What is Halloween like at Shanghai Disneyland, the largest Disney castle Park in the world? What does it look like, taste like, and sound like? We set out to solve this mystery in our second visit to this exotic Resort.
Shanghai Disneyland (SHDL) opened only two years ago, on June 16, 2016. They’ve already expanded since then, opening Toy Story Land in April 2018, ahead of Disney World’s June 2018 launch. So, how do they celebrate Halloween? Join us as we find out.
In this article, we cover the daytime Halloween festivities at Shanghai Disneyland, including decorations through the Park. We’ll check in with your favorite Disney characters in their Halloween costumes, and share some unique holiday foods from the Resort.
We invite you to explore our companion article in this two-part series: “Are You Ready? Discover Shanghai Disneyland’s Halloween After Dark.” In that article, we cover the evening Halloween parade and explore a haunted pirate shipwreck in Treasure Cove. There may be some merch and trick-or-treating as well.
Like all the other Asian Disney Parks, your SHDL Park admission includes all the Halloween festivities. No separate party ticket is required.
Shanghai Disneyland tickets are date-specific, and based on demand pricing. All weekends are Peak price, running about $83 USD for adults. Regular-priced weekdays are about $58 for a one-day ticket. Holiday Peak tickets are about $96 USD.
Before the Gates: A Word about Security
Having been to all six Disney castles, we have seen crowds. However, stories of the crowds at Shanghai Disneyland made us a bit nervous (we had not returned since this Park officially opened). We scoped out the queue for security bag checks the night before. These barricades seem to wrap for miles, and are especially tall to discourage line jumping.
If you think security lines are long at our domestic Parks, they are nothing compared to these queues. On a low attendance day, it took 45 minutes just to get through the bag check. And that was arriving before Park opening.
Our best tip for adding an hour to your Shanghai Disneyland day: don’t bring a bag. The ‘Guests without Bags’ queue led you directly to the metal detectors. We wore all our layers and put stuff we needed in pockets (that needed to be emptied at the metal detectors). This worked like magic.
Entering the Park: Disney Pumpkins everywhere
A cluster of pumpkin Disney characters were perched atop the entry gates. These were very similar to ones we’ve seen in our domestic Parks.
We love Minnie’s polk-a-dots! The sign below her advertises upgrading a full-priced one-day pass to a half-year pass (annual passes don’t exist at SHDL).
Each season brings new designs to the Mickey topiary out front. This Halloween, Vampire Mickey wears an orange hat and sports some new fangs at Shanghai Disneyland.
We love the design of the ‘train station’ with its Mickey clock. This building is purely for show, since Shanghai Disneyland doesn’t actually have a train.
Here’s a close up of that adorable pumpkin Mickey banner.
Halloween Décor on Mickey Avenue and the Gardens of Imagination
Walking under the ‘train station,’ you enter Mickey Avenue (instead of Main Street U.S.A.). Similar to the Magic Kingdom’s décor at Disney World, we saw stacks of pumpkins creating a great photo-op, with the enormous Enchanted Storybook Castle in the distance. Can you see the Mickey pumpkin down the street?
Each Disney Park has unique lamp post decorations for Halloween. (We can attest to this, having seen five out of six Disney castles this October). This Mickey pumpkin is happy to represent Shanghai Disneyland.
Shops on Mickey Avenue were dressed in festive fall colors. Most of the character meet and greets were based here.
Shanghai Disneyland has an expanded hub with its own ‘land’ designation: Gardens of Imagination. Storyteller Walt and Mickey mark the entry to this land.
They are flanked on both sides by pumpkins inspired by Duffy and StellaLou,
and ShellieMay and Gelatoni.
These Chinese Mickey lanterns were also adorned for the season.
Centered in a place of honor front of the Castle was this extra-large Mickey pumpkin.
We were so impressed the first day of our visit to Shanghai Disneyland – true blue skies (they’re not photoshopped). We were fortunate the blue skies continued for much of our stay, an improvement to our expectations of air quality.
Characters are dressed to impress
Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me? Mickey and Minnie are dressed in coordinating bat-themed Halloween outfits on Mickey Avenue.
Donald and Daisy say ‘boo!’ as they greet guests.
We particularly like Goofy’s unique mummy-inspired outfit. Pluto has a Halloween collar as well.
Chip and Dale: having some fall fun.
ShellieMay and StellaLou are ready for a Halloween party. Many guests queue up to meet StellaLou, especially since she doesn’t do meet and greets at Tokyo DisneySea. (You would also have a chance to meet StellaLou when she joins Cookie at Hong Kong Disneyland). (insert link for HKDL daytime article)
We saw an unadvertised pop-up show in Adventure Isle, themed to Coco. Miguel sang and walked in a beautifully-designed Día de los Muertos set.
Specialty Foods at Shanghai Disneyland
Seasonal popcorn buckets are the height of fashion at Tokyo Disney Resort, with unique popcorn flavors like ‘Garlic Shrimp’ that you find on the guide maps. Although StellaLou originated at Tokyo DisneySea, her cutest popcorn bucket was at SHDL.
This Halloween StellaLou popcorn bucket was absolutely adorable. The popcorn carts took local cash or Alipay (Alibaba’s payment method in China) – no credit cards accepted. Popcorn flavors were caramel or ‘salty’ (which is more like kettle corn, which is still sweet).
Other popcorn buckets included this Mickey one with a tail, and a round Donald donut.
Shanghai Disneyland is known for their cute sipper ball cups. There were seasonal pumpkin Mickey ones, as well as this light-up Halloween StellaLou sipper ball.
We miss the days of freshly-made cotton candy at our domestic Disney Parks. SHDL had fresh cotton candy with a glowing ‘light stick.’
All restaurants at Shanghai Disneyland are quick-service except for the Castle restaurant, “Royal Banquet Hall.” Prices listed include the meal and a soda fountain drink.
Traveler’s Tip: you get a small discount on the sipper cups when ordered with a meal (just pay the upcharge for the souvenir cup). Here is a smiling pumpkin Mickey sipper (with our vegetarian meal and Mickey hash brown) at the Wandering Moon restaurant. It came with a delicious red bean drink.
While the sipper cups are the same, different restaurants may have different drinks. Pepsi slushies are available at Stargazer Grill in Tomorrowland. Here is the darker version of the Mickey pumpkin sipper, along with a kid’s meal (left) that came with a banana.
This was the ‘Wood’ room of the Wandering Moon Restaurant. Traveler’s Tip – there are gorgeous Castle views in this room, and walls with power plugs for your phone.
Wandering through the bakery, we found delightful Halloween caramel apples, cupcakes, and marshmallows.
Il Paperino is an adorable waffle house on Mickey Avenue. They have an indoor queue and outdoor service window.
At Il Paperino, you can get large Mickey, Minnie, and Donald waffles. (The Donald ones are ham and cheese flavored). Their Halloween specialties included a Mickey waffle with pumpkin ice cream.
Of note: their ‘bubble’ coffee is nothing like the ‘boba’ coffee we expected. It’s more like a nitro cold brew served without ice.
Wonder what happened to this Mickey sticky bun?
What did you find most magical about Shanghai Disneyland’s Halloween?
There’s so much more to discover, and we invite you to explore our companion article in this two-part series: “Are You Ready? Discover Shanghai Disneyland’s Halloween After Dark.” In that article, we highlight the evening Halloween parade and encounter ghost pirates in Treasure Cove. We search for merch, and detail trick-or-treating at Shanghai Disneyland.
Gloria Hasler is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She is a professional travel consultant, owner of Chrysalis Travel, and – together with her husband – co-founder of the Six Castles Club.