Guide to Shanghai Disneyland

Bring it on Disney! This was our 4th Disney Park together (having already visited Disneyland Anaheim, Disneyland Paris, and Disneyworld in Orlando) and we were ready to see what the latest Disney park had to offer.

Disney spirit at the metro stop


  1. Download the Shanghai Disney app before hand. This app is handy for seeing wait times/ ride closures, a map, places to eat, OH and it’s the only way to select FAST PASSES.
  2. Bring some cash. All of the restaurants accepted credit card but the little snack stands only accept cash. (and everyone knows you can’t go to Disney without getting some ice cream or popcorn)
  3. DONT BOTHER STAYING ON PROPERTY. Seriously. You get to elect 1 FP about 30 days before hand and that’s it. There’s so many nicer affordable options around and the metro drops you off at Disney’s door. Save some money here.
  4. Purchase park tickets online: This way you can find the best deal/ discount codes and won’t have to wait in ticket queues once you get there.
  5. This goes along with getting the App, but make sure you have a data plan for your Disney Day. The wifi was pretty awful in the park and not reliable at all. You NEED internet to get your FP and use the app.
  6. Download a QR reader app as well. Most of the lines had QR scannable games to help the wait go by faster.
  7. If staying until closing, buy your return metro tickets when you arrive so you won’t have to stand in the queues at the end of a long day just to get back to your hotel.
  8. Get a locker…. a lot of the rides don’t really have a great bag storage option.
  9. If you like to pin trade, bring along some pins! While I didn’t see an amazing different selection from what we have in the states, it’s still fun to do some trading.
  10. Lastly, don’t listen to the reviews that say this park is DIRTY, people are RUDE, and that it is TOO CROWDED. While we were there on a weekday in the school year, people were very nice, the park was IMMACULATE, and even when it’s crowded you can still get fast passes to help with waits.
We loved it! (Though nothing quite compares to Disney World Orlando in my mind)
Our day started at 8:30 with an included breakfast from our B&B. They were so sweet about getting us lots of options and while breakfast again was pretty different, it did the job. (sugar helps with the rice porridge! Ha) Since we’d checked our bags the day before we didn’t have to worry about luggage (though our hosts would’ve stored bags for us) and our hosts were lovely enough to drive us to the park for free!
It was raining a decent amount as we headed in but luckily we’d brought our rain jackets with us.
The entrance was very Disney with lots of music playing and lights. The first World of Disney store we came across I was in pin trading  and we were at the actual entrance just after opening at 9AM. Despite school starting and the rain the lines were a little long to get in. All we needed to go through the gate was our passport and electronic verification of our purchase. They printed the tickets at the gate and we were in.
As soon as we had tickets in hand, I signed in to the Shanghai Disney app to make our fast pass selection which we selected the Tron coaster for in a little over 2 hours. Then we promptly found a locker to leave the small backpack we had brought with us and we were off, making a direct line for Pirates of the Caribbean. (the ride I was most excited for which also didn’t have Fast passes… so promptness to avoid a line was key)
Exploring the lands of Pirates on a hot day: this misty play area would be pretty enticing… We were already wet enough as it was haha!
Pirate Queen!
