The Disney park has been surrounded with a thick cloud of excitement and controversy even months before its opening. While in winter people speculated about Disneyland’s financial problems, in spring hundreds of people gathered in front of the gates trying to get a peek inside. Finally now we can hop on the Mickey Mouse subway train, step into the magical world and see it all for ourselves.
One of the rumours that caused discontent on the internet was the unsightly behavior of tourists in the park. Foreigners especially criticised Chinese tourists for littering, urinating in public, and turning the park into a disgust-land. How big of a problem is this in reality?
Evelyn Yang, an NYU study away student who interned at Shanghai Disney Resort, assures us that although incidents happened before, uncivilized behavior is not common inside the park. “I think that this isn’t something people should focus on when they’re talking about the park because it is something that just comes with opening a new park in a foreign country,” says Yang. So tip number one for those of you who have not been in the park yet: Do not let the rumours deceive you, Shanghai Disneyland is beautiful and most importantly, it has wonderful clean bathrooms.
It is true, however, that the park is quite crowded. One may easily end up standing in line for an hour, so the tip number two is: Stay in the park for a whole day, plan your journey and make use of fast passes. This may be an obvious advice, but it is particularly useful in Shanghai. The rides, though, are definitely worth the wait. From my experience, one time on Tron will make you want to go again and the song from Seven Dwarves ride will get for a long time stuck in your head. Besides the rides, there are great parades and musicals, friendly staff and believable actors.
Disney employs both foreigners and Chinese staff, but no one seems to worry about inability of western-looking actors to speak Chinese or Chinese actors to speak English. As Yang adds, the mixture of local and foreign makes Shanghai’s Disneyland “authentically Disney, but distinctly Chinese.” Yes, there are no rides decorated in a Chinese style, but it does not mean that Disney is completely Western. You can see that merchandise, food, and performances have a Chinese twist in them.
The tip number three is: Find churros! The original Disney treats – turkey legs, corn dogs and churros – are now in Shanghai and their quality is not worse than in other Disney parks. The food in the park is simply delicious. Here you can find Sichuan burgers, Mickey Mouse steam buns, Beijing duck pizza and many other creative dishes.
The only disadvantage is the price. Perhaps food in theme parks is supposed to be fancy and expensive, but against the background of cheap Shanghainese food, Disney seems to be a real luxury.
Yang said that the only thing she did not like in Shanghai Disneyland was the giant flower-made Mickey face with green poisoned eyes. If you have not been in the park yet, check it out yourself, only you can decide whether you love something or not.