Hong Kong Disneyland Trip Report – Part One
Hong Kong Disneyland was the last Disney Park on our list so we could officially say we have experienced every park in the world (until Shanghai opens in June 2016). This was six years in the making, and the wait was completely worth it. From Mystic Manor to Merlin being pursued by Stormtroopers, we did it at all at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
I have broken this post up into two parts since we spent two full days at the resort. Read part two here and listen to our special podcast.
In addition to talking about our experience, I’ll cover the details of our costs along with our thoughts on this small but charming Disney Park.
English is prominent in Hong Kong, so you can safely assume everything we write about here was done in English.
Costs & Benefits
I flew in from Narita Airport via Hong Kong Express for 31,930 yen round trip (about $280 USD). For those living in Japan, this is pretty inexpensive. We booked a vacation package directly on the Disneyland website (all in English) for 7,983 HKD (~$1,028 USD or 117,130 yen) which included:
- One Deluxe Room (Upgrade from Standard Room) [check-in on 4th Mar ; check-out on 6th Mar];
- Reserved 2 Adults and 1 Child 2-Days admission tickets
- Reserved Chef Mickey breakfast for 2 Adults and 1 Child [Time : 0730 – 11:00]
- Reserved 6 in-park meal coupons
- One Disney Character Plush (we received an adorable Mickey Mouse plus!)
Having our food covered as part of the package made everything simple. I had a hard time getting my head around the Hong Kong Dollar, just because the word “dollar” is used in the price. Also, I am used to the yen, and the confusion made for some funny transactions, where I was told the cost was 35HKD but I would only give them 20HKD thinking that was enough. (Silly, I know!)
While we were limited in which restaurants we could eat at with the meal coupons, in reality, there were only a select few which did not accept the voucher. One thing that we were not mindful of was that some restaurants are closed on certain days or only open at specific times. Restaurant opening hours are found in the Times Guide.
For our first night in Hong Kong, we stayed at a hotel in the city. Since we were in Hong Kong for the first time, we figured that should at least see parts of the city before becoming immersed in everything Disney. With a little urban exploring complete, it was time to go to the park!
Hong Kong Disneyland is located on the same island as the airport (Lantau Island). This makes it relatively quick and easy to get there using the MTR transit system.
You take the Airport Express to Tsing Yi station then transfer at the Sunny Bay Station to the Disneyland Resort Line. If you have been to Tokyo before, then this train system is an absolute walk in the park. There are detailed instructions on how to get to the parks right on the website.
Disney’s Hollywood Hotel
We stayed at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, which is similar in style to the Ambassador Hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort.
The Hollywood Hotel is one of two on-resort hotels (the other being the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel). Both complexes are on the same street, with a new hotel being build between them as of this writing.
Getting to the hotel from the train station was simple. Once you get out of the train station, instead of walking towards the park, you head back and that is where the buses are located. Resort line buses are free and are decorated with wrappers promoting Mystic Manor, Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, and Toy Story Land.
We arrived at the Hotel around 9am, doubtful we would be able to check-in since the official time to do so was 3pm. However, instead of leaving our bags with the front desk, the Cast Member informed us our room was actually ready, and that we were upgraded to a premium room on the 9th floor! She handed us all the paperwork for our trip package and we headed up to our room.
Taking the elevator was a fun experience. Not only did Mickey greet us in English, but Minnie also greets guests in Cantonese. It was adorable – if only I knew exactly what she was saying! (My guess is she was simply repeating what Mickey said.)
Instead of writing out the details of our room, how about we just show you? The video will do much more justice than my words can!
Before we headed to the park, we had breakfast the Hollywood & Dine restaurant at the Hotel (our reservations for Chef Mickey’s were for the second and third days of our stay). We opted for the “American Breakfast”, which included scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, coffee, bread, and yogurt.
Off to the Park
Heading to the park from the hotel was painless. The shuttle buses run often so there is no need to rush when you see the bus sitting there on the curb. It’s a quick trip of less than 10 minutes to get from the Hollywood Hotel to the park.
While walking to the park from the bus station you see the huge water fountain with Mickey surfing atop a whale and other characters around him. After going through security and the turnstiles (which you have to scan your thumb for), we were in!
The main entrance is a familiar sight to anyone who has been to Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom with the railroad and bed of flowers right at the entrance. Before we did anything, we headed to City Hall to get our “1st Visit” pins. Shortly after, we headed towards Sleeping Beauty Castle to take a photo of our accomplishment of visiting every Disney Park in the world!