Alas as soon as we got to the ride we discovered it was closed for technical difficulties (though expected to open later…) so we meandered instead to Fantasy land.
We stopped at a few spots for photo ops and decided to hit up the Peter Pan ride first. It was a fairly quick line (about 10 minutes) and just like the original.
Alice in Wonderland Maze
Next door was a boat ride through multiple kingdoms (like other parks that have a “story book” ride) which had a line of about 15 minutes, so that was next. It was a fun little ride with boats like the Jungle Cruise, and fun water show fountains and music along the path. The line moved really slow but it was an enjoyable ride so if you have a short wait… I’d say go for it.
We hit up the Tron Coaster with our fast passes next. Their fast pass system was like Disney world. We pulled up the fast passes which showed a QR code which we scanned ourselves at the entrance to the FP line.
The walk through line was VERY cool and once we joined up with the rest of the line it was only 5-10 minutes wait. The ride was one of our favorites too, as the seats are motorbike style and you get launched out at the beginning. Unlike Space mountain and other mini coasters, the design of the track was very smooth and avoided all “figure 8’s” for those of you who get sick with that style. (I’m looking at you dad) The screens on the inside track display your opponent light cyclist that you are racing and the sound effects are all perfect.
Overall the only disappointing thing about this ride is that it isn’t long enough. Lol Even still, we rode it at LEAST 5 times to make up for that.
It finally stopped raining! kind of….
The Shanghai Disney currently has the LARGEST castle of all the Disney parks at 197 feet (60 m) tall and unlike the other Disney parks, was designed to represent all of the Disney princesses. It is known as the Enchanted Storybook castle and has an interactive walk through of Snow White’s story (which we wasted like 20 minutes waiting in line for.. save your time) While the technology was cool and it’s always fun going into the castle, everything was in Chinese so even though it had interactive story exhibits.. it was just SO busy and not worth waiting for in my opinion.
Next we rode the water ride in Adventure Isle (since we were wet from the rain anyways) which was reminiscent of California Adventure’s water raft adventure. You climb on board a giant circular raft and start praying you won’t be the one to get TOTALLY drenched because this ride… is all about that. Waterfalls, fun white water drops, and amazing animatronic monsters were the name of the game in this ride. Very cool technology again for the inside portion, and cool landscaping/ effects for the outside.
Finally after this, pirates was open so we B-lined it over there. This ride tied Tron for favorite. It’s a lengthy ride with a cool line queue. Even with new high tech effects, it retained some nostalgic elements such as the “jail scene”, pirate ships firing out at you, and talking cross bones. There’s a good little “drop” in the dark as well. The new effects are giant 3-D like screens and the boat ROTATES around like in Haunted Mansion style so you are viewing everything you’re supposed to see. There’s real fire as well. Overall REALLY cool ride. We rode it probably 3-4 times and luckily only had to wait 20 minutes at its longest.
*There’s no FP line for this ride.
Following the blue brick road through Treasure Cove
Lots of fun little shops and colorful photo ops in the Treasure Cove area next to Pirates. We had a lot of fun walking around and enjoying the “movie scene” feel.
Entrance to the Pirate of the Caribbean restaurant called
Barbossa’s Bounty.

