For our penultimate day in Hong Kong we went to Hong Kong Disneyland. Both Trina and I are huge Disney fans, both having been to Disney World in Florida on multiple occasions. Up until this trip we normally avoided going to theme parks, figuring there was plenty to see in the area besides Disney Magic. The timing felt right to go this time around. We were eager to see Mickey Mouse on the other side of the ocean.
We got started with breakfast at Pacific coffee, the little cafe right outside our hotel in the attached mall. We then took the train to Sunny Bay MTR station. We changed over to the Disneyland Line, which was a train that went exclusively to the park. As soon as it showed up we knew it was Disney time because it was decorated with Mickey Mouse silhouette windows and the interior had statues of different cartoon characters lining the cars. We arrived at a station that could best be described as turn of the century retro. As soon as we ascended the steps we could hear music from the park. There were banners and a massive character water fountain. We got our online tickets very easily from the automated ticket dispenser and waited for the park to open.
It opened at 10 am to great fanfare, and a lot of excited cheers. We walked through main street and took in the sounds from the marching bands playing. A lot of buildings were being redecorated, but they didn’t ruin the festive atmosphere. We made a beeline to the rides we have never been on in the states.
Our first stop was Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars. This was a mild roller coaster that goes backwards and forwards. The story appears to be that our mining car is destined for a gold seam when a clumsy bear inadvertently misdirects our car. We liked the ride so much that we rode it again.
After that we went to Mystic Manor. The ride is indoors and is a work of special effects magic. A collector of rare items has a cursed music box that his assistant monkey accidentally unleashes the magic within. During the ride we get attacked by artifacts that spring to life. It is a mixture of audio-animatronics and high definition movies screens. What was also neat was the trackless cars. Trina did some research and found out that they used wi-fi and RFID transmitters to guide the cars. We went on this ride again too. Afterwards an overly enthusiastic photographer took photos of us outside the manor, though we never returned to pick them up.
We next headed over to Toy Story Land. It consisted of a collection of Toy Story themed rides. We went on the Toy Soldier Parachute Drop where we got a great view of the entire park. Next was Slinky Dog Spin, which was like a carnival ride. We ducked over to Mickey’s Philharmagic in Fantasyland because it started to rain. It was a lot fun seeing all the main songs from the Disney Renaissance period. We returned to go on the RC Racer ride, where Trina screamed relentlessly.
A bit tired from the all the rides (and screaming) we got lunch at the at the Royal Banquet Hall. There we were able to enjoy a nice ramen lunch. There were about 4 different foods we could get: Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian and Western food. We happily slurped down our noodles among the statues and motifs dedicated to the Disney Princesses.
After lunch we waited in the longest line of the day at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Before that we only waited 5 minutes per ride, but to our horror we waited 15 minutes! A travesty! Anyways, it was a delightful ride and worth the wait. Still in Fantasyland we went saw the The Golden Mickeys show. It apparently is an award show for the heroic characters from the different Disney movies. I would have enjoyed it, except there was a teenager with an enormous head blocking my view. I couldn’t even see the teleprompter with the English translations, since the show was in Cantonese.
To make up for that we went to Space Mountain in Tomorrowland. It was definitely different than the Florida iteration. It was a double seater and the cars were outfitted with speakers. The track was decorated with floating planets that we whizzed by. We liked this one so much that we went on it again.
After the ride we stepped outside to watch a parade dedicated to Flights of Fancy. The honorary guests for the ride were high school students who received good marks in school we were told through the PA. Trina told me that academic achievements get promoted everywhere in Asian countries. Academics aside the parade was delightful. I liked how the characters could see us taking photos and would pose accordingly. Very well done.
We next went on It’s a Small World. Originally we weren’t planning on going on it, but we figured since the wait was short we should see it. It turned out very differently than we had remembered. There were hidden Disney characters throughout the classic ride, all singing along. Definitely very cute. We next headed over to Fantasy Gardens and got a photo with Pluto. We were going to see some of the other characters but they were finished by the time we had lined up. Oh well.
At this point we were pretty tired so we got a snack at Safari Snacks. For some reason Trina was craving a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream. I got one while she went for the Minnie mouse ice cream. Both put us in a happy mood, just before going to watch Festival of the Lion King in Adventureland. Again, very good production value.
Afterwards we took a raft to Tarzan’s Treehouse where we played with the various exhibits on a tour through Tarzan’s home. We headed back over to some other attractions to get pictures for the devil duck. At this point it started raining tons. We were trapped in Mystic Manor’s gift shop. We waited in there a half hour and the weather didn’t improve. Meanwhile, guests on the ride kept crowding the gift shop because there was no place for them to go. We finally decided to get ponchos and make the wet trek. The rain was coming down pretty hard. As we were walking we heard over the park PA that the evening parade would be canceled. Considering how exhausted we were we weren’t too disheartened. We got a hot dog to munch on at the Main Street Bakery and then went shopping.
Even after 30 minutes of shopping the rain didn’t let up. At that point we figured the fireworks would be canceled as well. As we headed out of the park we stopped at the Art of Animation exhibit. It has some fun displays about the history of Disney animation as well as a fully functioning Toy Story Zoetrope. That was fun to watch. There was an animation class that they offered, but it was in Cantonese. Not feeling too adventurous we went back to hotel and had McDonald’s black and white burgers. All in all a magical day!
On our last day we worked out in the morning and then ate breakfast. We were planning on going to see the Big Buddha on Lantau but the Cable cars were broken! It would take too long to go the shrine by bus. Instead we went to Tsim Sha Tsui to Jenny Bakery for butter cookies. So tasty and filling! We completely undid anything we gained from going to the gym that morning. We took the shuttle to the airport where we had lunch at a Tasty Congee and Noodles branch. We ate BBQ pork with noodles, wonton noodles, and congee with beef and sliced fish. Again really good. Definitely a great way to end a trip.