As part of our 6-day trip to the business capital of Asia, which is Hong Kong, we took the opportunity of visiting Walt Disney‘s theme park at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. On October 24, a Friday, after having breakfast, we left early our hostel at the Chungking Mansions in Kowloon, around 8:20am.
The nearest MTR station is the Tsim Sha Tsui station of the Tsuen Wan line which has an exit right across Chungking. We took the train to the Lai King station where we transferred to the Tung Chung line at Sunny Bay station. The station in turn serves as the interchange for the Disneyland Resort line.
About 40 minutes we reach the Disneyland station where from there we walked about for about 200 meters from the station to the actual gate. Along the path we passed by the arch that bear the HongKong Disneyland name and also the Mickey Mouse fountain where Mickey is depicted on a surfboard with the other characters around it.
The month of October, Disneyland is celebrating Halloween and has put the Halloween theme to the park. With that they have featured the characters Jack Skellington and Sally of the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. Park entrance costs HKD295 for the non-peak day for an adult. It also opened at 10am that day.
We arrived a bit early so we had to wait for about an hour until the park opens. And as it opened, we queued among hundreds of other visitors coming from different countries. Disneyland really attracts peoples of all walks of life. Before one gets in, bags are checked to ensure security in the park.
Upon getting in, many visitors including us posed by the entrance to get our picture with the Main Street Train Station which is elevated from our spot with a big landscaped picture of the park’s main star, Mickey Mouse. Then after taking pictures we now walked through an archway leading to the park with an emblem saying… ‘Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy‘.
Hong Kong Disneyland is divided into four sections, each with its own theme. First is the Main Street, USA which serves as the main entrance to the park. Main Street is themed in the 1940’s western era of bricked roads and wooden structures. Second is FantasyLand the largest of the sections which is themed for Walt Disney’s fantasy characters of the Princesses, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, and other Disney cartoon characters. Third is AdventureLand which is themed into a jungle with focus on Disney’s characters of the jungle and safari like Tarzan and Simba. And fourthly is TomorrowLand which is futuristic in its theme featuring characters like Buzz Lightyear and Stitch.
And so after passing through the archway, the first thing we looked for is a gift stall. There we bought a signature book for our dear Janine so that she can have a remembrance from the Disney stars we met that day. Then at the town center there stood Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween costume having pictures with visitors. There was a long queue of people trying to get the chance to take pictures with them. We queued in out under the sun. Jen had to buy an umbrella in the park which costed HKD150. We wanted to have a picture with the duo but it took a long time under the sun so I told them that we instead go around the park and just come back later.
Along Main Street we stopped by the gift shops to check out some souvenirs. We took about 30 minutes to an hour in these stores. After that we decided to proceed forward to see more the park. Along the way we saw Jack Skellington in one of the houses posing with guests for a picture. Unfortunately, they’ve cut-off the line and so we decided to come back later.
At the center of Disneyland is the castle of Sleeping Beauty, which basically is the symbol of Disneyland. In front of it is a fountain at a roundabout which was decorated with a dragon and Jack Skellington meant for Halloween.
After taking some pictures, we moved on to FantasyLand. Luckily out of the blue two beautiful ladies are walking in front of the castle. It was Belle of Beauty and the Beast and Princess Aurora the Sleeping Beauty. With that my nieces run to them for an opportunity to take pictures with them. And so we did. The lady acting as Belle that day was very very adorable. They were glad to give autographs with us but sadly, Janine was asleep.
After that we walked through Sleeping Beauty’s castle to enter the It’s a Small World attraction. It is one of the park’s main attractions wherein guests ride on boat-like carriages and are guided into a trail filled with dolls. The dolls are themed per region in the world and they are clothed with the distinct national costumes within the continent or region. And not only that, throughout the ride the song It’s a Small World is being played. In some sections, they are played in the local language. It’s fun to see this ride and specially to catch the Philippine dolls in a nipa hut. It was nice that there were two dolls here compared in Anaheim where there is only one doll for the Philippines.
Then after that, we decided to have our lunch near the It’s a Small World ride. While we were about to finish lunch around 12 noon, we heard this familiar cheering sound nearby. It was the High School Musical show that is starting. It happened to be that beside the place we had lunch is where all the parades commences.
So we made our way near the path of the show to have some pictures. And so it was a float with big letters that call High School Musical. The performers sing and dance on the float as it drove to the fountain in front of the castle. That is where they are scheduled to perform a show at around 12:30pm. And as the float moves they shout ‘Wild Cats! Let’s go!’. Anyway, we decided not to follow the float but instead tried to catch the Golden Mickeys show.
The Golden Mickeys show was scheduled at 12:45pm so we were just in time to queue at the venue. And so we seated at the mid section of the ballroom by the isle. The show is basically a stage play of an awarding ceremony for Mickey. It was hosted by a lady that day and the whole show was in Mandarin, though they had a TV screen that showed the English translation. It featured a number of Disney characters, mainly Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, plus newer Disney stars like Belle and the beast of Beauty and the Beast, Quasi Modo of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Woody and Jessie of Toy Story, Ariel and Sebastian of Little Mermaid, Lilo and Stitch, Tarzan, and Mulan. It was a beautiful performance that aside from acting on stage, some of the characters even walk by the isles. Tarzan even patted Janine on her head when he passed us. The show lasted for about 30 minutes and ended with an explosion of golden confetti. Janine even brought some home after the show.
