What are the visa requirements for visiting the international Disney resorts?

One of the most important parts of planning any international trip is making sure you understand the visa requirements. You don't want to book a trip and then find out when you arrive at the airport that you can't go because you needed to apply for a visa weeks ago.

Here is a quick overview of the visa requirements for U.S. passport holders visiting each of the four international Disney resorts. Because you don't want to mess up visa requirements, you should always confirm these rules before booking.

Shanghai Disney Resort

The newest international Disney destination, and the one with the most complicated visa process, is Shanghai Disney Resort.

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The L Visa (Tourist Visa)

Shanghai is a city in China. U.S. passport holders seeking to visit Shanghai Disney Resort will (generally) need to apply in advance for a tourist visa (L Visa). To obtain a tourist visa, you'll need to provide your local consulate with documentation of your hotel stay and your air travel itinerary (including flights from and back to the United States). The fee is $140 (per person), and the processing time is four business days.

The Transit Visa

If you are just passing through Shanghai, you might consider looking into their 144-hour transit visa, but this is only an option if you visit a third region (not your origin or China) after Shanghai. For the purposes of the transit visa, Hong Kong qualifies as a third region, making this a great excuse to add Hong Kong Disneyland to your itinerary.

10-Year, Multiple Entry Visa

Finally, it is probably worth specifying in your visa application that you would like a 10-year, multiple entry visa. When we applied, there was no box for that option on the form, so we had to check "other" and write "10-year, multiple entry."

This is a relatively new offering from China, where for the same fee ($140) you can get a visa that is good for ten years. Once you have the 10-year visa, you don't need to go through the application process every time you're visiting China. You will still need to provide proof of an onward or return ticket, though.

Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo is the capital of Japan. U.S. passport holders can travel in Japan for 90 days without a visa, but they should be prepared to show proof of a return or onward ticket.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is located in Hong Kong, which is technically a "Special Administrative Region" of China. Nonetheless, Hong Kong has its own set of travel/visa rules.

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This is nice for U.S. travelers because it is easier to travel to Hong Kong than to China. U.S. passport holders can travel in Hong Kong for 90 days without a visa, but they should be prepared to show proof of a return or onward ticket.

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is located just outside of Paris, France.

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Generally, U.S. passport holders can travel in France for 90 days without a visa. However, as France is part of the Schengen Zone of Europe, you can only spend a maximum of 90 cumulative days in the Schengen Zone in any 180-day period. This means if you spent 90 days touring Europe in June, July, and August, you cannot visit Disneyland Paris in October. In that case, you would have to wait until early December.