In the spirit of getting into all things spooky during the Halloween season, we visited The Shanghai Dungeon, a new entertainment option for kids aged 12 and above and adults alike. This hair-raising experience is brought to Shanghai by the mighty Merlin Entertainments, the group behind LEGOLAND, Madame Tussauds and the SEA LIFE parks around the world.
This is Merlin's first Dungeon franchise within Asia, and to live up to expectation, they secured a sizable area inside the centrally-located Mosaic Mall. And, visitors won't be disappointed with the array of special effects and gags.
Like its overseas counterparts, The Shanghai Dungeon features an immersive 60-minute tour through ten themed areas. The tour follows a narrative loosely based on lost legends and stories of old Shanghai and is re-enacted by a fully-costumed theater troupe.
Each visiting group is assigned the task of escaping a ‘Shadow Killer,’ who looms large in the background of events. On your way, the ‘brave ones’ are given copper coins as tokens of luck, to ‘save’ fellow visitors from mischievous encounters.
Escape from Raiders – Visitors imagine themselves as soldiers standing atop an old city wall, soon to be raided by a band of ‘pirates.’ Lamps are snuffed out to disguise the sailors’ whereabouts, and they must toll a bronze bell to scare pirates off the plank. This episode alludes to pirates’ invading Shanghai throughout the Ming Dynasty, which allegedly resulted in building the old city wall near the Yuyuan Gardens.
The Abandoned Theater – Following escape from a mirror maze, visitors are shuffled into a room with fake windows. A troubled narrator shares the story of an acclaimed ‘actress’ who vanished from the public limelight after being wrongly accused of murder. Ever since her public execution, bystanders and members of the theater are cursed with incurable diseases, suffering for the rest of their lives. Now, she’s after the visitors. With immersive lighting and sound effects, this is undoubtedly one of the eeriest parts of the tour.
The Fortune Teller – With visible goosebumps on our arms, we enter the Fortune Teller’s chamber. In addition to whimsical exchanges of dialogue, unnerving outbreaks of giggles and glitching light bulbs, this is also where the ‘Shadow Murderer’ finally catches up with everyone. It’s scary!
With an objective lens on, the thrill factor at The Shanghai Dungeon is fairly low (even though we have a low tolerance for anything scary and screamed through half of it). Just be warned, there are moving chairs, random spits of water and, at the very end, a drop ride which might set the adrenaline racing.
If you are searching for a place to get into the spirit of Halloween, look no further. The venue will officially open to the public on 27 October, and discounted tickets can be pre-booked via the QR code below.
Note that Mandarin Chinese is the only language of instruction available for the time being.
[All photos via The Shanghai Dungeon]
RMB200 (RMB120 early-bird). Scan the QR code to purchase tickets. See a listing for The Dungeon Shanghai here.