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Disney in Shanghai

by Vukica E., Loyola University Chicago, Fall 2017

Shanghai is already a magical city all on its own. But this weekend at Shanghai Disney felt like an out-of-body experience. I felt like it was someone else experiencing this trip, not me. My two days spent exploring Disney and Shanghai have been exceptionally memorable. Especially since, everything was so well planned, as soon as my 7 friends and I got to Shanghai at 9 am on Friday morning, the fun began. We made our way from the airport to our Airbnb (143 kuai per person), and by 10 am we were standing in front a luxurious gated building that was just as nice on the inside as it was on the outside. As soon as we settled in our apartment, we made our way to People’s Square – the beginning of our exploration around Shanghai.

After we walked around a very Western Square, filled with European and American brands, coffee shops, restaurants, and gorgeous architecture, we made our way to the famous Bund! The view is breathtaking, and so naturally we spent an hour taking hundreds of photos with the same background…


And then we took some more…

After a while, our lengthy photoshoot made us hungry, so we went exploring to find some local treats…and so we ate some more Western food, with a Chinese twist. The bakeries and Western fast-food restaurants are endless in Shanghai. We finally decided to eat at the various food counters in a trendy mall. As in Beijing, there were numerous fresh juice bars to choose from, which we enjoyed with some parmesan truffle fries with a sweet mayonnaise sauce in a salty waffle cone.

To get our day’s worth of exploring Shanghai, we decided to walk the remote streets that make up the city. As we walked around, we noticed a mix of Chinese and Western style architecture, as well as how modernized the city is. At certain parts, it felt like I was in Europe instead of China, which only made my experience better, because it reminded me of home.


Once it got dark, we had to see the famous Shanghai view at night. So, we went to The View, a rooftop bar part of the Hyatt Hotel…and we thought the view could not have been better, but it was. Looking at that view, I felt so overwhelmed and happy to be in Shanghai, that I did not believe that our trip could become more exciting and adventurous than it already was.


But it did…because even though we saw so much in one day, we were still halfway through our trip. The next day, Saturday, we spent the whole day in Shanghai Disney!

It turned out to be the perfect weekend to go to Shanghai Disney because they had their very first Halloween event, and we got a chance to be a part of it. All of Disney (including the entrance) was decorated for the holiday, and Halloween themed merchandise was available for purchase. My sister and I not only ate Halloween cotton candy, but we also got cute sister shots together, which our mom appreciated.

We arrived at Disney very early to take advantage of our limited time there, but we got to see all of Disney in one day! We went on most of the rides, ate at Remy’s Patisserie, walked the Alice in Wonderland maze, went to a pirate show, and so on…

Our Disney night ended with the fireworks and Disney songs playing in the background. The next morning it was time to leave, but even though I felt sad to have to leave, it was a very fulfilling trip, and for that reason, I felt more relieved to leave with so many good memories. More importantly, this trip exceeded our expectations, especially because it was worth our money. Between the cheap and great Airbnb stay, our one-day 399 kuai (~$60) Disney tickets (which are cheaper than in the US) and the 1,224 kuai (~$185) round-trip plane ticket, our budget was met and we felt like we definitely experienced more for the amount of money we spent. Being able to see spend an entire day in the heart of Shanghai and have an activity-packed day in Disney is the highlight of my stay in China.