Forewarning: This is not necessarily advice on how to see the whole park in one day. It is just some helpful solo travel tips.
So as I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to visit Shanghai Disneyland this past summer. And navigating a Disney park alone isn’t new to me. But navigating an international park is an entirely different situation. Now, I’m not usually a solo traveller, but in case you ever find yourself wondering Shanghai Disneyland alone, here are a few tips that I hope will help make your visit a great and easy one!
1. Use the single rider lines if possible and/or strategically plan your fastpasses.
This is actually a good tip for both solo travelers and groups. I totally played it wrong this last visit as I didn’t take advantage of the fastpasses. But when you first arrive to the park, find one of the fastpass stations and see what rides you’d like to get a fastpass for. And some rides have single rider lines, that usually have shorter wait times than the regular stand-by lines, so take advantage! Especially for Pirates of the Caribbean and Tron! For more tips on how to beat the lines, search google! There are tons of helpful blog posts from avid park goers floating around.
2. Ask younger park-goers to help take your photo.
If you don’t get a castle photo, did you even really visit a Disney park? 😏 jk. But I’ll be honest, I wanted at least ONE castle photo with me in it. I found I had the best luck when I approached younger visitors that were dressed more stylishly. Let’s face it, if they’re dressed in street fashion, they’re most likely wanting a good photo of themselves too. And they’ll actually know how to use a camera phone or DSLR. Sure there’s lots of people you could ask, but the majority are families with young kids and I just felt guilty burdening busy parents. Especially since I didn’t speak Mandarin. So find those street style, hipster looking visitors! And of course, return the favor and offer to take a photo of them and their group afterwards.
3. Or make sure you have a portable tripod of your choosing (gorilla tripod, selfie stick, phone back stand, etc.)
Before I found a pair of stylish friends that were willing to help me out, I actually used my camera on a gorilla tripod and had it clung to a nearby rail. Did I look a little insane? Yes. But here’s the secret — no one knows you! So what if older grandparents sitting around the park look like they’re judging you. “Maybe I’m just trying to take some photos to show my own grandma, mister!”🙄 Anyways, having my gorilla tripod came handy when I wanted to take photos of myself. If you’re savvy enough, you can also use it as an impromptu selfie stick. Or even an arm extension for us shorties out there who just want a better glimpse of a parade.
4. Learn basic words and phrases in Mandarin. And don’t be afraid to charade your way through a conversation!
You should at least know hello (ni-hao, pronounced knee-how) and thank you (xiè xiè, pronounced sheh sheh). This at least softens up the person you’re talking to because you’re at least trying to speak Mandarin. And sometimes, that’s all they want to see. Effort. If you’re looking for a certain attraction, restaurant, or bathroom, have your map handy. If you just point to what you’re looking for, the cast member will most likely understand, and point in the direction you should head. And if you’re like me, you might be searching for specific kinds of adorable looking food and merch. In that case, try to screenshot a photo of it on your phone BEFORE you get to the park. Later, you can easily bring it up on your phone and ask a cast member. And if all else fails, try your best to charade through your conversation. It’s actually fun to be kind of goofy and cast members usually find it endearing and were more willing to help.
There you have it! Just a few tips to help make your solo trip to Shanghai Disneyland a little easier and more enjoyable. And I am by no means an expert of this park or solo travel. There are tons of people out there on the interwebs that know this park inside and out and could probably give you so many more great guidelines and tips. But these are just a few things that I found to be super helpful during my solo visit. And honestly, part of the experience is not knowing what the hell you’re doing sometimes.😆 So here’s to hoping we can all be a little braver to be more adventurous!💪🏼