Is Shanghai Disneyland Worth A Visit?

How you too can plan a trip to the newest park in the Disney Empire for less $$$ than a Walt Disney World Vacation.

Austin Carroll
25 min readFeb 14, 2019


Shanghai Disneyland’s centerpiece is the Enchanted Storybook Castle, a 197-foot castle that is the largest in any Disney theme park.

Even before the park opened to the public in June of 2016 with attractions like Tron Lightcycle Power Run and a completely reimagined Pirates of the Caribbean, I knew I had to find a way to get to Shanghai Disneyland.

‘The Shanghai park’ as it used to be called by fellow Cast Members has been on my must-visit radar since 2014 when I had the opportunity to intern at The Walt Disney Company. In 2014, the Shanghai park’s design was still being finalized and constructed. I was lucky enough to befriend several Disney Imagineering interns who worked on various aspects of the park, including writing copy for opening day maps and creating the floral designs for Wishing Star Park — a unique distinctly-Chinese recreational area, which sits adjacent to the Park’s entrance.

In terms of design, Shanghai Disneyland is perhaps Disney’s most original theme park, leaning very little on real-world locations and history, or even meticulously recreated towns or alleys we’ve seen in films: Shanghai Disneyland is full of almost completely original and fictional worlds.

According to Disney CEO Bob Iger, Shanghai Disneyland is designed to be “Authentically Disney and Distinctly Chinese.”

Shanghai Disneyland flexes creativity the Disneyland brand hasn’t really seen since inception, and is the first Disney theme park to even attempt approaching something from a vantage point other than “Walt’s Americana” or “Hollywood Movies!” since Tokyo DisneySea’s inception in 2001. Shanghai Disneyland is a bold statement from the Walt Disney Company in reconceptualizing the original Disneyland and the “castle theme park” as a truly worldwide phenomenon, accessible to any and all.

The Train Station *Lookalike* at the Entrance to Shanghai Disneyland (La Jolla Mom)

After months of planning, I finally made it to the gates of Shanghai Disneyland last April (2018). After a long morning security line not rivaled by any other…



Austin Carroll

Hello! My name is Austin & I am a product manager, career coach, and podcast host.