Where to eat at Shanghai Disneyland

Since we now successfully rode the rides we HAD to ride, we could take it a little easier… starting with a lunch break. Like Disneyland Anaheim, this POTC ride has a restaurant INSIDE the beginning of the ride so you can dine while watching the riders float by on the start of their journey. UNLIKE Anaheim, this is a quick bite location and much more affordable.
That being said, it also probably had the best food options in the park. For only $12 I got a really good grilled squid with garlic rice that included a slushie drink. Braden tried the BBQ which was also good (though different style BBQ for sure) Ordering was easy and fast and you got to choose where you sat, which we lucked out and got a spot under the twinkling lights by the ride. (although all the seating areas looked cool) Captain Jack was also walking around for photo ops so if you want to catch him, this is a good place to do it.
Dining tables in the largest room (by the ride)
BBQ Chicken with rice and really good grilled squid with garlic rice
The canoeing “ride” that gave us a good laugh. They hand you a paddle but the boat is definitely on a track. It was entertaining to see people wait 30+ minutes for this experience.
Cool themeing outside the POTC ride.
Treasure Cove looking over at Adventure Isle’s water ride
After lunch we hit Tron again and realized we had to hit up Soarin around the world at some point. The queue is way different from either of the US Soarin rides, departing from the typical “aviation” that the other Soarins hone in on. It has a mystical line with a milky way sky winding around ruins. Plus the safety instructions video is a fun mystical lady who (I think) talks about soarin like an eagle as she transforms. 
Other attractions we did were the Winnie the Pooh ride
(just like the other parks but in Chinese), and Rex’s Racer in Toy Story land which was a cool boomerang like coaster. (we waited longest for this ride, about 40 minutes.. but we’d ridden all the other rides of interest so thought, why not!)
We didn’t catch any of the shows (there seemed to be just a few like a Star Wars one and maybe one other) and unfortunately had to miss the night time spectacular. I did bring about 15 pins and the staff had pins just about everywhere but most were the same old ones you find in the US. (I only found 1 Shanghai specific pin)
We headed out around 7 as we again had a train to catch (at 9:30 PM this time) and even though we’d gotten to hit everything we wanted to see, the magic of Disney at night is a whole story of its own and we were sad to leave. We grabbed dinner on our way out at the closest OPEN eatery. We wanted the Toy Story one but it closed earlier and the next option we wanted to try: Tangled, was to far out of the way. SO Pinnochio it was. They had a couple pizza options so Braden got an interesting BBQ Chicken one with doritos and peanuts on it? Lol and I had a safer margarita with balsamic glaze. They were both tasty, if a little weird.
Walking out, it finally wasn’t raining, the twinkling lights were shining, Disney music playing, and overall just magical. Definitely made it hard to leave.
Entrance to Toy Story Land
Always have to get some Disney Treat action! We tried this interesting style Corn Dog, their caramel popcorn (which the smell of throughout the park is practically intoxicating…) and of course Micky Ear icecream! They had both original and White Chocolate Strawberry which I couldn’t resist. SO GOOD.
The castle at night
Nigh time at Disney is always the most magical!
One final glimpse behind us down Micky Avenue as we left the park.
It’s a short walk to the train station from the park and then navigating back to the same Shanghai train station was much easier this time. Still busy, but we didn’t have to squeeze on quite so dramatically.
*Note if you plan on staying until closing at Disney, purchase your return metro tickets BEFORE going into the park. The queues to buy your ticket later won’t be any fun  to stand in after a full day at Disney.
Back at the Shanghai station, we went back to the luggage check to pick up our backpacks and then found our entrance/ waiting room. Once through security and in the station, we picked up a few more snacks and waters for the train ride (just in case).
Our sleeper train this time was an express sleeper train, designed to get from Shanghai to Beijing in 12 hours (traveling at 156 mph) and thus much newer than our Huangshan-Shanghai train. While the beds were about the same (maybe cleaner but hard to say), this train actually provided toilet paper, and there was a lot more table space, nicer window shades in the compartment, and quieter sliding doors. The beds and bedding were about the same though this train made fewer stops and was a little smoother so sleeping was made easier.. kind of. We were bunked with a Chinese mother/daughter duo who didn’t really speak to us at all and the mom/ older lady? Spent a whole lot of time watching me which was a little uncomfortable. Lol but we made do and the next day we were back in Beijing!
A look in our little compartment. We’d already folded up the comforters which are really nice, but you can see the table with a kettle and little bin. Both trains had the kettle so pro tip.. bring a thermos or bottle you can pour piping hot liquid into since the train itself only provides boiling hot water.

Day 7 Costs:
Breakfast included in hotel stay
Luggage Storage(at Shanghai Train station) day 2- $8.74
Disney Tickets $116 for 2 adults
Fancy Corn Dog $5.83
Pirates lunch $24.78
Icecream/popcorn snack $10.93
Pizza dinner at Pinnochio cafe $24.78
Metro to train station $1.75
Snacks for train $7.72

Hotel: Sleeper train $287/ 2 people

Day 7 Total: $487.53 

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My everything DISNEYWORLD post

OK HERE comes my MEGA everything Disney! If you don’t want to tediously read all my disney stories and favorite ride stuff just skip to the end for my budget and top tips.
Starting off how we started off with Downtown Disney  Disney Springs. We got in and met up with my family at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside where we parked our car and took the resort bus down to Disney Springs for dinner. Heads up: There’s no McDonalds so we were in for something pricey but settled on The COOKS OF DUBLIN for tasty fish and chips at lower cost for money but paid the price with wet seats as their limited seating was filled inside so we were left to sit OUTSIDE in the light sprinkle. HOWEVER have to say their service was awesome and one of the manager’s so kindly gave us 2 (huge) cookies from their dessert menu as a “sorry” for not having enough seating. NOT necessary but totally awesome!