Mystic Manor & Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
Mystic Manor and Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars were our top attractions to cross off our lists. Both rides only had a 5 minute wait time (which lasted throughout the day with maybe a 10-minute wait at the most during the peak of the day). That kind of wait is unheard of, especially in Tokyo, for such major attractions! We definitely took full advantage of this, riding both over 5 times during our two days.
Mystic Manor is best described in two words: “Exceeds Expectations”. I went on this attraction with knowing next to nothing about it. From the detailed queue, trackless system, to the over-the-top finale, this ride had everything you expect from Disney. Dare I say it, but I believe Mystic Manor is easily one of the best attractions at all the Disney Parks. Plus, the little monkey – Albert (who is the star of Mystic Manor) is perfect and comes with tons of merchandise to boot. We couldn’t leave without buying at least one Albert-themed item.
Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars is what happens when Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest decide to get married and have a child, and that child decides he wants to live his life in Hong Kong after college. It is a fantastic ride with just the right amount of surprise and thrill to make it an attraction everyone in your group will enjoy.
Toy Story Land
This version of Toy Story Land is nearly identical to the one found at Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Resort Paris. It was very familiar as a result.
One attraction we never did experience while in France was the Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, so we did it here! Oddly enough, this was one of the longer waits in the park for about 20 minutes. We decided to give it a go and were pleasantly surprised. You got a bird’s eye view of not only the park but the beautiful scenery surrounding it.
Hong Kong Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show
Before lunch, we watched the special, and short, show in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle featuring the standard Disney Characters along with Duffy and ShellieMay! The characters arrived on the Omnibus which was led by the Hong Kong Disneyland Band. They gave a short performance and then made their way back down Main Street.
Lunch at Royal Banquet Hall
After the show, it was time for lunch. We settled on going to the Royal Banquet Hall in Fantasyland, which was one of the restaurants which were part of the meal coupon program.
I opted for the mixed grill which consisted of chicken, pork, veggies, and a drink. The hall itself was beautiful and quite busy but had ample seating for everyone. The setup was cafeteria style, where you went to the line which served the type of dish you wanted to get.
Flights of Fantasy
After a full meal, we got spots for the Flights of Fantasy Parade at the end of Main Street. Getting a spot was surprisingly easy compared to what I am used to with Tokyo Disneyland. The area was not crowded before the show started but filled up once things got moving. We took video of the show.
Lotso & Stitch Ice Cream
Hong Kong Disneyland does not offer many options when it comes to “cute” and “kawaii” snacks. However, they do have character shaped ice cream, and as a snack we both enjoyed the Lotso and Stitch ice cream bars. Lotso tasted like strawberries (naturally) while Stitch’s flavour was blue raspberry.
We noticed there were fruit juices available in generic bottles around the park along with your regular fare of Coke, Coke-Zero, etc. We decided to try the watermelon juice and it was exactly that – a juiced watermelon. I was expecting a sugary drink but it was all natural. I found it refreshing, but totally unexpected.
Dinner at Starliner Diner
We decided on the Starliner Diner over in Tomorrowland for dinner. It, too, is part of the meal coupon program. However, we paid cash for this meal to save our remaining coupons for our second day in the park.
The menu itself here was standard burgers and fries, which is pretty much standard for a lot of restaurants at all the parks in Tomorrowland.
I opted for the fried chicken, which was alright. The odd thing (to me at least) was getting plastic gloves to eat my fried chicken with. While it makes complete sense, I still found it strange. But after eating my chicken without having grease all of my fingers, I was a fan!
Jungle River Cruise & Space Mountain
After visiting all the parks, you want to see how attractions differ from each other.
Space Mountain was standard using the music found at Disneyland in Anaheim, with two-across seating. The queue is much shorter and the loading area is tiny. Other than that, everything else is pretty much the same (not that you will notice much since you are in the dark anyway).
Jungle River Cruise is their version of Jungle Cruise. The great thing about this attraction is there are separate lines depending on the language you want. There are two for Chinese and one for English. I was concerned we would miss most of the jokes (the Tokyo Disneyland version is only in Japanese), but this was not the case! The boat was a mixture of guests from around the world, which was awesome to see. We were with people from India, Japan, Europe, US, Canada, etc. The attraction itself is par for the course with cheesy jokes and animatronics. The ending is the best part (which I won’t ruin for you guys, but if you want to see, it’s on YouTube).
