Hello, my name is Sarah and in March, my Mum (Pearl) and I were lucky enough to visit the Asian Disneylands! We started our adventure in Hong Kong. We stayed in the city, but the MTR train lines are super simple to use and take you straight to the Disneyland train – the beginning of the magic, as the train has Mickey Mouse windows and handles!! The Disneyland Park is like a miniature version of Magic Kingdom. It starts with the classic train station entrance over the floral Mickey design. Main Street is so cute and leads up to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. At the moment, the castle is undergoing a transformation, so we couldn’t get super close, and there is the obligatory castle crane in the background. Thankfully, you can still see the castle even if you can’t get close. Being who I am, I was on Main Street for the Opening Ceremony and got a photo of Main St. completely empty (front of the line!)
Now, one thing about Hong Kong is that it rains–A LOT. I was wearing my waterproofs and carrying an umbrella for the duration of my visit – but a little rain doesn’t stop a true Disney Fan! And best of all, it meant that the park was deserted! Most lines were 10-20 minutes long at the most.
The only downside to the weather was the parades. Unfortunately, the night parade, Paint the Night, got canceled both days. I was a bit upset as I have been desperate to see this parade for years – but I guess this gives me an excuse to make a return visit!
On my first day, we got the Rainy Day Express instead of Flights of Fantasy parade – which was very cute. Instead of the Rainy Day Cavalcade, the characters were all riding Casey Jr. in their rain ponchos. My second (and last day) in the park, the weather held off just long enough for the Flights of Fantasy parade! It was lots of fun, and there was a marching band at the start! We were lucky and got to stand in the castle hub looking down Main Street.
As soon as Flight’s of Fantasy finished, we ran and joined the rather long line to have our photo taken with Mickey and Minnie in their Easter outfits. This was in the pavilion at the start of Main Street. Now one thing we did find out on this trip is that the Chinese (and Japanese) Disney Guests LOVE having their photos taken with the characters and spend a long time interacting with and getting various poses of their party and the characters. This is great when it is your turn to meet the characters; unfortunately, it does make the character lines rather long! We actually ended up waiting for 2 hours for our photo (but it was totally worth it).
The characters are a lot of fun (as always,) and there is an abundance of them in the parks, with surprise meet and greets that are not scheduled. On my first day, I came off the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars and saw Sheriff Mickey greeting, so I quickly joined the line (thankfully, this was a short one!). He loved my Mickey Mouse Jacket, and we ended up comparing outfits! After seeing him, I went back on the Mine Cars (because why not when there is a 10-minute wait?) and once again upon exiting, I saw my favorite Chipmunks doing a meet and greet in their cowboy getup.
Now, onto the attractions. There are, of course, the classics: It’s A Small World is awesome! It is quite a long version and has Disney characters dotted throughout the attraction in their respective countries. It’s fun to try and find them all. Jungle Cruise is also here; when lining up, you can choose which language to ride with. We were very unadventurous and decided to ride with an English-speaking Skipper. This Jungle Cruise is a little different than Magic Kingdom’s version as it circles Tarzan’s treehouse (the equivalent of Swiss Family Treehouse but in the location of Tom Sawyer’s Island,) and we had some different puns. There is no “backside of water,” unfortunately, but the end is a bit more explosive!
A wonderful stage show at Hong Kong Disneyland is Mickey and the Magic Book. It has live singers! Lots of big song numbers with brilliant dancers make it extra fun! Mickey and Goofy are speaking in Cantonese, but thankfully, there are translations on screens beside the stage.
One of the things I loved the most about Hong Kong Disneyland was the small areas of magic. They have the Fairy Tale Forest, where there are small castles and miniature scenes from the Disney classics. We especially enjoyed the small music boxes for every scene.
There are two rides that really are the highlight of Hong Kong Disneyland for me, and they are exclusive to this park. The first is Mystic Manor. Similar to the Haunted Mansion, this Manor is set in Mystic Point. The ride is AMAZING!! It is a dark ride using a trackless ride system (similar to the Ratatouille Ride coming to EPCOT,) and it takes you on a tour of Lord Henry Mystic’s Manor. You are joined by Lord Henry’s adorable and mischievous monkey Albert! I loved this ride; due to the trackless system, you can have a slightly different experience each time you ride, and the soundtrack is fun too. To be honest, my first day here, I went on this ride about five times!
The second exclusive ride is Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars – my second favorite ride, only just beaten by Mystic Manor. It is a rollercoaster that is themed similarly to Big Thunder Mountain, but there are a few more bears! I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to big rides, but I was laughing away after this one! So much fun!
Hong Kong is separate from Mainland China both physically and culturally. As English is one of the official languages, there were no communication problems anywhere in the city or in Disney, and of course, all the Cast Members were fantastic. I did have one encounter that was unexpected though!
When traveling in Asia, Westerners can sometimes get a bit of attention and can get asked for photos by locals. I was warned of this in advance. I have had it happen to me a couple of times, and I’m always happy to do it (it’s like being famous!). Most of the time, people are polite and approach you with their camera and even with the language barrier, you can figure out what they want. Now, imagine my surprise when I’m on It’s A Small World, and a phone on a selfie stick slowly appears over my shoulder with the people on the row behind wanting a selfie with me without asking!! They were very friendly but apparently didn’t know how to ask. It did make me laugh for a while!
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my first ever blog post! I am looking forward to writing some more for the Shanghai and Tokyo Resorts! My Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Hong Kong Disneyland, and it was a brilliant way for us to kick off our Asian Disneyland adventure!
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