Luckily the Rain did not hold out long and while our backsides may have gotten a tad wet at dinner, we weren’t drenched and those fish and chips really were GOOD! Next up we wandered by the Lego Store over to The Giradelli place for dessert: a free chocolate sample and into World Of Disney for the madness that is PIN TRADING. 
Then we wandered over to the new Star Wars and Marvel stores for more pin trading and to say our goodbyes to Disney Quest which closed its doors for the last time that weekend. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit the park one more time but for those of you who were not aware this place even existed.. it was AWESOME! A fun MEGA ARCADE with killer games, bumper cars, a simulator ride where you design your own roller coaster and then RIDE IT, and also a cool Pirate game that simulates being a crew with your family on a ship. We’d always spend an evening or 2 wandering from game to game and I was pretty devastated to learn of its closing.
BUT BASKETBALL FANS BE JOYOUS for the NBA Experience is what’s replacing it. 🙁 
Then we took the boat back to our amazing hotel at Riverside. Wish we’d gotten some photos a bit earlier in the day but here’s just a few from outside the resort. 

My first time on Disney property. It was definitely magical! 

The main lobby for the resort which was MASSIVE. 1000s of rooms spread out over multiple buildings. I only wish we had more time to enjoy it but sadly we had one night and one night only thus to get the following benefits:
A. Extra Magic hours which we NEEDED for Pandora in Animal Kingdom
B. Magic Bands that store your park passes as well as fast passes and are just SUPER Convenient and fun
C. You can select fast pass + 60 days in advance also for the days you stay on resort. (Sadly we botched this and got our day wrong so we didn’t use this to it’s upmost benefit)
D. Free parking anywhere on Disney property.

Which brings me to tips: The Boat ride was super fun and magical from Disney Springs to the resort however the bus ride to Disney Springs was a disaster. It Filled up at the FIRST STOP however we made the rounds and were standing room for 40 minutes to go like 3 miles… Take my advice here and just DRIVE it will save you so much time. Also Disney offers great military discounts on resort stays as well. If you have family members in the service, TAKE THEM WITH YOU! haha

So PARK 1: Animal Kingdom
Highlights: PANDORA, Dionsaur and Dinoland, Everest, Safari, and the rapids ride if you don’t mind getting soaked. 
We were up and to the park at 7 AM for extra magic hours to ride on the newest ride: Flight of Passage. By the time we funneled there like everyone else with Extra Magic Hours the line was an HOUR! So ya we waited in it and took copious amounts of photos while we did. Enjoy. haha
The Floating Mountains over the line Queue for Flight of Passage is UNREAL. That one on the left actually has a waterfall on it! 

But behind the floating mountains is even more fun! Waterfalls and pools, weird plants galore! We were obsessed. 

Yay waterfalls! And big grins after getting off the ride: First Impressions, let’s just say Flight of Passage is my new FAVORITE RIDE of ALL TIME. It’s a 4D simulator done in the BEST POSSIBLE WAY. You Soarin lovers and Star Tours will really get a kick out of this. But it’s even better. They don’t let you video or photograph once you’re actually on the ride… but I loved the Pre-ride queue information and you CAN see what that’s like here:

Once you’re on the ride, you straddle something like a bike that then locks you in with back and leg pieces. Then A LOT like soarin a giant screen opens up before you and you soar, smell, explore so much in a very generously long ride. I had the biggest Grin on my face the whole time. But the best part: Is how real they make it, the piece you sit on has pads that move and make it feel like you’re actually ON A Ikran or Bansheeas they call it. It blew my mind and I would happily ride this ride over and over.