Paint the Night
Before securing our spot for Paint the Night, we rode Mystic Manor and Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars with their 5 minute wait times (seriously I cannot get over these low wait times). Once we finished that, we got our spot on Main Street for Paint the Night near the end of Main Street. We arrived about 15 minutes before the show started, and there were not many people around. Once the show came around, it filled up pretty quickly.
The show itself is pretty much the same as the one at Disneyland with a few differences. I enjoyed this version, especially with the parts sung in Chinese. The video speaks for itself.
“Disney In The Stars” Fireworks
This was the one show where we showed up 30 minutes before, and there was tons of people already waiting. This was considerably different to how people prepare for the parades.
The show itself was your typical projection castle show with fireworks. The fireworks are better compared to the ones at Tokyo Disneyland in Once Upon A Time, but the projection was just “OK”. I noticed a few times the video stuttered (I hope they fix that). But, overall the show was great and a perfect way to end our first day at the park.
We are spoiled at Tokyo Disneyland, where it is against the rules (which are strongly enforced) to put cameras above head level. At Hong Kong Disneyland, there is no such rule. As soon as the show started everyone took out their smart phones and cameras to take photo and video of the show. For me, this actually took away from the experience a bit, as we had to constantly shuffle just so we could see it properly. I was taking video (with the camera at head level, as it should be) but I decided to forgo recording it after I was more focused on fighting with people’s lit screens in my shot. I wanted to enjoy the show, so I put my camera away and soaked it all in.
The fireworks ended shortly after 8:30pm and the park was closed by then. After a long day we did not want to stick around to take photos, so we just got on the bus and made our way back to the Hotel.
Before heading back up to our beautiful room, we decided to have a few cocktails at the Studio Lounge. If you’re looking for a place to get a drink, this place is it! Even if you are staying at the Disneyland Hotel, just hop on the bus and make your way over! (The lounge at the Disneyland Hotel is outdoors, and is not open in the cold months.)
Just when we thought our fantastic day could not get any better, it did once we got up to our room. On our table were two cards – personalized to both myself and John. Not only did it have personal messages congratulating us on making it to Hong Kong on our “Around the World Disney Trip,” but had photos that we took that very day in the park. Now, I don’t know about you but this is absolutely above and beyond. I can safely say this is the best Disney moment we have ever had. I cannot deny nor confirm is there were tears involved.
Hey look, here is a photo we took of the cards!
Our first day at Hong Kong Disneyland was brilliant. That feeling of checking off that last Disney Park off your list is a feeling which is hard to explain (Yeah, I know, until Shanghai opens.) The park itself is small compared to all the other Disney Parks, but that does not make it any less of the quality Disney experience we all know and love.
The areas that are immediately familiar are the entrance, Main Street, and the Hub in-front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The other lands, while in the same spots at the other parks are laid out differently and takes you a moment to get used to.
My absolute favourite part is the green hills behind Sleeping Beauty Castle. This gives you a true feeling of being completely immersed in the magic (it helps that you’re on an island). I can easily say this is my favourite view of any Disney Castle. The mixture of Disney architecture and natural beauty – you simply cannot get any better than that.
This wraps up part one of our trip report to Hong Kong Disneyland. Check back soon for Part Two as we tackle more of Hong Kong Disneyland and I get lost in a hedge maze!
Awesome. I can’t believe that I missed out on the “First Visit” Celebration Buttons. For some reason, I thought only Disneyland LA and Disneyworld had the Celebration Buttons.
How did the Disney Hotel get your photos? Were they the official ride photos? Or printed from your social media account/s?
Did you get asked to take a test in Toy Story land? When we were there, my partner and I were asked to identify and memorise various characters being held up by cast members on the ground as we rode RC Racers. We got some cool congratulatory certificates for correctly identifying all of the characters (although they were lenient with us, since we missed the first one thinking that the characters would appear somewhere on the ride as opposed to just pieces of cardboard being held by the cast members on the ground). It was an unexpected slice of Disney magic.
Agree With you. Hong Kong Disneyland is not the best Disney Park but it worth it. The landscapes are quite empty, just think about Adventure land completely empty… Even Grizzly land got only few Buildings. But all the attractions are greats, Small World is perhaps the best version ever and
even Jungle Cruise is great ( almost the final, even if the new version at Tokyo is so great ! )
We had spend a great day 3 years ago at this park, but it won’t be the one I Rush to go back.
Thank you so much for reading! I am not sure how the photos were found, but they were posted on social media so that’s how someone (unsure who) god them for sure. We never got asked for a test in Toy Story Land. That sounds like it could have been fun!
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