’ve heard mixed reviews for.
When Shanghai’s Disney Land first opened last summer, I heard it was kind of a disaster. Crowd control was almost nonexistent, masses of people were dirtying the park and cutting lines. There were even some cases of kids publicly defecating. Needless to say, I wasn’t sure how this experience was going to be for us. I read through many TripAdvisor reviews especially focusing on those who went on weekdays in the fall to see what we were in for. Reading the reviews made me slightly paranoid and I worried about what time we should go, how long we should expect to wait, and what rides to Fastpass. I also needed to research about the rides and to familiarize myself with the layout of the park so as to be efficient with our time there. However, in the midst of this hurried research, I came across a travel blogger who wrote that she purposely tried not to research too much into the park so that she could still have some sense of surprise and wonder when she got there.
Our day at the park was really as much fun as we thought it would be. There was so much space that it didn’t seem crowded at all. Everything was super clean and well organized as well. It was cool to see Disney’s balance of cultures as they integrated their famous characters into Chinese cultural themes. For example, there was a zodiac wall in which Disney characters represented the 12 zodiac animals of the lunar calendar. Another useful feature about the park is that it has its own app where you can see the estimated wait times for every attraction at the park. It also had an interactive map where you could browse rides, shows, and restaurants. This app was super helpful and was a definite game changer to enjoying theme parks.
Our favorite ride by far was the TRON Light Cycle Power Run, a rollercoaster where riders sat on motorbike-style vehicles. As someone who typically doesn’t enjoy such rides, the experience was so amazing that we had to go on it twice! Though that was definitely the highlight of our day, another memorable moment would be eating turkey legs at the park! A theme park food staple, eating turkey legs was even more special since it was our little way of celebrating Thanksgiving in place far from home.
Fun fact: Turkey is not a common meat in China but the line to buy turkey legs was as long as some of the rides in the park. Turkey in Chinese is 火鸡 or literally “fire chicken”.