Closer up of the waterfalls and pools. 
Then we went right to the new Pandora river ride and waited about 30 minutes to be DISAPPOINTED. Sure the inside had magical Pandora atmosphere but the only cool animatronic (pictured above) was at the tail end. 🙁 It was like Pirates but with no drops and no nostalgia. So basically Lamer. than lame. Luckily Dinosaur is terrifying thrilling as ever but UNluckily, it broke down and had us stuck on the ride for 45 minutes. 
By this time the park was filling up and we were ready for breakfast.. and also ready to meet up with the fools we left sleeping in at the Hotel. So instead of going back to Animal Kingdom, we went to EPCOT. 

Epcot Points of Interest: Soarin, Spaceship Earth, The World Tour of countries, (and maybe you could add Test Track, Mission to Mars, and the little kid rides to that) but really… this park is NOT about rides. It’s about CULTURE, Eating, Drinking, and being merry. We used our fastpasses to hop right on the Living with the Land boat ride and then Soarin, and lastly Spaceship Earth. Some of you who have been to Epcot may balk at Spaceship Earth being a highlight, but you must not have ridden it before it was narrated by Judi Dench and had cool Futuristic planning stuff to entertain you at the beginning and end. You’ve also LIKELY not ridden it with a significant other. Think about that…
Another highlight we hit is called Energy (which rumors have said will not be around much longer) It’s a hilarious 45 minute ride/show conducted by Ellen DeGeneres (failing at Jeopardy) and assisted by Bill Nye the Science guy you learn about… well ENERGY

After that the (not so early birds) left us again so it was just Braden, my mom, and I left to wander the countries. We started with Mexico and it’s adorable boat ride in the pyramid that NEVER has a line and is the equivalent of let’s say.. It’s a small World. Then we headed over to Norway to try some delicious pastries before heading onto China. (where this lovely photo was taken) Unfortunately, due to the rain the acrobats weren’t performing so we missed out on their show. 

Then we wandered onto The American Pavilion to hear the Liberty Singers (an A Capella group that sings patriotic songs) watch the American Adventure (highly recommend as the music is great and it’s a fun recap of American history) and the the Music Machine (another A Capella group that sings music from today.. they were ok) And then on we went to Great Britain to listen to (my favorite of the day) British Revolution. Even though we huddled under a roof overhang as it poured down rain, there’s nothing like British music goodies and I loved it! Last but no least we hit up Canada for some covers of Canadian musicians. They were also very good.
So for those of you haven’t been to Epcot, things to note: Both Mexico and Norway have rides though Norway’s ride used to be WAY cooler before Frozen took over. Each country also has some sort of short movie they play on like the 15 minute mark that goes over the beautiful sites in the country and culture aspects of it. Lastly as you may have guessed, a lot (if not all) the countries have some sort of mini show/ concert they do repeatedly through the day whether it be music, acrobats, drummers, etc… There are restaurants and bars everywhere so just enjoy some time away from the craziness that is MAGIC Kingdom and explore the world.