After the show, we went to the Fantasy Gardens where we queued on taking photo opportunities and getting autographs by some of the mascots. Here Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Mushu, and Donald Duck had their own gazebo where guests queue up for photos. They pose for pictures for about 15 minutes before they take a break for about 3 minutes to change mascots.
Then it was just right time for us to go back to Main Street to wait for the Disney on Parade or the Parade of Stars. Along the way we say Chip and Dale and Jack Skellington having queues for pictures. We looked for a good spot near the fountain area and sat by the road. And at 3:30pm, the parade began and started by some dancers and a float, then followed by the float of Chip and Dale in painter costumes. Then followed by lady dancers in movie reel costumes.
Next came the Alice in Wonderland float where Alice sits on a mushroom. Then leading the float is the Queen of Hearts and Mr. Bunny of the same story. Then followed by the Little Mermaid float where of course Ariel is the main star with other sea creatures. And then performers in military costumes followed. They introduce the Toy Story float where of course Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear. Then next came the original Disney characters lead by Pluto and Goofy. The next float is shaped into a castle where it carried Mickey and Minnie on its balcony and three princesses at the lower area, namely, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. And with that, the parade has ended.
Since dusk is nearing, we decided on moving on to Adventureland. Eventhough there are still attraction in Fantasyland that we have not gone to. We first found our way to Tarzan‘s Treehouse. It is located in the middle of a man made lake which was made to look like it is bounded by a river. To get there, we had to ride on a barge which crosses the water to the treehouse. The attraction is simply a trail that goes up the man-made tree where a replica of Tarzan’s house is built. Well we thought that it was a waste of to see as there isn’t much to see there and we had to climb stairs.
We did not stay long at the Tree house and we went directly to the Lion King show. While waiting for the show to start, we also got the chance to have pictures with some characters in Halloween costumes. Anyway, the Lion King show was the last performance time then at 5pm. The show was quite different from the Golden Mickeys show as the Lion King show involved performers dancing and singing the movie’s songs. And they didn’t have any mascots except for Timon. Though they had big robotics on floats which featured Pumba and Simba. I’d say the performance was good and I got fascinated by its center stage which rises and falls. Oh, and the auditorium is round where seats surround the performance area.
Right after the show, we headed to Tomorrowland to try to catch some photo opportunity with Buzz Lightyear. And we were fortunate enough to catch him before he retires for the day. Sadly, my camera’s battery died out and so the next pictures I have is from Jen’s niece. And since it was starting to darken already and we’re starting to get tired, we no longer entered other rides within Tomorrowland. And so just took our dinner in the food area in Tomorrowland.
After dinner, we headed for the Stitch Encounter for the English show. This one is quite different as guests are brought into a small auditorium where we sit in front of a big TV screen. Children are requested to sit at the carpet in front. And when the show began, Stitch appeared on screen and addressed the guests. The different thing is the encounter is quite personal as Stitch is able to talk directly to a guest. He will call the attention of a kid in front to ask his name, another kid to name a planet and even posted a picture of one of the guests on screen. It was fun and very much interesting specially for kids.
After that great encounter with Stitch, it was very timely as the Glow in the Dark Parade which was special for Halloween theme. The Stitch Encounter was just next to the Parade route so it was great time for us. The parade began with a big effigy of Jack Skellington sitting on a pumpkin. Sadly I didn’t have my camera on so I just took pictures of the parade with my camera phone. The whole area was darkened to give highlight on the Glow in the Dark theme where the floats and characters dancing on the streets and float glow. It was such a beautiful parade. Aside from the performers in zombie costumes and acrobatic acts, the Disney villians like Captain Hook and the Queen of Hearts joined the parade. And ending the parade is of course Mickey and friends in their Halloween costumes.
After the parade, we followed the last float to the castle area among with the other guests. It was just right timing for the 9pm fireworks show at the Sleeping Beauty castle. And so we found a good spot near the fountain in front of the castle where we sat down with other people who are waiting for the show. Before the show started, still the whole area is left in darkness with the castle glowing in the night. They have lit the castle with different colors and spotlighted with spiderwebs. Then at around 8:45pm, it began. It was a beautiful fireworks display which is worth watching and took about 15 minutes long.
Since it was already late in the night and we’re quite tired already, we decided to go back to FantasyLand to try to experience the Winnie the Pooh ride which had long queues earlier. It was a cute ride that follows a short story about Pooh. Inside the ride, its like you are introduced to one of Pooh’s stories. We had Janine sit between Jen and I and she liked the ride. The ride took about 10 minutes.
12 hours in Disneyland was quite exhausting for all of us. And so we decided that it was time to go home. It was a great stay in Hong Kong Disneyland and meeting Chinese Mickey and his Chinese Disney friends was very memorable.