(This is a backdated post on my visit to HK Disneyland on 19th July 2008)
Despite my previous visits to Hong Kong, both on business and personal basis, I have never visited Hong Kong Disneyland. Usually that’s because my business trips were never over a weekend when I would have the time to pay a visit.
My last trip to HK allowed me one weekend in Hong Kong, and of course I jumped at the chance to whisk myself (via HK super efficient MTR, of course) to a magical ride in Hong Kong Disneyland. At first, the weather seems rather unforgiving. Dark clouds were rolling across the horizon. Needless to say, I was rather disheartened, but soon after around noon the sky cleared.
So I headed out. The journey from where I was took about 45 minutes by train. Your magical experience begins right in the Disney train!
The last photo is of me trying to catch myself in action. It is kinda sad travelling on alone :(
The station itself is situated some 100 m away from the main entrance, but the pathway was designed to excite you. You are entering the realm of Disney! Music was blasting from the lamp posts, each designed around a particular cartoon show. I was grinning like a mad man as I made my way towards the ticketing booth.
So I bought myself an adult ticket at HKD350 (that’s about S$70). The queue was quick – I was kinda expecting a huge crowd considering it was over the weekend and a summer holiday – and the courteous staff quickly directed me to the nearest counter. One thing I noted was that almost all the theme park staff were youngsters. It must be a holiday job for them. And the attire they donned were tastefully designed. I was expecting something… tacky, knowing it’s HK/Chinese and all. LOL.
My first stop, naturally, was the Main Street USA. I noticed that “Disney on Parade” will be on about 1 p.m., and it will take place at this section of Disneyland. Of all the sections here (there were four), this is my favorite. The buildings here are mainly shops, and the whole place was just infused by some kind of… festive spirit. Everyone was chatting, laughing, eating… general merriment. Eventhough I was on my old, I can’t help but got pulled into the festivities.
Soon, the Disney on Parade got started! I simply loveeeee parades, especially the marching band. The Disney parade was a small one, but being a tight group their sound was fabulous… or maybe that’s just me drunken on excitement talking. LOL. I also got to see many, many Disney characters waving and cheering from colourful floats. It was really a great experience. Too bad the parade was really short. It was over in less than 15 minutes. They should really call it Disney on a Short Parade.
The weather was scorching hot! I was perspiring profusely throughout the whole thing. Right after the parade, I bought some mineral water and headed to my next destination, the Adventureland.
The Adventureland emphasis on action and (of course) adventure. So characters like Lion King and Tarzan were featured prominently. Most visitors to this section will be undoubtedly attracted to the Festival of the Lion King, a half-hour show depicting the story of Simba by a superb cast. It was a spectacular performances, complete with duo-language script and animated props. Towards the end of the show, I teared shamelessly to the song of “Can You Feel The Love Tonight”. I know, I know, I am a hopeless romantic.
Another thing I realised about the crew of Disneyland here was that most of them seems to be foreigners. If I had to venture a guest, I would say many of them are from Philippines. Hmmm… perhaps an idea for our own Resorts World.
After that, I rushed over to Fantasyland to catch some shows here. Fantasyland, as its name suggests, is a whole section dedicated to the world of Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and the like. The games/rides here were very much catered to the kids. Well, to be honest… even if they were adult rides, I would still not have taken them. I just think it is plain silly for me to take the rides alone.
As a result, I didn’t take any of the rides here in Disney during my trip here. So don’t ask me about them – it will only get me all sad!
On to the shows. The first show I caught was PhilharMagic. The queue was supposed to be only 15 minutes, which means the shows will run for less than that, but God was the crowd huge! Everyone seems to be wanting a piece of this show.
As you would have probably guessed from the last photo, PhilharMagic was a 3D show, hence the stupid looking specs everyone was holding. But lo and behold, the show was damn good! Basically it tells the story of Donald Duck chasing after Mickey’s conductor hat through familiar scenes of Disney favorites, like Beauty & the Beast and Aladdin. The shows literally jumped in front of you, making many of the audiences gasping and grabbing in delight. Whooshes of air and sprinkle of water made the show even more realistic. It was so good that I returned for a second round later that day :)
The second show I caught here was The Golden Mickeys, a make-believe Grammy Award show for the bestest in various categories among Disney characters. Another good show, very cabaret-like. In fact, I was surprised the quality of the whole thing. Yes, the Cantonese portion of things were kinda off, but overall it was very enjoyable.
By that time the show ended, it was late in the afternoon, and my stomach was rumbling in protest. Decided to walk to Main Street USA for a bite, passing through Tomorrowland on the way. This section of the theme park focuses on space adventure and sci-fi. Sounds cool eh? I guess it was, for the rides, of which I didn’t take, so I found this whole section a big bore… though the impromptu percussion performance by these two “cleaners” captured my attention.
After my very late lunch, I went off to catch the “High School Musical” show right in front of the entrance of Fantasyland. The show was highly colourful and well coordinated. Though I wasn’t a fan of the Disney series, my fellow spectators obviously were, so the whole experience was rather enjoyable. Especially the part when the cast invited kids to join in the dance moves. It was truly hilarious and heartwarming to see how the kids learned so fast, on the spot!
By this time my camera is already running flat on batteries, so most of the photos and videos beyond this point were taken using my trusty Nokia. So pardon the quality :)
After the show, I didn’t have much plans to do anything else, except to catch the fireworks show later that night which was scheduled at 9 p.m. A good two hours away! So I walked around for a bit, before finally plonking down my ass at a perfect spot and wait.
Yes, I waited for close to two hours for the show to start, but it was worth it. “Disney in the Stars” was a spectacular show of lights, sound and effects against the backdrop of Fantasyland, the castle of Sleeping Beauty. By the time the show started, I estimated there were thousands of people gathered at the courtyard, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the sight in front of them.
I managed to snap some videos of the show:
The show only lasted a mere 15 minutes. I was kinda disappointed, especially after such a long wait. By then I was feeling all washed after such a long day here, so I lost myself in the hordes of people heading to the train station.
The full set of photos I took can be viewed here.
So was the trip to Disneyland Hong Kong worth it? You bet. It literally transported me into my fantasy of what a Disney world will be. Somehow it worked its magic to bring much smile and happiness to is guests like me. I know that the park in Hong Kong is very small and not as exciting as those in Tokyo and US… and I told myself, if I have the chance to visit these countries, I wil definitely make a point to go to their Disneylands.
Perhaps I should make a pact with myself to visit all of them and blog about my complete Disney experience. LOL.
I am mad, I know :P