(I love France, side note we’re going to the REAL place next month!!! AHH) 
And because our day had NOT been long enough to this point we grabbed some dinner and headed BACK To Animal Kingdom for our extra EXTRA magic hours from 11 – 1 (yes… 1 AM)  we just HAD to check out Pandora at night and it was AMAZING. I couldn’t get any good shots on my phone so here’s one of my parents haha. If you can picture Pandora as it was in the movie at night, this was exactly it. Well plus 344328487 people wandering around but that crowd thinned out after midnight. haha! 
We went and walked on Everest which if you go during the new show that’s right there, Rivers of Light, you can walk on most of the rides multiple times. (We caught snippets of the show. If you’ve seen the World of Color show and California Adventure, don’t waste your time here… it looked pretty lame)  and we also headed back over to Dinoland to ride their mini coaster which was a lot of fun. 
Looking a bit frazzled from the day here but it wasn’t over yet. We got right back in line for Flight of Passage at 11 and it took 2 hours but we rode it again. I loved it just as much the 2nd time but even still 2 hours is pushing it. Don’t wait for any ride longer than 2 hours guys. It’s not worth it with so many other rides to do.
So thus concludes my longest day of Disney in the history of my many trips there. While I have been in a Disney park well past midnight MULTIPLE times, I’ve never opened the park on the same day. Grand total was 18 hours with only 2 hour breaks from the parks to eat. CRAZY. It was fun but we were definitely ready to take it easy the next day with Hollywood Studios. 
Hollywood Studios highlights: The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, The Rockin Rollercoaster, and Tower of Terror plus many fantastic shows like the Indiana Jones Stunt show, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, oh and my fav Fantasmic.
Fun fact about Hollywood studios is that it used to have what’s called the Backlot which included a touring ride through awesome Movie memorabilia and 2 cool stunt shows where they showed you the ins and outs of filming high intensity action movies. Thankfully there’s still the Indiana Jones show which is DEF worth seeing but I missed the backlot. They just need to hurry up with Star Wars land so this park has more going on for it! 
The Rockin Rollercoaster is definitely up there in my top 5 Disney rides. I love the overall theming and as far as coasters go, it’s FANTASTIC. You walk into a “recording studio” where you meet Aerosmith but soon they have to get to a show and since they have to leave hanging out with you they offer you backstage passes and a SUPEERRR stretch limo to get to the concert on time! Then you go into the final line portion a back alley and get into your limo. The ride shoots you off immediately into a loop and the coaster has 2 loops plus a barrel roll all rolled up in a dark coaster with Aerosmith rocking out in your ears and at the end you pull up to the concert. Just a super fun ride! 
The entrance to the Rockin Roller coaster area. If you collect pins, they have a drum pin board in their gift shop. 

The Fam on the Rockin Rollercoaster. It takes your picture just as it’s shooting you off at the BEGINNING.

Luckily the Tower of Terror is located just next door so you get your thrills all in one place. NOTE: If you have ridden the Disneyland version of this ride, please know that the Florida version is BETTER and a more complete ride. You actually leave the elevator shaft and go through this short track of “twilight zone” area and then into the drop zone. I LOVE IT. Although I remember one time as a small child (terrified of the dark) I rode this ride COMPLETELY ALONE and the picture that came out was pretty hilarious. 
Next up: Magic Kingdom. Basically your classic Disneyland done better. It has about the same layout of the 5 lands Adventure, Frontier, Fantasy, and Tomorrow with the exception of  NEW Fantasy Land replacing Toontown and it’s Liberty Square instead of New Orleans Square. But essentially the same. We visited this park roughly 3 times so only missing it on the first day and we hit it one night with my older sister Tiff (thanks to her having a season pass), once with my parents and the little sisters, and again by ourselves. 

Highlights: EVERYTHING. But my favorites (about in order) Splash Mountain, the new coaster The seven dwarfs mine train, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Carribbean, The Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, The Little Mermaid, and then everything else. We rode just about everything except It’s a small world (WHAT!?!) at least once.

