Yes, Joyland (嬉戏谷, xīxìgǔ), the World of Warcraft and Starcraft-themed park, is real! Last month, intrepid members of the Shanghaiist team decided to journey out to the park made infamous by its alleged knock offs of Blizzard products. Getting there may not be easy, and it definitely takes some time, but it is absolutely worth it! One or two botched attempts later, and Shanghaiist now has it all figured out for you. Follow these simple instructions and you’re on your way to having the best time EVER!
1. Go to Shanghai Railway Station: You can either take Line 1, 3 or 4. There are signs in English pointing you to the ticket office, which is actually across the street from the main train terminal.
2. Buy train ticket to Changzhou (常州): We recommend buying the ticket one day in advance, which will grant you an extra hour of sleep for the next day’s morning train to Changzhou. Any high-speed train (with a ‘G’ in the train number) that leaves from Shanghai after 9:35 is basically a no-go if you want to take the free shuttle bus from the Changzhou train station to Joyland, as the last bus leaves Changzhou for the park at 11am. Even if you do leave at 9:35, you’ll have to scurry, since Shanghaiist was only left with a ten-minute window in Changzhou to buy tickets and get on the Joybus.
Remember! You have to bring your passport to buy your train ticket, otherwise you might be tempted to vent your frustration out loud, which could land you on the ass-end of the internet. Other forms of official ID work, such as driver’s licenses or ID cards from your home country (we’re pretty sure they just want a number to write down.) You will also need your ID to buy the ticket for the way back (unless you buy round-trip), so don’t forget to bring it with you!
One-way to Changzhou is 80RMB, and you can check train times here. Trip takes about an hour.
Note: our first attempt at visiting the park was foiled by misinformation on the internet (impossible!) telling us to get the Joyland shuttle from Wuxi. MAYO. No Joybus from Wuxi.
3. Get the Joybus bus from the Changzhou train station: The bus ticket office is just upstairs from your arrival area in the train station, and getting there involves an escalator, so be careful! They can be quite dangerous.
Finding the correct ticket counters can be a little confusing, especially if you can’t speak Chinese and aren’t familiar with Chinese transportation hubs. If you have any trouble locating either the tickets or the shuttle bus itself, there is a tourism office in the train station (to the left as you enter the train arrivals area). There, you will likely be greeted by Keno, who speaks English and is super helpful. He personally escorted us to the tickets and waved us onto the bus! And if plans are foiled and you for some reason arrive too late for Joyland, Keno’s got some killer alternative options for kicking it around Changzhou (including but not limited to Dinoland, which some of the Shanghaiist team have now inadvertently visited.)
And again, don’t forget that the last shuttle bus to Joyland leaves at 11 a.m.! When buying tickets for the shuttle, they simply make you purchase your Joyland admission ticket directly, which is 180RMB, and includes the round-trip shuttle bus fare to and from Joyland.
Note: Joyland apparently bought out all the advertising in Changzhou, so if at any point you forget where you’re going you’ll have ample reminder and opportunity to get even MORE excited for what lies ahead (see above).
4. Arrival at Joyland: After about an hour long bus ride, you will arrive at Joyland’s car park. Before you skip and frolic to the entrance gate, you have to show the tickets your bus/admission tickets to an attendant, who will then print out proper Joyland tickets for you (everyone else on the bus will be lining up to do the same.)
The last bus back to the train station leaves at 5:55pm, and we recommend getting there a little early if you want to sit anywhere but the floor on the way back (pictured above).
And remember! Keep your white shuttle bus tickets, since you’ll need them for the shuttle bus back to the train station. (Foreshadowing: try not to get them WET on certain monster-blood-related rides.)
From the bus, it’s just a short walk through the car park and you’re there! Congratulations, you made it to Joyland!
Stay tuned for our review of the park tomorrow!
By Nele Diels