Food enjoyed: Amazingly enough we didn’t eat much in the parks but we definitely got our Dole Whip and also ate dinner at the Columbia Harbor House in Liberty Square (on the 4th of July, fitting right?!) 
Braden, Tiff, and I enjoying the new Seven Dwarf’s mine train. It’s basically a lot smooth and comfortable of a ride than Big Thunder with cool technology and fun story pieces thrown into the ride making it more complete. 
Unfortunately my dad lost a really nice hat on Splash mountain as he was trying to make a peace sign (for Lauri to have a “cool” picture) so we Braden and I did a tribute photo to Dad’s lost hat when we went the next day. 
The last ride we rode and Braden slaughtered me at the Buzz Lightyear ride. There’s a reason I hate these rides… can’t even enjoy them. 
Tip: Having a fabulous family member with a season pass that includes the Memory maker is THE BEST EVER! She was gracious enough to lend us her pass each day to get free parking and also downloaded all the photos we took with the professional photographers there so we came away with some fun shots! Thanks Tiff! 
One of those great photo ops. 
And another one! haha Note: I love Cinderella’s Castle. ONE DAY I will eat a meal there but it was not this day. I just think it is spectacular and better than Disneyland. sorry Californians. Also note: Disneyworld has added a little Beauty and the Beast castle (which you can dine in also, or well under) and the Littler Mermaid’s castle which is the cutest! and where the Little Mermaid ride resides. Love the New Fantasyland addition! 
Lauri got Braden and I these shirts for our birthdays. They were super cute but insanely hot. They didn’t last the full day as the second we broke for lunch we took a swim at the house and changed out of them haha. 
The little Beauty and the Beast castle haha. I’ve heard good things about Be out Guest. One day I’ll try it and the grey stuff. We somehow always end up at Gaston’s Tavern for Lefou’s brew ( a delicious frozen apple beverage topped with this java marshmellow topping stuff) and GIANT cinnamon rolls. 
Cheersing with our brew! Gaston is usually outside as well and it’s hilarious to watch him “charm” the ladies for a few minutes. Seriously you don’t have to wait in line for a photo, just hang out and enjoy. haha 
oh ya and my favorite part of New Fantasyland? The Tangled restroom area. LOVE this photo we got again with the Magic Maker. Tangled is probably my favorite disney movie to date so we waited about 20 minutes for this picture. Totally worth it… though I do wish I’d brought my Rapunzel dress cause there was a little girl that posed with the lantern ahead of us and it was PRECIOUS! 

Oh ya did we mention we were at Magic Kingdom for the madness that was the 4th of July. They had areas roped off for people to crowd and stand in over AN HOUR before the fireworks. I was like WHERES THE PARADE. cause seriously.. who stands in one spot over an hour to wait for fireworks. NOT I amigos. We got dinner lol.

The insane crowd that welcomed us when we got to Magic Kingdom around 6 PM. We had fastpasses for the Jungle Cruise and still waited at least 30 minutes. The standby line FOR EVERY RIDE was over an hour with 2 hour waits on everything I listed above as my favorites… IT SUCKED. So after the Jungle Cruise we went up the Swiss Family Robinson Tree (not Tarzan like in Disneyland) and watched the Tikki Room show (no wait for that?! hmmmm) then got fastpasses for Winnie The Pooh (nostalgia guys… I wasn’t a very gutsy little kid ok) which we then had dinner, sort of watched the fireworks while wading threw mobs of people. I’VE NEVER SEEN IT SO CROWDED. It took 15 minutes to walk from the Haunted Mansion to Splash Mountain which is ordinarily.. under 5 minutes. Luckily we got to Splash Mountain just as the fireworks ended so we got right in line and only waited about 20 minutes. Then used fastpasses for Aladdin’s magic carpet and fastpasses for Buzz Lightyear finishing around 11 PM and it was still a zoo so we said peace out! 
The view from the ferry going from the parking lot to Magic Kingdom. 
So all the the crowd complaining aside, the FIREWORKS WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD AMAZING. NOW I love the normal every night fireworks Disney World does. (THEY DO IT BETTER THAN ANYONE) but while the music wasn’t as fun they did fireworks 360 degrees around the park. It didn’t matter which direction you faced, walked, etc there were fireworks completely around you anywhere in the park. Don’t believe me? Here’s a video of it from one of the resorts:
Also disney highlight: our incredible souvenir from the new(er) Haunted Mansion shop Memento Mori which is a photo of us that turns us into ghouls as you walk by. Probably the coolest picture of me I’ve ever had. 
Alright so budget:
  • 4 day park hopper pass (military discount, thanks parents!) $200 pp so $400 for us
  • Rental car: We paid about $15 per day so if you apply it to the 4 disney days: $40
  • 1st night at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (medium tier of resort levels) normally $250 per night but we only paid around $150 thanks to my parents getting us in on the Military Discount deal. 
  • 1 week at a vacation rental house that we paid for 1 room of only $300 (so $128) if you apply it to our 3 disney nights 
  • Parking/ photos: Free, thanks again Tiffany! (ya’ll need to make friends/ get family with season passes) 
  • Food between dole whip and the Columbia house where we split an entree: $23
  • Other food OUTSIDE the park: Well we mostly ate a ton of fast food but we only ate about 2 meals a day so it was around $100 for the disney days total 
  • Souvenirs: Our amazing photos cost $20 each to make so $40 which luckily we had a gift card from Tiff for our birthdays which we used to purchase those
Total: Around $900 for 4 days of Disney goodness including food, passes, lodging, and souvenirs for 2 adults.  

  1. If you stay on Disney Property, DON’T TAKE THE BUSES. They are overcrowded and take forever to go a mile. The only time this may be worth it is going to Magic Kingdom because that parking lot is a bear. The other 3 parks… just drive and park. So much faster and easier
  2. If you know anyone in the military or with season passes, GO WITH THEM and check for discounts… Could save you A LOT. 
  3. The lower tier resorts cost 100-150 per night and I think are worth doing at least once in order to get your magic bands included, FAST PASS+ for the day of and day after your reservation to get a selection of 60 days out! This is THE ONLY way you will get fast passes for Frozen in Epcot, Seven Dwarfs mine train in Magic Kingdom, and most importantly: Flight of Passage in Animal Kingdom, and of course Magic Hours. 
  4. Make sure if you DON’T Stay at a resort that you still select your Fast Pass + options 30 days in advance. This way you can get all your rides done in the morning and select more fast passes for the afternoon and evening. 
  5. When deciding a night to stay in a resort, check the calendar for which parks will have magic hours when and maximize your benefit by staying a night you get the most magic hours at the park YOU WANT TO GO TO. 
  6. Some of the night time spectacular shows are worth skipping and riding rides because you can seriously walk on multiple rides multiple times during these shows. Ones I suggest watching? FANTASMIC at Hollywood Studios which doesn’t actually start until the park closes anyways. Also I admit watch Magic Kingdom’s Fireworks at least once. Anywhere is a good spot but I prefer New Fantasyland since it’s way less crowded than main street and really a good view. 
  7. If you’re into collecting things, my family is HUGE into trading pins. Check Ebay for bulk buys of Disney pins that you can trade with park employees for upgrades. Finding the really unique pins or new collections is so fun! 
  8. YOU NEED AT LEAST 4 DAYS! 1 for each park if you’re going first time. I always recommend park hoppers since some parks are open a lot later than others and you can maximize your time in the park this way. 
  9. Disney also have 2 waterparks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Blizzard Beach is the better one. 
  10. When leaving Magic Kingdom, the ferry is actually your quickest route back to the parking lot (verified by park employee) The capacity of the ferry to monorail is like 5-1 and it is actually a shorter ride so even though the line may look longer, it is the faster route. 
  11. Also when leaving any park at closing, if there’s a long line for the tram JUST WALK. Guarantee the walk will be faster than waiting for a tram since Disney follows a million safety protocols (which is great!) just slow. 
  12. Give yourself breaks so you don’t burn out. Recommend opening and closing the park as this is when it’s going to be emptiest, but take a mid day break to swim at your hotel pool, take a nap, eat lunch, enjoy some AC… The parks are super crowded and it’s the hottest part of the day. You aren’t missing anything. 
  13. Snacks we like to get at least once: Mickey Ear Ice cream, Dole Whip, Turkey Legs, LeFou’s brew, and churros. 
  14. Photographers at photography spots will use your phone or camera to take a picture for you if you ask them. Some, especially night time photos, probably won’t turn out as nice but if you’re pinching pennies but still want some photos, this is the way. 
  15. And LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Download the MYDISNEYEXPERIENCE App. Seriously it has a map of the park with guided GPS to get you where you need to go, showtimes, wait times, and most importantly once you use your first 3 fast passes for the day you can keep selecting more on the app instead of having to find a kiosk location in the park. Much faster and easier! 
Shoot me a message if you have any questions OR if you have tips you think I should add to this post!